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From the article:
“Up to now the only known approach to inducing brown fat has been through exposure to chronic cold. Our research reveals a novel way of doing this without cold exposure. We show that animals living in an enriched environment become lean and resistant to diet-induced obesity, even in the presence of unlimited food.”
The current study used a similarly designed environment, with 15-20 mice housed in large containers equipped with running wheels, tunnels, huts, wood toys, a maze, and nesting material, in addition to unlimited food and water.
Key findings include the following:
• Enriched animals showed a significant reduction in abdominal white fat mass (49 percent less than controls).
• Exercise (running in a wheel) alone did not account for the changes in body composition and metabolism of enriched animals.
• Fed a high fat diet (45 percent fat), enriched animals gained 29 percent less weight than control mice and remained lean, with no change in food intake. Enriched animals also had a higher body temperature, suggesting that greater energy output, not suppressed appetite, led to the resistance to obesity.