Unlike white fat, which clings to our hips and expands our ageing waistlines, brown fat keeps the weight off.
And that's why the race is on to find out more about brown adipose tissue, also known as brown fat, and how humans could use it to our advantage.
When we're born we have lots of brown fat in our bodies, wrapped round the central organs to keep us warm, to help us adapt to life outside the womb.
As we grow, however, the brown fat content of our bodies decreases.
Professor Michael Symonds of the University of Nottingham says:
"There is only about 50g of brown fat in the neck region and it switches on and off throughout the day as it's exposed to different temperatures or if you exercise or eat."
But this capacity is much greater in young children compared with adolescents and adults.
He says that the challenge is now to use this knowledge to find out what factors might switch on brown fat, and therefore prevent excess weight gain.
"The more we know about what switches on brown fat the better. It may have an immediate effect which can be retained as you get older.
With thanks to www.bbc.co.uk
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