Embrace the Cold to Lose Weight without Dieting

Shivering can boost your metabolism and help you burn more calories.

A new study released by Dutch researchers indicates that turning down the thermostat in a home or office could help with weight loss. The research hoped to confirm other studies which showed that exposure to mildly colder temperatures increased metabolism, boosting energy expenditure that can promote weight loss.

Dutch Study

The Dutch researchers confirmed what a previous Japanese study that showed a drop in body fat after spending two hours each day in temperatures around 63 degrees Fahrenheit. Most research into cold temperatures and weight loss rely on how shivering, which is the body’s biological response to extreme cold, protects them from hypothermia.

Shivering has been shown to reduce body fat in rodents and humans. However, more recent studies show that another type of response to milder cold temperatures, known as non-shivering thermogenesis, can also increase heat output, which may also burn fat reserves as a way to keep people warm.

Cold Increases Energy Expenditure

The researchers plan to extend the study to determine whether a phenomenon found in rodents where cold temperatures burn more white fat than brown fat, a type of fat that research has indicated has a beneficial impact on fat metabolism, body weight and tolerance of blood sugar. In addition, researchers found that people adapt to colder temperatures as time progresses.

The Dutch study, conducted at the Maastrict University Medical Center in The Netherlands found that, after about 10 days, healthy brown fat increased and participants shivered less. Some experts believe that the reduction in shivering was due to the brown fat being burned to heat the body.

Diet and Exercise

Although this research shows that a cooler home or office can lead to better weight loss, researchers say that people must also change the way they eat and increase physical activity. However, reducing the indoor temperature may lead to a less restrictive dieting plan, with a focus on eating healthy and becoming more active rather than other types of fad dieting.

Researchers said that since central heating became common during the 1960s, indoor temperatures have increased dramatically in the United States and the United Kingdom, and a connection was made regarding the increase in obesity in both countries, which have risen steadily over time.

cold weatherHow Cold Temperatures Burn Fat

The mechanism which causes a body to burn brown fat when it is cold is through the stimulation of the sympathetic nervous system. When the body feels cold, it releases additional stress hormones, such as adrenaline and noradrenaline. This increases heart rate and blood pressure, which could lead to fat loss as well.

Although the research is still in the beginning stages, it shows promise as a tool that could help those who are working toward a healthier lifestyle by losing weight and reducing body fat. Although many experts are warning that a healthy diet and exercise are still very important to fighting obesity, this research indicates that keeping temperatures in a home or office set at lower temperatures may aid in that battle.

This research is promising for people who are struggling with obesity, but because it is still in the early stages, experts still recommend a healthy diet and exercise as a way to live a healthier life. However, they also say that this research indicates that lowering temperatures inside cannot hurt those who hope to lose weight and get healthier.