Can Turning Down the Thermostat Help You Lose Weight?

You may be cold, but if you're trying to lose weight, new research about a substance called brown fat suggests you think twice before turning up the heat.

By Reader's Digest Editors

Trying to lose weight? Turn down the thermostat. A cozy home could be contributing to your fat, suggests new research in the journal Obesity Reviews. When our bodies are cold, we shiver, causing our muscles to contract to generate heat—and burn calories.

Even when we’re not shivering, the cold activates a substance in our bodies called brown fat. Unlike other fat, brown fat works like a furnace, consuming calories. When we don’t use our brown fat to warm us, we lose it, along with its calorie-burning potential, says study researcher Fiona Johnson, a research psychologist in the department of epidemiology and public Health at University College London.

“Changes in the way we eat and physical activity levels are the primary factors behind increases in obesity,” says Johnson, “but other aspects of our lifestyle can also make a contribution.”

Researchers found that since central heating became common in the 1960s, average room temperatures have increased steadily in both the US and the UK. In both countries, obesity has also soared.

Sources: The New York Times, WebMD, Obesity Reviews

Want to stay smart and healthy?

Get our weekly Health Reads newsletter

Sending Message
how we use your e-mail

  • Your Comments

    • http://www.yogatreesf.com/locations/telegraph-studio.html Cooper Heyes

      Hm, that’s quite handy to know. Exercising in the winter can be a drag – though it is still essential for good health. Knowing stuff like this can help us adjust to the changing seasons, when it comes to exercise and weight loss.

    • Anonymous

      Wow …. this is an awesome information for me. Regular exercise like swimming,yoga,cycling and fast running are really essential for each and every person. We should eat balance food and join Gym because they give us good fitness.

    • http://www.lapbandbearlake.com/ Emilia Pickrell

      Nice to hear that turning down the thermostat has something to do in losing weight! In undergoing a diet for losing weight, it could be quite challenging and patience is a must. Of course, your discipline skills will be tested by following such rules in eating and exercising. You lose weight not only to have a good shape, but also to have a good balance in your lifestyle.
       

    • http://www.lapbandbearlake.com/ Emilia Pickrell

      Nice to hear that turning down the thermostat has something to do in losing weight! In undergoing a diet for losing weight, it could be quite challenging and patience is a must. Of course, your discipline skills will be tested by following such rules in eating and exercising. You lose weight not only to have a good shape, but also to have a good balance in your lifestyle.
       

    • http://www.lapbandbearlake.com/ Emilia Pickrell

      Nice to hear that turning down the thermostat has something to do in losing weight! In undergoing a diet for losing weight, it could be quite challenging and patience is a must. Of course, your discipline skills will be tested by following such rules in eating and exercising. You lose weight not only to have a good shape, but also to have a good balance in your lifestyle.