Can Moderately Cold Temps Help You Lose Weight?
While overesposure to cold is linked to serious and even fatal consequences, regular exposure to mild cold may actually help people los weight. On the other hand, cozy indoor environments might lead to weight gain.
The findings were published in Trends in Endocrinology & Metabolism.
"Since most of us are exposed to indoor conditions 90 percent of the time, it is worth exploring health aspects of ambient temperatures," said first author of the article Wouter van Marken Lichtenbelt of Maastricht University Medical Center in The Netherlands. "What would it mean if we let our bodies work again to control body temperature?"
The researchers began studying the effects of mild cold, mostly because it was an overlooked subject. Studies have traditionally focused on extreme cold.
Now, Marken Lichtenbelt said, there's evidence that an indoor temperature that more closely mirrors the outside temperature – might be beneficial. The team found that over time, people get used to colder temperatures.
A research group from Japan has also found that people who spent 2 hours per day at 62.6 degrees for six weeks had a loss in body fat.
"Indoor temperature in most buildings is regulated to minimize the percentage of people dissatisfied," the researchers write. "This results in relatively high indoor temperatures in wintertime. By lack of exposure to a varied ambient temperature, whole populations may be prone to develop diseases like obesity.”
The researchers acknowledged that further studies are needed and that it won't be easy to change peoples' minds about consistently being in cold temperatures.