Polar vortex-related good news: Being cold can help you lose weight, says study
Ice from the breath of Gail Davis forms around her face as she exercises by walking outside in Minneapolis, January 8, 2014. (REUTERS/Eric Miller)
Regular exposure to cooler temperatures can help a person lose weight, a new study has found.
Researchers at the Maastricht University Medical Center in the Netherlands said most offices are kept warm so workers aren't uncomfortable. But they found after being exposed to 17 C for up to six hours a day for six weeks, the study participants got used to the cooler temperatures.
Their comfort levels increased, they had more brown fat which burns energy instead of storing it, and they shivered less at 15 C. Non-shivering heat production can account for up to 30% of the body's energy budget, the study found.
"By lack of exposure to a varied ambient temperature, whole populations may be prone to develop diseases like obesity," the authors wrote in the study, which was published in the Cell Press publication Trends in Endocrinology and Metabolism.