Cold? Good, you’re losing weight

Canberra only has two temperatures: hot, or cold. As the hot Australian summer draws to a close, that only leaves the prospect of shivering in the wintery Canberra chill. But with modern technology, the solution is simple, no? Just turn the heater on, silly. But forgoing these modern conveniences could be beneficial if you’re trying to lose weight.

New research by scientists from Lund University, Sweden, suggests that regular exposure to mildly cold air might be a viable strategy for losing weight.

Our bodies have many strategies to deal with changes in temperature. For example, if we’re cold, our bodies shiver to generate heat. In order to generate the heat required to warm ourselves back up, our bodies use energy, and there’s plenty of energy in our fat cells. If we get cold, our bodies will naturally shiver as a reaction, thus using up energy currently stored in our fat to generate heat. But the beauty is we don’t even have to be that cold to get the benefits: simply being colder than normal makes the body generate heat, and thus passively use more energy.

The researchers state that “maximal thermal comfort in the built environment may increase our susceptibility to obesity and related disorders… Mild cold exposure increases body energy expenditure without shivering and without compromising our precious comfort.”
Now before you all go standing out in the cold (potentially going into hypothermia as a result), this isn’t meant to be a silver bullet for weight loss. You still have to exercise, eat well, get plenty of sleep, and, of course, make it through this Canberra heatwave.