Turning down the thermostat is, apparently, the most recent secret to successful weight loss. Researchers suggest that losing weight can involve more than just focusing on a healthy lifestyle.
Past research has looked into how the cold affects the energy expenditure by the body. Based on that, researchers looked into how that would affect the process of burning fat, and whether it is possible to lose more weight. The results have been published in a Trends in Endocrinology & Metabolism study.
A Japanese research team asked people to lower their thermostats to 62.6 Fahrenheit for a two hour period, every day, over a six week time-frame. After that time, the level of body fat was measured and the researchers found that there was a tangible decrease in fat levels among the volunteers.
During another study, conducted at the Masstricht University Medical Center, in the Netherlands, scientists found that people who spent time at colder temperatures developed healthier brown fat and adapted to the cold. This study involved 17 people who spent six hours a day in respiration chambers that were set at 59 Fahrenheit. It took 10 days for patients to feel comfortable at that temperature and show the positive weight loss results.
Author of the study, Wouter van Marken Lichtenbelt, explained that brown fat is healthier due to the way energy is used to produce heat. According to Fox News, the brown fat will take the energy stored by white fat or from food, and is something that can be “turned on.” Lichtenbelt described the process, during a recent interview:
“Brown fat can be ‘turned on’ when you get cold… Instead of shivering, you can turn on brown fat to warm up.”
This new weight loss secret does not mean the thermostat has to be turned down too much, or for too long. The research indicates that around 62 degrees is perfect for encouraging the body to use the brown fat, known as nonshivering thermogensis (NST). Keeping temperatures lower and around the same as outdoor temperatures is also more comfortable, as people will not shiver or sweat.
However, this research does not mean that weight loss in colder temperatures is guaranteed. A healthy lifestyle is still required. The colder temperatures simply help with reducing fat.
Some other tips to help with weight loss include cutting out calories from dietary intake. According to Dr. Samuel Klein, from the Washington University School of Medicine, cutting out two ounces of potato chips, which equates to around 300 calories, produces similar results to going on a three-mile run.
There have also been some surprising revelations from a number of other studies, over the years. Some studies have suggested that exercise can actually make weight loss harder. There are a few reasons for this, including the fact that people feel hungrier after a workout session and tend to make poorer food choices.
However, a Journal of the American Medical Association study showed exercise helps to keep weight off. The study followed 34,000 women during the time period and found an hour of moderate exercise (e.g. walking) was enough to maintain a healthy weight; that hour does not need to be carried out all at one time.
All these tips and research can, and should, be used together. Following the weight loss secrets developed by these studies – including turning down the thermostat and following a healthy lifestyle – could make losing the pounds easier.
By Alexandria Ingham