This winter has been especially cold in the Northeast. Everyone is looking for ways to keep warm and to stay cozy. However, recent Dutch research shows that our attempts to stay warm may be thwarting our weight loss efforts. A Dutch researcher found that reducing external temperature causes the human body to burn more calories in order to keep up body heat. So, adaptation to the cold increases energy expenditure. Colder temperatures brings on shivering, which is a biological response that increases body temperatures to protect the body from hypothermia. However, shivering also occurs in milder cold temperatures; humans experience non-shivering thermogenesis (NST), which increases heat output, but without the risk of freezing to death. Therefore, it seems that keeping the thermostat down in homes and offices may be a great tool to increase metabolism and aid in weight loss. Of course, continue to diet and exercise…but you may save both pounds and dollars if you keep the temperature in your home a little lower!
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