Chill Down to Slim Down

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Did you know that cold exposure – whether it’s a jump in a cold lake or simply turning down the thermostat – can actually improve your sluggish metabolism and help you burn calories faster?

According to the Huffington Post, there is new evidence suggesting that regular exposure to mildly cold air may help people lose weight by increasing the amount of energy they expend to stay warm. In other words, if you are trying to lose weight, cool down your home and office.

Scientists found that even by turning down the thermostat to the lower 60s, folks still generate extra heat without shivering. At the root of this is the activation of brown fat, which scientists like to call brown adipose tissue. Unlike the run of the mill white fat, brown fat boasts plenty of heat-generating mitochondria, the power plants of our cells. In fact, this plentiful population of mitochondria causes the fat to have a brown hue.

Importantly, brown fat burns up a lot of calories to help to raise body core temperature. Scientists believe the only way to activate this desirable fat is cold exposure. Dubbed non-shivering thermogenesis, this process is said to involve the brown fat that adults have in certain areas, like the upper back and side of the neck.

When activated by cold, this brown fat burns calories instead of storing them.
A new study published in the journal Trends in Endocrinology and Metabolism, found that people seem to adapt to a chillier home or workplace. Researchers suggest that by gradually decreasing the temperature, the body can acclimatize.
Will cold exposure lead to effortless weight loss? Not quite. Researchers suggest the cold exposure strategy works best when combined with exercise and a healthy diet. In the coming weeks, the Juvenon Health Blog will explore other methods that have been scientifically proven to jumpstart a slowing metabolism.