Study Suggests Cold Temperature Exposure Burns Calories

By: Leah Uko

OMAHA (KPTM) - It's no secret the temperatures are below freezing. While it is causing a pain for people in many ways, believe it or not, there is a bright side to the frigid weather.

A paper published Wednesday in the scientific journal Trends in Endocrinology & Metabolism suggests turning your thermostat down could help your body burn calories.

In 2009, researchers around the globe found brown adipose tissue, also known as "brown fat" burns calories to create heat. Brown fat plays a role in non shivering thermo genesis, which is a form of heat production that happens in the human body when it is not shivering.

The paper stated that animal studies showed that non shivering thermo genesis activates brown fat cells, which burn calories to create heart.

Lance Eberly with Anytime Fitness said he agreed with the studies, but did not encourage people to depend on their thermostats to burn significant fat.

"It may in a sense help you burn an extra 20 to 50 calories in a day, but on a whole scope of things that wouldn't be effective," Eberly said.

Eberly who is a personal trainer and the owner, said people need to eat less fat in order to burn fat and also keep exercise in their daily routines.

"As an overall comparison, working out--that's going to be more consistent."

Researchers stated that frequent cold exposure alone would not fight off obesity, but that it was worth considering for creating a sustainable environment along with a healthy lifestyle.

Terry Ahlers lost 16 percent of his body fat in eight weeks by doing High Intensity Interval Training cardio, but said he'd add turning his thermostat down to his list.

"I don't have any problem with putting on another layer," Ahlers continued. "It makes sense and you save money right?"

Doctors also suggest frequently stepping outside, moving around your hands, arms and legs to keep your blood flow running and calories burning.

It was also found that non shivering thermo genesis is weakened in obese people and in the elderly. Obese people have less brown adipose tissue that people in the normal weight range.

Researchers found that losing weight can help people who are overweight increase their brown fat activity.