Cool off to lose weight, say researchers

Hispanic woman sleeping in bedPic: JGI/Jamie Grill

Shedding those unwanted pounds could be as simple as turning down the thermostat, according to researchers. Speaking at the Ice/Endo 2014 conference in Chicago, Australian doctors suggested that keeping a cosy bedroom is no help for dieters, and instead slimmers should sleep in a cool room.

Their theory is based on the properties of two different types of fat - the good 'brown' fat, which burns off calories, generating heat as it does so, and the bad 'white' fat, which is the kind you might find in your belly, waist and thighs.

By tracking the body fat composition of five healthy men for four months, the experts from the Garvan Institute of Medical Research in Sydney established that the amount of brown fat increased by as much as 40 per cent when the participants slept in cool conditions (19c), but the levels fell fell when it was warm.

Furthermore, the brown fat helped the body to process sugar, suggesting it could help in the treatment of diabetes at some point in the future.

According to the Daily Mail, Dr Lee, who led the research, blames the modern-day marvel of central heating for preventing us from making brown fat, saying: "Studies have been performed in the UK and US measuring bedroom, dining room and lounge temperatures in people's homes over the last few decades and the temperature has climbed from about 19c to 22c, a range sufficient to quieten down brown fat.

"So in addition to unhealthy diet and physical activity, it is tempting to speculate that the subtle shift in temperature exposure could be a contributing factor to the rise in obesity."

What do you think? Will you be turning down the heating this winter in a bid to lose weight? Leave your comments below...
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