It's turning colder tonight in the Coastal Empire and Lowcountry, and some of you may crank up the heat. But before you do that, check out the latest study.
Some scientists think indoor heating may be linked to weight gain. Turn down the thermostat, they say, and you might lose a few pounds.
Dr. Oz talked about this topic on his show today. Here is the science behind it according to him... the air temperature in your home affects brown fat and white fat in the body.
White fat is stubborn and unhealthy, and it comes from fried foods and snacks. Brown fat churns through calories.
Brown fat is complacent like white fat in warm temperatures. But at lower temperatures, white fat begins to dissolve thanks to the brown fat.
According to a new study, if you lower your thermostat to 63 degrees for only two hours per day, you can burn fat. People in this study lost 5% of their body fat over six weeks.
Still not convinced? Well, let's take it a step further.
When we are exposed to extreme cold, we shiver. When we shiver, our skeletal muscles contract to generate heat, and this burns extra calories.
But you don't need extreme cold to make it work.
Temperatures in the lower 60s causes people to generate extra heat without shivering. The process, called non-shivering thermogenesis. The brown fat acts like an internal furnace that consumes lots of calories. The colder air activates the brown fat.
Furthermore, most of us get around town in heated cars, instead of walking. Children also spend less time playing outdoors these days.
Scientists believe all this time spent in toasty interiors may be affecting the levels of brown fat we carry.
As babies, we all start with substantial amounts of brown fat. But the brown fat gradually decreases as we get older... if you are not exposed to cold. If you are exposed to a lot of cold, your body can actually generate more brown fat.
Scientists want to emphasize that exposure to cold is not a major driver of obesity. They say that is still overeating and lack of exercise. They do, however, say lowering the thermostat could make a notable difference in your weight.
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