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Good Housekeeping
Jennifer Chan, Assistant Managing Editor
February 04, 2012

Study Shows You Lose More Calories When Resting in Cold Temperatures

Research shows that a kind of fat called brown fat has the potential to be a calorie-buster, and it's activated when the temperature is lowered. By Jennifer Chan

Little is known about brown fat except that it is mostly found in newborns and, well, rodents. Until recently, scientists didn’t even think that adults had any at all. Thanks to an accidental discovery by scientists who were looking at tumor sites on cancer patients, however, we now know that traces of brown fat still linger around in areas such as our upper backs and the sides of our necks

While it has been characterized as a tissue that helps ward off the cold and supposedly serves as a backup energy generator, what researchers wanted to find out is whether brown fat could actually be used to burn calories or not and how they could be activated in the first place. 

In a study led by Andre Carpentier at the University Hospital of Sherbrooke in Canada and published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation, researchers found out that, by exposing volunteers to the cold, they were able to activate the brown fat in their bodies. What they found could revolutionize the way we approach weight loss. Apparently, brown fat eats up white fat, and when at rest in the cold, people lose more calories—approximately 250 calories in three hours.

With this new discovery, scientists can now focus on activating brown fat more easily. And while experts have not yet reached the point when they can say that turning the air conditioning up to full blast will actually do us good, there is at least a promising lead.

For more weight loss tips, check these out on FN:

(Photo by Elephant wearing striped pants via Flickr Creative Commons)

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Jennifer Chan
Assistant Managing Editor
Jennifer Chan was a contributing writer for Female Network for two years before formally joining the team as a staff writer in July 2012... Read more...
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