Sunday, January 30, 2011

Chill Out to Lose Weight?

Oh, come on.
Now, in a provocative new paper, British researchers argue that rising indoor temperatures are contributing to obesity. The research team included scientists from several disciplines, including health psychologists, biologists and those who specialize in the effects of indoor environments....

The average temperature of living rooms in Britain, around 64.9 degrees Fahrenheit in 1978, had risen to 70.3 degrees by 2008. Bedrooms, kept at 59 degrees in 1978, were up to 65.3 by 1996, the last year figures were available.
Okay... I lived in England in the early 1970's and during the cooler parts of the year our house was a veritable refrigerator. So at night we curled up with hot water bottles at our feet under lots of warm blankets. The average room temperature was low because the house was heated with fireplaces, and sometimes it's better (and easier) to wear a sweater than to build a fire.

A more realistic perspective on this issue, and a perspective that reveals it as unrealistic, comes toward the end of the piece:
Dr. C. Ronald Kahn, a Harvard Medical School professor who does research on brown fat, says it might actually help with weight control over time, provided people stick with it.

“When we put people in a 60-degree room, they increase their energy expenditure by 100 or 200 calories a day if they’re in light clothing,” like hospital scrubs, he said. “They’re not shivering. They activate their brown fat.”
So there you have it. Cool your house down to sixty degrees and wear nothing but scrubs and the pounds will melt off - well, let's call it a slow melt. Act like a normal human being by dressing appropriately, putting on a sweater, wrapping up in a blanket or turning the thermostat back up and you won't. As the good doctor says, "most people won’t stay at that temperature for very long."

You can accomplish the same thing by walking 1 - 2 miles per day (at whatever speed you like), but you'll be comfortable. And in better shape.

1 comment:

  1. "Eat less, exercise more." - Milo Bloom

    ; )



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