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Shivering may be secret to losing weight

07 February, 2014

ISLAMABAD: A new study has revealed that shivering and bouts of moderate exercise are both capable of converting energy-storing 'white fat' into energy-burning 'brown fat'.

The study has suggested that regular exposure to mild cold may be a healthy and sustainable way to help people lose weight.

First author of the study said that they hypothesize that the thermal environment affects human health and more specifically that frequent mild cold exposure can significantly affect our energy expenditure over sustained time periods.

Marken Lichtenbelt and his colleagues from Maastricht University started studying the effects of mild cold about 10 years ago, mostly because it had received so little attention and found the evidence to suggest that a more variable indoor temperature- one that is allowed to drift along with temperatures outside- might be beneficial, although long-term effects still await further investigation.

The Netherlands team also found that people get used to the cold over time. After six hours a day in the cold for a period of 10 days, people in their study increased brown fat, felt more comfortable and shivered less at 15 degree Celsius.

In young and middle-aged people at least, non-shivering heat production can account for a few percent up to 30 percent of the body's energy budget, they said. That means lower temperatures can significantly affect the amount of energy a person expends overall.

The study was published in the journal Cell Press.

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