Do we burn extra calories when it’s cold outside?

Do we burn extra calories when it's cold outside

The answer is no, not directly. But new evidence shows that colder conditions force the body to burn extra calories to maintain body temperature.

Why does the body burn extra calories?

When the temperature is lower than it is pleasant for us, the body responds by shivering. And in more extreme conditions it starts to tremble. However, not all reactions are visible to the naked eye. The brown fat cells that are in us are starting to burn calories rapidly in order to maintain body temperature. And for this to happen, you don’t have to sit on the minus or walk half-naked on the snow. It is enough to cool the room a little and get dressed for warmer weather.

In one study, Dutch researchers showed next. Gradual acclimatization to colder weather over ten days increases the activity of brown adipose tissue and makes us burn more calories and tolerate cold better. Method – sitting in shorts and a T-shirt with short sleeves at 15-16 degrees for 2 hours on the first day, 4 hours on the second and 6 hours on the other eight days.

How many calories do we burn?

In a similar experiment that consisted of spending 2 hours a day at 17 degrees for six weeks. Participants raised their calorie expenditure at rest and even lost an average of 5.3% of fat deposits. The control group, which spent time at a pleasant 27 degrees, did not achieve these results.

What is especially interesting is how quickly the participants in the experiments got used to lower temperatures. Our body has an incredible ability to adapt to various conditions. Which we often do not use because it is simpler and requires less effort to heat the room by a few degrees and keep it that way than to be minimally uncomfortable for a few hours a day. In this way, we not only miss the opportunity to lose weight and become more endurable practically without any effort. But we also additionally consume electricity that has its price, both in terms of money and the impact on our environment.


In a few months when the temperatures drop a bit and you will still be in the habit of sitting in thin T-shirts and shorts, and feel the horror and temptation to close windows and doors. Maybe even heat the room, remember to eat smaller portions and Stronger workouts are not the only way you can affect your weight and lower your fat percentage.

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