Do you burn more calories in winter?

Introduction and background

Contrary to the popular belief, people don’t necessarily gain weight in colder atmospheres or seasons or places. In fact, researchers have recently discovered that actually, quite the opposite is true. This article is intended to signify the cause and reason that helps one burn more calories during winter season. Read on to discover why.

What does the evidence say?

Here are some of the featured highlights from the print media that have actually published these stories prominently.

ABC News reports that according to a former NASA scientist, “‘In environments as mild as 60 degrees, some… people saw metabolism rates boost by as much as 20 percent,’ he said.” Not bad!

Of course, they also report that according to proponents of “thermal dieting”, “People can burn up to 50 percent more calories by exposing themselves to below-freezing temperatures, which causes the body to work overtime.” Keep in mind that this means facing such temperatures without wearing warm clothes, and ask yourself if you’d die 50% more than usual.

In 2011, the New York Times pointed out that while keeping temperatures cooler can burn slightly more calories, and making the house so cold that you’re shivering can burn even more calories, “a person insulated with plenty of body fat is usually less likely to shiver”. Also, if you’re shivering enough to burn significant calories, you may be on the cusp of hypothermia.

If you’d like to really get into the numbers, LiveStrong has the formula for calculating your Basal Metabolic Rate, as well as this juicy piece of information: “BMR will change by seven percent for each temperature change of 0.9 degrees Fahrenheit”. Keep in mind this is body temperature, not ambient temperature, and it’s true for degrees above and below your natural set point (usually 98.6ºF).

In regards to exercising in cold temperatures, FitSugar reports, “Shivering alone can actually burn up to a few hundred calories an hour, but this effect of cold temperatures on metabolism is only significant if you’re actually shivering. It would have to be very cold to shiver while jogging, because so much body heat is generated from your exercising muscles.” Shivering while jogging would be one of my personal hells.

However, according to a British study described in the New York Times, shivering might not be necessary after all, thanks to a miraculous substance called “brown fat”: ““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.. They’re not shivering. They activate their brown fat.”

This last bit of information is critical, in order to burn extra calories, it’s not enough to keep our homes at 60ºF or lower. We would need to keep temperatures that cool and only wear light clothing. You might have acclimated to keeping your house at 61ºF (with plans to continuously go lower), but if you wear heavy sweatshirts and warm socks. Your goal should have been been to save money and resources, not to lose weight, and so you still want to be as warm as possible while keeping the heat as low as possible. If we are interpreting these studies correctly, in order to lose weight thanks to your home’s cool temperature, you need to actually be cold.


Overall, it seems like the cold weather may boost your caloric burn slightly — just not enough to make up for, say, a Thanksgiving feast that included multiple servings of pie. But regardless, getting some outdoor exercise (which could be as minimal as making a snowman or going sledding) when you can is a guaranteed way to boost your metabolism and fend off Thanksgiving-induced weight gain. And know what, if you add some nice HCG diet homeopathic drops to your winter diet regimen, you could actually lose weight faster and even more efficiently. HCG diet drops are generally considered safe for fast and effective fat burning and are easily available online and you could buy these within the comfort of your own home.


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