Monday, April 21, 2014

Cold Weather Might Help Losing Weight!

Piling evidence has shown that overweight and obese can lead to a number of chronic diseases including Type-2 diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke and even certain types of cancer. There is no doubt that the public is aware of the consequence of being fat, most people still find it hard to maintain a healthy weight because of the inability to get rid of the unhealthy lifestyle. 

Only when the weight gain causes the health indicators to show red, people will realize that they should try to shed the extra weight. Then, they will start to exercise more and pay attention to their diet. Some will even approach weight-loss professionals for help.

A recent study by the National Institutes of Health found that shivering might be as good as exercise to help people reduce weight. Their findings were published in the February 2014’s issue of ‘Cell Metabolism’.

Hormone irisin from the muscles and hormone FGF21 from the brown fat stores will be released when people feel cold and start shivering. These same hormones are released during moderate levels of exercise, too.

Unlike white fat, brown fat produces heat and burns calories instead of storing them. 50 grams of white fat could hold more than 300 calories, while 50 grams of brown fat are able to burn up to 300 calories per day.

When placing in the presence of white fat, these 2 hormones could convert the storage fat into the healthier brown fat. This means shaking from the cold or going for an exercise could create similar fat-burning opportunities.

People are born with brown fat around the necks to help stay warm as babies. It was thought that this brown baby fat is lost while growing up. But scientists now realize that the brown fat is kept through adulthood. As shown by studies, adults with higher levels of brown fat tend to be skinnier than those with lower levels.

10 healthy volunteers were recruited in the study. The participants were first asked to exercise at maximal aerobic capacity on a stationary bike. Later on, they were put under cooling blankets set to slightly more than 53 degrees Fahrenheit (closed to 12 degrees Celsius) in order to induce shivering. It was found that irisin levels produced through exercise were comparable to shivering.

The researchers did not suggest that thin clothes should be wore when the weather out there is 12 degree Celsius just to burn more energy. While exercise is as important as weight loss, not many people can lose weight just through exercise. But if scientists can find a way to raise brown fat, many people can benefit. It is their hope that their findings might eventually lead to development of some kind of medication that can promote production of irisin.

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