[an error occurred while processing this directive] Can Cold Make You Lose Weight? - Steven and Chris

Can Cold Make You Lose Weight?


Heat and weight loss go together, right? Think again. Some experts now think the cold may be your better ally in ditching the pounds. From cool sculpting to applying cold packs to your body, here’s what you need to know about employing cool temperatures to reshape your body.

Photo Credit: ISTOCK

Method 1: Applying Ice Packs

Really, could this be true? While we often turn to ice packs after pulling a muscle during our run, researchers at the University of Kentucky School of Medicine in Lexington, Kentucky have discovered in a study that holding ice packs to certain fatty areas of the body for half an hour can torch fat. The cold, which can feel uncomfortable, helps turn the body’s “white fat” into “beige fat”, or the type of fat in our bodies that burns off in fuelling our heat generation. So the colder we are, the more of that brown fat that burns. The study applied ice packs to the abdominals and thighs, traditionally fattier areas of our bodies, to 71 participating subjects.

Upside: It might be one way to tackle troublesome spots that can be difficult to lose thickness from, such as the abdominal area.

Downside: According to Science Daily, if overall body weight is an issue for you then this might not work since obese people weren’t as able to convert their white fat into beige fat as well as slimmer participants.

Method 2: Cool Sculpting

As it sounds, cool sculpting is sold on the premise of freezing off your fat. Cool sculpting, also known as Cryolipolysis, involves a visit to a physician who specializes in this area. Much like the cold packs, the cooling device is held against your body while the cooling is applied and reducing the number of fat cells in the area being treated. It’s not a comfortable treatment for everyone so check with your physician before starting these types of cold therapy.

Upside: To date, experts are watching with positive caution. “This clinical evaluation demonstrates consistent improvement in skin texture, laxity, and cellulite after cryolipolysis as independently assessed by patients and investigators. Prospective clinical studies should be conducted to objectively study and quantify skin tightening after Cryolipolysis,” noted a 2014 study from the American Society for Dermatologic Surgery, Inc. Another 2014 study out of Louisiana State University also concluded that “In clinical studies, cryolipolysis was shown to reduce subcutaneous fat at the treatment site by up to 25 per cent after one treatment. Improvements were seen in 86 per cent of treated subjects….Although no procedure has been accepted as the gold standard for non-invasive body contouring as yet, Cryolipolysis is considered to be both safe and efficient with a high patient satisfaction rate.” 

Downside: There are some sensation side effects of the procedures — you may feel tugging, pinching and numbing during the procedure and afterwards you may continue to feel numb and have redness and even bruising, some of these as long as two weeks after. Plus, the treatments aren’t cheap.

Method 3: Turning the Temperature Down

The method of converting white fat to brown fat via the temperature is being explored in many ways. In 2014, researchers with Maastricht University Medical Center in the Netherlands studied whether turning down the temperature regularly would boost the participants’ metabolism. The study, which appeared in Trends in Endocrinology & Metabolism, showed that in young and middle-aged people, non-shivering thermogenesis (NST) did budge the rate of their metabolism upward by a few per cent.

Upside: This is based on solid evidence that cooler temperatures in general boost how much energy your body expends. Plus, in theory, reducing the number on your thermostat is an easy way to lose weight and save money.

Downside: This area of study is still relatively new and so we don’t know yet to what temperature we should turn our thermostats down to yet for effective weight loss, and it’s likely we won’t see large numbers of pounds lost by doing so. Plus, is anyone comfortable in a cold home?


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