Saturday, 29 January 2011

Does Heating our Homes Make us Fat?

It's a common scenario where every winter we pile on the pounds. It's usually blamed on eating more stodgy foods or getting less exercise. But, according to research, it seems that our central heating is being added to the list of contributing factors for obesity.

Scientists from University College, London, believe that over-heated homes are helping to raise levels of obesity. The research says there is a direct link between 'reduced exposure to seasonal cold and increases in obesity in the UK and US.'

When we feel cold, our body converts 'brown fat' or adipose tissue into energy which warms us up. But because we're spending more time in warm homes complete with double glazing and central heating, our body's ability to burn ‘brown fat’ is reduced so we're burning less energy and storing the fat instead.

For an alternative analysis of the research, this article from the NHS makes interesting reading. It also discusses the role of 'brown fat' in the body as well as human body responses to the cold.

Research findings such as this probably won't persuade many of us to turn the central heating off in order to lose weight though. Who likes being cold? Looks like it's back to the dieting.


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