Lose weight due to cold: smart trick or myth?

It is one of those smart ‘waste tricks’ that has popped up a lot again in recent weeks: losing weight due to cold weather. In short, the idea that you burn extra calories is caused by cold. Whether you set the thermostat a few degrees lower or drink ice cold water : you would lose ‘automatic’ fat.

That sounds so nice of course that it is almost suspicious. Do you easily get rid of that belly by just pulling your sweater off? We explain below where that theory comes from – and to what extent it is true!

Lose weight due to cold

A lot of methods are wandering online to lose weight using cold. That way you should exercise outdoors in the winter, in the low temperatures. Other options are to take a cold shower daily, lower the heating by five degrees, or drink ice cold water.

Various explanations are given that explain why this works. We briefly mention the three most important ones below:

1. More calories for heat

Most of the calories you burn consume your resting metabolism. These are the basic tasks that your body always has to carry out, even if you do not do anything. Think of the beating of your heart and your digestion , but also maintaining your body temperature.

The latter would now make it possible to lose weight through the cold. When your environment gets colder, your body has to work harder to keep itself warm. And that means you use more energy – and burn more calories.

2. Bibling costs energy

Do you make it so fierce that you even shake up? Then it goes completely hard with the extra calories you burn. After all, bragging is a pretty intensive movement, where your entire body is put to work. Estimates suggest that you burn up to three times as much energy with it.

3. White and brown fat

Finally, that cold would ensure that your body also gets that extra energy from fat cells more easily. In short: in your body you have white and brown fat. White fat is passive storage of energy; it takes some effort to burn it. However, brown fat can be converted directly into heat.

Now it turns out that your body converts white fat into brown fat under the influence of cold. This suggests that you will see visible results sooner if, for example, you are sporting in the cold.

Fact or fable?

Sounds fantastic, but is it right? Unfortunately, there are still some snakes to sit under the grass. Yes, cold causes more fat burning , but we can add the following four comments:

1. No big difference

The main problem: so much does not matter that cold. At rest you burn about 50 to 100 calories per hour at comfortable temperatures. Even if that quantity rises a few percent, the effect is therefore rather minimal!

The same applies, for example, to drinking cold water. Your incineration goes up there too, but calculated that amounts to 4 to 7 kcal per glass. That does not put a lot of effort on the dike!

2. Movement nullifies the effect

But if you then exercise in the cold? If you move, your combustion is higher. Should not that few percent have any more effect?

Unfortunately: again not really. When you move intensively, it generates enough heat itself. Your metabolism does not have to work even harder to keep you at temperature. Difference is therefore only in the first few minutes that you still want to warm up. But again that does not make up kilos.

3. More hunger due to cold

Your body also knows best that it has to work harder. And of course it compensates for that, with the result that you will also get hungry soon because of cold ! An extra sandwich at lunch will undo that hour of chilliness.

4. Short-term effect

Finally, cold only has a short-term effect on your metabolism. As soon as you raise the heating a bit higher, that extra fat burning will stop. This ensures that the effect of this trick is extremely limited – there is no afterburning as with strength training .

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