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Let me introduce myself. My name is Mark Sisson. I’m 63 years young. I live and work in Malibu, California. In a past life I was a professional marathoner and triathlete. Now my life goal is to help 100 million people get healthy. I started this blog in 2006 to empower people to take full responsibility for their own health and enjoyment of life by investigating, discussing, and critically rethinking everything we’ve assumed to be true about health and wellness...

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January 31, 2011

Is Central Heating Related to Obesity?

By Mark Sisson
145 Comments

Why are so many people in first-world countries so overweight? Why is metabolic syndrome so prevalent? The familiar contenders are diet and exercise – more specifically, the wrong kind of each. Both Conventional Wisdom types and nutrition nerds (myself included) agree that we’re doing something wrong in the kitchen and the gym, and that fixing that stuff could solve most of our weight (and even health) problems. Of course, that’s about all we agree on. Specific definitions of “fixing” and “that stuff” remain subjects of vociferous debate. That said, I like when we can agree on something, even if that something is just speculation about another possible factor in the obesity problem. In today’s Monday Musings we’ll take a look at one such factor.

A recent study out of the journal Obesity Reviews notes that it’s not just diet and activity levels that have changed in correlation with rising obesity numbers, but ambient temperature. To be more specific, people are heating their homes at all hours of the day, even as they sleep, and spending less time outdoors exposed to the elements. Central heating is more common, while space heaters, fireplaces, and electric heaters are less common, meaning the entire house gets and stays warm. People in developed countries exist in relative thermoneutrality: a nice 68-72 degrees F. The authors guess that with less exposure to thermal stress, we’re burning fewer calories. Our bodies have an easier time regulating our internal temperatures, and expend less energy doing so.

On the surface, their ideas might remind you of the outdated, overly-simplistic calories in, calories out model, where people are fat because they eat a few extra candies between lunch and dinner that add a few dozen calories to their daily allotment. It’s more complex than that, though. Exposure to cold is a type of stressor; to be specific, it’s a thermal stressor. Our bodies respond to stressors by adapting and (hopefully) improving, as you well know, and hypothermal stressors, like taking a cold bath, going for a swim in the middle of winter, or even letting the heat go off at night, induce the creation of brown fat. Brown fat is different from the reviled and feared “white fat” in that it keeps us warm by burning white fat. Newborns have lots of brown fat because they can’t shiver, can’t crawl (away from cold and toward warmth), and have underdeveloped central nervous systems that can’t be counted on to react quickly enough to changes in ambient temperature. It’s how they stay warm. Adults have far less brown fat, but they can develop more through exposure to cold. Furthermore, brown fat levels in adult humans are highest during winter and linked with less visceral fat and a lower BMI. If you’re subjectively cold, chances are you’re spurring the creation of new brown fat or increasing the activity of already-present brown fat.

This all seems quite reasonable, doesn’t it? I do love it when I can agree with obesity researchers.

On a different note, a quick word about that Yahoo! Shine article floating around. You know, the one telling you the eight ways carbs will make you lose weight. It’s silly and not worth a lot of typing, so I’ll make it short. The thing that jumps out at me is the author’s obsession with “Resistant Starch.” First of all, I’m not sure why it deserves repeated capitalization (maybe it’s some sort of deity?), and second, resistant starch is just another type of prebiotic whose fermentation by microbiota releases beneficial short chain fatty acids. You can get the same kind of reaction by eating other sources of soluble fiber, many of them decidedly low-carb. Think leafy greens, broccoli, berries, apples, jicama, onions, garlic, leeks, Jerusalem artichokes. And yes, if your activity levels and metabolic health permit, Primal starches are good sources of resistant starch and soluble fiber alike, but it’s not the carbs doing it. It’s the “carbs” that you literally cannot digest without your little microscopic friends’ assistance.

Can keeping central heating on really be at least somewhat responsible for the obesity epidemic? Have you ever noticed a correlation between ambient temperature and your own weight? Let me know in the comment section!

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145 Comments on "Is Central Heating Related to Obesity?"

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D. Cole
D. Cole
5 years 7 months ago

No idea if this is related or is helping my wife and I, but we’ve started sleeping with the setting down to 65 degrees and we’re getting better rest than ever.

The rest of this sounds good. I know that Tim Ferriss is also pushing this concept in his new book.

Ruben
5 years 7 months ago
Mark, as you can read on, people have posted some really valid points, crediting and discrediting the belief that central heating units are contributing to obesity especially in this country, yet at the same time I believe some relevant information has been overlooked. I will mention this as succinctly as possible, most of my clinical observations arise from the fact that people are not only becoming obese, which is very obvious but that obesity stems from the level of inflammation that is being overlooked, in the winter months, or any other for that matter, having cold feet and hands creates… Read more »
PHK
PHK
5 years 7 months ago
all my life, i have an aversion to cold. (cold weather, cold drinks, cold food); the warmer the better. it’s got a lot better since i switched my diet to hyperlipid (~ 60% SFA) so at least i don’t need gloves in summer now. (i kid you not; i need gloves/socks in summer). 65F is definitely Antarctica for me. i can’t sleep in that kind of temperature (fingers and toes are too cold) my thyroid is normal. & all tests are normal; except i have mild Raynauld syndrome. exercise only warms me up when i am doing it. the moment… Read more »
PHK
PHK
5 years 7 months ago

sorry, i meant 60% FAT (preferably SFA).

regards,

Dawn
Dawn
5 years 7 months ago

Hi PHK,
I used to have the same problem staying warm. My basal body temp ran 95.8 degrees. My thyroid also tested normal, even though I had multiple clinical symptoms of hypothyroidism. Turns out that blood tests for thyroid function are horribly inaccurate. I was iodine deficient.

Check your body temperature when you first get up. If it runs consistently low (under 97 or so) chances are good you are marginally hypothyroid or iodine deficient. Try supplementing with kelp and see if that helps you stay warm.

Rita
Rita
5 years 7 months ago

Mark,

I do know this…when I lived in Alaska for 4 years (Fairbanks), I gained 10 lbs that I could NOT lose…when I left the state permanently, the weight came off within 30 days. Not sure what this does for your theory…

Rita
Rita
5 years 16 days ago

I lived in Fairbanks for 4 years as well and had that EXACT same phenomena: gained 10 lbs, left 4 years later and lost that 10 lbs in ONE MONTH!!! Interesting!

Nate
Nate
5 years 7 months ago

I’ve been using 20 min ice baths 3 times a week for 3 weeks since reading about them in the four hour body. Not sure how much they are helping, but it’s only been 3 weeks.

Chris
Chris
5 years 7 months ago
I have noticed. I live in Florida and always seem to be in better shape in the winter, when it is colder outside, rather than the summer when temperatures are warmer and more stable. Tim Ferris has a really good article on this in his new book “The 4 hour body” that advocates drinking ice cold water upon waking, taking cold showers, and using an icepack on your neck at night to spurn the production of hormones in your glands to produce brown fat. It’s nice to see all the sources I read about health and fitness coming together to… Read more »
Jack
Jack
5 years 7 months ago

Tim Ferris is a charlatan. You should be ashamed for listening to shim

Michael
Michael
5 years 7 months ago
Wow, that’s the first time I’ve read that. Is that simply a sarcastic statement, or one born of truth? In his recent book (already mentioned), or rather the offering from his book, namely the cookbook, there are a great quantity of most excellent recipes. And my favorites of the bunch came from, guess where, no… wait for it… Yes! They came from Mark’s Daily Apple. And, because of them, I found my way here, and have also been pouring through the PB and the PB Cookbook. My conclusion is, should your words be true, rather than suspect, that you are–… Read more »
John
5 years 7 months ago

Seems like it’s more likely that people who live somewhere where you need to keep the heat on most of the time are less likely to be active outside and thus gain more weight. Spurious correlation.

rob
rob
5 years 7 months ago

Yeah similar to how a disproportionate number of top baseball prospects come from warm climates … it’s not that a warm climate makes you a better baseball player, it’s that you can play year around.

bev
bev
5 years 7 months ago

This study in Obesity Review appears to have not
considered the Inuit, the native peoples of Siberia, and several European groups, all of whom live in cold climates and all of whom have a higher percentage of body fat. This extra fat may act as insulation. But I
don’t think that temperature is the whole story. The peoples of Polynesia, esp. Samoa, (very warm places indeed), also tend to carry extra body fat. It implies that genetics figure in as well.

Trav
Trav
5 years 7 months ago

The Samoans and Polynesians didn’t have much extra body fat until they began consuming refined western carbs and vegetable oils. They didn’t have nearly as much when they ate their traditional native diets.

Andrea
Andrea
5 years 7 months ago

You forgot 9/10ths of Canada!
-40 Celsius with the windchill today where I am (Saskatchewan).
-58 in Iqaluit.

Lis
Lis
5 years 7 months ago

I agree with you Saskie Girl. If we didn’t have central heat here our pipes would freeze, we’d be washing clothes on the stove, things would pretty much revert to 1880. People in warm places can muse about the effect of central heating all day long. We need it to live!

Nigel Kinbrum
5 years 7 months ago

I disagree. Association does not prove causation. The warmer we feel, the less we eat and vice-versa. Putting on more clothes does not make us get fatter.

See Determinants of the Variability in Human Body-fat Percentage.

Tony Ingram
5 years 7 months ago

You state the ultimate lay-scientists catch-phrase: “Association does not prove causation”, (people usually say correlation, not association), followed immediately in the next sentence by an association (and with no reference)!

Then you post a link to your own blog post that contains dozens of black and white statements and only one obscure reference to the complexity of human physiology.

Nigel Kinbrum
4 years 7 months ago

Putting on more clothes doesn’t make us get fatter. Do you have any evidence to the contrary? The warmer I am, the less I eat and the more weight I lose. I always get fatter in the Winter and slimmer in the Summer, just like wild animals. This makes sense, as sub-Q fat acts as thermal insulation.

My blog post contains 21 statements and links to a discussion and a video. If you disagree with any of what I wrote there, please leave a comment.

Samantha
Samantha
5 years 7 months ago
I definitely think central heating has some impact on weight retention and weight loss, although how much is likely partially dependent on individual body compositions and metabolisms. My boyfriend has lost over 70lbs since we first met and his times of most drastic weight-loss have centred around our wonderfully frigid winters. The winter previous to this one, he lost about 20lbs between early December and late March and then only lost about 10lbs from early April until this past November. That being said, in the same period of time that he lost those 20lbs, I gained 5lbs and then dropped… Read more »
Steve
Steve
5 years 7 months ago

It’s interesting but I’m not sure about the science behind it. Don’t people living nearer the equator also live in relative thermal neutrality (if anything, they get cold when they come *indoors*) yet a SAD-diet just as assuredly causes metabolic disorders.

Additionally, overweight people, if anything, feel warmer than their thinner counterparts. Shouldn’t average temperatures be going down if obesity is going up?

Interesting but questionable.

fitmom
fitmom
5 years 7 months ago

Nothing wrong with ice baths and skiing and spending time in the cold if there’s a sauna waiting at the other end……

Dave Fish
5 years 7 months ago
I set the thermostat to 64 from 11 pm to 6 am and even then I sometimes turn on the ceiling fan in the bedroom. I did read The 4 Hour Body, and Tim’s suggestions of ice baths and cold showers but that seems like a really unpleasant experience. Art De Vany suggests switching to cold water at the end of your shower to promote the growth of brown fat and that seems to be a much easier thing to deal with. It also wakes you up better than a cup of coffee! The causes of obesity are complex and… Read more »
Kelda
5 years 7 months ago

Art also encourages taking walks with not quite enough clothing to feel warm.

Lynn
Lynn
5 years 7 months ago

In winter, switching to cold water at the end of my shower makes me hold my breath. Not comfortable at all. We keep our house at 68 when we’re home and at 65 at night and when we’re at work.

This is the first year in a long time I haven’t gone for daily walks outside. It’s been nasty weather, with sleet and freezing rain every couple of days, and icy walkways, so I’ve been sticking to the gym for exercise.

Apurva Mehta
Apurva Mehta
5 years 7 months ago
Consider these questions: How cold does it get in the middle of winter in a tropical african savannah? And what about all the extremely fit hunter gatherer populations in the tropical forests of South America where 60F in the middle of ‘winter’ is ‘cold’? Also recall the premise that we are still optimally adapted for the hunter/gatherer lifestyle of early humans (and the associated environments), and so should model our activity and diet on those lines as best as we can. All of this makes the contention that being too warm is a contributing factor to obesity in developed countries… Read more »
Trav
Trav
5 years 7 months ago

Perhaps it’s a circadian thing, staying the same temperature at night as during the day. Even in the desert and tropics the temp drops significantly at night. I think that’s what is being said here. I could be wrong, though. Anyway, something to think about.
I know I sleep much better when I turn the heat down to 60-62 degrees at night during the winter months here in northern IA.

Holly J.
Holly J.
5 years 7 months ago

That’s exactly what I’m thinking… Longer nights in the winter + colder temperatures = longer and better quality sleep.

The only thing I can think is that perhaps we were supposed to gain weight in the fall when berries and other higher carb food was better available… and then we’re supposed to lose weight as we use it for heat in the winter? (cyclic spring gain summer maintenance…etc.)

Either way, I’ll take better sleep any day.

SteverGunn
SteverGunn
5 years 7 months ago

I’ve actually been experimenting with cold exposure and drinking Ice Water (Yeah, 4 Hour Body- great book!) And I have noticed a marked uptick in fat loss in addition to the weight I’ve lost since going Primal this last fall.

Feeling fantastic.

Thanks Mark!

-Steve Gunn

Mary
Mary
5 years 7 months ago

I have been getting outside everyday, rain or shine (I definitely prefer shine though). I really dislike cold rainy days, partly because I am a “princess” but partly because I think even our ancestors probably didn’t like them much either. I have always turned the heat off at night, I like my room cold with a warm blanket, can’t sleep when I am too warm.

Mary
Mary
5 years 7 months ago

I guess what I am trying to say is, while it may not be scientfically correlated, I can absolutely see a loose relation between central heating and weight gain, especially in climates where the winter weather makes it unpleasant for “princes” and “princesses” like me to get outdoors.

Bjorn
Bjorn
5 years 7 months ago
I am quite fit and muscular and have 5-6% bodyfat. My sister is obese. When she is visiting me she always complains about the so called “low temperature” in my flat. I walk around in my flat in tanktops and sometimes barechested when i’m alone. I never feel any cold. She wears double sweaters and still feel cold. I take cold showers in the morning (well, i use almost lukewarm water to wash the soap off but i hate showering in hot water) and she says she always shower in hot water, never cold. I wear t-shirt or a thin… Read more »
Liz
Liz
5 years 7 months ago
Sounds very likely that your sister has hypothyroidism. I am hypothyroid and although I lost 90 pounds, when I was obese I was always cold. I am still cold and frequently my fingers and toes turn blue but I have had this for so long that I have just learned to deal with it. I do love to sleep in my very cold bedroom though and if its too warm I dont feel well. My body temp is always 97.6 or below unless I am sick and at 98.6 I have a temp. One thing I have noticed eating primal… Read more »
Alvin
5 years 7 months ago
You know, this post really made me think about how confusing it can be for people to try to get it right when it comes to their diet. I think many people agree that what we eat causes many of our health issues, however, it’s like a million “experts” that claim they have the right formula and that everyone else has it wrong. This confuses so many people. I guess in the end, you just have to decide for yourself? And to get more on-topic, thanks for this post. It really opened my eyes to the biological affects of the… Read more »
Emmers
Emmers
5 years 7 months ago

Others have pointed out that obesity is common everywhere. But not what kind of fat these folks are carrying around. Is it brown fat or white fat? Of course this is the first time I’ve heard of brown fat so I’m off to do some research. I just wanted to share a thought on others comments.

Alvin - Six Pack Training
5 years 7 months ago

Bjorn, my experience has always been that obese people tend to get hotter than those of us with low body fat. Interesting that it’s the opposite in your case. I have around the same body fat as you, however I’m always cold.

Eric
Eric
5 years 7 months ago

I also read Ferriss’ suggestion in 4HB about cold baths. I’ve been taking 10-15 minute 75-80 degree showers/baths for about week, and I notice that my previous fat-loss plateau is moving in the right direction now. I think if you’re interested at all you should try it for some time. Worst case scenario is that you’re a little cold. I also don’t wear a coat when I’m outside (I do bring it with me though, just in case).

Rebecca
Rebecca
5 years 7 months ago

I read another study several years ago proving that people who live in cold climates burn more fat and have less body fat in general. I moved from Boston to Atlanta and saw this theory proven in the flesh, so to speak. I myself had a harder time keeping off the fat and couldn’t believe the extreme levels of obesity here. Now granted, that has a lot to do with the traditional diet down here, but I know a lot of people who exercise religiously.

Ashley Smith
Ashley Smith
5 years 7 months ago

Brown fat or not I cannot stand being cold, and it seems like after I dropped below 140lbs all my “keep me warm fat” disappeared. 🙁 I wish their was a solution to help my body regulate its temperature better, so I wasn’t cold all the time and bundled up like Ralphie on Christmas Story.

Poppabear
5 years 7 months ago

I lost about 40 lbs, and since then my thighs ache from the cold when ever it gets around 30 degrees. The rest of my body can handle it, but for some reason it just kills my thighs.

Lena
Lena
5 years 7 months ago

I wonder if that’s the case with me? I’ve never been overweight so I’ve only lost a few pounds, but I’ve definitely gained muscle and lost a bit of body fat (about 3% if my scale is to be believed). The past two winters have been brutal on my thighs. It’s this deep ache. The skin on my thighs is also more sensitive to the cold now. Wearing leggings or tights under my clothes has helped a lot, but it’s annoying because I have to wear them even if it’s not that cold.

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gaby
gaby
5 years 7 months ago

Hi, i kind of agree with this. I notice that in the winter i tend to put on some weight. but i think that it comes from the fact that i dont do much in the winter. i usually sit around avoid being cold beccause i dont like it. This winter im gonna try to stay active and turn down the heat during the day and see the effect.

Alison Golden
5 years 7 months ago

Having just returned from the freezing UK to sunny California where I stayed with my parents who heat just one room and I had to put my pajamas on over my clothes before pulling my clothes out from underneath so my poor skin didn’t get frostbite and where you have to go out in the freezing cold if I wanted to go anywhere (I didn’t hire a car) I noticed I could eat just about anything starchy (and there’s a lot of starch in England) and not gain weight. Made a change to the 10lb weight gain I usually endure.

Trey Crowe
5 years 7 months ago

My wife is constantly cold and is a very healthy weight. I’m always hot and could stand to lose those extra pounds. Not sure if that has anything to do with it, but it is something to consider.

dragonmamma
dragonmamma
5 years 7 months ago

The very first year we moved into this house we were afraid to turn the heater on until it got serviced. It was an extremely cold winter, and it was the first time in years that I lost weight without trying. I was actually eating cookies every night before bedtime in an effort to keep myself warm! Alas, the effect started to wear off by winter’s end, and I’ve never experienced this effect since, even though we never turn the heat on until November. (Which means we live through a few weeks of shivering.)

Yaish
Yaish
5 years 7 months ago

I have a correlation the other way. I used to be one of those people who was NEVER cold. I have a picture from Disney Land where it looks like I’m photoshopped in, because the family is in beanie and sweatshirts and I’m in a tank top. (November in SoCal)

However since I lost over 80lbs on PB I occasionally get cold. Maybe I burned off the brown fat too?

I’m deliberately exposing myself to cold more and making myself endure it to get that indifference to the temperature back.

Poppabear
5 years 7 months ago

I wonder how much it has to do with local adaptations to climate. If your ancestors have dwelt in an area of extreme climate for 40k years, would you have developed a way to deal with excess heat/cold along the way? Triggered genes to store fat during the lean cold months, and trickle feed from it when fresh food was not available? This may have been dealt with somewhere else before.. My mind is just wandering…

Yea to Life
Yea to Life
5 years 7 months ago

I think lack of calories is the main, if not only thing telling your body to conserve fat and seek warmth. I’m Scandinavian and my ancestors probably ate plenty of mammoth steaks in both winter and summer, during the ice age there wasn’t a huge difference between winter and summer anyways.

Yea to Life
Yea to Life
5 years 7 months ago
This post is serendipitous. I started reading 4 Hour Body, and the cold exposure part was the one part that made the most sense to me. I tried cold showers today and yesterday and they definitely seem to have a thermogenic effect. When I take a long hot shower I feel cold after I get out, I presume because my body reduces its heat output in response to the new external heat source. But when I get out of a 5-10 minute cool or cold shower I feel warm for an hour or more, I also have more energy. My… Read more »
Kethry
Kethry
5 years 7 months ago
I just finished 4 Hour Body after seeing it on Dr. Oz (who endorsed it!). I’m not willing to do the cold showers, but I am doing the ice packs at night. I have hypothyroid issues, so I’m always cold and have ice cold hands and feet. Since I started doing the ice pack on my neck and back at night for an hour, I’m finding I’m warmer during the day. I’m only in my first week of the ice packs so I don’t yet know the impact on body fat. I’ve been stuck for a while, so hopefully this… Read more »
Yea to Life
Yea to Life
5 years 7 months ago

You could try just an ~80 degree shower, this is more cool than cold. I’ve been starting out at ~90 and working my way down to ~50 over the course of a few minutes until I’m about to start shivering. I think the study that Tim cited about cold showers had the water at 54 degrees.

I’m not going to do a completely cold shower though, here in Minnesota the cold water feels like ice water.

Yea to Life
Yea to Life
5 years 7 months ago

I just took the temperature of my cold water, it’s actually about 60 degrees even though it feels like sub 40. Running water is deceptive!

Dirk
Dirk
5 years 7 months ago

Lived in Japan for 15 years and those people soak in extremely hot baths everyday, both at home and onsens, baths so hot the water is almost scalding. Then there are the saunas … didn’t see too many fatties there …

fitmom
fitmom
5 years 7 months ago

Like the rest of our bodies, which function best when they’re used regularly, our internal thermostat probably gets fat and lazy in hermetically sealed buildings. Being exposed to the elements–whether its cold and still, warm and windy, humid and rainy, or just plain hot–and then responding physiologically, takes energy.
Being in the weather (within reason) is a barefoot experience for your whole body.
Awaiting Marks’ next post on primal nudist colonies…..

betterways
3 years 9 months ago

I agree with this. Let your body regulate your temperature.

I adjust my thermostat as close to ambiant outdoor temps as I can be comfortable in when dressed appropriately for the climate and season. And that’s a bit over 80 (with fan on) in summer and upper 60s in winter. I’m disappointed in myself that I can’t go lower in winter. But then again, it’s actually colder than that thermostat setting near the floor and in the rooms I am in…

And I go outdoors a great deal.

DaiaRavi
5 years 7 months ago

… when i saw this headline the other day somewhere else – i couldn’t help but think “jeeeze – they’re really grabbing for straws now – or headlines…”

Katie
5 years 7 months ago
Since going primal,I’ve tried to turn down the temperature on my showers, at least to warm (I used to take them scalding hot). Of course, I can’t say how much of my overall improvement has been related to the cold water, since I went primal at the same time, but I do seem to have more energy after I shower, especially if I use really cold water at the end. I’ve read research before about more chlorine being absorbed by the body with hot water, so that was my reason to avoid it. We also just made the change to… Read more »
Yea to Life
Yea to Life
5 years 7 months ago

That’s true about the chlorine. Warm and hot water opens up your pores and allows the bad chemicals in water into your body, and there are more bad chemicals in tap water than just chlorine.

Shelli
Shelli
5 years 7 months ago
Hmm. I dunno about all this. In my experience, I’ve carried around 50+ extra pounds for the last 20 years and I am always freezing despite the insulation. For three years we’ve lived in coastal NSW and our old house is COLD in the winter. We’re talking average temps of 52F during the day, colder at night and that’s just indoors. I couldn’t drop weight without trying. Interestingly enough, my body temp is regulating better now that I’ve lost 20 pounds since August. I’m sweating more, too. And I have to say the weight is coming off much quicker now… Read more »
Dana
Dana
5 years 7 months ago

So why aren’t there more fat people in equatorial countries? There are some; it’s a myth that no fat people exist in developing countries. (So much for the calories in/calories out model.) But you’d think there’d be a ton of them if lack of “thermic stress” or whatever you call it, was a contributor to obesity.

Yea to Life
Yea to Life
5 years 7 months ago

Probably has more to do with lack of food. Mexico has huge rates of childhood obesity since adopting a more Americanized diet. IIRC Mississippi is the fattest state in the union. If you google ‘fattest states’ you can see they tend to be southern states. Why is this?

Winni
Winni
5 years 7 months ago

I think the main reason that these southern states are the fattest states has more to do with poverty rates than temperature. Obesity rates in the poor are disproportionately high when compared to the rest of the population.

Dasha
Dasha
5 years 7 months ago
I think that a cold bath/shower/plunge that many are mentioning is way, way different than living in a house with less heating. The positive effects of cold plunges have to do with the shock to your system, blood flow and endorphins, etc. Living in a cold house can cause weight loss- the one year we had the indoor temp at 45 we were shivering so much that we lost weight. We also looked like hell and were grumpy. Now we heat to 55 or 60 during the day, down to 50 or 52 at night. In the summer the inside… Read more »
Stef
5 years 7 months ago

Whatever the answer is to this question, it makes me feel better before my 20 minute walk home in -4 degrees Farenheit. Brr…. when do my winter vibes arrive?

Kelda
5 years 7 months ago

Is anywhere selling them yet?

Stef
5 years 7 months ago

I haven’t seen them anywhere but on Mark’s weekend links post. My eyes are peeled though!

Kelda
5 years 7 months ago
Mr Grok thinks you are either a polar bear or a brown bear, he’s a brown bear, he is rarely warm, wears lots of layers when outside in our Scottish winters and defines ‘jumper weather’ (ie more than a teeshirt) as 16 degrees and below! However anything over 25 and he’s not that happy either! Me, I’m a polar bear, tonight I was at yoga in a vest and shorts, everyone else was wearing layers and complaining it was cold (they are all overweight bar one). I have to sleep in a cold room with a window open regardless of… Read more »
Darleen
Darleen
5 years 7 months ago
Right. anything to keep from facing the fact that we have been led astray by the CW and that it’s the carbs (specifically the refined garbage) that has caused us to become a nation of obese, unhappy folk. Exercise has nothing to do with weight btw. It only increases your appetite. It’s great for getting fit but don’t count on it to lose weight. But TPTB don’t want to discuss THAT either. Better to blame it on central heating. Yeah. That’s it. Think of the money we’ll all save as we sit around in our 50 degree homes in the… Read more »
Jason
Jason
5 years 7 months ago

Kevin
5 years 7 months ago

I’m lucky. I live in San Diego, just moved into my new place 2 weeks ago and have yet to need any heat here in January!

Primal Toad
5 years 7 months ago

Its crazy how I stumbled across your comment…

Where did you live before? Outside of SD or somewhere else? I live in Grand Rapids, MI and hope to move to Cali before 2012 strikes.

Great blog by the way! I came across your honey nut cheerios post which is crazy since I stocked honey nut cheerios today and thought about how I could easily make a blog post out of that since millions believe it is healthy for absurd reasons.

I will still write my own version of it but will definitely link to your post this weekend or the next!

Rana
5 years 7 months ago

It’ll be interesting to see if that cold tolerance sticks. My own experience living both in California and the Midwest is that your body adapts to the local climate pretty soon; this is why visiting tourists from cold places are wandering around in t-shirts while the locals are bundled up in jeans and coats, complaining about the cold.

fitinspite
fitinspite
5 years 7 months ago

Oh and personally I am always freaking cold even when it’s 70 at home. wearing thermals and still having blue fingernails. By the theory that I’m burning all those extra calories TRYING to keep warm I should be a waif. NOT!
Yes, trying to keep warm may burn a few extra calories but it’s actually those damn people who are always hot who seem to be burning the furnace extra hot and stay thinner or lose weight easier.

Yea to Life
Yea to Life
5 years 7 months ago

Trying to keep warm by putting on a sweater and turning up the thermostat doesn’t burn any calories at all. Trying to keep warm through thermogenesis does. Leave your comfort zone, the human body is remarkably adaptable.

zoebird
zoebird
5 years 7 months ago
we moved to an environment with rther flattened temps: the cold of winter hits about 40 d F, and the heat of summer — when really hot — goes to about 75 d F. this has been hard on us, as we like our extremes. LOL but, what is interesting is that our home is not heated. we have a heat pump, but there’s no central air. we rarely use this heat pump, to be honest, even in the ‘heart’ of winter. we did use it for some late evenings (turning it off before bed), and there were a few… Read more »
Marissa
Marissa
5 years 7 months ago
Not sure if weather patterns helps or hinders my weight gain, but when my husband and I moved from Vermont to California we lost weight (mostly because we can be outside all year round without much planning of clothing). However, I used to gain weight before becoming paleo when it was cold outside because I would crave certain “hearty” foods like stews with potatoes and squash. In the summer I would crave light, colorful meals like salads or fruit smoothies. Again, this hasn’t been the case since switching to Paleo, but since moving to Cali, we never use the heat… Read more »
shannon
shannon
5 years 7 months ago

I heat with wood, and it’s a lot of work. So if it’s not really cold, sometimes I don’t make a fire. The house stays about 55-60 degrees on a sunny day in winter. This is comfortable enough for me. Thanks for giving me another excuse not to make a fire!

Jackie
Jackie
5 years 7 months ago

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/life_and_style/health/article5106854.ece

Looks like fit people stay warmer because of better blood flow, while not-so-fit people don’t for the opposite reason.

Also, women get colder because of a more even body fat distribution, so their extremities have less insulating fat.

I live in the foothills in Los Angeles and it gets pretty cold at night in these old wood frame houses. I may have been a bit fitter-looking before we discovered the landlords pay the heating bill a couple of months ago…curious and curiouser!

Allison
Allison
5 years 7 months ago

I would like to know if there are any bad effects of trying out Tim Ferris cold suggestions. What about cortisol levels? Would your body try and gain more fat to stay warm? What does Mark think of Tim Ferris’s thermal loading ideas.

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Matthew Myers
5 years 7 months ago

I guess I shouldn’t complain as much about the school I work at in Japan, where we have no central heating and the classrooms are open to the elements. It is a little weird teaching English and being able to see my breath though. I guess it’s just toughening me up!

rik
rik
5 years 7 months ago

Obesity Reviews…!?

huntergirlhayden
huntergirlhayden
5 years 7 months ago
I’ve been thinking a lot about the Vibram winter wear and the fact that hunter gatherer societies who resided in cold climates didn’t go barefoot, so why would barefoot winter shoes be necessary? Kind of on topic… A thought more so on topic; if we’re trying to shirk CW and eat like our evolutionary ancestors, we’d be eating one big meal at the end of the day before bed, b/c in theory, thats when the hunt would’ve been successful. After section hiking the AT, I know this to be true, if you eat before you sleep, you’re a hot sleeper,… Read more »
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