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Cold air may help lose weight | Updated: 2014-01-26 10:26

Turning down temperatures at home and office may help you fight obesity, according to a new study published Wednesday in the U.S. journal Trends in Endocrinology & Metabolism.

New evidence suggests that regular exposure to mild cold may be a healthy and sustainable way to help people lose weight, researchers from Maastricht University Medical Center in The Netherlands said.

In other words, our warm and cozy homes and offices might be partly responsible for our expanding waistlines, they added.

"Since most of us are exposed to indoor conditions 90 percent of the time, it is worth exploring health aspects of ambient temperatures," first author Wouter van Marken Lichtenbelt of Maastricht University Medical Center said in a statement.

"What would it mean if we let our bodies work again to control body temperature? We hypothesize that the thermal environment affects human health and more specifically that frequent mild cold exposure can significantly affect our energy expenditure over sustained time periods."

Marken Lichtenbelt said they started studying the effects of mild cold about 10 years ago, mostly because it had received so little attention.

They found that a more variable indoor temperature, one that is allowed to drift along with temperatures outside, might be beneficial, although long-term effects still await further investigation.

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