How to burn 30 percent of your calories…just by being cold

Baby, it’s cold outside. And I mean really, really cold.

But before you accuse me of pointing out the obvious, let me share my reasons for doing it. (And trust me, they are anything but obvious.)

Believe it or not, this winter’s brutal polar vortex might actually help you shed a few pounds. Provided you’re not cranking up the heat in your house, that is.

It’s true. A team of researchers in the Netherlands found that young men exposed to chillier temperatures in a lab setting for six hours daily adapted to this temperature drop within just ten days. Enough that they shivered less, even with the thermostat set at a chilly 60 degrees.

As it turns out, regular exposure to cold was “turning on” these subjects’ stores of brown fat. Unlike white adipose tissue, brown fat burns energy and churns out body heat. (That’s why babies have more of it than adults.) In fact, according to this research, brown fat activation could account for as much as 30 percent of your body’s energy expenditure.

That’s a whole lot of calories. And all you have to do is turn down the thermostat.

The results in this study came from room temperatures around 62 degrees. So you don’t have to risk hypothermia to see the benefits. You will, however, save big bucks on your monthly heating bill.

Just consider it a savings plan for new skinny clothes in the spring.