There is no limit to the amount of advice you will receive or products you can buy that promise to help you lose weight. Low-carb diets, high-carb diets, protein shakes, slimming clothes, workout videos, gym memberships — they all promise to be the key to weight loss success. But a new study has found some rather unconventional advice for those looking to lose weight: simply turn down the heat. 

New evidence suggests that regular exposure to mildly cold air may help you lose weight by increasing the amount of energy your body must use to stay warm and to increase your core body temperature. 

The study (pdf), which was published in the journal Trends in Endocrinology & Metabolism, found that it may be your furnace that's making you fat. In other words, instead of cranking up the heat in your home or office, you should turn down the thermostat to burn extra calories. The researchers from the Netherlands' Maastricht University Medical Center even suggested that it's our ability to control the ambient temperature of the air around us that might be partly responsible for the increase in obesity rates in industrial societies.

"Since most of us are exposed to indoor conditions 90 percent of the time, it is worth exploring health aspects of ambient temperatures," said lead researcher Wouter van Marken Lichtenbelt.

It makes sense. When you are cold, you shiver. And research shows that the average person expends five times more energy when shivering, compared to when they are resting. Other studies suggest that brown fat — which has been linked to weight loss — may be activated in colder temperatures.

So go ahead, turn down that heat. You can use the money you save on your electric bill to buy some new skinny jeans.

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