NEWS FLASH: Your heating could make you fat

Dutch researchers suggest that having the central heating on may be contributing to our ballooning waistlines.

The research shows that the high temperatures in homes, offices and hospitals provide more comfort, but mean bodies no longer need to burn extra calories to keep warm.

With this in mind it is argued that if we turned the heating down we would eat more. How do we win?

Obviously it’s all about getting the appropriate balance. You gain weight if you over eat and don’t burn off the calories. The research highlights that people spend 90% of their time indoors and yet “we cool and heat our dwellings for maximal comfort while minimising our body energy expenditure necessary to control body temperatures”.

“Energy increases were in the order of 6% in mild cold, and in the long term that could really make a difference.

“It could be a substantial influence and help in combination with food changes and exercise.”

It is important that we get the temperature right in our homes so we allow our bodies to burn off excess fat. However getting it just ‘right’ is crucial as further studies suggest that “in cold indoor temperatures you are more likely to get a stroke, and there is a [overall] winter mortality effect.”

Research on 100,000 homes in England highlights that people in houses heated above 23C tended to be slightly thinner, because at this point the body needed to lose heat – and sweating used up energy. Higher temperatures low the body’s urge to eat.

So what’s best? Studies show that 19c is the optimal temperature for homes. But with such mixed research how are we meant to know what’s right for us? Healthy eating and regular exercise is of course the best way to combat obesity. So follow a strict training plan and you can have the heating on a little higher during those cold winter nights. Do you turn the heating up too high in your home?


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