(ABC NEWS)- No one likes to be cold enough to shiver, but what if being cold could actually increase your metabolism, improve blood sugar and help you lose weight?
A study done on mice at the University of Tokyo supports this idea. The researchers found that a certain type of cells called beige fat can actively break down fat and sugar to improve insulin sensitivity and increase metabolism. Beige fat was also found to help regulate energy balance.
Where do these fat cells come from? Exposure to cold for long periods of time can “stress” the body into turning the bad fat that most people have into good fat.
So how does it work? Shivering creates body heat short-term by warming up the muscles. In a long-term process called thermogenesis, brown fat cells create heat to keep the body warm. When you are cold for a long enough time, the white fat cells are forced to start acting like brown fat. This protein, JMJD1A becomes altered to JMJD1A and this white cells becomes a beige cell, which is thermogenic.