Do you burn more calories in the cold?

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Do you burn more calories in the cold

Do you find that you have more energy in the winter? Do you think that you might be burning more calories because it is colder outside? A recent study has shown that, in fact, people do burn more calories when it is cold out. Keep reading to learn more about this study and how it could impact your weight loss goals!

 Do you burn more calories in the cold?

When the body is cold, it has to work harder to produce heat and maintain a normal body temperature. This increased energy expenditure is called thermogenesis, and it can burn an extra 100-200 calories per day.

The Science Of Calorie Burning

A study was done involving six men who had been doing endurance training and were all between the ages of 18-26. One day they would do their normal endurance workout. The next day they did the same exact workout, except this time it was done in a fasted state (not having eaten anything for at least 8 hours).

They found that while there were no differences in calorie burning while exercising in the fasted vs. non-fasted states when measured over an entire 24 hour period, the men burned more fat when they didn’t eat before working out. They also consumed about 20% fewer calories during the 24 hour periods before their workouts than they did on days where they exercised after eating breakfast.

This is because your body preferentially burns more fat during exercise after it has been fasting.

How The Body Burns Calories? 

Hormones are the key to finding out how our bodies burn calories. The body has several hormones that regulate metabolism. Listed below are some of the main ones involved with burning fat, carbohydrate, or protein for energy.

Hormone Effects on Metabolism Cortisol Protein Catabolism Growth Hormone Protein Catabolism Thyroid Hormone Carbohydrate Oxidation Epinephrine/Glucagon Glucose/Fat Breakdown


The stress hormone that is secreted by the adrenal gland–regulates many metabolic processes, including glucose production in the liver and fatty acid breakdown. Studies have shown that cortisol levels are higher at night during sleep compared to daytime hours, which is why we sometimes wake up feeling hungry. Cortisol also causes muscle glycogen to be converted to glucose, which can raise blood sugar levels after waking up.

Epinephrine and glucagon

Also known as adrenaline and glucagon–are the other main fat-breakdown hormones that are released by the pancreas when epinephrine is secreted in response to stress or low blood glucose levels. Both of these hormones signal for your body to release stored energy so it can be burned for fuel, which raises blood sugar levels if they are too low.

Thyroid hormone

Triiodothyronine (T3) and thyroxine (T4)–help regulate metabolism by controlling how quickly our bodies convert food into cellular energy. Low T3 levels have been linked to weight gain and an increased risk of developing Type II diabetes.

Growth hormone

Secreted by the pituitary gland in the brain–initiates cell reproduction and regeneration, which is why it’s often called “the fitness hormone.” Growth hormone also influences how many calories we burn and our insulin sensitivity; we release more growth hormones when we sleep than during the day.

When you eat food, your stomach sends signals to the brain (specifically the hypothalamus) indicating what nutrients you consumed and how many calories there were. The brain then tracks this information for a while so it knows how much energy was taken in and can balance it out with the energy used. When you burn more calories than you eat, your body turns to stores of fat and carbs for energy. The sugar in carbohydrates gets burned first, followed by stored glycogen (the storage form of carbs). Once that runs out, the body begins to burn stored fat. Sugar is stored as glycogen or triglycerides (triacylglycerol) in the liver and the muscles.

The basics seem simple enough

Eat less food, burn more calories, exercise more so you can use up more energy, and thus eat and burn off less energy and lose weight. Unfortunately, there is a problem: metabolic rates vary from person to person. This means some people will gain back all their weight after losing it because they have a higher metabolism and can thus continue eating the same amount of food each day (and probably more, since fatty foods taste good) while burning off almost all of it. The only way to reduce this difference between people is to find out why metabolic rates vary.

What Happens To The Body In Cold Weather?

Studies have shown that cold weather poses a serious threat to human health. Here are some of the effects of the body in cold weather:

1) Shivering Warms Your Body By Up To 15 Degrees Celsius​

Shivering is an involuntary physical response that uses muscles to produce heat. It can help your body increase its temperature by as much as 15 degrees Celsius. If you’re exposed to even colder temperatures for extended periods, shivering can keep your body warm enough for survival. However, it also increases fatigue because it places great stress on skeletal muscles. That’s one reason why exposing yourself to prolonged periods of time in extremely cold temperatures can be dangerous.

2) Blood Is Drawn To The Body’s Core​

In cold weather, your body naturally diverts blood flow to the internal organs and away from the skin. This is known as vasoconstriction and it preserves heat better than other body reactions. The drawback of vasoconstriction is that it also reduces blood flow to extremities such as ears, hands, feet, and nose. Decreased blood flow in these areas makes them more susceptible to frostbite.

3) Numbness Can Lead To Frostbite And Hypothermia​

When exposed to the cold for too long, fingers may become numb and this condition can lead to injuries such as frostbite or hypothermia if not treated quickly. In fact, the loss of feeling in your hands and feet can be a sign that you’ve been exposed to cold weather for too long. If this condition occurs, seek medical attention quickly because numbness may also indicate nerve damage.

4) Shallow Breathing Can Lead To Frostbite And Hypothermia​

In cold weather, your body will do everything it can to keep it’s core warm. This includes taking short or shallow breaths which decreases blood pressure at the lungs’ surface – but it makes people more susceptible to hypothermia because their moist tissues won’t be able to pick up as much oxygen from the air. Also, as you breathe out carbon dioxide, inhaling cold air will prevent the exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide from taking place properly.

5) Heart Rate And Blood Pressure Increase​

It’s not unusual for your heart rate to increase during cold weather. This is because your blood needs to be pumped at a higher pressure in order to circulate warm blood throughout the body. Your body will also produce more red blood cells that can carry oxygen, while less blood is directed towards other areas like the skin. The changes in the circulatory system help people remain active even when exposed to extremely cold temperatures. However, this reaction should be temporary and should end once you’re indoors again.


There is a lot of debate on the topic. One study found that people who exercise in cold environments use more calories, but another found it doesn’t make a difference. It’s hard to say definitively if you burn more calories when exercising outside in colder climates or not. What we do know for sure is that there are lots of benefits from being physically active and getting out into nature! If you’re looking to increase your fitness level without spending too much time inside, try going for a jog around the neighborhood or taking up ice skating as an outdoor activity this winter season!


Is there a way to burn even more calories in the cold?

Yes! When the body burns calories, it produces heat. So, the colder it is outside, the more calories your body will burn to keep you warm. This is known as metabolic adaptation.

There are a few ways to take advantage of this: dress in layers so you can add or remove clothes as needed; do some form of exercise outdoors (like skiing or snowboarding), and drink warm beverages (like soup or tea) instead of cold ones

Do you think people burn more calories in the cold?

There is a fair bit of research that suggests people burn more calories in the cold. For example, a study published in the journal Experimental Physiology found that when people spent time in temperatures around 50 degrees Fahrenheit, they burned about 10% more calories than when they were at room temperature.

What are some of your favorite winter activities that help you burn calories?

Some of my favorite winter activities that help me burn calories are snowboarding, skiing, skating, and playing in the snow. All of these activities are a lot of fun and really help to keep me active during the winter months.

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