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Exposure to Temperature Variations Could Help Tackle Obesity And Diabetes

A new study published this week suggests that exposure to more varied temperatures -- outside of the usual comfort zone of around 21°C -- throughout the day could help tackle obesity and type 2 diabetes.

AFP Relaxnews

Updated:April 28, 2017, 11:42 AM IST
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Exposure to Temperature Variations Could Help Tackle Obesity And Diabetes
Exposure to environments outside a comfortable temperature could help tackle major metabolic diseases. (Photo courtesy: AFP Relaxnews/ Rawpixel Ltd / Istock.com)

A new study published this week suggests that exposure to more varied temperatures -- outside of the usual comfort zone of around 21°C -- throughout the day could help tackle obesity and type 2 diabetes.

Exposure to varying outdoor or indoor temperatures could help tackle major metabolic disorders such as obesity and type 2 diabetes, reports research from Maastricht University in the Netherlands, entitled "Healthy Excursions Outside the Thermal Comfort Zone."

Along with healthy eating and regular exercise, variations in temperature causing the body to adapt to mild coldness (17-19°C ) and mild warmth (26-32°C) during the day could form part of a wider approach to promoting health and tackling certain disorders, the study's authors suggest.

It is already known that temperature affects energy expenditure, the activation of brown fat, muscle metabolism, insulin sensitivity, blood pressure, heart function and the immune system.

In people with type 2 diabetes, exposure to mildly cold temperatures influences glucose metabolism. After 10 days of intermittent cold, patients had increased insulin sensitivity by more than 40%, the study reports. Such results for diabetes treatment are comparable to the best pharmaceutical solutions available, the authors conclude.

Dropping the heating to reap the benefits of mild coldness doesn't mean exposure to extreme temperatures or uncomfortable situations. The study points out that cooler and variable temperatures can be perceived as acceptable and even pleasant, while also having a positive effect on health. Prolonged excursions outside the thermal comfort zone can also result in acclimatization.

A study published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation in 2013 found that regular exposure to a temperature of 17°C for two hours per day for six weeks led to a massive loss in body fat.

The findings could inspire changes in the way homes and offices are heated and cooled, with new dynamic climate control systems varying indoor temperatures throughout the day or creating different climate zones in specific parts of a building.

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| Edited by: Manila Venugopal
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