The Thermal Diet is a concept that says that cold temperatures – either from a winter climate or an artificially created cold environment – can help the body’s metabolism to work harder, leading to faster and easier weight loss. It is built on the foundation idea that indicates that when the body must produce heat to keep itself warm, it will burn a greater number of calories in order to generate that heat. Though there is some scientific merit to this concept, there has yet to be a single reputable study to indicate that by deliberately making the body cold, weight loss can result. This is because there is no consistency to the way that The Thermal Diet works from one individual to another. Many factors impact the way that the metabolism functions and how many calories are required for the production of heat. For example, the greater the amount of body fat there is, the fewer calories are needed for the production of body heat, because the body is covered in an effective insulating layer.
The Thermal Diet refers to what is called “brown fat activation”, where cold temperatures activate brown adipose tissue (BAT), also known as brown fat. Though brown fat is not entirely understood, it appears to have a strong impact on the body’s metabolism. Some research has indicated that a small amount of it can help to burn additional calories every day as long as the right conditions are established. However this has never actually been studied regarding its efficacy for weight loss, nor have the necessary conditions been established in any way that can be realistically practiced by the average dieter.
Some of the processes suggested by The Thermal Diet practitioners can include some rather extreme efforts. For this reason, it is very important to speak with a doctor before trying any of these techniques, in order to make sure that you will not be doing yourself more harm than good in an effort to lose weight using a technique that is as yet unproven by medicine. Among the suggestions for applying The Thermal Diet include keeping the thermostat turned way down during the wintertime, or going for walks in the cold with only the extremities properly covered against the cold. In summertime or in regions that do not experience very cold winters, ice packs are applied to the neck and chest (the location of the majority of the brown fat in the body) for periods of thirty minutes. Cold showers are recommended by believers in this diet, and ice water should be taken all day long.
If you are someone who is always on the warm side then this may be a great “diet” for you. If anything, it will keep you feeling cool and refreshed, which may be motivation enough to move around more than usual.
There is no scientific evidence that the Thermal Diet actually helps one to lose weight. It sounds like quite a bit of work for what would be minimal weight loss benefits.