Could colder weather help you to lose weight?

Us Irish ladies are more than used to cold weather but that doesn't mean we have to like it. However this latest health news has us wondering if we've been judging that awful January weather a little too harshly!

Scientists in the US have discovered that being exposed to colder temperatures could actually make it easier for our bodies to burn fat. The Wayne State University School of Medicine in Michigan conducted extensive research into the different kinds of body fat and how they are broken down – and what they discovered was quite interesting.

It turns out that our body stores excess calories as one of two kinds of fat – white and brown. White fat is the worst kind, as it's the one that can accumulate on our tissues and organs and deteriorate our health. Brown fat, on the other hand, actually excretes hormones that improve our metabolic rate. Hurrah!

So how to control what type of fat our body stores those indulgent Christmas calories as? Lower the thermostat! Tests showed that when mice were exposed to colder temperatures (4 degrees Celsius) for one week, their body stored more brown fat than white, and the properties of their white fat began to change for the better too. Research is now being conducted to see how us humans can harness the benefits of brown fat.

Now, we're not suggesting you hang around outside in your PJs for the next week – but at least the next time you're battling wind and rain to get to work, you'll know you could be doing your body some good!