The Chilly Trend: Using Ice for Weight Loss

Ice for weight loss hack suggests that human body temperature, not dietary and physical activity habits, is responsible for obesity. However, researchers say that body temperature has no effect on body weight.

“People are losing so much weight without having to make restrictive diets or crazy exercise programs with this weight loss hack,” says a social media user, adding that the new ice hack helped her mother to lose 23 pounds just in a few weeks.

Her video, however, links to a website selling weight loss supplements made of Himalayan herbs. The website claims the cause of increasing rates of obesity is decreasing human body temperature. Thus, normalizing the temperature would improve metabolism, and that would help to lose weight without diets and exercise. And the way to do that is to take a supplement pill with a glass of cold water.

The website quotes a 2020 study conducted by researchers at Stanford University School of Medicine that discovered that since the 19th century, the average body temperature in residents of high-income countries has decreased by 1.6%.

Julie Parsonnet, co-author of the study and a professor of medicine, epidemiology, and population health at Stanford University, told USNews that although body temperature has been decreasing and obesity rates have been increasing, many other things happened at the same time, including calorie-dense food, sedentary lifestyle, and heating.

Additionally, immune systems that consume calories and raise temperatures were likely much more active in the past than they are today.

The supplement-selling website quotes another study from Switzerland, the findings of which deny that a decrease in body temperature leads to obesity.

Pedro Marques-Vidal, co-author of the study and Professor at the Lausanne University Hospital and the University of Lausanne, says that our body temperature does not affect our body weight.

On the contrary — increased body temperature may be a result of obesity. In his study, the higher body temperature was significantly associated with a higher body mass index (BMI). Marques-Vidal explains that overweight people may have difficulty getting heat out of their bodies.

“Basic body temperature normally varies between 35 and 37℃. But it can depend on physical activity. If I run or exercise, my temperature will increase, and if I go to sleep, my temperature will decrease,” he told Healthnews.

Marques-Vidal explains that normally, the higher your metabolism, the higher the body temperature.

“But your body temperature will not increase that much due to physiological processes, and it will remain within a certain range,” he adds.

Additionally, people with higher body weight may have chronic inflammation even if they have no disease.

He says, “Obesity may affect their joints and thus increase inflammation, and inflammatory proteins increase temperature.”

A 2011 study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found no significant difference in daily core body temperature between nonobese and obese participants. The authors concluded that “obesity is not generally associated with a reduced core body temperature.”

What causes obesity?

While low body temperature is not to be blamed for belly fat, research shows that diet, lack of exercise, environmental factors, and genetics can play a role in developing obesity.

For instance, eating more calories than being able to burn through activity is the greatest contributor to weight gain. However, factors beyond lifestyle choices, including hormone problems like polycystic ovary syndrome or certain medications, such as antidepressants, are also linked to obesity.

Studies don’t provide evidence that a drop in body temperature causes obesity. Therefore, it is crucial to discuss healthy ways to lose weight with a healthcare provider.

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