The secret to keeping your figure on Thanksgiving may have nothing to do with your dinner plate. Researchers at the University of Stirling Behavioural Science Center in Scotland have found that people living in well-heated homes have lower BMIs (body mass indices) levels than those in the Northern Hemisphere without adequate heating.
The scientists studied 10,000 people with central heating over a 13-year period. Their research, they say — which included age, gender, social class and other factors — turns a popular notion on its head.
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“We set out to investigate the scientific claims that cooler indoor temperatures help us maintain a healthy weight by pushing our bodies to expend more energy through shivering and generating heat through tissues,” says behavioral scientist and senior lecturer Dr. Michael Daly. “In fact, the research suggests people may eat less and burn more energy when residing in a warmer indoor environment.”
So what's the magic number for your thermostat? "We ... found reduced weight levels among people living in homes heated to above 73.4 degrees Fahrenheit," Dr. Daly says.
Follow Meredith Engel on Twitter @MeredithAtMetro.