There may be an upside to living in an area where the temperature hovers around zero more often that most of us would like. A Dutch research paper published in the latest edition of Trends in Endocrinology & Metabolism theorizes that “regular exposure to mild cold may spur weight loss by triggering one of the body’s heat-generating methods” – specifically nonshivering thermogenesis. The thought is that mild cold stimulates heat production by brown fat cells. Unlike white fat cells which store energy, the main function of brown fat cells is to generate heat. And if they don’t have enough energy to warm the body, they “recruit” white fat cells to help out, burning stored body fat in the process. The researchers suggest turning down the heat to around 15 degrees Celsius for several hours a day to optimize brown fat cell activity.