[FoRK] [FoSDW] Hot Trend: Tapping the Power of Cold to Lose Weight, Brown Fat and Thermal Dieting

Stephen Williams sdw at lig.net
Sat Mar 2 13:40:36 PST 2013

I can definitely see that.  I get a little of that when I get around to kayaking.  Bay water feels warm then when spray and wind 
are chilling me.  A couple years ago, kayaked the approach to SF Airport against strong wind (20+mph) at about 55F I think.  
Felt pretty good, even at the end when a 6'+ wave rolled me.  Water felt warm at that point.

Did you swim with just swim trunks or a shortie wetsuit or something?

In Orange County, the water's going to be warmer than Santa Cruz, although still cold outside of summer peak I understand.

Scuba diving in Hawaii has generally been 79-80F.  Some people wear wetsuits there, which is odd to me.  I never felt the 
slightest bit chilly, even at 110 ft.

What's the optimal cool water swim temp?  I would guess 60-70F. 50F seems too cold without protection for more than 30 minutes 
probably, although people swim the SF Bay and maybe some of those don't have wetsuits.


On 3/2/13 12:19 PM, Greg Bolcer wrote:
> Ocean swimming...fastest way to lean up..especially in the winter, says a proud former polar bear.
> Sent from my iPhone
> On Mar 2, 2013, at 11:24 AM, Stephen Williams <sdw at lig.net> wrote:
>> As I think I have mentioned on FoRK long ago, I'd read back in the early 80's about brown fat: Fat, usually on the back, that was said to grow in adults that were frequently exposed to the cold when growing up.  I was reading it, I think, in Runner's World, and they were talking about running outside, which I did a lot of in NW Ohio.  It was suspected by the writer and scientists involved that brown fat was something that had to be activated & grown in youth as it didn't seem to able to be acquired later.  Specifically, it seemed that people who grew up in warm climates who were seldom even chilly seemed unable to acquire brown fat, while many of those in persistently cold climates (and probably those that didn't always stay warm) seemed to gain strong thermogensis ability.  As the articles below point out, babies are born with a lot of brown fat to keep them warm, but generally lose it as they grow into children and adults.
>> Additionally, over the years, when people essentially complained about me not having a jacket or wearing shorts when they were cold, I would quip that I was on my "thermal diet".  I'm pretty sure that I coined it first, probably over 15 years ago, and it occurred to me that it would be a good diet fad, but, as with many things, I didn't pursue it.  I'm not the type to do that anyway, so no big loss, but still, I claim priority.  Having been out in the cold a lot, I can distinctly feel when my thermogenesis kicks in, and when it isn't when I'm too depleted.  On one occasion, after snorkeling in the Pacific in Monterey with nothing but a swimsuit in about 50F water for 20 minutes (when my head and other leading edges were prickly numb), I had my thermogenesis locked on maximum for at least 4 hours, overheated and sweating profusely even with the air conditioning blasting me.  Not much fun in meetings that day, but an interesting effect.
>> Fast forward to the last several years when brown fat was essentially rediscovered in adults, where it was believed not to exist except in rare reported instances that were suspected of being wrong. People have finally noticed the, obvious to me, fact that your body has to burn a lot of calories to stay warm in the cold.

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