Central Heating May Contribute To Weight Gain ... Really?

There are many theories as to why people gain weight ranging from the valid right through to the down right ridiculous…but there are also some clear cut, irrefutable reasons too, which I think I’ll start with.

Surplus to requirements

It’s quite simple really, the reason we gain weight is because we eat and drink more than we need. In other words, consuming more calories than we burn off will result in weight gain, so if we are consistently in positive energy balance then we will eventually gain weight…without a radiator in sight. I make no apologies for being a  little sarcastic to the recent news posts on the internet that suggest radiators might be the reason we gain weight, I mean I’m blessed to be in a position where I can sit in a nice and toasty home, and I’m not overweight!


Some excuses are legitimate, but the radiator excuse is not, it’s reminiscent of the infamous Southpark quote that see’s Cartman justify his generous size by saying the following “I’m not fat I’m just big boned”. The only time a persons bone structure really makes any significant difference to ones weight is in the elderly population (or people with degenerative conditions), whereby bone demineralisation and conditions such as Osteoarthritis can result in reduction in bone density and thus total weight.

What the evidence suggests

They say higher temperatures in homes, offices and hospitals provide more comfort, but mean bodies no longer need to burn extra calories to keep warm. However the counter argument to this is that a colder environment can slow the metabolism down, which in turn cools you down, and consequently could encourage you to eat more. The thermic effect of food (TEF) is a phenomenon that can make you feel rather warm in the minutes to hours after consuming a meal, so periods of not eating, or low ambient temperatures may leave you feeling both cold and hungry. TEF is a process that causes a preferential shift of your blood from your muscles to your stomach in order to aid digestion. The secondary rise in metabolism is ultimately what increases overall body temperature which can leave you feeling a little warm around the collar. The theory is that if you consistently add coals to a furnace (on a steam engine for example) then the fire will simmer nicely burning the fuel (carbs and fat in our case) delivering energy, if you add coals sporadically over the day then the train will start and stop over the course of the journey. Peaks and troughs in energy levels is a bad thing, so keeping your body fed consistently over the day will 1.) sort out your energy levels, 2.) keep you warm, and 3.) help you to lose weight!

You see, no radiator in sight from start to finish, just hard work and a balanced diet is needed guys…take it from me! Forget the small stuff and get exercising and monitoring your dietary intake…this and only this will help you to achieve results!


BBC News Health, (2014). Central heating may make you fat, say researchers. Retrieved 24th January, 2014, from http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-25849628




About the Author

Job Role Qualified Dietitian and Sports Nutritionist Qualifications BSc (Hons) Sports Science | BSc (Hons) Dietetics Tom has always participated in sport both recreationally and competitively which led to an unquenchable thirst for information on anything health, nutrition and fitness. After leaving school Tom went on to play for a football academy during which time he studied Sport and Exercise Science. From here he went on to study a BSc (Hons) Sport Science at UEA followed by his second BSc (Hons) degree, this time at the University of Hertfordshire studying Dietetics. Tom has worked in the fitness, educational and clinical nutrition industry starting out at David Lloyd Health and Leisure Clubs. He then went on to work as a Dietitian (RD) in the NHS, during which time he conducted clinics for healthy eating, weight loss and weight gain, as well as specialised consultations on Diabetes, IBS and Coeliac disease to name a few. He has vast amounts of experience at devising diet plans and supplement regimens, as well as working in the community with schools and competitive athletes. As Head Nutritionist and Supplement expert at Discount Supplements Tom is here to provide current and evidence based health and nutrition information to help you reach your health and fitness goals!
Post a Comment

Please wait...