The chilly way to weight loss

Want to speed your weight loss?

Turn the thermostat down, and take off that sweater.

Exposure to cold causes you to shiver a little -- and when you shiver your body starts to produce brown fat, according to one new study.

Now, I know producing fat doesn't sound like a great way to lose weight. But in this case, it is -- because while white fat stores energy, brown fat does just the opposite.

It burns it, in part to help keep you warm.

That's the reason infants come packed in plenty of brown fat -- it helps keep them warm in those first days outside the womb.

Over the years, the brown fat slowly vanishes while the white fat starts to accumulate, especially if you've had an unhealthy diet.

But there are ways to turn it around and reverse that process.

Exercise, for example, helps your body to produce the hormones irisin and FGF21, which cause your body to produce brown fat.

Shivering has the same effect -- and it's actually more efficient than exercise when it comes to producing brown fat. Just 10 to 15 minutes of shivering can boost irisin and FGF21 production by the same extent as an hour of exercise, according to the study in Cell Metabolism.

Now, I've seen a few headlines suggest that you could skip your workout and just crank up the AC instead.

I wish it were that simple.

You still need to get your exercise, because along with helping your body to produce brown fat and burn off the white, exercise is essential to your overall vascular health and is positively critical to brain function.

So get the best of both worlds. Go outside and enjoy what's left of the brisk winter air. Get a little outside activity and a healthy shiver at the same time.