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article imageNeed to lose weight? Try freezing it off, says NASA scientist

By Kim I. Hartman     Oct 30, 2010 in Health
If you’re desperate for a new way to lose weight, forget feeling the burn and try feeling the chill, suggests Ray Cronise, an ex-NASA scientist who lost 30 pounds in six weeks by subjecting himself to low temperatures.
When popular diet plans failed, Ray Cronise, former NASA scientist and founder of Zero G Corp., says he found an extraordinary way to lose weight by tapping into the laws of thermodynamics: he was going to literally freeze his butt off, reports ABC news.
Cronise swears that by exposing his body to cold, in theory, he could increase his weekly weight loss. Our body temperature remains constant and it takes a lot of energy to keep it that way, no different than heating your house," He reports this techinque increased his weight loss to 30 pounds in just six weeks time.
"I treated my body like a thermostat…to see if I could run up the utility bill and get the furnace, [my metabolism,] running at full blast," he explained in a presentation on his weight loss given at Wednesday's TEDMED conference
Cronise's was inspired by Olympic swimmer, and multiple gold medal winning athlete, Michael Phelps.
He had heard Phelps say that he consumed 12,000 calories worth of food per day. Even with all the athlete's physical activity, it didn't make sense to Cronise why he would need that much to maintain his strength and body weight. Phelps was lean and strong and that was Cronises' goal, to loose weight and slim his build to a healthier and smaller size.
Cronise says, he studied and pondered the facts as he knew them and "that's when I found out it was the water temperature," - the cool water forced Phelp's body to constantly fight to maintain its temperature.
It turns out, this phenomenon was well-studied by the military and the space program in the 1950s and 1960s, only in the context of keeping weight on soldiers in cold, harsh environments, not on weight loss.
Using swimming and something called thermal loading, where the body is exposed to cold in various ways, Cronise applied this decades-old research and found that he could lose up to four pounds a week.
"You really think you're burning all these calories because you're sweating and hot, but when you're cold you burn way more calories," he said in his presentation.
"People usually have a problem losing the last 10 pounds on diets but it would get easier to lose that last 10 pounds with these techniques. The cool thing about this method is that the thinner you are the less insulated you are so it gets easier," he adds.
A more well-known use of these principles is the "ice water diet" where dieters drink eight or more classes of freezing cold water a day to force their body to work to warm up the beverage in order to digest it. The body burns about seven to 10 calories in order to warm an 8-oz glass of ice water, so drinking large enough quantities of water can add some extra oomph to weight loss, according to the logic of the diet, according to the medical news at ABC.
Dr. David Katz, director and founder of the Integrative Medicine Center and professor at Yale University, was dubious that capitalizing on these laws of physics would be dieter-friendly: "Being cold is uncomfortable. Frankly, if people are willing to be that miserable to lose weight they might as well try eating well and exercising."
But shocking the body with cold can be taken too far or done too fast.
Katz warns that people with cardiovascular concerns- should think twice about ice baths. Exposure to extreme cold could lead to a cardiac event in those at risk, Katz says, and it can affect blood flow to vital organs, blood pressure, or induce cardiac arrhythmia's. Ice baths specifically, Katz says, puts stress on the body that has the potential to cause a number of health problems for certain individuals.
More about Weight loss, Obesity, Freezing fat, Ray cronise, Nasa scientist
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