You’ll want to keep reading if you have diabetes and are sedentary and overweight or obese, because odds are good that you have insulin resistance. Insulin resistance makes it harder to control your blood sugars.
I thought I knew a lot about diabetes, but I’m still learning from P.D. Mangan:
“It looks like we can add cold exposure to the list of interventions that increase insulin sensitivity.
Type 2 diabetes is positively associated with ambient temperature. The warmer the weather, the more diabetes. Up to about 30% of the variation in diabetes can be explained by temperature.
Curiously, no effect of temperature was seen on obesity, although other studies have found that there is one.
The authors believe that activation of brown adipose tissue (BAT) may contribute to this effect. BAT is a type of fat tissue that increases its metabolism for the sole purpose of generating body heat.
Cold thermogenesis has many health benefits, although helping you to lose weight probably isn’t one of them, for the same reason that aerobic exercise is not very effective for weight loss.
The connection between cold exposure and insulin sensitivity isn’t just an association either: acclimation to the cold causes a substantial increase in insulin sensitivity.
Eight people with type 2 diabetes were exposed to cold temperatures, 14 to 15 C (57 to 59 F) for 6 hours a day for 10 days. Insulin sensitivity increased 43%.”