Feel the Freezer Burn: Losing Weight by Chilling the Body

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"I spent the last three years doing hundreds of experiments on myself and on hundreds of other people testing what should be most effective for everything from rapid fat loss, muscular gain, ultra-endurance, sleep reduction, sex," he says.

The search took Ferris from the U.S. to South Africa , Olympic training centers to black market chemists while he tried to find the smallest changes that produces the biggest results. And one of them was how to use temperature manipulation to improve fat loss by 300 percent, he says.

Taking ice baths, chugging ice water, exposing the body to cold in various ways all come up as ways of challenging the body to burn more calories, but are these strategies that the common dieter is likely to adopt?

Safety and Adherence

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 Ferris argues that it depends on the person: "If your job was to eat 15 percent less calories is a lot harder for some people to comply with than to do a couple cold baths a week. The decent diet you follow is better than the perfect diet you don't follow."

But shocking the body with cold can be taken too far or done too fast, Ferriss notes and Katz warns that for those at cardiovascular risk especially 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 arrhythmias. Ice baths specifically, Katz says, puts stress on the body that has the potential to cause a number of health problems for certain individuals.

Ferriss' "cold diet" doesn't mean freezing your body into hypothermia however, and there are milder, more manageable ways of using thermal loading to boost the body's furnace.

Cronise, for one, says he could never go neck-deep in an ice-bath, but he has been able to keep off his 50 pounds using other, more tolerable cooling techniques and a commitment to a healthier lifestyle.

TEDMED is a yearly conference dedicated to increasing innovation in the medical realm: "from personal health to public health, devices to design and Hollywood to the hospital," the website explains.

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