What if we said that ice can rev up metabolism and increase weight loss? (And no, we’re not talking about Nattie Ice.) When the body is exposed to cold temperatures— like ingesting a glass of icy water— it burns extra calories to keep itself warm, increasing metabolism by up to 50% in the process. Looks like Mr. Freeze had the right idea!

Ice Ice Baby – The Takeaway

The human body is constantly trying to maintain a static temperature of 98.6 degrees. The colder the surrounding or internal conditions, the more calories the body burns to keep warmFat metabolism, exercise, and the cold.. Shephard, RJ. School of Physical & Health Education, University of Toronto, Ontario. Canadian Journal of Sport Sciences. 1992 Jun; 17(2):83-90.. Metabolism acts like a furnace that must burn fuel to keep the body nice and toasty. Luckily, the body’s fuel of choice for keeping warm is “brown fat,” more commonly known as the stuff comprising muffin tops (and not the tasty kind).

Drinking iced water is one of several ways to harness this mechanism for weight loss, since the body must compensate for the sudden temperature drop. One 16 ounce glass of cold water can burn up to 17.5 calories, no treadmill required. Cold showers, a lowered thermostat, and vigorous swims in pools full of orange juice concentrate all utilize this same mechanism. But don’t run off with the penguins just yet: exposure to extreme cold might do a lot more harm than good and can cause severe complications in people with cardiovascular conditions. Plus, fewer than 20 calories per glass will hardly transform modern-day Val Kilmer back into Iceman.

Still looking to melt off extra pounds (or at least ounces)? For that thermodynamic edge, throw some ice in a drink and get ready to harness that inner, slimmer cool cat.

The Tip

Drink ice water to speed metabolism and rev up weight loss (a little, at least).