Could Air Conditioning Make You Fat?

Study shows how air conditioning and temperature control has an effect on obesity and diabetes

Air conditioning image by Paiboon Muenchin (via Shutterstock).
Fat as an air conditioning issue? Maastricht University’s report, written by a team of researchers led by Wouter van Marken Lichtenbelt thinks room temperatures have an effect on cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, and obesity. Image by Paiboon Muenchin (via Shutterstock).

Ask yourself this question: how high do you have your heating thermostat turned up to? If it’s around the usual 21 or 22 degrees Celsius, then you are not alone. This is considered as the usual room temperature in the home or the office. According to a study from Maastricht University’s Department of Human Biology, it suggests we should abandon these norms. Turned up too high, our air conditioning systems could make us fat.

How is this the case? Our chosen temperature settings have an effect on our metabolism and our activity levels. What governs our chosen temperature settings is our thermoneutral zone. In the nude, our optimum ‘room temperature’ is between 26 and 32 degrees Celsius. When partaking in outdoor activities (properly shod of course), our thermoneutral zone falls to around 14 degrees Celsius.

Back in 1872, a Dutch newspaper article reported that 13 to 15 degrees Celsius was a comfortable room temperature range. This was colder than a lot of today’s homes and offices, given that air conditioning was years away from being universally adopted.

“…It’s a nice cold…*”

Cutting the temperature of your air conditioning system has an effect on your metabolism. The fabled 13 to 15 degrees figure could be described as a ‘mild cold’. It makes us less lethargic and more productive. It could even have a bearing on your choice of lunch time meal or elevenses.

Changes in heat temperature have an effect on our bodies. It can affect our tolerance to extremes at the lower end or the higher end of the thermometer. The researchers said: “Low or high temperatures in a dynamic thermal environment may be perceived as acceptable or even pleasant.”

For any enquiries about how to manage your air conditioning system including system maintenance services, please contact us on 0161 2790137 or email

ST Maintenance Solutions, 04 May 2017.

* Jerry St. Clair, Phoenix Nights (Dave Spikey, 2002)

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