Have you ever wondered why so many people gain weight in winter? A lot of people would say that it's because they spend so much time snuggled up on the couch with some hot Milo instead of going for a run, but something could be causing it too.
A new study by researchers at the University of Alberta in Edmonton, Canada reveals that a lack of sunlight could also be causing us all to gain weight and honestly, my mind is blown!
The researchers, who were led by Peter Light (no, that is not a lie), from the Alberta Diabetes Institute examined the effects of sunlight on subcutaneous white adipose tissue (scWAT) that lies beneath our skin and found that the cells actually shrink in sunlight!
They discovered this accidentally whilst attempting to genetically engineer the scWAT to produce insulin when exposed to sunlight to help those suffering from type 1 diabetes.
ScWAT is known as the worst type of fat because it stores calories instead of burning them for energy and so the researchers were attempting to help them burn calories and instead, came across this amazing discovery!
To test this further, the researchers took samples of scWAT from patients undergoing weight loss surgery and examined the effects of sunlight on the cells and as Peter explains in the study, they discovered that the blue light that the sun produces stops the scWAT from storing fat.
"When the sun's blue light wavelengths — the light we can see with our eye — penetrate our skin and reach the fat cells just beneath, lipid droplets reduce in size and are released out of the cell. In other words, our cells don't store as much fat."
Now, this doesn't mean you should go and stand outside for hours on end to lose a few kilos, but it does mean that in the future, light therapy could help those looking to lose weight when paired with a balanced diet and exercise!
So get outside for a bit sometime today, people!