Why Do We Tend to Gain Weight in the Winter?

gaining weight in the winter

We’ve all been there – February has just ended, and you feel like you gained a couple of inches around your belly. But, before you decide to blame it all on the holiday food and the sedentary lifestyle during winter, you should consider the results form a new study. This study suggests that we may store more fat during winter for a completely different reason – exposure to light.

Let’s see what could be the reason for gaining weight in the winter.

Research on Gaining Weight in the Winter

The study in question was conducted by the University of Alberta, Canada. The discovery was actually an accident – researchers were trying to develop fat cells that could help fight type 1 diabetes. While doing this, they exposed these cells to different types of light.

They found that fat cells kept in a dark place stored more fat than cells that were exposed to light. While the initial discoveries were made using rat and mice cells, the scientists later did the same experiment on human fat cells and achieved the same results.

Why Does this Happen?

While scientists are still not sure as to why this phenomenon exists, they do know one thing. The same mechanism that regulates our circadian rhythm (internal clock that regulates our sleep patterns) can be found in our fat cells.

So, it could be evolution at work. This biological clock maybe increases our fat storage because our ancestors had a hard time finding food during the winter.


So, while holidays and Christmas TV shows certainly play an important part, it seems that gaining weight in the winter has something to do with the lack of sun. Combat winter weight gain by working out and eating healthy, and you should be fine.

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