Skip to Content

Why Weight Loss Is Easier at High Altitude

Research suggests that high altitudes suppress appetite and increase metabolism.
February 4, 2010

Want to drop a few pounds on your next vacation? Head for the mountains, the taller the better.

Researchers from Germany studied 20 obese men both at low altitude in Munich and while spending a week at 8700 feet, in a field station near the peak of Germany’s highest mountain, Zugspitze. Participants lost an average of two pounds that week and kept it off for the next month, without making any changes in diet or activity levels. During their high altitude stay, the men were given unrestricted access to food and restricted to short walks.

The researchers found that basal metabolism increased at high altitude, though it’s not clear why. Levels of leptin, a hormone known to suppress hunger, also increased, perhaps in response to decreased oxygen. Participants ate less, even after symptoms of altitude sickness had disappeared. And they continued to eat less after returning to Munich, at least during the four week follow-up period of the study. The research was published this month in the journal Obesity.

Keep Reading

Most Popular

open sourcing language models concept
open sourcing language models concept

Meta has built a massive new language AI—and it’s giving it away for free

Facebook’s parent company is inviting researchers to pore over and pick apart the flaws in its version of GPT-3

transplant surgery
transplant surgery

The gene-edited pig heart given to a dying patient was infected with a pig virus

The first transplant of a genetically-modified pig heart into a human may have ended prematurely because of a well-known—and avoidable—risk.

Muhammad bin Salman funds anti-aging research
Muhammad bin Salman funds anti-aging research

Saudi Arabia plans to spend $1 billion a year discovering treatments to slow aging

The oil kingdom fears that its population is aging at an accelerated rate and hopes to test drugs to reverse the problem. First up might be the diabetes drug metformin.

Yann LeCun
Yann LeCun

Yann LeCun has a bold new vision for the future of AI

One of the godfathers of deep learning pulls together old ideas to sketch out a fresh path for AI, but raises as many questions as he answers.

Stay connected

Illustration by Rose WongIllustration by Rose Wong

Get the latest updates from
MIT Technology Review

Discover special offers, top stories, upcoming events, and more.

Thank you for submitting your email!

Explore more newsletters

It looks like something went wrong.

We’re having trouble saving your preferences. Try refreshing this page and updating them one more time. If you continue to get this message, reach out to us at customer-service@technologyreview.com with a list of newsletters you’d like to receive.