Is Your Air Conditioner Making You Fat?

One expert suggests our beloved AC units may be the culprit for everything from obesity to George W. Bush's presidency.

Air con
(Image credit: Curt Pickens)

We've got a love/hate relationship with our air-conditioning units: On the one hand, they help us maintain our will to live during the 90℉ days of New York summer, and heck, we can't really sleep without white noise, anyway. On the other hand, they drive our electric bills through the roof and leave us with sore throats and nosebleeds when we forget to clean the filter. (Not to mention the sketchy water that drips on our hair, clothes, and/or falafels from the units above anytime we walk too close to a building. Blech.)

One author, Stan Cox, decided to explore the ins and outs of AC — his book, Losing Our Cool: Uncomfortable Truths about Our Air-Conditioned World (opens in new tab), came out in May, and the Minneapolis-St. Paul Star Tribune ran a fascinating Q&A with him (opens in new tab) yesterday that has us considering taking our AC units right out of our windows. (Well, almost.) A few highlights:

We've got a bone to pick with that last point, since some experts suggest (opens in new tab) that we burn more calories when we're cold because our bodies have to use energy to warm up. But we definitely believe that we're less likely to get outside and be active when it's hot and there's AC at home — as evidenced by the many Sunday afternoons this summer we've spent huddled in front of our units.

While it may be unrealistic to nix the AC completely, we'll try to keep the temperature higher and spend more time outdoors, even if it means an extra shower before bed.

Tell Marie Claire: Got any eco-friendly keep-cool tips? Share yours in the Comments section below!