If you’ve ever struggled with being overweight, have you ever wondered why your sister or brother does not?

You grew up in the same home. You ate the same meals. You played the same sports. But they never gained weight the same way you do.

I’ve heard people chalk it up to someone having a fast metabolism. Or they’ll say it’s  genetics. You either take after the skinny people in your family, or the overweight ones.

But a new study, published in the International Journal of Obesity, has another theory on weight loss. It has to do with your body temperature.

Although it’s only been studied in dogs, a researcher from the University of South Carolina Salkehatchie has found that obese canines have a lower body temperature than lean dogs. And the difference in temperature is substantial enough to make a difference in how many calories they burn.

The study examined the idea that some animals have naturally lower body temperatures, which means they don’t need to burn as many calories to stay warm. But if they eat the same amount as other animals that have warmer body temperatures, they will weigh more.

“These findings document an association between obesity and reduced body temperature in dogs and support the hypothesis that obesity in this and other species of homeotherms may result from an increase in metabolic efficiency achieved by a regulated lowering of body temperature,” the authors wrote.

Source: University of South Carolina

Alice Warchol is a fitness instructor and freelance health writer.

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