German researchers studies how altitude affected weight loss without changing a person's activity level or diet. During the study, 20 obese men from Munich, aged 56 on average spent a week in the mountains at an altitude of around 8,700 feet. The participants took a number of tests before and after they changed their location. They also were not restricted in their eating habits and their exercise level was limited to slow walks inside the research station. Scientists analyzed their activity level and food intake during the study and took follow-up tests 30 days after the participants came back home.
The results of the study showed that during a week spent in mountains, men lost 3,5 pounds on average.
A month after returning home, their weight loss sustained, being 2 pounds less than it was before the study. Spending a week on the mountains also improved the men's metabolism and exercise capacity, making them burn more calories shortly after returning home.
Richard N. Bergman, the physiology professor at University of Southern California mentioned that Colorado, the US state with highest altitude has the lowest obesity rate, while other US states located at lower elevations have higher obesity rates.
Previous studies also suggested that high altitude is linked to weight loss, but it is still not clear how an altitude helps people shed pounds.