I don't know if I should ask this question on skeptics.se first, but I guess I'll try here first:

When I was a kid in summer camp, they served hot soup every day during lunch, even during a heat wave, with temps in the 100s. The head counselor would announce "Hot soup on a hot day keeps you cool". Was he just trying to get us to eat or is it true? And, my main question is, how does it work?

1 Answer 1


Surprisingly, yes. Recent research explains:

When we’re hot, we naturally cool our bodies primarily by sweating, or more specifically by having the sweat evaporate from our skin (that’s important!). Our bodies sense changes in tissue temperature by a network of thermosensors located in the skin and in more central parts of our body, which send input to our brain (specifically, the hypothalamus), which then initiates sweating.

When we take in a hot drink, it appears that the thermosensors located in the stomach become overactive, and send strong signals to our hypothalamus that we are hot. In turn, the hypothalamus reacts by initiating an over-compensatory sweating response. So, when this sweat evaporates from our skin, the heat energy we lose due to evaporation exceeds the heat energy gained by drinking the hot drink. In other words, it is because our body overacted to the hot drink that we end up cooler in the end

  • The quote is not from the linked research article, but from what "Anthony Bain, a PhD candidate at the Centre for Heart, Lung, and Vascular Health at the University of British Columbia" explained to the Science of Us column of the New York Magazine by e-mail, (original source). I would suggest editing the links to the research articles into the actual answer, and maybe also add this information too, for the sake of clarity. Commented Oct 6, 2023 at 1:17

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