I don’t know if you’ve heard of this, but the new “loose fat fast” fad are Cold Vests.
Basically, you put on the “cool fat burner vest” or the “cool gut buster” freeze fat way.
By simply wearing the vest or wait band, they claim your metabolic rate can increase by 300%.
But wait, that’s not all!Pick a miracle cure sales person from TV
They also promise that you’ll expend an additional 500 kcal per day by wearing this miracle.
Now, if the promises hold true, over a week you’ll burn enough extra calories to drop an extra 1 pound per week(!)
This sounds awesome, doesn’t it?
Just put on a fat burner vest, endure some cool and freeze fat away!
Freeze fat away, is it real?
If you’ve lived for a while, you’re probably just cynical enough to question the validity of the “freeze fat away” promise.
Maybe you’d even take the time to look at the website for the company and read about their “Brown Fat Cooling Vest”.
Like all good marketing pitches, they spin a good yarn.
But, in all fairness…
Just because the numbers seem big doesn’t mean they’re wrong.
Is there any science to back it up?
Actually, there is.
Probably not in the way the maker of the products hoped for though…
The Department of Exercise and Sport Science at the University of Wisconsin, La Crosse was commissioned by the American Council for Exercise (ACE) to perform a scientific review of the claims.
Unfortunately, the study provided a clear conclusion:
Neither of the cooling implements will increase your metabolic burn by 300%.
They won’t increase your calorie burn by 500kcal per day either.
The real effect of the cool fat burner?
The commissioned study was designed to decide whether wearing the Cool Fat Burner vest and/or the Cool Gut Buster abdomen cover would significantly increase the calorie expenditure when compared with resting metabolic rates.
The study consisted of 20 volunteers between 19 and 25 years of age. All of the participants had a BMI greater than 25. I.e. they were overweight or obese.
The participants had their metabolism measured during two states;
- Resting – Not wearing the vest or abdomen cover, they sat still for 30 minutes.
- Low-intensity fat burn – Wearing both products, they sat still for 30 minutes.
- High-intensity fat burn – Wearing both products, sitting still for 30 minutes while drinking ice cold water at the start and the half-way point of the 30 minutes.
The good news
First, let’s cover the good news!
Both the low and high intensity testing phases resulted in a percentage wise significantly greater calorie burn.
The low intensity testing phase had an increase of 14% as compared to the resting phase.
The high intensity phase had an increase of 27% as compared to the resting phase.
Not 300%, but still fairly impressive, right?
Burn 27% more calories by sitting still for 30 minutes, drinking some ice water and wearing a cold vest plus abdominal cover.
Sounds like something we should consider spending money on, yes..?
(What comes next is the kind of stuff that causes people to lose faith in science…)
What do the numbers translate to?
As a fat loss/weight loss strategy, freezing fat away is a pretty sh*tty one.
Though the percentage numbers look pretty good, the absolute kcal numbers are abysmal.
When you account for the fact that the numbers had to be extrapolated to wearing the products for twice the time of the actual tests?
Well, then it gets even worse!
The “high intensity fat burn” phase resulted in an additional burn of 23.4 kcal for the test hour.
For the “low intensity fat burn” phase, the number is a whopping 12 kcal for the hour.
In practical terms?
(FWIW, the following statement completely ignores how fat loss really works. It’s merely for illustration!)
Based on the results from the study, in order to lose 1 extra pound of fat?
We’d need to wear the fairly expensive vest and abdomen cover for an hour per day, while drinking 16 oz of ice water every 15 minutes during that hour, for 149.5 days.
If calorie burn is your goal, you’d be far better off just going for a lazy stroll!
And if you spend an hour doing VPT training, with some extra intensity, today you’ll possibly burn more than 10x the number of kcal.