I’m quite a logical person, too logical if you ask Anna, my wife!!
Rather than take things at face value I like to look at the numbers and see if they work in the real world.
Here’s an example:
You may have heard about Nordic Walking, I hadn’t until I was asked to review it for my part on the upcoming TV3 series How Healthy Are You?
So I went to their website to find out about it. I was told it’s meant to burn way more calories than normal walking.
I discovered a few things
1. It’s walking with sticks (like ski poles) using your upper body to push the sticks into the ground.
2. They say it ‘works’ the muscles of your upper body as well as your legs (‘works’ is a great word, changing the tv channel works your arm muscles but we all know how fit we will get from doing that!)
3. They claim it burns 20% more calories
YES! A number, lets analyse it 🙂
Lets say you burn 300 calories in an hours walk (that’s being generous), 20% of that is 60 calories. If you’ve ever counted calories before you’ll 60 is nothing. And given that 1 lb of body fat is the equivalent of 3,500 stored calories 60 is even smaller!!! Even at 360 calories you’d have to go for 10hrs just to burn 1lb of body fat.
So 20% may seem like a lot but 20% of what???
One of them was told they had 48% body fat after using one of the handheld body fat machines (which are useless). That means @ 12.5 stone almost 6.25 stone is body fat?
If they we’re to lose 5 stone of fat (you can never lose it all) they would now weigh 7.5 stone and they would be dangerously underweight.
Whoever tested and advised them didn’t even look at the figures or if they did just didn’t understand the whole concept of body fat percentages.
Finally with weight watchers (one of my pet hates) they tell you that 1 handful of cashew nuts is equal to 10 pts. (Correction it has been pointed out to me that one handful of cashew nuts is now only 4 pts. However my theory still holds true) Most people are allowed around 20 pts. So if you eat 6 handfuls of cashew nuts in a day (24 pts) you’re gonna get pretty fat or at least not lose weight.
Let’s take a closer look – 1 handful, 14 nuts is the equivalent of 150-200 calories. So 6 handfuls is around 900-1200 calories. According to weight watchers that’s more (24 pts) than someone should be eating in a day and they will, in theory, get fat and not lose weight.
Obviously that’s not true and anyone will lose weight eating just 900 calories a day (which by the way I do not reccommend because its very dangerous to eat so little)