If you spend time on the internet, you probablysee a lot of ads. After a while, you might notice that someads show up everywhere. Like, you’ve probably seen something along the lines of this one: Lose weight with this 1 weird old trick! shate this! Turns out that those kinds of ads are reallyold. Like, older than the internet, even. As far back as the nineteenth century, companieswere advertising all sorts of strange ways to shed fat. And from socalled sauna pantsto electric shockers to vibrating belts, you’ll sometimes still see them presented as a wayto lose weight.
They make tempting promises: just stand around!Let the machine do the exercising for you! But these methodsâ€¦ aren’t exactly effective,because the supposed science behind them isn’t quite so scientific. Take the sauna pants for example. The idea was that you’d make some part ofyour body really, really hot, sweat a lot, and somehow get skinnier in the process. Butall you were doing was dehydrating yourself. There were a lot of different versions some,advertised in the 1970s, were like giant inflatable balloons for your body. Others were heatedelectrically and for some reason, you can
still buy them, though they aren’t generallymarketed for weight loss anymore. If you’ve ever imagined wearing pants madeof an inflatable mattress, you can probably imagine that it was, indeed, really hot inthere. You would sweat a lot. And of course, if you weighed yourself beforeand after you tried this, the numbers would totally go down on the scale. According tothe ads, that meant you were losing what they called â€œwater weight.â€� That was technically true. Wearers of thepants lost some weight through sweat, and sweat is mostly water.
But that’s essentially the same thing assaying that peeing is an effective weight loss method. Whichâ€¦ no. Unless you plan on staying dehydratedforever, it comes right back the next time you drink. Electric shocks were also once all the rage,and you’ll still see these electronic muscle stimulation, or EMS devices for sale, claimingto give you rockhard abs or whatever. But, while they might be able to make yourmuscles firmer, they aren’t going to burn much fat.
Normally, signals from your nerves releaselots of charged ions in your muscles, making them contract. So when you apply an electric charge withan EMS machine, those muscles think your nerves are sending them a signal, and they contractlike crazy. And that does exercise your muscles, whichhave to use energy as they contract and then relax. And in some cases the repeated contractionshave been shown to make them firmer over time. But since it’s just a few individual musclesmoving, instead of your whole body working together, they don’t use very much energy one study found that a 75 kilogram person
using an EMS device for an hour might be ableto burn 76 calories total. But if that person decided to walk aroundfor an hour, they would’ve burned 326 calories. Which is why, at least in the US, the FDAwon’t approve any EMS devices that claim to help with weight loss. And even the approved versions can cause burns,so you might be better off just doing your crunches manually. And now we come to the fat jiggling belts. They promised to loosen fat, which your bodywould then just flush away â€¦ though no one