Sunday, March 2, 2014

"Now You Can Eat All The Crap in The World and Still Lose Weight" Psychological Liberation After Taking a Purported "Fat Burner" is an Overlooked Risk Factor for Obesity

Yeah! I am in the active arm of the study! Now I Can Eat All The Crap in The World and Still Lose Weight!
I have been waiting for this study to be conducted for years and am by no means surprised that a group of scientists from the Tunghai University and the National Sun Yat-sen University in Taiwan found that "[u]sing weight-loss supplements may produce unintended consequences on
dietary self-regulation." I mean, don't we all know someone who succumbed to the psychological
liberation when he or she was using a weight-loss supplement? Yes, we do! 

Is it any wonder that weight loss pills suck, if the experiment Yevvon Y. Chang and Wen-Bin Chiou conducted confirmed what we expected altogether?
You can learn more about fat burners at the SuppVersity

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After consuming a purported weight loss pill, the 70 young women who had been recruited for the experiment and were randomized to receive a pill of which half of them was told ...
  • "the test pill will help you to attain weight loss" - active arm of the study
while the other half was told that the little pills they were supposedly taking in the "Biology Department" and during a functional food test, got the information
  • "the test pill is a placebo that will be used in a future study" - placebo arm
before they were send to a student restaurant for a lunch buffet - the buffet, where the magic happened and the psychologically liberating effect of the weight loss pills took full effect.
"The food in this buffet, which remained consistent over the course of the experiment, consisted of six healthy items (e.g., fruit, salad with Japanese dressing, vegetable pizza, steamed bean cu steamed fish, and sugar-free green tea) and six less healthy items (e.g., chocolate cookies, French fries, fried chicken, cheeseburgers, soda, and custard). Healthy and less healthy items were identified by two nutritionists blind to the purposes of the experiment." (Chang. 2014)
Other than you may have expected, the "heavier" ladies neither ate more, nor less healthy foods. What did have an impact on the number of food items and, more importantly, the type of food (healthy vs. unhealthy) the young women ate was the message the message they'd received, when they had taken the weight loss pill.
Figure 1: Relative differences in total, unhealthy and healthy food intake in subjects who believed that they consumed the weight loss pill; data expressed relative to control group (Chang. 2014)
As you can see in my plot of the study results in Figure 1, the women who had been told that the pill the had taken was an effective fat burner, consumed more food and made unhealthier food choices than the control group who believed they had consumed an ineffective placebo supplement.

Based on a previous analysis of the participants general attitude towards weight loss supplements, the scientists were also able to determine that the "now you can eat all the crap in the world and still lose weight" effect was more pronounced in those young ladies with a positive attitude towards weight loss pills and a firm believe in their efficacy.
Suggested Read: "Forgotten Dieting Aids: Choline, Carnitine, Caffeine and the Anti-Weight-Loss Plateau Effects of Sugar and Phosphates" | more
Bottom line: I am not telling you not to support your weight loss efforts by using a stim-based fat burner. These products can keep you going, suppress appetite and will help you function in your everyday life, when your calorie intake drops and the lack of energy takes it's toll.

NONE of the currently available OTC fat burners will actually "burn" the fat you are to lazy to lose. If you are taking these products to have the occasional slice of pizza every other day, you are doomed to fail. Sales of indulgences like this may work in the confession box, but they don't work on the (body fat) scale.
  • Chang, Yevvon Y., and Wen-Bin Chiou. "The Liberating Effect of Weight-Loss Supplements on Dietary Control: A Field Experiment." Nutrition (2014).