Monday, October 7, 2013

Spot Reduce Abdominal Fat With Green Tea, Green Clay & Magnesium Sulfate Soaked "Plaster Body Wrap"... Really!?

No. Some green slime + cellophane is not going to make this possible within 5 weeks ;-)
I have been making fun of doing sit-ups to shed body fat in the midsection only recently on the SuppVersity Facebook Wall and what do I see today? A study that claims that a "plaster body wrap" could help you burn abdominal fat... what the!?

First things first: In the "conflicts of interest" declaration at the end of the paper that is still in the "accepted manuscript" form, the authors declare no interest. If that's correct - and I simply assume it is - they probably have not yet patented their green tea + green clay + magnesium sulphate infused "plasters". This does not only mean that it is unlikely that the scientists "improved" the results of the treatment group; it does also mean that this could be your chance to make a fortune as a fat burning patch or fat burning oil, -creme or -whatever producer :-)

Why don't you test it yourself!?

Now, you all know that money doesn't grow on trees. So aside from a proper amount of entrepreneurship you will also need the will and patience to (1) massage your tummy with an alcoholic extract of green tea (alcohol at 96%) for five minutes (2) apply a solution of ~34g of green clay combined with ~19g of magnesium sulphate in ~17ml of distilled water to belly, (4) plaster your abs with plaster bandage that was previously impregnated with 3g of a green tea and another 7g of magnesium sulphate and finally (5) wrap yourself up in cellophane - go for it! If it works, it's your chance to make a fortune ;-)
In case you missed the recent SuppVersity Facebook post on "spot reduction": A Study from the 1980s says "5007 sit-ups won't shrink your belly by an inch" - I guess the 27-day sit-up challenge the scientists had their subjects perform will remind you of the "six-back" or "flat belly" specials in the Men's H. and Sh*pe magazines of this world; programs of which I can assure you that they will yield the exact same results as the one in the study: NONE → "Body weight, total body fat (underwater weighing), and fatfolds and girths remained unaltered." (Katch. 1984)
I guess the tone in the previous paragraphs has probably given away that I am still somewhat skeptical about the magical fat burning prowess of this "beer-belly remedy", but if you look at the results the 10 normal / pre-obese women in the active arm of this 5-week study you will have to concede: That's pretty impressive! Especially in view of the fact that ll they did to achieve that were two "fully wrapped" up endurance exercise sessions at 50% of their individual maximal heart rate reserve (=maximal heart - resting heart rate) per week.
Figure 1: Difference (active - control) in body fat / skinfold thickness (in cm) and calculated total body fat (caliper data) after 5 weeks with only two "fully wrapped" up 30min endurance sessions (Moreira. 2013)
Alright, I have to admit that the changes you see in figure 1 are pretty pathetic compared to the boastful promises the supplement industry uses to get rid of some Chinese herbal waste they label as "fat burner", "fat incarcinator", or "proven thermogenic". Nevertheless the mere idea that cellophane powered kitchen-sink approach to spot redution could actually work is impressive - don't you think so?
SuppVersity Suggested Read: "High Reps for "Spot Reduction" Works - Yet Not the Way Trainees Believe. Fat Loss Occurs in Untrained Body Parts" | read more
Make of the results whatever you want... and in case you feel inspired to try the "recipe", let me know how it worked. I promise I am not going to patent it before you can ;-)

Ok, enough of this nonsene. I guess, before you get totally psyched and wrapped up, it's worth mentioning that there is no specific information about the time-point when the ultrasound and skinfold measurements were taken. This may sound irrelevant, but if this was anywhere close to the last workout it is possible that the 10 subjects in the "patch" group simply lost more subcutaneous water than the 9 ladies in the control group and all those "significant results" were just measuring errors (in the broadest sense).

  • Katch et al. Effects of Sit up Exercise Training on Adipose Cell Size and Adiposity. Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport. 1984; 55(3).
  • Moreira JS, Carneiro Pinto de Melo AS, Noites A, Couto  MF,  Argel de Melo C, Freire
    de Almeida Adubeiro NC. Plaster Body Wrap: Effects in Abdominal Fat. Integrative Medicine Research. 2013 [accepted manuscript]