If you are a fitness tracker afficionado, look away now: we've got some BAD news...
A recent study conducted by the University of Pittsburgh, published in The Journal of the American Medical Association has revealed that electronic fitness devices, such as Fitbits, might actually be responsible for weight gain.
We know, nightmare, right?
In some instances, abiding by the tried and tested methods of weight loss – dietary changes and following exercise advice – might end up being more beneficial.
The study targeted 471 adults in counselling for weight-loss. Half were given the conventional treatment – pointers on diet and exercise – and the other half were given a fitness tracker, as well as the aforementioned lifestyle advice. Two years on, those without trackers had lost 5.9kg, whereas those who used them had lost just 3.5kg.
The reason behind this? Well, there are a number of possible answers. One school of thought is that the individuals with trackers became too reliant on the devices and didn't push themselves as hard as those without.
Another was that, with the knowledge of how many steps they'd taken, participants were more likely to give themselves a treat (in food form) as a reward for excercise. In some other cases, individuals may have stopped exercising altogether if the number of steps taken did not meet their expectations.
Hmmm... it kind of makes sense. Darnit.
That said, there is nothing to say fitness trackers can't be used as part of a successful weight-loss programme – it's just to make sure you bear the pointers above in mind. Noted.