Study: Wearable Fitness Trackers Result in Weight GAIN!

Not effective for weight loss

Not effective for weight loss

Should you move more to lose weight? Should you even invest in a smart watch that can track how much you exercise – would that help you lose a few more pounds?

It sounds like a reasonable idea. But many studies have questioned how effective exercise really is for weight loss. So how about actually testing if it works?

In a new study, people in a weight-loss program were divided into two groups. One group was the control group. The other group was identical, with one addition: they got to use a wearable fitness tracker. This was to be worn on the wrist to help them track their exercise and hopefully lose more weight.

Unfortunately it did not work… instead it backfired in a spectacular way. Not only did the wearable fitness-tracker group fail to lose extra weight. While wearing it they actually GAINED about 5 additional pounds (2 kg) compared to the control group.

The negative effect of the fitness trackers on body weight was statistically highly significant.

How is this possible? These trackers measure movement and can adjust one’s “allowed caloric intake” accordingly. Thus many people may feel they are allowed to eat more bad foods if they have exercised. This could very well result in weight gain – given that exercise is almost completely useless for weight loss.

These fitness-tracker measurements may become a distraction to what’s really important: what you eat. Getting distracted from the most important thing sets people up to fail.

Are there smarter ways to lose weight? Sure. Eat real low-carb foods, maybe do some intermittent fasting. While you’re doing that, feel free to exercise for health, fitness and wellness reasons – that’s great.

Just don’t believe that exercise will help you lose a significant amount of weight.

A better way

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4 Comments

  1. Ian
    I have found my fitness tracker very helpful with exercise, at least in the short while I have had it. It must be, as Andreas says, people think they can eat what they want if they complete their daily goals. Diet trumps exercise when it comes to weight loss.
  2. 2 comments removed
  3. Bonnie
    Ian - I agree. I have an old fit bit to track mileage, but that's all it does. It keeps me honest about how much I'm really walking. If I see that I haven't walked much, I take a hike. But it doesn't affect what I eat - I stick to my lchf diet. Which works nicely for losing weight.
  4. 1 comment removed
  5. Daniel
    I have a Fitbit Charge HR. It's nice for tracking heart rate during exercise, and to know how active I am during the day (& night). But it is for cardio-respiration training, not losing weight. My experience with exercise is that you pack weight on (more muscle)--especially the first month. To keep the muscle mass up, there is a tendency to eat more protein than is needed to maintain things (or lose weight). It is much worse if you are not following a LCHF diet with controlled protein intake >1g/kg/day.
  6. 1 comment removed
  7. Don
    My Vivo Fit is wildly off: example I walked 5.35 miles in a 20 pound weighed vest for a 106 minutes. According to Garman Connect I burned 1,562 calories. I know that's way off but the Vivo Fit is useful for heart rate while I'm bike riding. My Edge 800 is far more accurate during bike rides.

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