Fitness Trackers Can't Be Relied On For Calorie Count, Studies Suggest

Mar 22, 2016 01:50 PM EDT | By Florence May P. Jose

Do you swear by your favorite Fitness tracker gadgets? Sorry to burst your bubble, but a study recently found out that these modern weight loss aid is not doing its job well. A new study suggests that the results recorded and displayed by these fitness devices may not be as truthful, compared to manual calorie counting, etc.

As reported by Reuters, though these devices greatly innovated exercise and working out, a study suggests that these modern tool are actually "pretty bad at keeping tabs on how much energy we burn".

A total of 19 healthy participants were made to wear various fitness trackers all at the same time on different areas on their bodies-waist, arms, chest and wrists.

Testing 12 fitness tracker devices, the study measured the reliability and truthfulness of the results displayed through two sets of experiments and then comparing data measured and recorded by the device with actual and manual monitoring though two proven ways of monitoring exercise expenditure, "locking people in a room to assess every calorie consumed and burned, or asking people at home to drink specially treated water that makes it possible to detect energy output with a urine test".

"These studies demonstrate that even the most popular applications and devices may be inaccurate or highly variable," Motohiko Miyachi said, senior author of the study from of the National Institute of Health and Nutrition in Tokyo.

The study claimed that results are alarming, illustrating a notable discrepancy with the results of manual health evaluation and the results shown by the said devices.

A noteworthy amount of discrepancy was illustrated by the results of the experiments. Measurements recorded by the devices showed notable differences with the actual lab results.

Findings of the study discussed that the fitness gadgets underestimate energy expenditure by as much as 278 calories, and tends to overestimate it by up to 204 calories. Through the second method, the devices recorded results 69-590 calories lower than actual lab tests.

"The results are troubling because when fitness trackers overestimate exercise, people who need more exercise to maintain or lose weight might get too little activity, increasing their risk for obesity and other chronic health problems," Miyachi said.

Although, the researchers still consider some extraneous factors that might have affected the results of their study. Factors such as differences in how often the devices record data, and how well they detect postures like sitting and standing, Live Science reports.

According to The Guardian, 25 million pieces of fitness trackers from different brands such as Jawbone, Fitbit or Nike+ FuelBand are expected to be sold this year. Would the results of the recent study affect the advanced fitness gear industry?

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