Obese people can lose almost 4lbs in under a month by wearing weighted vests, according to a new academic study in Sweden.
Participants in the research lost 1.6kg (3.5lbs) in fat, while retaining their muscle mass, after three weeks of wearing specially-provided undergarments.
Sixty-nine people with a body mass index (BMI) between 30 to 35, the range known as class 1 obesity, took part in the clinical study, published by Gothenburg University.
They were told to wear a weighted vest eight hours a day for three weeks. All participants wore vests, but one group wore heavier versions weighing 11 kg while the others wore lighter ones at just 1 kg.
By the end of the experiment those who wore the lighter vests had lost 0.3 kg, while those who wore heavier vests had lost up to 1.6 kg in weight.
Experts said the weight loss of those wearing heavier vests “exceeded” what was observed after “various” exercise forms.
Professor Claes Ohlsson, from Gothenburg University, said: “We think it’s very interesting that the treatment with the heavier weighted vests reduced fat mass while muscle mass simultaneously remained intact.
“The effect on fat mass we found, from this short experiment, exceeded what’s usually observed after various forms of physical training.”
The research team suspect the weight loss happened because the heavy vests interfered with the body’s system to keep body weight constant – dubbed the “gravitostat.”
However, the team were not able to determine whether the type of fat lost was from under the skin, or from belly fat, which is the most dangerous kind of fat that has been linked to heart diseases and diabetes.
The concept of the study emerged following previous research with animals in 2018, with experts claiming the results show similar built-in scales exist in humans too.
Now the researchers want to investigate whether the weight reduction continues for the vest wearers over periods longer than three weeks, and whether the novel weight-loss method targets dangerous visceral fat.
They also plan to delve deeper into how the vest works to see how it impacts energy expenditure, appetite and mobility.