Monday, December 27, 2010

Calorie burning soda - $14,600/lb of weight loss.

[Originally posted February 2007]

Celsius Cola - Raises your metabolism by 12% for 3 hours!

Sounds great right?

Umm, not so much to me.

Forget about whether or not the data supports the conclusion, let's work with it just like we did with the other so-called energy burning drink, "Enviga".

So a 12% increase in metabolism for 3 hours.

I burn 2,250 Calories per day or 93.75 Calories per hour.

12% more than 93.75 is an additional 11.75 Calories per hour.

11.75 Calories per hour x 3 hours = 33.75 additionally burned Calories.

But wait, the drink has 10 calories therefore it's only an additional 22.75 Calories.

But wait again, if I drank 355ml of ice water instead of ice cold Celsius I would burn 12 more Calories bringing the temperature of the ice water up from 0 degrees Celsius to 37 degrees Celsius, therefore now we're down to an additional 10.75 Calories drinking Celsius over ice water.

If I drink one a day for a year I'll therefore burn an additional 3,923 Calories representing 1.1lbs, at a cost of $2 per bottle = $730.

That's $664/lb!

And I'm a fairly fit, somewhat young, 5'8" man who burns a fair number of Calories.

What if you burn less Calories than me?

Let's say instead you burn 1,500 Calories daily. Then your cost per lb of weight loss after all the calculations ends up being $14,600/lb and if you simply had a glass of ice water daily, you'd get virtually the same benefit as one Celsius drink daily.

How do I figure?

1,500 Calories / 24 hrs = 62.5 Calories per hour.

62.5 Calories/hr * 0.12 (12 % increase) * 3 hours = 22.5 Calories extra.

22.5 Calories extra - 10 Calories for the drink = 12.5 Calories extra.

12.5 Calories extra - 12 Calories raising the temperature of 355ml of ice water = 0.5 Calories extra.

0.5 additional Calories per day * 365 days per year = 182.5 Calories per year

182.5 Calories / 3,500 Calories per pound = 0.05lbs.

$730/0.05lbs = $14,600/lb

Makes me almost rather give my money to Aquamantra!

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  1. But wait again, if I drank 355ml of ice water instead of ice cold Celsius I would burn 12 more Calories bringing the temperature of the ice water up from 0 degrees Celsius to 37 degrees Celsius...

    I'm an engineer, not a dietitian, but it is my understanding that, except in extreme circumstances, the energy used to bring consumed food and drink to body temperature comes from waste heat from normal body processes that would otherwise need to be shed in some other manner (which means that it might actually take fewer calories if one consumes a cold item, vs one at body temperature or warmer since there is some (likely very tiny) amount of energy expenditure associated with the sweating etc required to dissipate the extra heat).

    Or am I incorrect, or were you just joking anyway?

  2. Hi Theo,

    I've never heard of the concept of "waste heat". I figure heat's heat, but regardless, a more pointed comment may have included the notion that the Celsius could have been ice cold too.

    Beside the point though given this Fermi style exercise was meant simply to illustrate just how ridiculous the notion that drinking soda pop will lead to any meaningful weight loss.

  3. To clarify, I am in no way trying to disagree with or diminish your point about calorie-burning cola being a ridiculous idea which won't result in weightloss other than in the wallet area.

    But in case you care to hear my elaboration on the concept of waste heat:

    By "waste" heat, I mean heat that is produced as a by-product of the normal body functions such as movement and everything else the body does that expends energy, since it does not convert fuel (ie food) at 100% efficiency. Some of this heat is useful to keep our body temperature where it should be, but a lot of it needs to be dissipated so we don't overheat. The rule-of-thumb estimate is that an average person (burning about 2000 Calories per day) emits, on average, about 100W of heat. (If it weren't for waste heat, we could all lose weight by eating ice cream!)