UPDATE: It seems I’m not the only one to think Kellogg’s are in danger of spinning out of control… more here.
I’m not fat enough to take part in the Kellogg’s Special K Body Fat Challenge, but I have taken advantage of their offer of a Body Fat Analyser (with built in pedometer) for just £4.99 plus tokens as that’s pretty cheap (there’s no P&P). Not that I’m recommending the gadget to readers (and I’m not endorsing Kellogg’s). It’s only useful to people who, like me (you’d never guess to look at me, would you?), regularly spend time at the gym working out with weights. The problem is that muscle is heavier than fat, so once as you develop it you begin to weigh more (and burn more calories when at rest). This throws out the usual healthy height/weight ratios.
If you don’t use weights regularly, you don’t need a Body Fat Analyser to tell you whether you’re fat. And nobody needs a silly pedometer. These are for people who feel they should exercise more, but can’t be bothered. They enable them to pretend that if they walk from their desk to the coffee machine enough times, they’ll one day be able to run for a bus without losing so much breath they can’t tell the driver where they’re going.
Kellogg’s are, of course, most famous for Cornflakes and they’re currently running an advertisement aimed at parents extolling the virtues of the breakfast cereal. It comes complete with a ‘science bit’ about a study that’s endorsed Kellogg’s cornflakes. Check the small print to find what Kellogg’s Cornflakes are better than and the answer is… nothing at all!
Sadly for three out of four people, Kellogg’s Body Fat Challenge is no better than nothing at all. Promotional materials make good use of the Loughborough University logo, so you might think the university, which majors on sport and fitness, has endorsed the diet. Loughborough’s apparently tame academics are regularly called upon to endorse Kellogg’s products. It’s all in the small print:
‘243 participants completed the challenge. 25% of volunteers lost 1% of their body fat. For 25% of volunteers there was an average inch loss of up to 1 inch from the torso measurements including the bust waist and hips. The sum of this inch loss could equal up to 3 inches.’
In other words, the science is that followers of this diet have a one in four chance of losing a very small amount of body fat if they eat Kellogg’s Special K for breakfast and replace all their ‘in-between meal treats’ with Kellogg’s Special K product. That’s right: the failure rate is three in four and note all the ‘up to’ this and ‘up to’ that qualifiers. I wonder how many gained weight on this diet.