Fidgets keep the flab at bay
Friday 08 January 1999
Squirming in your seat, scratching your head and generally changing your posture frequently can burn as many calories as strolling for 15 minutes every hour, the scientists found. In an eight-week study, 16 volunteers were fed the equivalent of two large burgers a day on top of their normal food needs, while taking very little exercise.
Their weight gains were measured and the scientists found that the people who had fidgeted the most were the ones who had suffered the smallest increase.
The scientists found that for every 1,000 extra calories consumed by the volunteers, 39 per cent ended up as fat, but up to 33 per cent was burnt off by "Neat", an acronym for "non-exercise activity thermogenesis", or, in layman's terms, fidgeting. "Those people who had the greatest increase in Neat gained the least fat and those who had the least change in Neat gained the most fat," said James Levine, an endocrinologist at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota.
The study, reported in the journal Science, showed that some naturally slim people may stay that way because they are able to burn off extra calories by general sedentary activity, said Michael Jensen, a member of the Mayo team.
"When some people overeat, Neat switches on to waste the excess energy. This study suggests that efforts to activate Neat, perhaps through behavioural cues, may help to prevent obesity," Dr Jensen said.
The scientists concluded: "As humans overeat, those with effective activation of Neat can dissipate the excess energy so that it is not available for storage as fat, whereas those with lesser degrees of Neat activation will likely have greater fat gain and be predisposed to develop obesity."
- 1 What happens to your body when you give up sugar?
- 2 Have sex with your iPad thanks to the new sex toy no-one asked for
- 3 The 'sex selfie stick' lets you FaceTime the inside of a vagina
- 4 Why you're almost certainly more like your father than your mother
- 5 Westboro Baptist Church couldn't picket Leonard Nimoy's funeral because they didn't know where it was
Mark Zuckerberg: Facebook CEO's one simple test for who to hire
Bali nine: Welcome to 'Execution Island' – the Indonesian holiday resort where foreigners are sent to die
'A girl is more responsible for rape than a boy': The statement that shocked the world... except India
The 'sex selfie stick' lets you FaceTime the inside of a vagina
Saudi Arabia executions now at 'unprecedented rate' after kingdom kills four more in two days
Durham Free School: 'Creationism taught at' free school facing closure
Nearly 100,000 of Britain's poorest children go hungry after parents' benefits are cut
End of the licence fee: BBC to back radical overhaul of how it is funded
Nigel Farage promises Ukip will not 'stigmatise' would-be migrants – and says he wants 'everyone to speak the same language'
Ex-head of MI6: 'We shouldn't kid ourselves that Russia is on a path to democracy'
Most people think legal tax avoidance is just as wrong as illegal tax evasion, poll suggests
£16000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They are an award-winning digit...
£45000 - £55000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Senior VMware Platform En...
£10000 - £16000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A distributor of specialist ele...
£17000 - £19000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A distributor of specialist ele...