Friday, September 01, 2017

Breath Diet

So apparently there's this new fad going around called the Breath Diet.


Basically, by breathing vigorously in a specific position for 5 minutes a day, you can lose weight. The founder realised this method works for weight loss by accident when he was doing these exercises for his back pain. I have so many problems with this. Let me list them for you: 1. It claims the increased intake of oxygen will lead to increased burning of fat. This is bloody pseudo-science. Science has shown that the only effective way to burning fat is through med to high-intensity exercise. 2. Correlation vs causation Assuming he is telling the truth, there is zero evidence that the breathing was what led to his weight loss. Just because two things happened at the same time does not necessarily mean one thing caused the other. If I started losing weight around the same time I start being extra creepy around women, does that mean being creepy helps people lose weight? 3. He is an actor. Why the hell would anyone look to an actor for health tips?? I don't understand why people love to follow health advice from celebrities (Gwyneth Paltrow is another one, although I am very ok with her advising women on how to have anal sex, that's perfectly fine). It's as dumb as letting a politician advise you on whether climate change is real and no one does that do they?

4. Why 5 minutes?
How did he come up with the magic number of 5 minutes? Why not 10? Or 2 minutes? I did not see any explanation for this number. 1. Counter-argument 1: People have apparently tried it and it works If a million people try it (apparently he sold a million books or videos in Japan), some of them will lose weight, but it might not mean they lost weight because of this "diet". These people would have lost weight either way even without doing this diet, but because the weight loss happened while they did this diet, they will then believe this is the reason (correlation, confirmation bias). This is very naive. Let me give you an example. Let's say I was a con man and I start going around the hospitals in Singapore claiming that I have magical powers that can heal the sick. I start praying (fake praying of course) for all the very sick people there. Out of a 1000 people I do this for, there is a pretty decent chance that some of them might get a bit better, and if I am really lucky a few of them might even recover fully. These people would have gotten better even if I didn't visit them but they will remember me praying for them so they will immediately point to me or God as the reason for their recovery. The majority of those who did not get better will ignore the fact that my prayers didn't work because they were no worse off than before. This is what is happening here as well, and this is what is known as confirmation bias. And this is why faith healers are bullshit too.
2. Counter-argument 2: It's only 1 minute a day, it's no harm doing it, what if it works then you benefitted from it. This sounds like an almost valid argument, but here is my counter. If I say to you if you call my name 3 times before you sleep you will be safe from harm because I will watch over you, would you do it? Obviously not, even if it takes minimal effort because it is bloody ridiculous. Ditto with respect to this, I would get the same benefit by praying to God for weight loss. And even if it works, how do I know it is because of the breathing? (see counter-argument 1) If this thing was real, he could provide it by doing a scientific study (I can bet given how popular it is, he will have no issue getting scientists to test his claim). But he will not because he knows it will be debunked as soon as he does it.

I am begging you all who want to believe this nonsense, just think through it logically. And not just this, but also other fads like juice diets that are supposed to detox your body (nonsense), foot pads that drain the toxins out of your body (more nonsense). Stop believing what these celebrities or other people tell you, and listen to doctors and scientists. Rant over. Selamat Hari Raya!