TCS Daily

Celsius Rising?

By Peter C. Glover - June 8, 2006 12:00 AM

Celsius is a revolutionary new drink about to the hit the soft drink shelves at a store near each of us. Why revolutionary? Well in the very act of consuming its 10 or so calories the body will burn up around 70 or more calories and, the claim is, lose us up to 17 pounds in a single year -- just by regularly imbibing this new product.

This is great news in the light of the concerns over rising rates of obesity. And it may cause us to consider dropping dieting plans, gym membership renewal and give up our daily walks, swapping them for a negative-calorie soup and Celsius drinks lifestyle for the rest our days. But before we do, there are just a couple of things (I thought there might be) we should know about the scientific claims made by the manufacturers.

The new soda comes in three flavours - cola, lemon and lime and ginger ale. It was launched in 2005 when it won the Beverage Industry's Best New Product award for an energy drink also scientifically proven to actively burn our calories. In other words, drinking Celsius burns more calories than the drink itself contains.

Celsius contains a thermogenic blend. The process of thermogenesis (thermo: heat, genesis, creation) has, of course, been understood for some time. Thermogenetic agents stimulate the natural resting metabolic rate (RMR) that raises body temperature - which causes the body to burn additional calories.

Retailing for around $1.99 per 12-ounce bottle, Celsius, depending on the flavour, contains between five and ten calories. Janice Haley, vice president of Elite FX, Inc., which developed Celsius, says, "It naturally raises your metabolism by 12 percent over a three- to four-hour period. The net effect of this is that the 5 - 10 calories is more than 'eaten up' as the body burns between 67 to 72 calories."

The vital study came through what Haley calls the 'gold standard' of clinical research in June 2005. The International Society of Sports Nutrition conducted a 'double-blind, placebo-controlled, crossover study' that proved conclusively that Celsius does deliver on its claim. With the diet drinks market in a slump currently and having little new to offer in recent years, the study provides Haley and Elite FX with just the scientific statistics they need to put their ground-breaking new product into campaign overdrive. The market is still a $66 billion industry. With Celsius' unique 'anti-obesity' marketing angle, most of us can expect to see its distinctive bright cosmic swirl logo on our shelves before the year is out.

So, given the proven science, is there a downside? Well there may be. If there is, it may be in extrapolating the scientific findings over a 12-month period. That Celsius consumers can expect to lose 17 pounds in one year simply by regularly imbibing is where the potential science-rub comes.

Health Researcher Conrad Earnest warns, "Whether it'll facilitate weight loss or not is a total unknown. The people in this study only received one dosage...or they drank one bottle of the product and were tracked for three hours." He adds,

"They weren't tracked for long-term effect. Whether the study subjects' metabolisms sped up for sustained periods of time is unclear. So it could be feasible that on day one these people had a 12 percent increase in metabolism, but on day 60 they may have no increase in metabolism because their body has changed its regulatory patterns in order to decrease that increase in metabolism."

Obesity surgeon Dr Mitchell Rosalyn put it more succinctly: "A-plus for marketing, a C or incomplete for science, and a certain incomplete when it comes to weight loss."

Knowledge about negative calorie food effects is nothing new. We already know that a 25-calorie piece of broccolli (100 grams) burns 80 calories resulting in a net loss of 55 calories. And there are a wide variety of fat-burning food recipes in existence.

While the development of another obesity-combating food -- for the first time in liquid form -- can ostensibly be welcomed, the jury is still out on the long-term effect on the body. Both the ability of RMR stimulators to continue to aid weight loss at a sustained rate and the long-term effects of thermogenetic agents on the body, have yet to be assessed.

But if Celsius, and the new generation of fat-burning drinks it is likely to spawn, tempts us to cancel our daily walk, jog or gym class beware, the marketing may not tell the whole science story. Even Elite FX's marketing states Celsius ought not to be consumed by children under 12 and the elderly. Three bottles a day is also the limit for adult consumers. It is, after all, an energy-infusing drink containing 200 milligrams of caffeine - about the same as two cups of coffee.

It seems premature to discard the golden rule of common sense that a controlled diet -- perhaps in conjunction with negative-calorie food and drinks -- and daily exercise are together still the best recipe in the battle against rising obesity. Even with the advent of thermogenetic drinks the maxim no pain, no gain still holds.

Peter C. Glover is a TCS contributing writer.



Rising obesity is an individual thing. Either I gain more weight than I want to, and then have to take measures, or not. No one else should interfere, and certainly not the monster commonly referred to as "government".

If it sounds too good to be true
If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

I won't buy stock in this company. I don't invest in get rich quick schemes.

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