Take five minutes out of your day to take long breaths and you’ll lose weight.
At least that’s the claim from Ryosuke Miki, the developer of the Long Breath Diet that’s sweeping Japan. But can you really shed pounds just from concentrating on breathing technique?
Miki, a Japanese actor, said he developed the Long Breath Diet after he noticed that taking long breaths helped him lose 28 pounds in 50 days, according to Tofugu. The Long Breath Diet creator explains how to use the system in a 6-minute video in Japanese.
Tofugu translated the video, and there are two ways to methods to the Long Breath Diet:
Tighten your butt, put one foot in front of your body, placing most of your weight on your back foot. Then, breathe in for three seconds raising your hands in the air. As you exhale, use your whole body to push the air out of your lungs, getting most of it out in the first part (also don’t forget to make the noise that’s in the video). Your exhale should last seven seconds. The difficult part is continuing to push when you don’t really have air to breathe out. Do this six times. It should take about one minute.
Tighten your butt cheeks and stand straight up. Put one hand on your lower abdomen and one hand on your lower back to keep your back straight. Breathe in for three seconds while sucking in your midsection. Breathe out for seven seconds while sucking in your stomach even more.
But does the Long Breath Diet really work? Some experts are skeptical that you can lose pounds just from taking long breaths.
Among those experts is Richard Godfrey, chief physiologist at the British Olympic Medical Center. He told the Daily Mail that focusing on breathing isn’t enough to shed pounds.
“Medium to high intensity work out - such as rowing, brisk walking, or running - over a long period is the only way to burn up fat and elevate metabolism,” he told the tabloid. “Deep breathing and gentle exercises for five minutes a day is not going to burn up enough calories to transform body shape.'”
A metabolic physiology professor said not only is the Long Breath Diet ineffective, it might actually be harmful.
“Inhaling and exhaling too deeply can disturb the balance between carbon dioxide and oxygen in the body needed to neutralize the blood. This can cause light headedness and even make someone faint,” Ian McDonald of the School of Biomedical Sciences in Derbyshire, England, told the Daily Mail.
McDonald said any results from the Long Breath Diet would be negligible.
“Contraction of muscles caused by exercise mobilizes fat stores. But it is only vigorous aerobic sport that triggers enough energy to turn fat into fuel. Deep breathing alone will burn up fat by two per cent at best,” the professor said.
An advertisement posted on Tofugu featuring the Long Breath Diet touts the technique as a “medical breakthrough” and provides a money-back guarantee.
An unnamed Tofugu employee claimed the diet has been a success.
“I still can’t believe the weight I lost!” the advertisement reads. “Now I can work my midriff shirts and wear my abs with pride. Thank you Long Breath Diet!”