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Healbe's Gobe calorie-counting gadget is based on bad science

Healbe's Gobe calorie-counting gadget is based on bad science


Too bad it's overpromising

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Healbe's Gobe device for through-the-skin calorie counting is based on bad science. The idea is to make it as easy as possible to count calories — but calorie counting isn't a great measure. Worse, when I asked whether the product had been tested, with results published in a peer-reviewed journal (like Science or Nature), George Mikaberidze, the company's managing director, didn't seen to understand the question I was asking.

A self-published study doesn't inspire confidencePeer-reviewed publication is the gold standard for study results in health. Sadly, self-publishing a study doesn't meet those standards; it doesn't inspire much confidence. Mikaberidze was eager to tell me that Memorial Sloan-Kettering in New York and the Saint Petersburg State Institute of Health’s Medical and Sports Clinic had tested the device. I was referred to the website to see the study and results.

On the website, I saw no indication that Sloan-Kettering had been involved. Only 6 people were involved in the tests — a miniscule number by health study standards. In this tiny study, the calorie counter was found to measure calorie intake plus or minus a 15 percent error rate — a large error margin. There's more hope than science in this calorie counter.

The gadget will ship to Indiegogo backers at the end of the month.

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