Several readers asked me to comment on articles that are making the rounds that suggest that watching horror movies helps people lose weight. It’s actually a recycled story that comes around every year or two but I haven’t talked about it before so let’s have do it!
Having apparently answered all other movie-related questions, Amazon’s LOVEFiLM commissioned a study of the effects of various horror movies on heart rate, oxygen intake, carbon dioxide output, and calories burned.
According to this study, the movie with the highest calories burned was The Shining at 184 calories in 146 minutes. That’s 75 calories an hour. If that’s something that interests you, you may also want to know that according to one of those annoying calorie burning charts, knitting burns 85 calories an hour. Don’t get me wrong, your chances of long term weighloss are still abysmal, but at least you can get some mittens out of the deal and don’t have to sleep with the lights on.
But even if you love horror movies before you sign up to watch hours of them as your new diet, it might interest you to know that the fight or flight adrenal response that horror movies cause that it responsible for the calories burning has been shown, over the long term, to be linked to serious health consequences as well as creating…wait for it… weight gain! And this is where we shake our heads at all the sources that picked this up claimed that watching horror movies is “good for your health” based on the fact that they may burn a few calories.
What does all this mean? I think it means that some places will publish literally anything that is purported to be about weight loss, which might be funnier if actual serious conversations about health weren’t getting constantly drowned out by ridiculous and pointless conversations about weight loss. I think it also helps to illustrate the issues with confusing things that might burn calories or make someone’s body smaller (albeit, likely temporarily) with things that might support their health.
I look forward to the days when we can leave the weight loss talk behind and have some real conversations about health and our options (including the fact that health is not an obligation, barometer of worthiness, completely within our control or guaranteed under any circumstances). As for the articles about this study, I’m trying to think of them as more dark comedy than horror.
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