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 5270   0  

IamA NASA scientist. I invented an ice vest that burns calories just by wearing it, while you sit on your butt. For some reason people find the SECOND part hard to believe. AMA!

I'm Canadian, but now live in California. I'm a professor at the University of California in Irvine, and I also work part-time at NASA's Jet Propulsion Lab in Pasadena. My research involves using computers in scientific ways, studying everything from galaxies, to cells (the biological kind, not mobile phones), to melting ice in Antarctica. In 2013 I also started The Cold Shoulder, a company that sells an ice vest that comfortably burns calories while you sit on your butt wearing it. It's real, it works, it's based on 50 years of science, but most people find it hard to believe you can burn excess calories sitting on your butt. Please note that although I do have a NASA badge, and I collaborate with NASA people on NASA/JPL, neither NASA nor JPL endorses this product; I just happen to work there, part-time.

EDIT: Many have asked for the URL to buy, so: you can buy the vest at http://1800IceVest.com, or http://TryIceVest.com . Yes we ship worldwide if you order from the FIRST site (not the second). And yes I know the site looks a bit scammy... we're working on improving it. :-) (Also, our main site 1800IceVest.com crashed last night due to demand... sorry.)

Here's a photo of me and my NASA badge. I'll start answering questions about 6:45pm (Pacific) 9:45pm (Eastern). https://www.dropbox.com/s/h6uwhj8obceqmis/2017-04-18%2018.02.18.jpg?dl=0

 392   0  

Why does your vest burn more calories than just cranking up the AC, or down the heat in Winter?

 647   0  

It may not, but it's a hell of a lot cheaper. You wanna cool your entire home to 65F? That's a lot of electricity. Consider this a personal AC device. Much less power required.

Chill walks in winter can help too---just be careful of frostbite!

 1061   0  

Does this affect the ratio of brown fat cells to white fat cells?

 1341   0  

Yes! Mild cold exposure can stimulate the conversion of white fat cells to brown fat. You've been doing your homework. :-)

 245   0  

In the info sheet, it says that the vest specifically targets brown fat. Doesn't this contradict what you just said, or am I misunderstanding?

 534   0  

No, you are not misunderstanding. I wrote that 4 years ago and I was wrong. I don't normally provide that InfoSheet.pdf any more; I really should update it. I've learned so much about metabolism since then. Sorry for that.

 194   0  

Interesting. So different than how the body treats red muscle vs white muscle?

 253   0  

Hmm. I've never heard of red and white muscle. I'll look that up after this AMA.

 208   0  

It's fast twitch vs slow, i.e. sprinting vs endurance. Red and white muscle ratios can't be changed; however, some studies show the nervous systems response can be. (very important for athletes). I understand a higher ratio of brown fat cells is healthier IIRC.

 322   0  

Oh right! Yes, I've heard of the twitch speed muscles vs not. But only heard. I don't know much about it.

Yes, more brown fat means less white fat. Which is a good thing.

 1060   0  

Have you thought about marketing this towards truck drivers? We seem like the perfect target audience. We sit alot eat shit food and carry freezers with us.

 761   0  

Wow. That's awesome. How do we market to you guys? Is there a mag? Website? Professional trade group of some sort? FB page? :-)

 309   0  

I can burn calories no matter what? Just how cold is this ice vest?

Follow-up question: what is the 50 years of science? (Edit:) If you mean shivering burns calories, I'd think the science would be older than 50 years, no?

 461   0  

If you have a heartbeat, you're always burning calories. :-) This vest helps you burn more calories. The ice we use, and the fabric around it, are used therapeutically. It's not uncomfortably cold. We call it "mild cold". It comes out of your freezer, but the fabric around it protects your skin from damage.

Yes, people have known about cold causing excess calorie burn for more than 50 years. :-) But it's been studied formally in the lab since about 1960.

 169   0  

How long does it stay cold, given a person of normal body temp on, say, a 75 degree day?

Also, does it come with its own freezer? I'm not moving my steaks out of the way for a giant vest.

 197   0  

It stays cold about 2-4 hours depending on environment. Water ice melts in less than an hour.

No you need your own freezer. :-) It's not a GIANT vest, though. :-)

 37   0  

What about us people without a heartbeat?

 343   0  

Vampires. Judging by "Twilight", none of you need to lose weight.

 454   0  

Are the calories spent just to keep you warm?

 656   0  

Yes. Basically we cool you just enough to stimulate your metabolism; shivering would be uncomfortable so we try to avoid that level of cold.

 267   0  

edit: How many calories are we talking about?

 406   0  

Our informal clinical tests show about 1-2 pounds of fat lost per week, all else being equal. This corresponds to about 500-1,000 calories (technically, kcal) per day. There are metabolic changes to your body that make it hard (or misleading) to directly measure calories burned. But since fat loss is what we're all most concerned about, that's the value we actually measure.

 249   0  

1-2lbs a week for being cold sounds like a pretty decent deal to me. How long would you have to wear it for results like that?

 234   0  

Our users see the results pretty much immediately.

The trick---and I have to admit this as an honest scientist---is that we don't know how long such results will continue. We do have users who started out fairly chubby and have been using it for months, and continue to see fat loss. YMMV, of courcse.

 98   0  

I took the question to be more along the lines: how long per day do you wear the vest for the stated results?

 168   0  

Ah. We recommend 1-2 hours, twice a day. Bascally wear it until it melts, at least once a day. (it takes 2-3 hours to melt an warm up)

 160   0  

Informal clinical test? Misleading data?

How was this study designed? How many were enrolled? What was measured?

As a scientist, why don't you published a peer reviewed study?

 201   0  

As I said elsewhere: The vest needs a clinical trial in order to have a peer-reviewed publication on it, and clinical trials cost about $100k. We don't have that cash lying around. The only way to have another academic do a clinical trial on a product pro-bono is if they think it's bogus; then they have an incentive to prove it wrong, for the public good. Problem is, everybody clinician I've talked to says, "Duh, of course it'll work. Why would I spend my hard-earned grant money to prove your product works? If you want me to do that, you'll need to pay for the trial." Kind of a catch-22 really.

You can read about our informal trial here: http://1800icevest.com/InfoSheet.pdf

 184   0  

You might do well to hire a graphic designer / marketer to tidy up your stuff. No offence, but your website and info LOOK like one of those dodgy weight loss / scam websites. It's a lot easier and cheaper to produce something that looks more professional and trustworthy these days - also there's no social media integration of any worth and the payment experience is a little bit of a red flag moment. A campaign should be easy to do with a single solid idea and some regular input, you can buy super cheap ads by the thousand as well to see if ads gain any traction. I'd be happy to give you some free advice if you like (I do this for a job).

 60   0  

Sure. What do you think of our latest site, not yet live:

http://ColdShoulder.wpengine.com

Ping me at wayne@ColdSh.com, I'd be happy to hear your free advice. :-)

Thanks again.

 68   0  

Much better layout and look, I feel for the designer who did such a great job with everything then had to use that logo ;)

Will follow up via email.

 55   0  

Sigh. Only a few people have trashed my logo (I created it), but when they do, they go on and on about it. :-)

I'll admit I'm a bit partial about the logo since I created it with loving care 4 years ago and it's been our logo ever since. But I'm always open to new ideas. (sob)

 47   0  

It's actually fine, I was just joking, but there's a few basic rules that you should follow. You can keep the logo as it is, but I would make a version that translates in to black and white and retains the original look. Imagine if it was going to be embossed or stitched in fabric in one colour. It's only a minor detail, but if things take off you'll find it easier to build a brand around it and put it on any surface you utilise. For now it's nothing to worry about and you should be proud of it. Logos are the first point of contact in many cases so people get the overly precious about them. Just look at the very first Apple logo. Didn't harm them :)

 17   0  

We actually do have black-on-white and white-on-black. Good point, perhaps we should use the other one on the new site. Thanks.

White: https://www.dropbox.com/s/2hqyhok7sp671ge/Head.png?dl=0 Black: https://www.dropbox.com/s/6ebrbxur4z0iu93/Black-jpg.jpg?dl=0

 27   0  

Does the vest have a size limit and would it work better on fatter people?

 43   0  

We have a one-size-fits-all that should fit chests up to about 65 inches. We also have a fitted one that goes to about 60 inches. See http://1800IceVest.com.

 273   0  

FYI your site looks about as much like a scam as it could look without actually being one. Actually there are some real scam sites that look more legit. Seriously, get someone to make you a clean, professional site. Personally I would never, ever buy from a site like that. The "three easy payments of $49.99!" the crossed out $199, the super cliche marketing bullet points, it all just screams mid-90s scam. It really doesn't inspire confidence in buyers.

 75   0  

In fact we've been told that many times, and I agree. But our marketing folks love it and say it'll convert. You and I are probably not indicative of the average web populace. Still... we are testing several new (and old) sites:

Here's the site I had before I had marketers get involved: http://ColdShoulderWeightLoss.com

Here's a newer one we just launched: http://TryIceVest.com

And here's a new site that we haven't finished developing yet---you can't even purchase yet: http://ColdShoulder.wpengine.com

Which do you prefer?

 206   0  

Not debating your claim, but has the ice vest gone through the FDA for approval and verification of results?

 368   0  

We have enquired if it needs FDA approval; the answer was "no". The FDA is only worried about things that could be dangerous, and they don't consider an ice vest dangerous.

We are careful, though, not to make medical claims. We are allowed to say it burns calories, or burns fat, but we're not allowed to say it "cures" anything. And that's fine, because that would be a false claim anyway.

 187   0  

Does it have any side effects like endup becomig evil and constantly making ice related puns?

 227   0  

Yes. If you wear it to sleep it'll envelop you and eat you like that old B-rate movie, "The Blob".

 92   0  

Given your claims, why aren't northerners skinnier than the rest of the population? I mean, they surely have a benefit from winter that should be measurable.

 78   0  

That's an excellent question. The problem is you need to control for all the relevant variables like diet, exercise, cultural disposition to get out... When you do control for all those variables, there is an observable difference between people in cool climates vs. warm ones. The best example is Switzerland (colder, specifically the German part) vs Germany (warmer). They have almost identical lifestyles, diet, and everything else. But the Swiss tend to be thinner on average. It's the cold.

Same thing can be seen in the US, albeit it's harder to see because so many other things vary between states. Texans tend to be heavier than New Yorkers, but is that diet? Exercise? It's hard to disentangle all those issues but people have tried, and there are differences in weight between colder and warmer climates.

 44   0  

I think then, it still comes down to diet. Increasing metabolism won't help if you respond with increased consumption.

 51   0  

Yes, diet is the most important aspect. I won't lie to you about that. This is about burning extra calories, while you're not in the gym.

Extreme cold will increase your appetite and would thus not help. We aim for mild cold, below the level that would make you hungrier. And our trials show that we've aimed just about right. Without even trying, most of our users lose fat in the long run while wearing our vest.

 135   0  

As a NASA Scientist, what do you feel is the most important meal of the day?

 372   0  

Breakfast --- skip it! Lots of research has shown that intermittent fasting is healthy for you. The simplest form of it is to skip breakfast.

 52   0  

How did you get a job at NASA?

 127   0  

I was actually on sabbatical. NASA doesn't pay me; I get paid by the University. But I have a desk at NASA and visit frequently.

Basically I said, "Hey, I wanna work on the climate change project, I'm an expert in computer modelling, and it won't cost you dime!". And I was in. :-)

 43   0  

Whats the most unbelievable piece of government technology that you have ever seen?

 72   0  

Saturn V? Moon lander?

I actually mean "unbelievable" in the "holy shit, we really did that? AMAZING!" category. If you're talking conspiracy theories, I don't keep up with those. There are too many.

 12   0  

What's prevented you from making ice underwear?

 52   0  

We actually considered that for April Fool's. We had the Chilly Willy(tm) and the Nippy Nips bra.

 66   0  

Hi, the vest looks neat and I'll probably pick it up once I'm able to. I'm at the computer a lot and I'm an amputee making it difficult to exercise, so this seems pretty convenient. This is is going to sound rude, but as an honest criticism, I can tell you right now that if it weren't for this AMA then I wouldn't even consider buying it though. The site looks like an early 2000s advertisement page with really obvious Photoshops, generic wording for testimonies, and rather poor coding. If the site looked more modern and didn't have such hamfisted advertising with more proof of credibility of who you are as well as maybe some more convincing testimonies (e.g. timelapse of someone's body as they use it w/ their review, though I understand this would require cooperation on the user's end) then you'd probably get a lot more purchases. The product itself seems amazing to me, perfect for the society we live in today, but yeah, the advertisement just seems a bit subpar.

As for my questions:

1.) There's two different versions of the vest, is the $150 one less effective than the $200 one? I ask because the $200 seems more encompassing whereas the $150 would be more loose and I feel like that'd take away from the point of the vest.

2.) I read you mention earlier in a comment that one of the saddest parts of the current presidential administration is less funding towards climate change research (rest in peace). How worrying is this to you and to the people you know at NASA? It seems like results on how worrying this is varies from "we'll all be dead in a couple of hundred years" to "we'll all be dead in about fifty", the latter of which seeming more convincing and supported by evidence though exaggerated on my end.

 77   0  

Thanks for the website comments. I agree, an we're working to improve it. As to your questions:

  1. They're both equally effective. The Classic just looks a little... classier. If you're just gonna wear it around the house, get the PRO.

  2. My collaborators who actually get paid by NASA are very, very worried. I have the lucky disposition of being paid by the University of California, and just having a desk at NASA---they don't pay me.

We won't all be dead due to global climate change. There will just be huge costs involved in the damage to coastlines, the displacement of hundreds of millions of people worldwide away from coastal cities, and the environmental damage caused by people moving into undisturbed wilderness, farmland becoming parched soil, etc, etc, etc. There will be death and destruction on a scale as yet unseen... but we won't perish. Our great grandchildren will despise us, but they'll be alive. Mostly.