You can find many blogs with bad tips for weight loss on the Internet. Most of these tips are not proven, or have literally been proven not to work. Here are the 12 biggest lies, myths and misconceptions about weight loss.
1. All “Calories” are the Same:
The calorie is a measure of energy. All “calories” have the same energy content. However, this does NOT mean that all sources of calories have the same effects on your weight. Different foods pass through different metabolic pathways and can have very different effects on hunger and the hormones that regulate body weight.
For example, a calorie of protein is not the same as a calorie of fat or a calorie of carbohydrates. The replacement of carbohydrates and fats with proteins can increase metabolism, reduce appetite and cravings, while promoting the optimization of the function of some weight-regulating hormones. In addition, the calories in whole foods (such as fruits) tend to fill you much more than the calories in refined foods (such as caramel).
Summary: Not all sources of calories have the same effects on health and weight. For example, protein can increase metabolism, reduce appetite and improve the function of weight-regulating hormones.
2. Losing Weight is a Linear Process:
Losing weight is usually not a linear process, as some people think. Some days and weeks you can lose, while for others you can earn a little. This is no cause for concern. It is normal for body weight to fluctuate up and down a few pounds. For example, you may be carrying more food in your digestive system or your body may be holding more water than usual. This is even more pronounced in women, since the weight of water can fluctuate a lot during the menstrual cycle. As long as the general trend is the decrease in weight, it does not matter how much it fluctuates, because you will also be successful in the long term.
Summary: Losing weight can take a long time. The process is generally not completely linear, since the weight tends to fluctuate a few pounds up and down.
3. Supplements Can Help You Lose Weight:
The weight loss supplement industry is huge. There are all kinds of different supplements that claim to have dramatic effects, but they are never very effective when studied. The main reason they can work for some people is the placebo effect. People fall for marketing and want supplements to help them lose weight, so they become more aware of what they eat. That said, there are some supplements that can have a modest effect on weight loss. The best can help you lose a few kilos for several months. Check out this article: 4 supplements for a healthy life.
Summary: Most weight loss supplements are completely useless. The best can help you lose a few pounds, at most.
4. Obesity has to Do with Willpower, Not with Biology:
It is completely false that weight gain or loss is due solely and exclusively to willpower, or to make a “choice” to do this or that. Obesity is a very complex disorder with tens, if not hundreds of contributing factors. There are numerous genetic variables that have been shown to be associated with obesity, and several medical conditions (hypothyroidism, PCOS, depression) that may increase the risk of weight gain.
“The body also has numerous hormones and biological pathways that are supposed to regulate body weight”.
These tend to be dysfunctional in people with obesity, so it is much harder to lose weight and keep it on the line. For example, being resistant to the hormone leptin is one of the main causes of obesity. The leptin signal is supposed to tell your brain that it has enough stored fat. When leptin is not able to deliver its signal, the brain thinks that you are starving. Trying to exert “willpower” and being aware of eating less in the face of the hunger signal driven by leptin is very difficult, if not impossible for many people. There are even babies who are becoming obese these days. How can anyone attribute that to personal responsibility or lack of will? It is very clear that there are biological factors at play. Eating is driven by behavior, and behavior is driven by physiology and biochemistry. It is an undeniable fact. Of course, this does not mean that people must give up and accept their genetic destiny. Even so, losing weight is still possible, although it is even much more difficult for some people.
Summary: Obesity is a very complex disorder. There are many genetic, biological and environmental factors that can have an important effect on body weight. It is not just about willpower.
5. “Eat Less, and Move More” is Good Advice:
Body fat is simply stored energy (calories). To lose fat, you must get more calories out of your fat cells than entering them. In other words, if the calories that are burned exceed the calories that are ingested, fat loss occurs. That’s a fact. For this reason, it seems logical that “eating less and moving more” would cause weight loss. It works on both sides of the calorie equation. However, this is really terrible advice for those with a serious weight problem. Most people who follow this advice end up gaining weight again and there are physiological and biochemical reasons for this. An important and sustained change in perspective and behavior is necessary to lose weight with diet and exercise. Simply telling people to eat less and move more is not enough. Telling someone with obesity to just “eat less, and move more” is like telling someone with depression to cheer up, or someone with alcoholism to drink less. It’s ridiculous and inefficient, period.
Summary: Telling people with weight problems to just “eat less, and move more” is ineffective advice. It rarely works in the long term.
6. Carbohydrates Make You Fat:
Low carb diets can help with weight loss. That is a scientific fact. In many cases, this happens even without conscious calorie restriction. Even when carbohydrate intake is kept low and protein intake is high, people lose weight. However, this does not mean that carbohydrates themselves cause weight gain. The obesity epidemic began around 1980, but humans have been eating carbohydrates for a long time. The truth is that refined carbohydrates (such as refined grains and sugar) are definitely related to weight gain, but whole foods that are high in carbohydrates are very healthy.
Summary: Low carb diets are very effective for losing weight. However, carbohydrates are not what causes obesity in the first place. Whole foods of unique carbohydrate-based ingredients are incredibly healthy.
7. Fat Makes You Fat:
Body fat is stored fat. Therefore, eating more fat should make us store more of it. It seems logical. However, it turns out that things are not so simple. There is nothing in fat that fattens exclusively, except that it is often found in calorie dense junk foods. As long as the calories stay within the limit of your energy expenditure, fat does not make you fat. In addition, diets that are high in fat (but low in carbohydrates) have been shown to cause weight loss in numerous studies. As with so many things in nutrition, this depends entirely on the context. Eating a lot of fat along with a diet high in carbohydrates, high in calories, and that includes a lot of junk food will definitely make you fat. But it’s not just because of the fat.
Summary: Fat has often been blamed for the obesity epidemic of these times, but there is nothing inherent in fat from normal fat intake. It depends entirely on the context.
8. Eating Breakfast is Necessary to Lose Weight:
Studies show that those who do not eat breakfast tend to weigh more than those who eat breakfast. However, this is probably because people who eat breakfast are, on average, more likely to have other healthy lifestyle habits. his was recently tested in a controlled trial, the largest of its kind. This was a study of 309 men and women with whom recommendations on eating or skipping breakfast were compared. No effect was found after a study period of 4 months. It didn’t matter if people ate breakfast or skipped breakfast, nor did it have an effect on weight. It is also a myth that breakfast increases metabolism, or that eating multiple smaller meals makes you burn more calories during the day. Eat when you’re hungry, stop eating when you’re full. Eat breakfast if you wish, but don’t expect it to have an important effect on your weight.
Summary: It is true that those who do not eat breakfast tend to weigh more than those who eat breakfast, but controlled trials show that it is not important for weight loss if breakfast is eaten or skipped.
9. Fast Food Always Makes You Fat:
Not all “fast” foods are bad. Because greater health awareness has developed in the world, many fast food chains have begun to offer healthier options. There are even whole chains that have become very popular that focus exclusively on serving healthy foods (like Chipotle). It is possible to get something relatively healthy in most restaurants. For example, a steak or a hamburger without bread, with a baked potato. Even the cheapest fast food restaurants often offer a healthier (or at least less harmful) dish than their main dishes, such as a chicken salad. These foods may not meet the demands of those who have a rigid organic diet, but these options remain a decent option if you don’t have the time or energy to cook a healthy meal.
Summary: Fast food does not have to be unhealthy or fattening. Most fast food chains offer some healthier alternatives to their main options.
10. Weight Loss Diets Really Work:
The weight loss industry wants you to believe that “diets” really work. However, studies show that the diet almost never works in the long term. 85% of people end up gaining the weight lost after one year. In addition, studies show that people who decide to follow a diet are actually the ones most likely to gain weight in the future. In reality, diet is a consistent predictor of future weight gain – not loss. The truth is that you probably shouldn’t see weight loss with a diet mentality. Instead, project a goal to change your lifestyle and become a healthier, happier and more fit person. If you manage to increase your activity levels, eat healthier and sleep better, then you will most likely lose weight as a natural side effect. Deciding to start a diet and starving will probably not work for you in the long term.
Summary: Despite what the weight loss industry would make you believe, the diet usually does not work in the long term. Most people recover weight.
11. People with Obesity are Not Healthy, Thin People are Healthy:
It is true that obesity is associated with an increased risk of several chronic diseases. This includes type 2 diabetes, heart disease, increased risk of some cancers, and others. However, there are still many people with obesity who are metabolically healthy, and a lot of thin people who have these same chronic diseases. It seems to matter where fat accumulates. If you have a lot of fat in the abdominal area, around the organs, usually this type of fat is much more strongly associated with metabolic diseases. The fat that accumulates under the skin, subcutaneous fat, is more a cosmetic problem.
Summary: Obesity is linked to several chronic diseases, such as type 2 diabetes. However, many people with obesity are metabolically healthy, and many thin people are not.
12. “Diet” Foods Can Help You Lose Weight:
A lot of junk food is marketed as healthy. Examples include low-fat foods, non-fat foods, processed gluten-free foods and high-sugar drinks such as energy drinks or vitamins. However, you can’t really trust these foods. Labels and statements that claim to be healthy are usually put there to deceive, not to inform. Some junk food vendors are really immoral. They will lie to you to buy for you and your children, junk food that is super harmful and also makes you fat. A good rule of thumb: if a food container tells you that it is healthy, that food is probably bad for you.