Common Weight Loss Myths Busted
Weight loss advice is so common (and contentious) now. There are competing opinions everywhere and it can be really hard to know who to listen to. Just for now, let’s forget about “who’s right” and let’s focus on “what’s right.”
To try and cut through the weight loss “noise” that’s bombarding you all the time lets address the most common weight loss myths:
Myth 1: Calories cause weight gain, and fewer calories are the path to weight loss
This is a really tough one to counter because without a doubt, calories ARE important for weight loss. If you eat and absorb a ton more than you use, then your body’s wisdom will store some for later. Calories do matter.
But, they are not the “be-all and end-all” of weight loss; they’re important, but they’re one factor, not the only factor.
People eat too many calories, not because they’re hungry, but because they feel sad, lonely, bored, tired or stressed. Or they could overeat because they’re out with friends, happy and celebrating. Or because the food is hyper-palatable (shorthand for deliberately and scientifically made to encourage over-eating). And all these factors and feelings interact with our gastrointestinal, nervous and hormonal systems; all of which influence our calorie intake.
Myth: “Eat less, move more” is good advice
Well, then we’re all in tip-top shape, right? Because people have been doling out this advice (myth) for years.
The premise of this is based on the above myth that calories in minus calories out equals your weight. So, eat fewer calories, and burn off more calories (because human physiology is a simple math equation, right?).
It should be this simple… but it’s not.
Even if people can happily and sustainably follow this advice (which they can’t!); it completely negates other factors that contribute to weight problems. Things like the causes of overeating we mentioned above. Not to mention our genetics, health conditions we’re dealing with or our exposure to compounds that are “obesogenic.”
Myth: A calorie is a calorie
Can we please put this one to bed?
Science has confirmed several caloric components of food differ from others. For example, the “thermic effect of food” (TEF) is that some nutrients require calories to be metabolized. They can slightly increase your metabolism, just by eating them.
For example, when you metabolize protein you burn more calories than when you metabolize carbohydrates. Proteins and carbohydrates both have 4 calories/gram; but, the TEF of protein = 15–30%; and the TEF for carbohydrates = 5–10%.
Here’s another example of a calorie not being a calorie. Different fats are metabolized differently. Medium chain triglycerides (fats) (MCTs) have the same 9 calories/gram that other fats do; but, they’re metabolized by the liver before getting into the bloodstream and therefore aren’t utilized or stored the same way as other fats.
Add to this the fact that calorie measuring is not an exact science. In fact, the calories recorded on foods can be up to 25% out so if you think you’re eating 2000 calories a day you could in fact, be eating anywhere between 1500 and 2500 calories!
Myth: Buy this supplement/tea/food/magic potion to lose weight
There is no magic pill for weight loss. No supplement, tea, food, or other potion will do the trick.
There are thousands of products that make these claims, and they’re full of <put expletive here. The only thing you will lose is your money (and possibly your hope). So, please don’t believe this myth. There is a reason most people who lose weight can’t keep it off. The real magic is in adopting a sustainable holistic and healthy approach to living your life. What you need is a long-term lifestyle makeover, not a product. There are NO quick fixes.
Weight loss can be hard! There are too many people out there trying to make it sound like they have the simple solution (or the latest and greatest!).
Don’t fall for the myths that say:
- Is as simple as calories in versus calories out
- “Eat less move more” is all you need to think about
- A calorie is a calorie
- Buy this supplement/tea/food/magic potion to lose weight