Have you heard of the phrase “don’t believe everything you read”? An addition to this saying should be the phrase “don’t believe everything you hear”.Particularly when it comes to nutrition, everyone has their own opinion.
There are so many different pieces of advice out there that it’s hard to figure out which one to follow. Advertisements tell you one thing, friends tell you another, your parents tell you what they were told when they were kids, and doctors recommend against most of what you’ve read.
So how can you understand all this? Are all fats and sugars evil? Are all “fat-free products” as healthy as they pretend to be? Is it ever OK to skip your meals? The following are the 5 biggest lies, myths, and misconceptions about diets and weight loss.
1. All calories are equal
Calories are the scale for the measurement of energy. All calories contain the same energy content. However, this does not mean that all calorie sources impact your weight the same way. Different foods go through different metabolic pathways and can have a variety of different effects on hunger and the hormones regulating your body weight. For example, a protein calorie is not the same as a carb or fat calorie.
Replacing carbs and fat with protein boosts your metabolism and reduces appetite and cravings, while also optimizing the functions of weight-regulating hormones.
Additionally, calories from whole foods like fruit are much more filling than calories from refined foods, such as chocolate and candy.
2. Losing weight is a linear process
Losing weight is not really a linear process, as people seem to think. Some days and weeks you might lose weight, while on others you might have a weight gain. This is not a cause for worry. Everyone’s body weight fluctuates up and down by a few pounds. For example, some days you may carry more food in your digestive system or your body may hold on to more water than usual. This is even more obvious in women, as water weight fluctuates significantly during the menstrual cycle. As long as the general trend is going downwards, fluctuations don’t matter, you will still succeed in losing weight over the long term.
3. Supplements can help you lose weight
The weight loss supplement industry is a huge one. There are many companies that claim that their supplements have dramatic effects, but they’re rarely ever effective when studied. These supplements work for some people mainly due to the placebo effect. People believe the marketing tactics and want the supplements to let them lose weight, so they become more conscious of their eating habits. That said, a few supplements do have some effect on weight loss. The best ones will help you shed a small amount of weight. So, make sure you do your research.
4. Obesity is about willpower, not biology
It is wrong to say that weight is all about willpower. Obesity is a very complex disorder with many contributing factors. A number of genetic variables are associated with obesity, and various medical conditions, such as hypothyroidism, PCOS, and depression, increases your body’s vulnerability to weight gain. Your body also has a variety of hormones and biological pathways that are responsible for regulating body weight. These tend to not be working as intended in people with obesity, making it much more difficult to lose weight and keep it off. For example, being resistant to leptin hormone causes obesity. The leptin signal tells your brain that enough fat has been stored. Yet, if you’re resistant to leptin, your brain keeps signaling that you’re starving. Trying to maintain willpower and consciously eat less in the face of the leptin-driven starvation signal is a very difficult task. Of course, this doesn’t mean that people should just give up the idea of losing weight. Losing weight is entirely possible — it’s just a more difficult road for some people.
5. Eat less, move more
Body fat is basically just stored energy. If you want to lose fat, you need to burn more calories than you consume. This is why it seems only logical that eating less and moving more would lead weight loss. While this advice is good in theory, especially if you make a huge lifestyle change, it’s a bad recommendation for people with a serious weight problem. Most people who do this end up regaining any lost weight due to physiological and biochemical factors. A major and sustained change in perspective and behavior is necessary to lose weight with exercise and diet. Consuming less food and increasing physical activity isn’t enough. Telling an obese person to simply eat less and move more is like telling someone with depression to cheer up or someone with alcoholism to just drink less.
In conclusion, the relationship between food, your body, and your weight is a complex one. If you want to lose weight, try learning about evidence-based changes you can make to your diet and lifestyle.
Stay healthy, stay safe:)