Dissecting the Misinformation about Weight Loss and Management
You’re looking to get down to your ideal weight and maintain it and you’ve discovered that there’s no shortage of opinion and advice regarding the best way to do that. Unfortunately, most of those “must-do’s” are part of the vast amount of misleading information surrounding weight loss. Let’s dispel some of the most common myths:
- You must exercise to lose weight—We’ve discussed this in more detail in other blogs. Scientific studies show that this is simply not true. Research indicates no significant difference in weight loss between groups that engaged in moderate exercise as well as dietary control and groups that only controlled their food intake.
- Losing weight requires that you go to extremes—You don’t need to starve yourself, fast for days, or drink gallons of water every day. In fact, crash diets are commonly one of the least effective ways to lose weight, as your body can react by shutting down your metabolism. Additionally, when you’re hungry most or all of the time, you can easily lose your motivation.
- Losing weight is simply about intake vs. output—There are a number of potential problems with simply counting calories (burned vs. consumed). According to research published in Scientific American, most packaged foods have misleading information about calories on their labels, reflecting a system of averages that doesn’t take the complexity of digestion into account. Scientists say that the number of calories our bodies actually take from foods can vary, based on how we prepare the food, what type of bacteria we have to digest the food and how much energy is required to digest that food.
- To lose weight, you want to eat foods that are “low fat” or “no fat”—Fats are not the only culprit in weight gain. Carbohydrates, when consumed in unhealthy quantities, can convert to triglycerides, a form of fat, and can be stored in your fat tissue. Many “low fat” and “no fat” foods have significant amounts of sugar and other carbs.
- Drinking a lot of water will help you lose weight—Water is great for hydration, but doesn’t contribute directly to weight loss. However, thirst and hunger can often be confused, so drinking more water can lead to less snacking.
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