There are many tips and magical solutions for weight loss on the internet, which are totally false and discarded through studies and scientific evidence, and here we collect 12 of the most common and fallacious myths.
There are many bad tips for losing weight on the Internet.
Most of them have not been tested , 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 caloric protein is not the same as a calorie of fat or a calorie of carbohydrates.
Replacing carbohydrates and fats with protein can stimulate metabolism, reduce appetite and cravings, while optimizing the function of some hormones that regulate weight.
In addition, the calories in whole foods (such as fruit) tend to be much more filling than the calories in refined foods (such as sweets).
Not all sources of calories have the same effects on health and weight. For example, proteins can increase metabolism, reduce appetite and improve the function of weight-regulating hormones.
2. Weight loss is a linear process
Losing weight is generally 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 by a few grams, and up to a kilo or a little more.
For example, you may be carrying more food in your digestive system or your body may be holding more water than normal.
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 down, no matter how much it fluctuates, you will succeed in the long term.
Losing weight can take a long time. The process is generally not completely linear, since the weight tends to fluctuate up and down by a few hundred grams.
3. Supplements can help you lose weight
The weight loss supplement industry is massive.
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 may work in some people is because of the placebo effect. People fall into marketing and want supplements to help them lose weight, so they are 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 pounds in several months.
Most weight loss supplements are completely useless. The best can help you lose a few pounds, at most.
4. Obesity is about willpower, not biology
It is completely false that weight gain or loss is about willpower, or making a “decision” to do this or that.
Obesity is a very complex disorder with dozens, 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 , which makes it much harder to lose weight and maintain it.
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 you have enough stored fat. When leptin fails to deliver its signal, the brain thinks that you are starving.
Trying to exert “willpower” and eat less consciously in front of the starvation signal driven by leptin is extremely difficult, if not impossible , for many people.
There are even babies who are becoming obese these days. How can anyone blame it on personal responsibility or lack of willpower? It is very clear that there are biological factors at play.
Feeding is driven by behavior, and behavior is driven by physiology and biochemistry. This is an undeniable fact.
Of course, this does not mean that people must give up and accept their genetic destiny. Losing weight is still possible, but for some people it is much, much harder.
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, move more” is good advice
Body fat is simply stored energy (calories).
To lose fat, more calories need to get out of your fat cells than enter them.
In other words, if calories exceed calories, fat loss occurs. That’s a fact.
For this reason, it seems logical that “eating less and moving more” causes 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 recovering it, and there are physiological and biochemical reasons for it.
An important and sustained change in perspective and behavior is needed to lose weight with diet and exercise. Simply telling people to eat less and move more is not enough.
Telling someone with obesity to simply “eat less, move more” is like telling someone with depression to cheer up , or someone with alcoholism who simply drinks less. It’s ridiculous and inefficient, period.
Telling people with weight problems to simply “eat less, move more” is ineffective advice. It rarely works in the long term.
6. Carbohydrates make you fat
Low carb diets can help you lose weight. It is a scientific fact.
In many cases, this happens even without conscious caloric restriction. As long as carbohydrates remain low and protein intake is high, people lose weight.
However, this does not mean that carbohydrates by 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 rich in carbohydrates are very healthy.
Low carb diets are very effective for losing weight. However, carbohydrates are not the cause of obesity in the first place. Integral foods based on single ingredient carbohydrates are incredibly healthy.
7. Fat makes you fat
Body fat is stored fat.
So, eating more fat should make us store more. It seems logical.
However, it turns out that things are not so simple . There is nothing that only fattens fat, except that it is often found in calorie dense junk foods .
While the calories are within range, fat does not make you fat. In addition, numerous studies have shown that diets high in fat (but low in carbohydrates) cause weight loss.
As with so many things in nutrition, this totally depends on the context.
Eating a lot of fat along with a diet high in carbohydrates, high in calories and based on junk food will definitely make you fat. But it’s not just because of the fat.
The fat has often been blamed for the obesity epidemic, but there is nothing inherent in fat fattening in the diet. It totally depends on the context.
8. Breakfast is necessary to lose weight
Studies show that people 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.
This was recently tested in a controlled trial, the largest of its kind. This was a study of 309 men and women who compared the recommendations of eating or not having breakfast.
They found no effect after a 4 month study period. It didn’t matter if people ate or skipped breakfast, nor did it have an effect on weight.
It is also a myth that breakfast stimulates metabolism, or that eating several smaller meals causes more calories to burn throughout the day.
Eat when you’re hungry, when you’re full . Eat breakfast if you wish, but do not expect it to have an important effect on your weight.
It is true that people who don’t quit tend to weigh more than people who eat breakfast, but controlled trials show that weight loss doesn’t matter if you eat or skip breakfast.
9. Fast food always makes you fat
Not all fast food is bad.
Due to the growing health awareness in the world, many fast food chains have begun to offer healthier options.
There are even whole chains that have become popular that focus exclusively on serving healthy foods (such as chipotle).
It is possible to get something relatively healthy in most restaurants . For example, a steak or a hamburger without bread, with a roasted potato.
Even most cheap fast food restaurants often have something healthier (or at least less unhealthy) than their main offerings, such as a chicken salad.
These foods may not meet the demands of rigid organic consumers, but these options remain a decent option if you don’t have the time or energy to cook a healthy meal.
Fast food does not have to be unhealthy or fattening. Most fast food chains offer healthier alternatives to their main offerings.
10. Weight loss diets really work
The weight loss industry wants you to believe that “diets” work.
However, studies show that the diet almost never works in the long term. 85% of people end up recovering weight in a year.
In addition, studies show that people who 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 approach weight loss with a diet mentality . Instead, make a goal to change your lifestyle and become a healthier, happier and fit person.
If you manage to increase your activity levels, eat healthier and sleep better, then you should lose weight as a natural side effect. Dieting and starving will probably not work in the long term.
Despite what the weight loss industry makes him 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 types of cancer and others.
However, there are still many people with obesity who are metabolically healthy , and many thin people who have these same chronic diseases ().
It seems that it matters where fat accumulates . If you have a lot of fat in the abdominal area, around the organs, then this type of fat is much more strongly associated with metabolic disease.
The fat that accumulates under the skin, subcutaneous fat, is rather a cosmetic problem.
Obesity is related to several chronic diseases, such as type 2 diabetes. However, many people with obesity are metabolically healthy, and many thin people are not.
12. “Dietary” 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 disguised beverages high in sugar.
However, you really CANNOT trust these foods. Labels and health claims are usually put there to deceive, not to inform.
Some junk food vendors are really immoral. You will be lied to buy super harmful junk food and gain weight for you and your children.
►A good empirical rule: If the packaging of a food tells you that it is healthy, then it is probably bad for you.