Food Freedom Friday Edition 196 - Fat Loss Myths

It is important to state the truth:

Fat loss is not as simple as eating healthy and following an exercise program. Of course, those can make a big difference, but it is rarely successful for many.

There are so many factors that come into play when it comes to fat loss including genetics, hormonal imbalances, endocrine disorders, medications, insomnia, and cultural identity.

The next time you come across a trending fat loss tip, pause for a moment, and do your due diligence to find out the truth. It is equally as important to analyze your current situation to determine if this particular weight loss strategy will work for you.

A few of the myths I most often have to debunk are:

1. Weight Loss is Fat Loss

Myth: Many people believe that abnormally fast weight loss equates to fat loss. How many times have you come across a crash diet or something that claims to help you lose over 10 pounds in 7 days?

Truth: While it is possible to lose a significant amount of weight within a week, much of it will be water weight, which will eventually come back when you start eating normally again. You can lose 2-4 pounds of water weight in a single day, which is often mistaken as the fat loss.

2. Extreme Caloric Restriction Results in Rapid Fat Loss .

Myth: Drastically reducing your daily calorie intake to under 1000 calories a day can result in fast weight loss.

Truth: While an abundance of calories can contribute to weight gain, drastically reducing caloric intake does not result in rapid fat loss. This is because extreme calorie restriction can be counteracted by mechanisms that reduce metabolic rate and increase calorie intake. Relying on calorie restriction alone will only yield limited short term results.

3.     Rapid Fat Loss Is Unhealthy

Myth: If you lose weight fast, you’ll gain it all back.

Truth: Rapid weight loss is not necessarily bad news. If you follow a well formulated (low carbohydrate) diet plan and combine it with some regular movement, you will lose weight. Some people may lose weight faster than others, depending on their situation and constitution. This does not mean they will gain it all back.

If you return to the same eating and lifestyle patterns that caused you to gain weight in the first place, you will increase your chances of gaining it back. However, if you continue to practice a healthy eating lifestyle, and regular movement, sleep and stress management, your chances of gaining it back are much smaller.

Rapid weight loss has been found to be useful in some cases, especially for improving lipid and glycemic profiles.

4.     Avoid Fat

Myth: A low-fat diet is the best approach for weight loss.

Fact: Absolutely not true. Studies have shown over, and over again that a high-fat diet can contribute to weight loss. Following a well formulated ketogenic diet has no significant adverse effects when administered for a relatively long period of time.

5.     Carbs Are The Enemy

Myth: You need to completely get rid of carbs or go extremely low carb to lose weight.

Fact: Going low carb can indeed help with weight loss. However, it is not the only way, and you certainly don’t have to stop eating carbs altogether. The key is to avoid eating processed carbs and sugar because those foods contribute to weight gain along with a myriad of health problems.

Depending on your constitution, needs, concerns and goals, eating whole carb foods such as sweet potato can have huge positive health impacts, and can even contribute to fat loss.

6.     Eat Within 30 Minutes of Waking Up

Myth: “Breakfast is the most important meal of the day”. You should never skip breakfast when you want to lose weight.

Fact: For a long time, diet experts have preached that you should never skip breakfast if you want to lose weight, and for overall health benefits. This is definitively untrue unless you have specific medical conditions that require you to eat breakfast.

A recent systematic review concluded that breakfast might not be a good strategy for weight loss. Moreover, skipping breakfast can put you in an intermittent fasting state, especially if you have gone without food since dinner the night before. Intermittent fasting has been found to be beneficial for fat loss.

7.     Skip The Yolks

Myth: Eating egg yolk can make you put on weight so it may be a better choice to only eat the egg white.

Truth: Eggs are one of the most nutritious and versatile healthy foods you can eat, and eating the yolk can actually help with weight loss.

8.     Alcohol Should Always Be Avoided

Myth: You must stay away from alcohol completely to lose weight.

Truth: Research states that excessive alcohol consumption can contribute to weight gain, however, light-moderate drinking does not necessarily thwart fat loss attempts. It is always important to determine how your body responds to certain foods and drinks and proceed mindfully and with caution into grey area foods and drinks.

9.     Exercise Is Imperative For Fat Loss

Myth: You need to do intense workouts multiple times a week to lose weight.

Fact: The gym need not become your second home. Simply moving your body regularly can make a huge difference, often even more than intense workout or cardio sessions. Avoid being a couch potato to support your fat loss goals.

That said, combining aerobic exercises with resistance training is one of the best approaches to maintaining health and body composition.

10.     You Can Eat What You Want As long As You Exercise

Myth: There is no reason to hold back from eating a large pizza and washing it down with a can of coke. You can still lose weight as long as you work out multiple times every week.

Truth: Eating unhealthy foods with exercise means you will only utilize some of the calories of what you are eating, and not the fat you want to lose. You may also create hormonal imbalances that can result in stalled fat loss in the future. Diet combines with exercise is effective for fat loss and has a significant positive impact on body composition and biomarkers of metabolic issues. In simple terms, eating well and moving your body keep you looking and feeling healthy.

11.  Avoid Restaurant Food

Myth: Eating out is not possible when trying to lose fat.

Truth: Avoiding eating out (for business and social reasons) altogether might not always be practical, and it really depends on your circumstances.

There are many ways to make healthier choices at all types of eating establishments, no matter how poor the choices or variety may appear. All it takes is replacing the carbs with some extra protein, and greens.

For example, with few other options at a local chain, you could have your cheeseburgers without the bun, and swap the fries for some salad.

That said, you should never try to replace all your meals with restaurant food – cooking and nourishing your body is important too.

12.  Sweating Implies Fat Loss

Myth: Practising therapies such as dry sauna sessions can make you sweat your fat out.

Truth: Dry sauna has health benefits such as detoxification, and increasing circulation. However, any weight you lose from it will only be some water weight because your sweat is made out of water, and electrolytes.

13.  Wraps Can Melt Belly Fat.

Myth: You may have heard the claims, and maybe even seen unrealistic before and after photos of belly fat after trying on some wrap for a few weeks. Some claim to work on their own, and some say you will achieve better results if you eat healthier along with the wrap.

A lot of Instagram fitness gurus show a video of them working out with belly wraps and some of also show the sweat on the wrap after they take it off. The sweat, according to these folks, means the wrap is working.

Truth: Eating well, balancing your hormones and moving your body are effective for body composition and fat loss. It thus hardly makes sense for the wraps to take credit.

Similarly, weight loss supplements are often topped with hard to believe before and after photos. The truth is that some supplements such as MCT oil have research-backed evidence to support its weight loss claim. Many others on the market are nothing but hype.

Another thing to keep in mind about weight loss supplements is that they are a largely unregulated industry that can market unverified claims. Some weight loss supplements can have deadly adverse effects such as liver and kidney damage.

14.  Sugar-Free Foods And Diet Drinks Are Okay

Myth: Anything that’s labeled as ‘Sugar-Free’ must be perfectly fine to eat when you’re trying to lose weight. Diet sodas won’t make you put on weight and are not bad.

Fact: It makes you feel entitled to overeat without feeling guilty. Many food items marketed as ‘Sugar-Free’ contain additives and substances that have their own set of disadvantages for your health.

Diet sodas can fool you into thinking you can overeat without putting on weight. Diet soda consumption has been linked to increased risk of metabolic syndrome. Metabolic syndrome results in gaining weight, and has been associated with obesity.

15.  Weight Loss Is A Steady Process.

Myth: Weight loss is a straight and steady pattern, meaning you’ll continue to lose weight until you hit your goal weight.

Fact: Your weight will fluctuate throughout your weight loss journey, especially in the beginning when weight loss is generally more rapid and towards the end when the body begins to hang on to its fat reserves.

16.  Healthy Foods Are Expensive.

Myth: It’s hard to eat healthy on a budget when all the healthy foods are expensive.

Truth: Organic, pastured, local, wild-caught and seasonal foods can sometimes be slightly more expensive, but there are so many ways you can start incorporating a healthy eating lifestyle. A bag of frozen fruits and vegetables is affordable and much healthier than a bag of frozen fries.

You could also buy and freeze meat and fish items purchased in bulk or direct from a farm.

In Conclusion

These are only a small fraction of the many weight loss myths circulating online and through social media channels. As a general rule, if a weight loss strategy sounds too good to be true, do your research about the product or protocol.

Pay attention to the negative reviews of a weight loss product as much as you read the positive reviews. Read research papers and compare the information via multiple valid sources to see if a particular weight loss product or strategy really works.

Remember to seek professional medical advice if you plan on making major changes to your lifestyle that can have an impact on your health. This is a must if you have certain health conditions like diabetes, and/or if you’re pregnant or breastfeeding.

Michal Ofer