Weight Loss

21 Popular Weight Loss Myths Debunked!

21 Popular Weight Loss Myths Debunked!

Is breakfast really a must have for weight loss? Should you avoid eating egg yolk if you want to lose weight? We’re about to tell you the truth about some of the popular weight loss myths on the Internet.


The Truth About Weight Loss

Before we dive into the weight loss myths, it’s important to state the truth about weight loss.

It’s not as simple as eating healthy and following an exercise program.

Of course, those can make a big difference, however, it doesn’t work that way for everyone.

There are so many factors that come into play when it comes to weight loss. Some of those factors include genetics, endocrine disorders, medications, insomnia, and cultural reasons.

This is why women with the polycystic ovarian syndrome may find it harder to lose weight than those who don’t have it.

So the next time you come across a trending weight loss tip, pause for a moment, and research about it to see if it’s even true. Secondly, analyze your current situation to see if this particular weight loss strategy will work for you.


21 Weight Loss Myths That Should Be Debunked

1. Super fast fat loss

Myth:A lot of people believe that abnormally fast weight loss equals 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?

Fact: The truth is that while it’s possible to lose a lot of weight within a week, a lot 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 some people going on crash diets mistake as the fat loss [1].


2. Extreme calorie restriction means fast weight loss.

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

Fact:It’s true that overloading on calories than what’s recommended can contribute to weight gain. However, drastically reducing calorie intake doesn’t mean fast weight 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 [2].


man-in-a-gym-holds-a-hamburger-in-one-hand-in-another-dumbbell

3. You don’t have to eat healthy as long as you’re exercising regularly.

Myth:You don’t have to hold back from eating a large pizza and washing it down with a can of coke. You’ll still lose weight as long as you work out multiple times every week.

Fact:Eating unhealthy foods with exercise means you’ll only burn some of the calories of what you’re eating, and not the fat you want to lose. A 2015 systematic review compared the effectiveness of diet, exercise, or diet with exercise for weight loss in overweight/obese adults [3].

They found that diet with exercise was more effective for weight loss and had a significant positive impact on body composition and biomarkers of metabolic issues.


4. Sweat your fat out.

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

Fact: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. You’ll gain it back again.


5. Wrap your belly fat away.

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’ll get better results if you eat healthier, and also workout 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 a lot of them, means the wrap is working.

Fact: We know that diet and exercise can help with weight loss so it hardly makes any sense for the wraps to take credit. And as we stated above, you may lose some water weight by sweating but you’ll eventually gain it back.


6. Rapid weight loss is bad news.

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

Fact: Rapid weight loss isn’t always bad news. You may find this statement contradicting to what we’ve been saying earlier about gaining the weight back. That’s because we’re not talking about losing water weight, and we’re also not talking about losing 10 pounds in 7 days.

If you follow a good diet plan and combine it with some regular exercise, you will lose weight. Some people may lose weight faster than others due to reasons such as increased metabolism and dedication. This doesn’t mean they will gain it all back.

The truth is if you go back to an unhealthy eating and sedentary lifestyle after losing weight, you will increase your chances of gaining it back. However, if you continue to practice a healthy eating lifestyle, and regular exercises, your chances of gaining it back are much smaller.

Rapid weight loss has been found to be useful in some cases. For instance, a 2017 study conducted on 42 obese participants found that rapid weight loss was more effective in improving lipid and glycemic profiles [4].


Measuring-tape-and-bottle-with-supplement-pills

7. You’re missing out if you don’t buy that trending supplement.

Myth:If a famous person claims that a particular supplement helped them lose weight, it must really work.

Fact: Similar to the belly wraps, the 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 the FDA doesn’t require them to prove their claims because they’re labeled as dietary supplements. Some weight loss supplements can have deadly adverse effects such as liver and kidney damage.


8. Yolk out. White in.

Myth:Eating egg yolk can make you put on weight so it’s better to only eat the egg white.

Fact:Eggs are one of the most nutritious and versatile healthy foods you can eat, and eating them with the yolk can actually help with weight loss. For example, a 2008 study found that having eggs for breakfast can enhance weight loss [5].

It can only contribute to weight gain in a free-living condition, but it will help with weight loss if you eat eggs with a healthy diet.


9. Alcohol? You might as well say goodbye to weight loss.

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

Fact:Research states that excessive alcohol consumption can contribute to weight gain, however, light-moderate drinking doesn’t. A 2011 systematic review supports this statement and says that excessive drinking can contribute to weight gain, however, light-moderate drinking can contribute to weight loss [6].

A recent 2017 study has also confirmed that only those who drink well above moderation have chances of gaining weight [7].


girl-with-dumbbells-isolated-on-the-turquoise-background

10. Go hard or go home.

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

Fact:You don’t need to make the gym your second home. Other exercises such as walking, jogging, cycling, and dancing can also make a big difference. As long as you avoid being a couch potato, be more physically active, and follow a good diet plan, you will lose weight.

That said, combining aerobic exercises with resistance training is one of the best approaches to weight loss, and overall health benefits.


11. You should avoid eating after supper.

Myth:Avoid eating anything after your last meal, and some say to avoid eating anything after 6 pm.

Fact: How many times have you found yourself starving after dinner because you’ve been told that it’s better to not eat anything after your last meal? You’ll be surprised to know that you don’t have to do that anymore.

The key is not to avoid eating but to eat low-calorie healthy foods in small portions. A 2015 research paper states that night time eating of small less than 150 calories meal is not harmful. It also states that it may be beneficial for protein synthesis, and cardiovascular health [8].


12. Say no to 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. For instance, in a 2004 study, 83 obese patients were administered the ketogenic diet for 24 weeks.

Results revealed a significant weight loss, and improvement in BMI, glucose, and cholesterol of the patients. The study also concluded that the ketogenic diet did not have any significant adverse effects when administered for a relatively long period of time [9].


carbs-sources-on-a-white-wooden-background

13. Getting rid of carbs is the only way to lose weight.

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 that’s what contributes to weight gain, and other health problems.

Eating whole carb foods such as sweet potato is good for health, and can even contribute to weight loss [10].


14. Diet sodas are good news.

Myth: Diet sodas won’t make you put on weight and are not bad.

Fact: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 [11].

Metabolic syndrome can increase the chances of gaining weight, and it’s also been associated with obesity [12].


15. Stay away from dairy.

Myth: It’s better to reduce your dairy intake if you want to lose weight.

Fact:You will put on weight if you overload on dairy in a free-living condition. When combined with a healthy or restricted calorie diet, however, dairy consumption can contribute to weight loss.

For instance, a 2016 research paper found that dairy consumption as part of reduced calorie diets resulted in greater weight loss, fat loss, and reduced lean mass loss in adults [13].


16. 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 days when you’re losing a lot of water weight.


17. Breakfast is a must for weight loss.

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. That’s not true unless you have specific medical conditions that require you to have breakfast.

A recent systematic review published in 2019 states that breakfast might not be a good strategy for weight loss. They’ve looked at databases from 1990-2018 to come up with this conclusion [14].

Moreover, skipping breakfast can put you in an intermittent fasting state, especially if you’ve not eaten anything after the previous night’s dinner. Intermittent fasting has been found to be beneficial for weight loss [15].


ketogenic-cheese-burger-with-coleslaw-on white-plate

18. Never eat fast food.

Myth: Eating fast food is a big no when it comes to weight loss.

Fact: Avoiding fast food altogether might not always be practical, and it really depends on your circumstances. For example, you could be eating out with your friends, or Mcdonald's is the only restaurant next to your workplace.

When you’re in a situation where you have no choice but to eat fast food, there are many ways you can go for it without feeling guilty about putting on weight. All it takes is replacing the carbs with some extra protein, and greens.

For example, you could have your cheeseburgers without the bun, and swap the fries for some salad.

That said, you should never try to replace normal meals with fast food.


19. If it says ‘Sugar-Free’, it must be fine.

Myth: Anything that’s labeled as ‘Sugar-Free’ must be perfectly fine to eat when you’re trying to lose weight.

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


20. Healthy foods are expensive.

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

Fact:Organic healthy foods are 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 when they’re on sale.


21. Small plate for a small tummy.

Myth: You should have your meals in small plates to avoid overeating.

Fact:There’s no valid evidence to support that this helps with weight loss. A 2017 study found that portion control strategies within a one-year behavioral program didn’t produce greater weight loss than standard advice [16]. It may help a little bit in the early days, but it’s not a sustainable strategy.


Takeaways

What you’ve seen here is only a small fraction of the many weight loss myths circulating on the Internet. As a general rule of thumb, if a weight loss testimony sounds too good to be true, do your research about the product.

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.


References

  1. Denning DW et al. The relationship between 'normal' fluid retention in women and idiopathic oedema. 1990 May - https://pmj.bmj.com/content/66/775/363.long
  2. Benton D, Young HA. Reducing Calorie Intake May Not Help You Lose Body Weight. 2017 June - https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5639963/
  3. Clark JE. Diet, exercise or diet with exercise: comparing the effectiveness of treatment options for weight-loss and changes in fitness for adults (18–65 years old) who are overfat, or obese; systematic review and meta-analysis - https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4429709/
  4. Ashtary-Larky D et al. Rapid Weight Loss vs. Slow Weight Loss: Which is More Effective on Body Composition and Metabolic Risk Factors? 2017 May - https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5702468/
  5. Vander Wal JS et al. Egg breakfast enhances weight loss. 2008 August - https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2755181/
  6. Sayon-Orea C, Martinez-Gonzalez MA, Bes-Rastrollo M. Alcohol consumption and body weight: a systematic review. 2011 August - https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21790610
  7. Downer MK et al. Change in Alcohol Intake in Relation to Weight Change in a Cohort of US Men with 24 Years of Follow-Up. 2017 November - https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28940996
  8. Kinsey AW, Ormsbee MJ. The Health Impact of Nighttime Eating: Old and New Perspectives. 2015 April - https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4425165/
  9. Dashti HM et al. Long-term effects of a ketogenic diet in obese patients. 2004 - https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2716748/
  10. Shih C-K et al. White Sweet Potato as Meal Replacement for Overweight White-Collar Workers: A Randomized Controlled Trial. 2019 January - https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6356856/
  11. Crichton G, Alkerwi A, Elias M. Diet Soft Drink Consumption is Associated with the Metabolic Syndrome: A Two Sample Comparison. 2015 May - https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4446768/
  12. Engin A. The Definition and Prevalence of Obesity and Metabolic Syndrome. 2017 - https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28585193
  13. Stonehouse W et al. Dairy Intake Enhances Body Weight and Composition Changes during Energy Restriction in 18–50-Year-Old Adults – A Meta-Analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials. 2016 July - https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4963870/
  14. Sievert K et al. Effect of breakfast on weight and energy intake: systematic review and meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials. 2019 January - https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30700403
  15. Zilberter T, Zilberter EY. Breakfast: To Skip or Not to Skip? 2014 June - https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4042085/
  16. Rolls BJ et al. Does the incorporation of portion-control strategies in a behavioral program improve weight loss in a one-year randomized controlled trial? 2016 November - https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5340595/

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