Weight loss myths debunked
Losing weight is a popular New Year’s resolution every year. Roughly 50% of people age 20 and older acknowledge they tried to lose weight over the past 12 months, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Successful weight loss requires hard work and patience. Still, many myths abound, and people may think there are quick fixes to shedding a few extra pounds. Debunking some of those myths can help people adopt more realistic weight loss strategies.
Myth #1: Avoid carbs to lose weight. A healthy diet is comprised of a mix of foods that include carbohydrates. The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans indicate that carbohydrates, such as those found in vegetables, fruits and whole grains, are a foundation of healthy eating. Carbs also provide much-needed fiber.
Myth #2: You can target specific fat loss. Exercising and eating healthy can produce overall weight loss and diminish fat concentrations in certain parts of the body, indicates the healthy eating source Eat This, Not That. But each body is unique, and where people lose fat varies. Gender is one factor that can affect people’s figures. Exercise can tone muscles in key areas to help make a person appear thinner in those regions, but it will not necessarily make fat go away in one place over another.
Myth #3: Eating fat makes you fat. Fat is very calorie-dense and common in junk foods, which is why it can get a bad rap. However, as long as calorie intake is within a healthy range — even if some calories are from fat — weight gain will not occur from fat alone, says Healthline. The body needs healthy fats to function properly.
Myth #4: Crash diets will make weight fall off. Dramatically cutting calories can lead to nutritional deficiencies and have an adverse effect on weight loss. The body may slow its rate of metabolism to conserve calories, as a crash diet may fool your body into thinking you are starving. It’s better to stick to a gradual decrease in calories while still consuming the daily recommended amounts based on your age and other factors.
Myth #5: Tons of exercise will make the pounds disappear. Research has repeatedly indicated that exercise can help boost weight loss. However, the real way to shed pounds is primarily linked to diet. According to Shawn M. Talbott, Ph.D., a nutritional biochemist and former director of the University of Utah Nutrition Clinic, weight loss is generally 75% diet and 25% exercise. People see the biggest short-term results when they eat smart.
If losing weight is your New Year’s resolution, get the facts before adopting a weight loss regimen.