6 Weight Loss Myths and Misconceptions Busted
Here are 6 Weight Loss Myths busted and proven. Maintaining a healthy weight is the single most effective thing you can do to protect against chronic disease. Studies show that people who are overweight are more likely to develop high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, gallstones, heart disease and even cancer.
Whether you’re looking to reduce your risk of disease or improve your self-confidence, however, you should familiarize yourself with the following weight loss myths and misconceptions.
#1) Cardio is the Most Effective Type of Exercise for Losing Weight
Because of its fast-paced nature and ability to increase your heart rate, you may think that cardio is the most effective type of exercise to lose weight. According to a study conducted by researchers from Duke University, however, resistance training is just as effective as cardio for losing weight.
With resistance training, your body burns calories both during the exercise and after, whereas cardio burns energy only during the exercise itself. Additionally, resistance training builds muscle mass, which subsequently burns calories to maintain, even at rest. Cardio, on the other hand, may actually reduce muscle mass.
So, if you want to lose weight, combine both cardio and resistance training into your weekly fitness regimen.
#2) You Can Lose Weight by Counting and Cutting Calories
Calorie counting is often viewed as an effective, time-tested strategy for losing weight. With current dietary guidelines recommending men and women consume 2,000 calories per day, some individuals assume they can lose weight by consuming fewer than 2,000 calories. The problem with calorie counting, however, is that different people process calories in different ways.
People who struggle to lose weight, for instance, typically burn calories from protein and carbohydrates, whereas their slim counterparts burn calories from fat. This has nothing to do with activity levels, but rather our metabolism controls the way in which we process calories. Of course, no two people have the exact same calorie needs, either. A 220-pound man typically requires more calories than a 150-pound woman.
Furthermore, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) allows food and beverage companies to mislabel the caloric content of their products by up to 20%. And as you may have guessed, most companies undershoot the caloric content of their products rather than overshooting it. This means a granola bar labeled with 200 calories may actually have 220 calories, which is perfectly acceptable under current FDA guidelines.
#3) You Can Be Overweight and Healthy
Unfortunately, you can’t be overweight and healthy. Even if traditional health markers like blood pressure, blood sugar and cholesterol are normal, being overweight still poses a serious risk to your health and well-being.
A study published in the European Heart Journal busted this common weight loss myth, with researchers confirming that you cannot be “healthy obese.” After analyzing their findings, researchers concluded that being overweight but with otherwise normal health markers increases the risk of heart disease by 28%.
#4) Juicing Helps You Lose Lose Weight
Think juicing fruits and vegetables will help you lose weight? Think again. Unlike blending, juicing takes out all the fibrous plant matter. So, instead of having both juice and fiber, all you get is juice — and you might be surprised to learn just how much sugar that juice contains.
A single 12-ounce serving of orange juice, for instance, contains roughly 30 grams of sugar, whereas apple juice contains 40 grams of sugars. To put those numbers into perspective, the American Heart Association (AHA) recommends no more than 37.5 grams of sugar per day for men and 25 grams for women.
You don’t have to necessarily stop juicing altogether, however. There are ways to juice in a healthy manner that supports your weight loss efforts.
Here are some tips for healthier juicing:
- Focus on juicing vegetables while keeping fruits to a minimum
- Avoid adding processed sugar
- Save the fibrous plant matter for use in soups, stews, smoothies and more
- Consume slowly throughout the day to prevent blood sugar spikes
#5) Carbs Cause Weight Gain
Contrary to popular belief, adopting a carb-free diet isn’t an effective way to lose weight. Carbohydrates are the body’s primary source of energy. Without carbs, you won’t have the energy to exercise and stay fit.
Several studies have even debunked the low-carb weight loss myth. One study conducted by Foster GD in 2003 found no significant weight loss difference between participants on a low-carb diet and those on a regular diet. The Nutritional Science Initiative (NuSI) conducted a similar study, with researchers concluding that low-carb and high-carb diets yield the same results for weight loss.
There are both bad and good carbs, however, and if you want to lose weight you need to focus on the latter. Good carbs are absorbed more slowly into the blood, allowing for longer and more sustainable energy levels. Bad carbs, also known as simple carbs, are broken down and absorbed more quickly, resulting in blood sugar spikes and ultimately weight gain.
Some excellent sources of good carbs include:
- Brown rice
- Leafy green vegetables
- Sweet potatoes
- Black beans
- Whole-grain bread
- Whole-grain pasta
#6) A Gluten-Free Diet Help You Lose Weight
From Burger King and Carl’s Jr. to Arby’s and Buffalo Wild Wings, countless restaurants throughout the country now offer gluten-free menus. But while often touted as a healthier alternative, gluten-free foods have no impact on weight loss.
Gluten protein is a type of protein that’s commonly found in wheat, rye and barley. Because of its glue-like properties, it’s used as an additive to help bind and hold foods together. When you go on a gluten-free diet, though, you eliminate healthy grains, which are an excellent source of fiber. The only people who should eliminate gluten from their diet are those suffering from celiac disease or gluten intolerance. If you don’t fall under either of these categories, you can consume gluten without fear of it promoting weight gain.
Don’t fall for the weight loss myths described here. If you want to lose weight, focus on a healthy diet. Base this around lean meats, vegetables, whole grains and the occasional fruits. Along with exercise, this will set you on the right path to a healthier and more sustainable weight.