5 Weight Loss Myths Debunked

One of the major health obstacles facing this nation is the obesity epidemic. Still?, you might ask. Yes. Still.

Being overweight is incredibly dangerous to your health, and can be a catalyst for numerous other health issues, such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, to an increased risk of certain cancers. Obesity even affects your mental health, leading to depression, anxiety, and other problems.

And while losing weight isn’t easy by any stretch of the imagination, we’re lucky to have at our fingertips a wealth of information to help us achieve our goals—just as long as that information is credible. So let’s bust down a few myths about weight loss you may’ve come across.

1. Cutting Carbs is the Magic Bullet

Completely eradicating carbohydrates sounds, on paper, like the number one solution to a weight loss conundrum, but it’s actually downright unhealthy. Carbs are our body’s fuel, and should be a part of a balanced diet. Instead of straight-up eliminating carbs, focus on eating modest proportions of healthy carbs, such as pastas and grains, and avoiding the sugary ones.

2. Counting Calories Equals Weight Loss

Just as not all carbohydrates are created equal, not all calories are the same. Getting in the habit of counting calories can be a great mental exercise—by training your mind to stop and examine labels, you’re adding a buffer between the idea of eating and the act of eating, which can be of enormous benefit. What’s really important here is paying attention to the quality of food instead of just calorie numbers. Calorie sources matter; focus on protein calories over carb or fat calories.

3. Diet Pills are Always Safe

Approach diet pills with a heaping glob of cynicism. Quick fixes like these can be very unhealthy and, more often than not, are completely ineffectual. While some prescribed medications from a medical doctor could help with weight loss, numerous unlicensed weight loss products could contain ingredients that may be harmful to your health. If you’re pretty sure that medication may help or is necessary to your weight loss, always talk with your doctor first.

4. It’s All About Willpower

Willpower alone isn’t enough for many people—even wicked awesome people like you—to tackle the wriggling beast of weight loss. It’s complicated; many variables are factored into what makes some people thin and others not. Genetic and biological factors have an impact; economics play a role; even geographical location can tilt the scale (so to speak). So, despite how wicked awesome you are, just willing weight loss to be isn’t a sound strategy. You’ll need more help.

5. Fat is the Only Problem

Yes, body fat is nothing but stored fat, and stored fat is unhealthy. However, just eating food that contains fat doesn’t spontaneously trigger a comical physical ballooning (for a scholarly examination of the science behind this “ballooning” phenomenon, see this video presentation by Dr. Yankovic). Fat, carbs, calories and sugars all share responsibility; when combined, they lead to weight gain.

What are some of the weight loss myths you have heard—or perhaps even believed—that you now know to be, as they say in the medical profession, phoney baloney? Let us know in the comments—and stay tuned for more debunking next week!

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