7 weight loss myths you should stop believing

We debunked some common weight loss myths. demaerre/ iStock

Weight loss is a common goal of many, but one that can be quite difficult to achieve. This is partially due to the fact that there are many trends and misconceptions related to weight loss, that ultimately lead to dead ends en route to weight loss goals.

We’ve debunked some of the most common weight loss myths that you have to stop believing.

MYTH: Carbs are bad for you.

Completely cutting out carbs can lead to nutritional deficiencies. Dan Brian Gerona/Wikimedia Commons/Attribution

Carbohydrates are not inherently bad for you. Cutting carbs completely from your diet can lead to nutritional deficiencies, increased risk of health problems, and low energy levels.

The biggest takeaway from this myth is to recognise that not all carbs are created equally. Sure, sugars aren’t a necessity, but carbohydrates like sweet potatoes, multi-grain bread, fruits, and vegetables, can be difficult to make up for if totally removed from one’s diet.

MYTH: Eating less will make you lose weight.

Depriving yourself of calories slows down metabolism. Hollis Johnson

Calories are energy. When you don’t eat enough, your body actually panics and goes into starvation mode. This metabolic adjustment essentially makes the body hold onto more fat, since it’s worried it’s not going to get enough food. This results in weight gain, rather than weight loss, so it’s important to not starve yourself.

Ben Greenfield Fitness explained that “Depriving our bodies of calories, it turns out, only tends to slow down our metabolism. Over time, it causes us to gain more unwanted weight.

Instead of eating substantially less than what you need or are accustomed to eating, find a healthy balance of calorie deficit that works for you.

MYTH: “Fat-free” foods are a must.

Fat-free usually has the same amount of calories. Caroline Praderio/INSIDER

Fat-free and low-fat food options often contain just as many calories as their full-fat counterparts, and generally, contain a slew of additives and sugars. Health.com explained that we’re more likely to overeat products labelled as low-fat or fat-free due to their association as healthy, yet we’re often times better off to eat a smaller portion or one serving of the full-fat version of the food or food product.

MYTH: A liquid diet is the easiest way to lose weight.

Liquid diets will help you lose weight fast but will slow your metabolism. Madeleine_Steinbach/iStock

While liquid diets may help you to lose weight quickly, drastically cutting calories by adhering to a liquid diet can ultimately slow your metabolism.

Liquid diets often lack the vitamins, minerals, and macronutrients are bodies need, which make them both risky and difficult to sustain long-term. Diets containing both solid and liquid foods are the best method of calorie control.

MYTH: Weight loss and fat loss go hand in hand.

Weight loss can be water, muscle or fat. Shutterstock

You haven’t necessarily lost body fat just because the number on the scale goes down a few pounds. Weight loss can be attributed to water loss, muscle loss, fat loss, or sometimes a combination of the three.

A combination of resistance training and cardio is the most effective way to maximise fat loss. As muscle mass increases, there’s a potential to maintain or lose very little weight as muscle is more dense than fat, yet fat mass and overall body fat percentages will likely decrease.

MYTH: You can spot reduce.

You can build muscle is specific locations but can’t lose weight from specific places. George Rudy/Shutterstock

Many people hope to lose in one particular area of the body such as the stomach, arms, or legs. While we can work to tone the muscles in a specific area through resistance training, unfortunately in terms of weight loss, we can’t just pick which areas we want to lose from or in which areas we want to maintain.

ACE senior consultant for personal training and founder of Movement First, Chris McGrath, wrote “Spot reduction doesn’t work because it usually targets muscles that are relatively small through exercises that are relatively insignificant in terms of enhancing overall fitness, strength and energy expenditure-regardless of how much you ‘feel the burn’ when training them.”

MYTH: You can out-exercise a bad diet.

Daily Burn lists, “no amount of cardio and crunches can sculpt a sleek physique if you maintain an unhealthy diet.” The notion that you can exercise to continue eating what you want isn’t the most sustainable dietary choice.

It can difficult to accurately calculate the calories you’re taking in, much less determine the amount of exercise necessary to counterbalance them. Ultimately, anything in moderation is a better option. Opt for healthier foods and regular exercise versus performing long, intense workouts in order to eat what you want all of the time.

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