In this article, we explore the top ten weight loss myths and give you the real scoop on dieting, health and weight loss.
Myth #1: If you want to lose weight, you have to eat a low-fat diet.
Sorry Weight Watchers fans, this is completely false. Low-fat diets are high carb diets which can actually cause you to gain weight since carbs are much more fattening than fat. In fact, eating the right kind of fats (e.g. coconut oil) can help you lose weight.
Myth #2: If you want to lose weight, you should eat a low-carb diet like Atkins.
While it is true that decreasing your carbs is helpful for those who are eating too many, one of the biggest problems with Atkins is that it has a high failure rate long term. Some people find the diet too restrictive and boring and may experience negative side effects. The best diet is a whole food, all natural diet with plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables-something that is a no-no on the carnivorous Atkins plan.
Myth #3: Diets high in saturated fat like Atkins, will cause you to have heart attacks weight gain and high cholesterol. You should keep saturated fat to a minimum and replace it with “heart-healthy” polyunsaturated oils like margarine, vegetable and corn oils.
Nope. This is just a myth that ‘s been perpetrated by the vegetable oil industry and bad science.
1. There is no proof that saturated fat causes high cholesterol or heart disease
2. There is no proof that “high” cholesterol causes heart disease-in fact in women, it seems to be cardio-protective.
3. High-fat and high-cholesterol foods do not increase blood cholesterol.
4. Polyunsaturated oils can increase your risk for cancer.
Myth #4: Vegetarianism is the key to good health and a slim figure.
It may be for some people, but we've seen some patients get sick and weak on a vegetarian diet and when we encouraged them to try to eat some animal protein as an experiment, they had miraculous recoveries. We've also seen many overweight vegetarians because of their high carb intake. We are not saying don't be a vegetarian, we are saying you have to experiment with what is right for your metabolic needs.
Myth #5: Pharmaceutical drugs are a great weight loss aid.
Anna Nicole Smith took many different prescription meds to lose weight. They killed her. There are a slew of pharmaceutical drugs from appetite suppressants (Phentermine, Phen-fen) to fat blockers (Alli, Orlistat), to anti-depressants (Wellbutrin, Zoloft) and all of these drugs have serious negative side-effects that will only serve to mess up your physiology and cause you to gain more weight when you go off them. I used to work in a clinic with a drug prescribing bariatric physician and I saw the yo-yo cycle time and time again.
Myth #6: The best way to exercise on a weight loss program is to do cardiovascular exercise for 45 minutes a day or walking 10,000 steps a day.
Don't get us wrong, cardiovascular exercise has lots of great benefits BUT if you want to get the most bang for your buck, and you don't have much time, then you're going to want to learn how to do 20 minute workouts of high intensity interval training. You'll burn fat at seven times the rate of walking or other forms of cardio and unlike cardio, you'll build muscle mass which is the key to increasing your metabolic rate.
Myth #7: Reducing your caloric intake with low calorie diets, meal replacement bars, shakes, liquid diets will help you lose weight fast and easy.
The World Health Organization has stated that any diet less than 2,200 calories for an adult is starvation. We've seen clients following popular weight loss programs like Jenny Craig or The Zone on diets of 1,200 calories a day and couldn't lose a pound. So we told them to increase their food intake to at least 2,200 calories a day and make sure their diet was 100% REAL FOOD, not the processed crap they had been eating and guess what? They LOST weight! Funny what the body is willing to do when it doesn't feel like it has to store every calorie you eat because it's STARVING!
Myth #8: Sugar is high in calories so you'll shed the pounds if you replace it with diet soda and artificial sweeteners instead.
Ha! This one kills me because I sacrificed two years of my life doing nothing but reading the research on artificial sweeteners for my book Sweet Deception, and the research shows both in animals and humans that artificial sweeteners can cause you to GAIN WEIGHT. Yes that's right. Splenda, Nutrasweet and all the other toxic chemicals you've been told are the golden keys to a svelte figure actually increase your hunger and cause your body to secrete more insulin which is a fat building hormone.
But don't take my word for it, read the book yourself. If you ever drink another diet food sweetened with artificial sweeteners after you read it, then send back the book and I'll give you a 100% refund. (Be forewarned, these books have been selling like hotcakes and we've never had a single return which makes me feel very happy that I'm able to show diet coke junkies the light.)
Myth #9: You have a high chance of permanent weight loss success on any of the popular diet programs: Weight Watchers, Jenny Craig, LA Weight Loss, South Beach Diet, EDiets, Curves, Nutrisystem, etc.
You have a chance of losing weight but it's pretty low. You need to address all of the many factors that can prevent you from losing weight in a holistic manner that involves the mind, body and spirit.
Myth #10: Weight loss is all about calories in and calories out, eating less and exercising more.Oh how I wish it were that simple! I could have skipped ten grueling years of pre-med and medical school and just had people write down their caloric intake and then tell them how to cut calories with LA Lites (bars and shakes) and Nutrisystem astronaut food.
But it's been my experience that there are so many other factors that can cause weight gain such as: food allergies, hormonal deficiencies, food addictions, compulsive eating, anxiety, depression, co-dependency and other relationship issues, metabolic imbalances, processed food, low caloric intake, sluggish metabolism, lack of goals, life purpose or spiritual foundation, social conditioning, EFA deficiencies, neurotransmitter imbalances, wrong exercising, and the list goes on and on.
If you have some of these factors working against you, you may always struggle with your weight until you are able to address them properly.