We always stumble across several weight loss myths you’ve always believed. Here are a few weight loss myths that may surprise you:
1. “Eat Less, Move More” is good advice
Body fat is simply stored energy (calories). To lose fat, more calories need to be leaving your fat cells than entering them. In other words, if calories out surpass calories in, fat loss occurs. That is a fact. For this reason, it seems only logical that “eating less and moving more” would cause weight loss. It works on both sides of the calorie equation.
However, this is really terrible advice for those with a serious weight problem. Most people who follow this advice end up gaining it back, and there are physiological and biochemical reasons for this. A major and sustained change in perspective and behavior is needed to lose weight with diet and exercise. Simply telling people to eat less and move more isn’t enough.
Telling someone with obesity to just “eat less, move more” is like telling someone with depression to cheer up, or someone with alcoholism to just drink less.
It’s ineffective. Telling people with weight problems to just “eat less, move more” is ineffective advice. It rarely works in the long term.
2. Body can’t use the protein from beans unless you eat them with rice
Proteins—which our bodies need to make everything from new muscle to hormones—are made up of different combinations of 20 amino acids. Thing is, our bodies can make only 11 of these amino acids; we must get the other nine from food. Animal-based protein-rich foods like eggs and meat provide all nine of these “essential” amino acids, but nearly all plant foods are low in at least one.
Experts used to say that to get what your body needs to make proteins, you needed to pair plant-based foods with complementary sets of amino acids—like rice and beans. Now they know that you don’t have to eat those foods at the same meal. If you get a variety of foods throughout the day, they all go into the ‘basket’ of amino acids that are available for the body to use.
3. Carbs make you fat
Low-carb diets can help with weight loss. That is a scientific fact. In many cases, this happens even without conscious calorie restriction. As long as the carbs are kept low and protein intake is high, people lose weight.
However, this does not mean that carbs per se cause weight gain. The obesity epidemic started around 1980 but humans have been eating carbs for a very long time. The truth is, refined carbs (like refined grains and sugar) are definitely linked to weight gain, but whole foods that are high in carbs are very healthy.
Low-carb diets are very effective for weight loss. However, carbs are not what causes obesity in the first place. Whole, single ingredient carb-based foods are incredibly healthy.
4. Calories eaten at night are more fattening than those eaten early in the day
Calories are calories are calories, and it doesn’t matter what time you eat them. What matters are the total calories you take in
5. Eating fat makes you fat
Body fat is stored fat. So, eating more fat should make us store more of it. It seems logical.
However, it turns out that things aren’t this simple. There is nothing uniquely fattening about fat, except that it is often found in calorie-dense junk foods. As long as calories are within range, fat does not make you fat. Additionally, diets that are high in fat (but low in carbs) have been shown to cause weight loss in numerous studies.
As with so many things in nutrition, this depends entirely on the context. Eating a lot of fat along with a high-carb, high-calorie, junk food-based diet will definitely make you fat. But it’s not just because of the fat. Fat has often been blamed for the obesity epidemic, but there is nothing inherently fattening about dietary fat. It depends entirely on the context.
6. It is best to eat many small meals throughout the day
It is often claimed that people should eat many, small meals throughout the day to keep the metabolism high. But the studies clearly disagree with this. Eating 2-3 meals per day has the exact same effect on total calories burned as eating 5-6 (or more) smaller meals.
Eating frequently may have benefits for some people (like preventing excessive hunger), but it is incorrect that this affects the amount of calories we burn.
There are even studies showing that eating too often can be harmful. A new study came out recently showing that more frequent meals dramatically increased liver and abdominal fat on a high calorie diet. It is not true that eating many, smaller meals leads to an increase in the amount of calories burned throughout the day. Frequent meals may even increase the accumulation of unhealthy belly and liver fat.
7.Eating breakfast is necessary to lose weight
Studies show that breakfast skippers tend to weigh more than breakfast eaters. However, this is probably because people who eat breakfast are, on average, more likely to have other healthy lifestyle habits.
This was recently tested in a controlled trial, the largest of its kind. This was a study of 309 men and women that compared recommendations to either eat or skip breakfast. They found no effect after a 4 month study period. It didn’t matter whether people ate or skipped breakfast, neither had an effect on weight.
It is also a myth that breakfast boosts metabolism, or that eating multiple, smaller meals makes you burn more calories throughout the day.
Eat when you’re hungry, stop when you’re full. Eat breakfast if you want to, but don’t expect it to have a major effect on your weight. It is true that breakfast skippers tend to weigh more than breakfast eaters, but controlled trials show that it doesn’t matter for weight loss whether you eat or skip breakfast.
8. Egg yolks should be avoided because they are high in cholesterol
We’ve been advised to cut back on whole eggs because the yolks are high in cholesterol. However, cholesterol in the diet has remarkably little effect on cholesterol in the blood, at least for the majority of people.
Studies have shown that eggs raise the “good” choleserol and don’t raise risk of heart disease.
One review of 17 studies with a total of 263,938 participants showed that eating eggs had no effect on the risk of heart disease or stroke in non-diabetic individuals.
However, keep in mind that some studies have found an increased heart attack risk in diabetics who eat eggs. Whole eggs really are among the most nutritious foods on the planet and almost all the nutrients are found in the yolks.
Telling people to throw the yolks away may just be the most ridiculous advice in the history of nutrition. Despite eggs being high in cholesterol, they do not raise blood cholesterol or increase heart disease risk for the majority of people.