The fitness industry is filled with myths and so-called experts who do not have your best interest in mind. They are either ill-informed or are intentionally misleading you, or in all likelihood, want you to purchase their workout plans. So, what are these weight loss myths, and why should you avoid them in order to achieve and exceed your goals? In today’s blog, we’ll share the top 5 weight loss myths that you must avoid at all costs.
All calories are equal.
The biggest and most misleading fitness myth is that all calories are created equal. This, however, cannot be farther from the truth. For example, one gramme of protein or carbohydrate, whereas one gramme of refined sugar, all contain the same number of calories, aka 4 kcal. While this may be the simplest form of calculation, it fails to take into account various factors, such as the SG index of the food and the insulin response it can create in your body. While protein does cause a bit of an insulin response, this can’t come close to the insulin response that refined sugar can create. Spike your insulin levels too often and you are setting yourself up for type 2 diabetes in the medium to long term.
Weight loss is caused by the ratio of calories in to calories out:
If you are someone who has been trying to lose weight, then chances are that you, at some point, must have been told to be in a caloric deficit. From a basic standpoint, this may sound ideal, but then, this fails to take several factors into account, such as Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR), which is the amount of energy used to sustain life (AKA the energy used to fuel your lungs to breathe, your heart to beat and pump blood, etc.), thermic effect of food, and physical activity during the course of the day (which can vary from day to day). It also fails to take into account one’s hormonal levels, underlying health conditions if any, and even a slow metabolism that’s caused by crash dieting.
You should aim for 1200 to 1500 calories a day.
Many health and fitness "experts" and even apps will tell you that the sweet spot for weight loss is to consume anywhere between 1200 and 1500 calories per day. Not only is this poor advice, it's outright dangerous, as it can cause severe health complications such as low energy levels, brain fog, headaches, lowered metabolism, hypoglycemia, and an unhealthy relationship with food. All of these factors can lead to a rebound, in which the person reverts to unhealthy eating habits as a result of the harsh diet conditions.
Negative calories exist:
Let’s get one thing straight: there’s no such thing as negative calories. All foods contain calories, and anyone who tells you otherwise is lying to you. One such example is celery, which is extremely low in calories and some calories are burned as it is digested. But then again, the calories burned only account for about 5–10% of the total calories burned. If at anytime someone tells you to consume a particular food which promises to burn fat and lose weight, you should run for your life. Foods such as celery, broccoli, and other green vegetables are healthy and should be a part of your daily diet, but promising that these foods can magically burn fat is a lie.
Extreme diets result in weight loss:
If you believe that a ketogenic diet will lead to weight loss, then you have been misled. When observed closely, does result in weight loss, but that weight loss is due to losing water weight and not burning fat. Since your body is deprived of carbohydrates, your body will use up the stored glycogen in the form of water for fuel, and while this will result in a temporary weight loss, it is not ideal. In fact, it has been observed that extreme diets such as ketosis due to high fat consumption can lead to elevated blood cholesterol levels and the loss in water weight will also result in a drop in sodium and potassium levels, which is outright dangerous.
When it comes to weight loss, there are no shortcuts, and it’s the small changes that you make that will yield results in the long run. If you are struggling to lose weight and have an unhealthy relationship with food, then getting in touch with a dietetic is in your best interest.