For anyone who really wants to learn about healthily losing weight, it can be a frustrating search. The first frustration is the sheer amount of information out there. The second is the fact that much of the advice is, at best, misguided. At worst, it could be bad for your health and actually lead to weight gain, not loss.
That means your search is more about separating weight-loss myths from reality, versus simply finding solutions that work for you.
How Weight-Loss Myths are Created
To understand why there is so much misinformation out there about weight loss, it helps to know how they start. There are two basic reasons why so many weight loss myths exist.
- Demand for Weight Loss – According to research done by the Public Health Agency of Canada, as of 2017, 64% of Canadians over the age of 18 were either overweight or obese. As we all become more aware of the health implications of being overweight, more and more Canadians want to lose weight and/or better manage their weight. The result? There is a large ‘market’ for weight-loss solutions.
- The Oversimplification of Weight Loss – This may be the biggest myth of all. The idea that weight loss is a simple, straightforward, “do this, get that” solution drives many of the other myths. It results in the thinking that, simply by cutting calories, or crash dieting, or not eating fats and/or carbs, or working out excessively, you’ll get healthy, sustainable weight loss.
When processed food manufacturers and dieting ‘gurus’ put these two things together, they have a gold mine. We all want fast, simple ways to shed weight and they are more than willing to cash in on the demand. Including by creating and promoting weight loss myths.
3 Weight Loss Myths Busted
We’re not going to be able to debunk every weight loss myth in one blog post. But we definitely want to help set the record straight on the ones listed here.
- Some Foods Have ‘Negative Calories’ – This myth is particularly devious. Often related to eating celery, the myth says that you burn more calories in the chewing and digestion of some foods than the calories in the food. The implication is that you’ll lose weight if you eat a negative-calorie food. Celery is a favourite example of a negative calorie food because of its low-calorie counts and high water and fibre content.
Myth Busted! – Even if negative calorie foods exist (and there is no reliable scientific evidence that they do), the quantities you’d have to eat to lose weight would trigger symptoms of starvation and malnutrition, not healthy weight loss. The simple truth is you need to get calories, or energy when you eat to stay alive.
- Natural Sugars are Better for Weight Loss than Refined Sugar – There is at least some hope in this myth. That refined sugar is the arch-enemy of weight loss is absolutely true. But the myth lies in the idea that natural, unrefined sweeteners, like honey, cane sugar, and maple syrup are better for you than refined sugar. They are all ‘free sugars’.
Myth Busted! – The World Health Organization includes refined sugars and natural sugars, like honey, in its definition of free sugars. It issues a ‘strong recommendation’ to limit the consumption of free sugars to 10% of total daily calorie consumption.
- It’s Easy to Manipulate Your Metabolism – There are so many myths surrounding metabolism and weight loss that we devoted an entire post to them. So we won’t get specific here. But while it isn’t stated in so many words, the basic myth of metabolism is that it works like an on/off switch. You’ll see claims that a food will ‘spike’ your metabolism, or that you can’t lose weight because of a slow metabolism.
Myth Busted! – Your metabolism is an extremely complex process your body uses to convert and regulate the energy it gets from the foods you eat. Trying to manipulate your metabolism for weight loss is not as simple as flicking a switch to turn it up or down. The idea that it is can cause unwanted and/or unhealthy results.
What is the truth about weight loss? That depends on your body, lifestyle and weight loss goals. Something that works for one person may not work for you. That means you need a weight loss plan specifically developed for you. Call or visit your nearest Herbal One Centre to learn more.