Weight Loss Myths November 8, 2007Posted by Matt Brown in Fitness.
With the fitness industry as large as it is, and growing bigger every year, it comes as no surprise to learn that there is a lot of misinformation floating around out there. So, in an effort to curb this tide of ignorance and save my own sanity (if I hear one more eat-celery-and-you’ll-lose-weight diet I’m gonna shoot somebody) I figured I sound off on some of the more well known weight loss myths.
Myth 1: Eating certain foods will make you fat
FALSE. Low-fat diets, low-carb diets, low-protein diets, are all based around the idea that certain foods will make you fat. I will say this once, THE TYPE OF FOOD YOU EAT DOES NOT MAKE YOU FAT!!! Gaining weight follows a very simple formula: if you take in more calories than burn off, you will gain weight. Eating too many calories is the reason that people gain weight and your body does not care where those calories come from. If you ate 4000 calories of broccoli, guess what, your going to gain weight. Conversely, eating certain foods will not help you lose weight. Low-carb diets (in addition to being horrible for your heart) will not help you lose weight if you still take in an excess amount of calories. To lose weight, a good diet program will recommend, you guessed it, cutting a moderate amount of calories while still maintaining a varied and healthy diet. Now like all good myths there is a small element of truth in that certain foods do contain more calories than others. Specifically, a gram of fat contains 9 calories, whereas a gram of carbohydrate or protein contains 4 calories. This does NOT mean that eating foods high in fat will make you fat, because the bottom line is that it’s the calories, not the food, that make you gain weight.
Myth 2: Resistance training is better than cardio for losing weight.
FALSE, sort-of. Any form of exercise will aid in losing weight, because any form of exercise will burn calories, but cardio exercise has shown to be the most efficient at fat burning. Your body uses two primary fuels to power itself, carbs and fat. Carbs provide quick energy and are used primarily during short, sprinting activities. Fat on the other hand is used during long sustained activities, such as jogging or swimming. Resistance training works the muscle in short bursts of activity and primarily makes use of carbs for its fuel source. This makes it ineffective as a fat burning activity compared to cardio training, which uses primarily fat, especially in the so-called “fat burning” zone (50-60% of your max heart rate.) In addition, cardio training for moderate to high durations has been shown to raise the metabolic rate of the body significantly, meaning that the body is burning more calories even after you stop exercising. All that being said, resistance training does have its place in a weight loss routine. A pound of fat consume about 2-3 calories per day, where as a pound of muscle consumes about 6-7 calories per day. A good resistance program that adds muscle to the body means that you will naturally burn more calories during the day, even while you sleep.
Myth 3: Diet alone can lose weight just as effectively as diet and exercise
FALSE. If you follow a simple diet program that has you cut your calories to the point that you are burning more than your taking in, you will lose weight. But what exactly are you losing? When most people talk about losing weight, what they’re really talking about is losing fat. Unfortunately, diet alone is not the most efficient way to shed that unwanted cellulite. For every pound lost on diet alone, only ¾ of that is fat. The other ¼ is muscle. As we already know, muscle burns more calories than fat, so losing it is counterproductive to losing weight. The more efficient method is diet and exercise combined. Using both, for every pound lost your actually losing 1¼ pounds of fat and gaining ¼ pound of muscle.
More myths will follow as I update this article.