9 Popular Diet Misconceptions People Believe In
Check to see if one of them applies to you
Every new research shows that losing weight requires eating less and moving more. But there are still people who argue that this isn’t the case. Some of the arguments against it are downright silly; some sound impressive.
Myth #1. What you eat is more important than how much you eat.
You can lose weight on burgers and soda. However, there are undoubtedly many reasons not to do this. There is no evidence that the “wrong” food, which often includes GMOs, sugar, fructose, gluten, makes you gain more fat than the “right” one. Again, this doesn’t mean that you need to eat the “wrong” food.
Whole grains, dietary fiber, and a sufficient amount of protein in your diet make it easier to control your appetite. It will keep you healthy over the long term. In any case, while you’re in a calorie deficit, the weight goes down.
Myth #2 People are not losing as much weight as they should be. Therefore, calorie counting is meaningless. NOT RIGHT.
Yes, even in fully controlled studies, people are losing less weight on a diet than they should be. But this isn’t a matter of calculating calories, but energy balance. There are several reasons why this balance is challenging to find:
- People rarely can accurately estimate the number of calories received.
- On a calorie deficit, people move less, which leads to less expenditure and less weight loss.
- On a deficit, people lose different amounts of water, leading to a difference in the result.
When people ate less, they lost weight. The difference was less than one would expect, but not much.
Myth #3. People don’t gain as much weight as calculated.
As with weight loss, the body resists gaining weight. Some people cannot gain weight at all, despite the large surplus of calories. There’re several reasons why this might be happening:
- Increased activity. In calories surplus, unconscious activity can increase. You get up more often, walk more often, wave your hands more often. The difference can be up to 1000 kcal per day.
- New kilograms burn extra calories. Gaining weight leads to the fact that you have to move a greater body mass. It consumes more energy, or in other words, more calories. It’s physics.
- The more you eat, the more is the thermal effect of the food. 10% of 1000 kcal and 3000 kcal is already an additional 200 kcal costs. Also, when people say, “I eat tons of food,” it means the same as saying, “I don’t eat anything and I’m getting better.”
Myth #4 Metabolism slows down when you cut back on your calories, so cutting off calories doesn’t work.
If this were so, death from hunger would be impossible. In the Minnesota Fasting Study, people ate a 50% cut diet and walked more than 30 km per week. In 6 months, they lost 25% of their body weight. The basal metabolic rate dropped by only 225 kcal per day.
So yes, there is some reduction in consumption, but this is not enough to stop losing weight.
Myth #5. Losing weight is too complex to be managed with diet and exercise alone.
Yes, there are hundreds of factors that affect body composition: body fat levels, food sensitivities, basal metabolic rate, hormone levels, sensitivity.
There is good news too. People who are in a calorie deficit lose weight without having to worry about all these factors.
Eat less, move more — lose weight. That’s all.
Myth #6. When and how often you eat is more important than how much you eat.
There is no evidence that eating six times a day or intermittent fasting is more effective. It seems more like a convenient way to control appetite. Also, no evidence that consuming fewer carbs at night or eating during the post-workout window will work either.
If you consume a definite amount of calories, you will lose or gain the same mass. It’s true for ten meals or one.
Myth #7. Some supplements allow you to lose weight without being in a calorie deficit.
No supplement can help you lose weight without a calorie deficit. The ones that work will only help you lose a little more fat. Even powerful things like ephedrine and caffeine will add a loss of 100–200 kcal per day. In addition, this effect will decrease as you get used to it.
Myth #8. Cutting calories makes you hungry, so it doesn’t work in the long run.
Usually, when you eat less, you want to eat more. However, if you change your diet towards eating more “filling” foods, you may not feel hungry.
People who have increased their protein intake may consume fewer calories per day without realizing it.
Anyway, someone remains hungry even when changing food to a more satisfying one. What to do, sometimes you have to be patient. Gradually, the body will get used to the new mass, and the hunger will go away. In addition, many things make us eat besides hunger:
- We eat a lot when we’re bored.
- We eat a lot of large containers.
- We eat a lot when people are eating a lot around.
- We eat a lot if we do not control calories.
- We eat a lot when we eat too fast.
- We eat a lot when we are worried.
If you’re not trying to achieve very low-calorie levels, you can handle your appetite by choosing an appropriate diet.
Myth #9. I eat little, and I’m actively engaged in fitness, but I’m not losing weight.
There are four reasons why this statement is false:
- Most people have no idea how much they eat.
- There is no way to check how much they ate or spent, so you must rely on their words.
- Whichever diet you start, you start it with preliminary psychological settings. If you believe that the diet will work, you observe it more strictly, adhere to the regime, and interpret every doubt in favor of the diet. And vice versa.
- In controlled studies, people know the details of the survey. This factor can influence the results.
All controlled studies over the years show that people lose weight when they’re in a calorie deficit.
You’ve heard different types of reasons people think they shouldn’t count calories. Still, they’re all broken down based on research. It doesn’t mean that calories are the only thing to worry about. But if you want to lose weight, you need to eat fewer calories than you spend.
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