Busting Common Weight Loss Myths
In today’s day and age of information overload, it is easy to get overwhelmed when your source
of information comprises tens of different fitness gurus each telling you what is best for losing
weight. While there are a large number of factors that determine what is going to be best for
your specific body, it is possible to simplify your efforts by dispelling some common myths that
could prove hurdles in your weight loss journey. We are here with a guide on how to counter
these weight loss myths and help you maintain a balanced, effective and healthy weight loss
regime. Let’s dive in!
THE CARB DILEMMA
What is the first thing that pops into your head when you want
to shed a few kilos? Is it a complete removal of carbs from your diet? No bread, No
pasta and most definitely no potatoes. The misinformation circulating in the market about
carbs (among other things) has made it the scapegoat for all our weight loss woes. What
one doesn’t realise is that carbs, like all nutrient groups, exist in many healthy foods and
occur in various forms. Any nutrient group, be it carbohydrates, protein, or fat, can lead
to weight gain if consumed too much. Essentially, if you consume more energy than you
burn and your diet is lopsided towards one nutrient group, over time, you are going to
pick up some weight. The bottom line is, carbohydrates are a very essential macronutrient
and they play a crucial role in overall health, energy levels, productivity and also weight
There are three types of carbohydrates: fibre, sugar and starch. The carb spectrum, thus, can
broadly be categorised as follows:
Hence, all carbs are not the same. Another simple categorisation of dietary carbohydrates
comprises simple and complex carbs. Complex carbs such as vegetables, legumes and whole
grains (brown rice, quinoa) slow digestion, stabilise blood sugar levels and help to curb
cravings. Whereas most simple carbs that are usually found in processed sugar and foods (but
also in fruits and milk) are easily broken down by the body and can lead to erratic changes in
blood sugar level and boost energy levels.
FACT: Good Carbohydrate-rich foods are the foundation of healthy eating patterns and should
be incorporated into a balanced diet to achieve your weight loss goals.
THE CALORIE COUNT MISCONCEPTION
Have fad diets led you to believe that all calories are the same? Think again! The misconception is that as long as you keep your calorie count fixed to a certain number, the source of the calories doesn’t matter as often as constricted weight loss regimes. Each calorie affects the body differently. A unit of
carb, protein and fat are metabolised differently by the body due to the thermic effect of
food. In simple terms, the thermic effect refers to the amount of energy your body uses
to digest the foods and drinks you consume and also absorb, transport and stores
their nutrients. The more the thermic rate, the fewer calories you absorb. This becomes
more obvious when you find out that one small chocolate chip cookie and one large
apple have roughly the same amount of calories but unlike the tempting cookie which
tickles your cravings and does not make you full in the slightest, an apple will keep you
happy and satisfied for a longer period of time.
MORE THE THERMIC RATE➡️ LESSER THE CALORIE ABSORPTION ➡️ INCREASED WEIGHT LOSS
In general, it takes more energy to metabolise protein than carbs or fat which is why many
weight reduction diets focus on protein-rich foods.
FACT: the key is to watch your calories while consuming a nutrient-rich diet to ensure that you
feel full and satisfied and do not develop unhealthy binge eating disorders.
STARVING IS THE SOLUTION (NOT)
As surprising as it must sound, the first rule of dieting is saying NO to skipping meals. The idea of starving yourself a few weeks before a wedding, beach vacation or a big event might seem like an attractive prospect but it does more harm than good in the long run. Although you might lose a few kilos in the starting and this can become addictive, it is important to remember that this is just water
weight and does not amount to much inch loss. In fact, after a few days, you will notice
that despite maintaining a similar intensity of dieting and exercise you will stop losing
weight altogether. This is because your body tries to hold onto fuel more efficiently and
slows down your metabolism. This often triggers bingeing after exhaustion, especially
during late evenings.
FACT: Research suggests, in order to lose weight effectively and achieve long-term success,
you should eat 4-5 mini meals a day and keep the hunger at bay. This will keep the metabolic
rate up and the urge to indulge in your cravings low.
REMOVE FATS TO REDUCE FAT
Too much of anything is bad but the opposite stands true as well. Fat like carbs is a macronutrient essential for the proper functioning of our body. Fat is in fact, a major source of energy and helps in absorbing some vitamins and minerals. It is also essential for blood clotting, muscle movement, and
inflammation. Complete elimination of fats can make you weak and unhealthy in the long
run and can also lead to problems like hair loss etc. However, It is important to
differentiate between good and bad fats. The fats can be divided into four types-
FAD DIETS, A MAGIC POTION
There is no shortcut to weight loss. All the trendy diets
in the market that promote quick methods of weight loss bring more problems than
benefits. Although you may notice weight loss in the first few days or weeks of following
such diets, the temporary joy over losing a few kilos is soon replaced with fatigue,
crankiness and a constant craving for food. Additionally, diets bring with them
diseases, cause nutritional deficiencies and negatively impact hormonal health and
The mental health effects of following such diets can range from experiencing guilt over your
food choices to extreme eating disorders which leave a lasting impact on one’s life.
Last but not the least, research shows that 85% of dieters end up gaining weight back within a
year. Thus, fad diets are a predecessor to future weight gain and not weight loss!
FACT: To achieve the long-lasting, sustainable weight loss you must be ready to make a lifestyle
changes and lose weight in a healthy fashion.
WHY ARE WEIGHT LOSS MYTHS ATTRACTIVE AND HOW TO COUNTER THEM?
We tend to believe in weight loss myths because they are tempting and offer us an easy way
out. They are hard to ignore in the day of the internet and social media which glamourise quick and
easy weight loss. However, in reality, the answer is a little less glamorous and a lot more difficult:
Losing weight is a lifestyle change. It is about developing a healthy relationship with both your
body and food. It is important to have the right motivation to lose a normal amount of weight to
become a healthy and happy person rather than a miserable, nutrient-deficient person. The
easy way to counter these myths is fact-checking and taking attractive fads with a pinch of salt.
- Dawson RS. The truth about obesity, exercise, and nutrition. Pediatr Ann. 2018;47(11):e427-
e430. PMID: 30423183 pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30423183/.