Eat Healthy To Lose Weight, And Other Myths

Livestrong has an excellent slideshow about the most common dieting myths. The biggest one they address is the myth that you can lose weight by doing something other than eating less calories than you burn — which is unpossible. In order to lose weight, the only thing that matters is calories in minus calories out. This includes the following dieting tips” we hear often:

  • Eat smaller, more frequent meals to boost your metabolism. Your basal metabolic rate will stay pretty much the same as long as there’s enough food. This method might help you eat less calories per day, in which case it’s great — but eating six 300 calorie meals a day is the same as eating three 600 calorie meals.
  • Unprocessed foods will help you lose weight faster. It doesn’t matter if you eat 600 calories in apples or in twinkies; the only thing that matters is that you burn more of those calories than you eat. The nutrition professor that lost 27 pounds on a Twinkie diet proves this. Eating healthy is good for you in other ways, like disease prevention, but for weight loss only calories matter.
  • Eating fatty foods makes you fat — as if the fat from pork somehow bypasses your mouth and goes straight to your thighs. All food is processed by the digestive system and turned into energy; leftover energy is turned into fat. If you eat 2,000 calories a day, all from fat, but you burn 2,500, you’ll lose weight. If you eat 2,000 calories a day in proteins and carbs but you only burn 1,500, you’ll gain weight. The source of the calories is irrelevant.
  • Eating carbs makes you fat. Same idea as above — the number of calories is the only thing that matters, not where they come from.
  • White bread, rice, etc makes you fat. See the pattern? Whole grain bread may be healthier for other reasons, but eating a truckload of it will make you just as fat as eating a truckload of white bread.
  • Dairy makes you fat. Hopefully the overarching message has sunk in by now; if it hasn’t… wow. The interesting thing about dairy though, is that yogurt has actually been proven to help with weight loss, but the reason isn’t known — maybe it’s a mild appetite suppressant, since dairy should be disgusting.

    This is the guy that lost 27 pounds by eating Twinkies. TWINKIES.

  • You can trick your body into losing weight without decreasing calories. The reason diets like Atkins work is exactly because people reduce calories. How much meat and cheese can you eat without washing it down with a coke? Most diets that have a gimmick like that actually trick you into eating less calories, by removing high-calorie foods like sugar from your diet. So they trick the mind, not the body. As long as it works, kudos to them — but it’s not because they figured out some secret of getting the body to burn fat.
  • The Paleo diet will help you lose weight. If you eat less calories it will, otherwise it won’t do a thing. See above.
  • Eating late at night makes you fat. The idea here is that your body uses a tiny amount of energy while asleep, so all the food you eat before you go to bed will be turned into fat. In reality, you use just a slightly smaller amount of energy while sleeping, because you don’t move around as much. But your body still burns calories at a high rate, since it’s still making you breathe, keeping you warm, digesting food, etc. And it takes about 6 hours for it to digest a meal — unless you go out for a run after dinner instead of watching TV for a few hours, you’ll burn roughly the same calories as when you’re sleeping. Not to mention that what matters more is the calorie deficit on a longer time scale, like a few days or a week; not per meal or per day.
  • Diet sodas trick your body into getting fatter, because it makes your body crave more sugar. They (and regular sodas) may make your tolerance for sweets higher, but sweets aren’t crack.
  • Weight loss supplements work. Research shows that any effect they have is minimal. The only thing that is proven to work is diet and exercise.

A protein (myoglobin)


The article also sets us straight about protein, salt and sugar:

  • Sodium is not really that bad for you. It was another one of those things the government got wrong in the 1980s, like that fatty foods are bad for you. For people with high-blood pressure sodium is bad, but for the rest of us, it’s fine.
  • High Fructose Corn Syrup, or corn sugar, is not worse than regular sugar. It would be like saying a punch in the face is worse than a kick in the face. They’re both just awful for you, and you should cut them out as much as you can.
  • There’s no 30 gram limit of protein that your body can digest from a meal.
  • Protein shakes don’t make you bulky. It depends how much protein shake you have, because per serving, they don’t have many calories.
  • Protein bars are really unhealthy, because they’re packed with a ton of sugar to cover up for the awful, awful taste of protein and make the bars palatable.
  • You don’t have to eat right after a workout just because your body burns protein like a champ about 2 hours after working out. Like in most cases, listen to your body and eat when you’re hungry. If you don’t have enough protein, you’ll suddenly crave meat or nuts or whatever — your body is magic like that.
  • Protein is not bad for your kidneys, and has never been proven to be.

From Livestrong

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