5 Biggest Weight Loss Myths Debunked by Scientific Studies

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Today we’re going over the 5 biggest weight loss myths and debunking them using scientific studies.

Weight loss myth #1. Eat 6 small meals for a faster metabolism

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9155494
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19566598
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21123467

When comparing eating 3 meals a day with 500 calories vs. eating 6 meals a day with 250, neither causes a greater calorie burn. (full article in description).

The takeaway point here is that since meal frequency does not really matter, focus on finding what works best for you.

What matters much more is WHAT you’re eating, not when you’re eating it for weight loss.

Weight loss myth #2. Exercise alone can help you lose weight

Let me be clear, exercise is amazing for a variety of reasons

Better blood flow
Improved posture
Gaining lean muscle tissue to help you burn more calories
Heart health
And a variety of other things.

Exercise is something your body needs and something you should be doing.

That being said, according to the research exercise is not a crucial component for weight loss.

http://www.cell.com/current-biology/abstract/S0960-9822(15)01577-8
https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/08/150817142140.htm

Multiple studies have shown when people are spilt into two groups, one using diet and exercise and one only using diet, that weight loss results are usually very similar.

http://ije.oxfordjournals.org/content/42/6/1831.full
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3925973/

This just goes to further show that you absolutely cannot outrun a bad diet.

The takeaway here is not to ignore exercise or stop exercising for weight loss, the point is to give your diet more credit and focus on what you’re eating.

As far as weight loss is concerned, the science points to taking an 80% diet 20% exercise approach.

Weight loss myth #3. You Can Crunch Your Way to A 6-Pack

The body anatomically has your muscles located underneath where you store fat.

It’s likely that you already have great abs from the natural movements in.

Crunches will not get you abs.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3925973/

Weight loss myth #4. Fat makes you fat.

It might seem logical that if you have body fat then cutting fat out of your diet will help you lose it.

This is a common mistake.

There are plenty of studies showing that diets high in fat but within recommended caloric ranges still cause steady weight loss.

http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/86/2/276.full
http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1467-789X.2012.01021.x/abstract

There’s also evidence showing that saturated fat is fine for you as well…

In a recent meta analysis of 21 studies with 347,747 participants they found absolutely zero evidence or association between saturated fat and heart disease.

http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/early/2010/01/13/ajcn.2009.27725.abstract

The reason for the saturated fat scare was a poorly correlated study performed in the 1970’s.

In reality, fat and the occasional source of saturated fat in your daily diet is perfectly healthy.

The takeaway is foods like high quality dark chocolate, extra virgin olive oil, and coconut oil are healthy and safe to eat.

Weight loss myth #5. Don’t lose weight quickly, go slowly

Probably one of the more interesting findings was a meta analysis done by the University of Alabama on the speed of weight loss.

http://sciencenordic.com/researchers-rapid-weight-loss-best

It may seem logical to tell people who want to lose weight to go slowly, change their habits over time, and gradually decrease their calories so they can ease into a new healthy lifestyle.

The science tells us otherwise.

This comprehensive examination of major weight loss studies found that militant diets beat out the slow and steady approach.

http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMsa1208051

The people experiencing the greatest weight loss in the first 2-4 weeks experienced the greatest weight loss the following year.

http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMsa1208051

This makes sense from a motivation standpoint as well as the faster the scale moves down the more encouraged you will be to stick with your diet.

As controversial as that may sound, it seems a stricter diets produces better weight loss results.

There is more to health than just losing weight, but that’s what the science is telling us.

The takeaway here is that if you want to see serious weight loss results use an aggressive diet.

This does not mean that you should go on a crazy juice fast or crazy tea-tox, just that losing more than 2 pounds per week is ok and a probably a good idea if you have a lot to lose.

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