More Americans are exercising than in previous decades, but they aren’t losing weight.
People have access to healthy food at a reasonable cost, but they are not healthier.
More than ever, people have access to vast quantities of information (the Internet!!) on diet and exercise, but they aren’t putting resources to good use.
Why are people fatter and sicker than ever?
Misinformation about exercise and USDA American food pyramid are mostly to blame. Here are my top 5 myths about fat loss.
Myth #1: Fat loss is simply calories in vs. calories out
This myth has many, many people literally starving themselves on under 1,000 calories per day, while at the same time killing themselves with excessive exercise. They wonder why this is not working…they believe they just need to eat even less and move even more…a recipe for a hormonal disaster that is very difficult to fix.
While it’s true that there is 3,500 calories in a pound of fat, this does not correlate to fat loss.
The static model of caloric reduction is ineffective long-term because it does not consider your basal metabolic rate (calories burned in a day if you were to be at complete rest), macronutrient ratios, hormones, insulin response, lack of sleep, nutritional value of the food, and chemicals in the food that are endocrine system disruptors.
From my experience as a fitness professional, people usually eat far too little. In addition, the food they are eating have little to no nutritional value. This will actually cause an increase in body fat over time. The bottom line is EAT, REAL FOOD.
Myths about fat loss #2: Eat a low fat diet to lose weight
Low fat diets for fat loss do not work. Higher protein and fat diets have been shown to be far more effective than low fat/high carb diets for several reasons: Lower insulin levels, greater satiety/fullness in individuals, and lower inflammation in the body. But most of all, on a high carb diet the body relies on glucose for energy rather than fat stores. In addition, excessive carbs eaten will be stored as body fat. High carb diets also actually make people crave even more carbs due to extreme fluxuations in insulin levels. High carb diets lead to insulin resistance, which leads to diabetes.
Instead, reduce carbohydrates, especially grains and sugar. Enjoy a higher protein, higher fat diet for fat loss and better health overall. Protein sources should be of high quality sources such as organic or pasture raised meats, eggs, wild fish, and grass fed dairy. Fat sources should be nuts, seeds, avocado, grass fed beef, coconut oil, and a high quality fish oil. And of course, enjoy lots of fresh vegetables. This diet will be particularly effective for belly fat loss.
Myth #3: Aerobic exercise is best for fat loss
Aerobic exercise is great for your heart, which is important of course. 2-3 30 minute bouts of moderate intensity cardio per week is sufficient, unless you are training for some type of event. As far as fat loss goes, cardio really has little to do with it. Cardio does not build muscle and in fact, excessive cardio might waste away muscle tissue. This will slow your metabolism and increase carb cravings. Fat loss has everything to do with total body strength training and most of all, proper nutrition. As explained above, proper nutrition does not mean cut calories. It means getting the right ratios of macronutrients and eating nutritionally dense foods.
Myth #4: Chemicals don’t cause weight gain
THIS IS A BIG ONE of the myths about fat loss, but chemicals in our food being the cause of weight gain isn’t even a mainstream subject. It’s completely ignored. Chemicals ranging from pesticides (they are being used at astounding levels today, in comparison to 20-30 years ago) to drugs and antibiotics fed to animals, BPA, plastics, preservatives, food dyes, etc…..the list could go on and on! Without getting too technical and long-winded, the bottom line is these chemicals will mess up your endocrine system, thyroid, digestive system, and even sleep patterns and psychological well being. They will cause weight gain or prevent you from losing weight. A big one that so many people are still in the dark about is artificial sweeteners. Artificial sweeteners like aspartame and splenda/sucralose are chemicals and will cause weight gain, despite being zero calories.
This is one of the myths about fat loss that very few people even consider. If your endocrine system is out of whack, exercise will very likely not help you lose weight.
If you can’t pronounce what’s in your food, that’s a red flag – it’s not food! Try to go a week without eating anything that has a label.
Myth #5: Obese people are unhealthy, but skinny-fat people are just fine!
This can’t be further from the truth! If you’re jealous of “that lady or guy who eats fast-food and cake all day and is still a bean-pole”, think again. That person might look thin in clothes, but on the inside has just as much fat around their heart and organs as an obese person, if not more fat. In addition, it’s a complete myth that only fat people can get type 2 diabetes. While most skinny-fat people are totally unaware of their unhealthy condition, they might have out of control blood sugar and insulin levels. Diabetes is a serious condition that if left untreated can lead to serious health problems, even an early death.
Myths about fat loss and misinformation have America fatter, sicker, and more dependent on prescription drugs to solve their problems. It’s important to do your own research beyond what mainstream media tells you.