4 Weight Loss Myths You Probably Still Believe
If you’ve ever picked up a women’s magazine, you’ve surely encountered an article about weight loss. Within that article, you probably encounter tons of supposed tips and tricks that supposedly aid in losing weight. Unfortunately, many of these claims are untrue. Here are four pervasive weight loss myths that you may still believe:
1. Eating breakfast helps you lose weight.
Breakfast is the most important meal of the day!
We’ve all heard this message. Many still believe it. You must eat breakfast when you wake up to kick-start your metabolism, lest your body will be stuck in it’s fasted state and you will burn fewer calories.
This simply isn’t true. There is no science to prove that metabolism gets revved and ready based on eating breakfast.
Another argument is that breakfast curbs binge-eating later. However, a study from Melbourne, Australia found that breakfast-eaters were consuming more daily calories than those who didn’t and that those who tended to weigh slightly less.
For some people, they may certainly feel like eating breakfast is necessary. And if that’s true for you, go ahead, eat the breakfast. Avoiding it hasn’t been proven to cause you to lose weight either, so long as you are within a healthy calorie range. Just avoid the sugary, calorie-filled cereals that are advertised as “part of a complete diet.”
2. Many small meals are better than a few large ones.
Like the breakfast myth, this one stems from the idea that your metabolism will slow down if you aren’t constantly putting food in your body. Again, there is no research to back up this idea.
Eating more often doesn’t lead the body to burn more calories, and a few hours of not eating isn’t going to put your body into “starvation mode.”
Eating more meals may even make you feel hungrier. Eating a bunch of little meals can leave you in a perpetual state of hunger which might make you binge later on.
How many meals you eat purely comes down to preference. If you want to eat one huge meal or 10 little ones, it doesn’t matter. Calories are calories, regardless of how much time has passed between eating them.
3. Gaining muscle will help you burn more calories.
Okay, this one isn’t completely false. Muscle at rest indeed burns more calories than fat at rest.
That doesn’t mean that you should be increasing your calorie uptake just because you see some muscle tone. The effect is very underwhelming. A pound of fat will burn two to three calories a day at rest, whereas a pound of muscle will burn six to seven calories a day at rest.
So unless you have bodybuilder levels of muscle, it’s not going to make much of a difference. This is especially for women. We have less muscle naturally, even when we workout.
4. Atkins/Keto/Paleo/Whatever-o is the best diet to lose weight.
Every few years, we see a new fad diet come out. A decade or so ago, Atkins was all the rage — then came paleo and keto. Now, intermittent fasting is the trend.
These diets do work for some people, but there is no universal best diet. I’ll tell you why.
Weight loss boils down to calories in versus calories out. That’s it. The weight-loss component of these diets aims to curb calories. The truth is you can drink two 700-calorie milkshakes a day and nothing else — so long as you’ve burned off 1800 calories.
What do these myths have in common?
They all try to circumvent the fact that I stated above. Weight loss boils down to calories in versus calories out. It doesn’t actually matter if you eat breakfast, eat 8 snack-sized meals a day, or never touch white rice again. What matters ultimately is what works for you to reduce calorie consumption.
Disclaimer: Of course, you should consult a health professional before making any drastic diet changes (and probably don’t test out my as-for-mentioned milkshake diet).