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The 5 Most Common Fat Loss Myths

The 5 Most Common Fat Loss Myths

Because of the abundance of inaccurate information and outdated advice on the internet regarding weight loss and fat loss, several weight loss myths and fat loss myths have developed. Unfortunately, many of these myths are believed to this day.

For you not to fall victim to these myths and instead proceed through your fat loss journey with intelligence and logic, you must understand the difference between right and wrong…

5 Most Common Fat Loss Myths

By informing yourself of these myths and understanding the background behind why they’re not true, you can begin to understand what’s truly required to achieve the long-lasting results you so desire.

Myth #1 - Fat Makes You Fat

Fat is one of three essential macronutrients necessary for human life. While it contributes to your total calorie intake, fat alone does not cause weight gain. Fat is a secondary means of energy outside of glucose (carbohydrate). Not only is it a misconception that fat makes you fat, but certain fats are actually healthy, generally speaking. This doesn’t mean you should consume a large amount of these healthy fats.

Healthy fats are categorized as monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fat while bad fats are categorized as trans fat and saturated fat. Eat healthy fats (avocadoes, extra virgin olive oil, flax seed, some types of fish) to help avoid overeating, lose weight, reduce food cravings, and lower your inflammation levels.

You need to be cautious when eating foods labeled as “reduced fat” or “low-fat”. Just because it contains less fat than the full-fat version, it does not mean it is a healthy food. Some low-fat products are processed foods that contain high levels of carbs or sugar. Be sure to check the label to see what nutrients these foods contain.

Myth #2 - A Calorie is a Calorie

Of course, by definition, a calorie is a calorie; one calorie, no matter where it comes from, holds the same amount of energy (i.e. Joules). However, when attempting to lose (or gain) weight, a calorie is most certainly NOT a calorie.

In other words, not all calories are created equal; the human body is much more complex than that. Not only do you need to consider the general nutrition that you’re allowing into your body, but you need to consider how these foods affect your blood sugar levels, your feeling of fullness (satiety), your energy level, and more.

Avoid calories comprised largely of sugars/starches, limit liquid calories, consume the majority of calories from nutrient-dense whole foods, and ultimately eat a balanced diet.

Myth #3 - Cardio Burns the Most Fat

When it comes to physical activity, all exercise counts. Cardiovascular activity is imperative to one’s overall health, and heart health in particular. While cardio has many health benefits, it isn't necessary for weight loss. It is a great way to burn calories but whether or not it’s the most effective way is up for debate.

Research suggests that resistance training in an aerobic capacity is the most effective exercise regimen for burning calories. It also boosts metabolism, increases muscle mass, improves bone health, and lowers your blood pressure and risk of heart disease. With that said, a combination of both is likely the most optimal approach to maintaining a healthy body weight.

Myth #4 - You Can Target Fat Loss

A common myth is an idea that you can “target” where you lose fat. Popular regions of the body that many seek to reduce body fat include the belly, the hips (i.e. “love handles”), the triceps, and the neck. This is otherwise known as “spot reduction”.

While you can certainly choose to lose weight and reduce body fat by committing to exercise and eating in a caloric deficit for some time, you CAN NOT choose where to reduce body fat.

Myth #5 - Skip Meals, Avoid Snacking

Although it’s logical to restrict food intake to lose weight, there’s a right and wrong way to approach it. Evidently, skipping meals and avoiding snacks is not the right way to go about it. In fact, a 2020 systematic review and meta-analysis showed that skipping breakfast was associated with an increased risk of overweight/obesity.

In short, restricting foods, skipping meals, and avoiding “snacks” are all fast-track ways to failure. Not only do they hold the potential to develop bad habits such as binge eating but they can result in more serious problems down the line such as anorexia, bulimia, osteoporosis, and more.

A more sustainable approach? Eat all things in moderation, finding a balanced approach across the board.