Don’t believe these 5 myths

Time magazine recently ran an article on the 9 Myths of Weight Loss. Five of their research observations around this topic are worth noting. 

Myth: To lose weight you only need to eat less and exercise more. While studies like the National Weight Control Registry (of which MetaLogics’ Dr. James Hill is a founder) show that people who lose weight successfully tend to change their eating habits and increase their exercise, that's not the whole story. Other factors, like genetics, environment, emotional state and what types of food a person eats can also contribute. "If you just try to eat less and exercise more, most people will lose that battle," said Dr. David Ludwig, director of the New Balance Foundation Obesity Prevention Center at Boston Children’s Hospital. Instead, Ludwig recommends people concentrate on eating healthier foods, and avoid highly processed food with lots of added sugar.

Myth: All calories are equal.  For people who want to lose weight, paying attention to calories and where they come from is important. But, drinking a zero-calorie soda is not better for you than a handful of almonds. Keeping track of what you eat may be a helpful way for people to get insight into what they are eating but understanding where most of a person’s calories are coming from can help identify where changes may be needed.

Myth: You need to lose a substantial amount of weight to notice health changes. Research shows that a mere 5-10 percent loss of weight will produce noticeable changes in blood pressure and blood sugar control while lowering the risk for heart disease and reducing the risk of diabetes by more than 50 percent.

Myth: Americans are overweight because we eat too much. While portion size has definitely increased in American diets, obesity experts argue there are likely multiple factors that have contributed to America’s obesity epidemic. High-calorie processed foods and drinks have become a ubiquitous part of the American diet, and some researchers say weight gain may also be linked to Americans’ exposure to chemicals like bisphenol A(BPA) found in everyday items like canned-food containers, fast food wrappers and cash-register receipts. Americans are also increasingly sedentary, which has increased the risk for diseases like obesity and diabetes. 

Myth: People need more willpower to lose weight. A person’s success or failure at weight loss is not a reflection of their willpower reserve. There are many factors—genetic, environmental and otherwise—that play into a person’s size, and a growing body of research shows that when people lose weight, biological factors come into play, making it harder for them to keep weight off after it’s gone. Dr. Kevin Hall, a scientist at the National Institutes of Health, has found that when a person loses a substantial amount of weight, their metabolism gets out of whack and their appetite increases, causing them to eat about 100 calories more for every two pounds lost. While that doesn’t mean it's impossible to keep weight off in the long term, it does mean that struggling to do so is by no means a reflection of willpower, motivation or work ethic. 

The one-size-fits-all solution to weight loss is a significant part of the problem. Knowing how you process the food you eat is an incredibly powerful component in developing and managing a weight loss plan. More importantly, those who promote crash dieting as a solution to this problem are in fact contributing to this problem. 

Slow and steady wins the race, and at Lume, we intend to play a significant role in solving the world’s obesity epidemic.