In the realm of weight loss, prevalent misconceptions propagated by reputed nutritionists and perpetuated by the lucrative diet and weight loss industry have fostered many misguided beliefs. FrequenCell co-founder Jan Wellmann’s discerning exposition peels back the layers, dismantling three prevailing myths perpetuated by vested interests chasing profit rather than genuine well-being.
When you Google “accept your weight,” 4.6 billion results pop up.
The search yields titles such as “Accepting Your Body at Any Size,” “How To Respect Your Body,” “The Real Reason You Can’t Accept Your Body,” and “The Secret To Loving Your Body.”
We are inundated with content that encourages us to accept and justify being overweight.
Here is a thought. We could also shift our mindset from accepting who we are to who we could be—lean, mean, and keen on living.
Regrettably, many top nutritionists and weight-loss experts perpetuate certain myths that have played a significant role in the dramatic increase in obesity since the 1980s.
Demolishing these three myths could be your gateway to effective weight loss while improving energy levels.
Myth 1: Calorie Counting Is Key
The first calorie-controlled experiment by Francis Benedict in 1917 demonstrated a rebound effect; participants regained weight shortly after losing it, often adding extra. A comprehensive review in 2007 evaluated 80 studies involving over 26,000 people, concluding that merely cutting calories does not ensure long-term weight loss.
This counterintuitive outcome is partly due to our body’s adaptive energy regulation. When faced with prolonged calorie restriction or excessive exercise, the body may conserve energy by reducing thyroid function, which oversees our metabolism, fat-burning, and hormonal balance. As a result, the body becomes more efficient in storing fat from whatever food is available.
During food scarcity, our biochemical sensors might also downgrade the reproductive system, leading to decreased sexual appetite and other hormonal issues.
Consider the brain: it’s only two percent of our body weight but consumes 20 percent of our base metabolic rate’s energy when at rest, such as watching TV. The brain struggles to function when we are hungry, which often happens on a calorie-restricted diet.
Ultimately, the body is reluctant to part with its fat stores, viewing them as essential energy reserves.
The upshot is that, even with rigorous exercise, calorie restriction is predisposed to fail as the centerpiece of weight-loss programs.
Myth 2: A Calorie Is A Calorie
Zoe Harcombe, a Cambridge mathematician with a Ph.D. in Public Health Nutrition, refutes the idea that all calories have the same impact on our body. According to her research, the type of food we consume has a far greater effect on our health and weight than the number of calories it contains.
The reason is the second law of thermodynamics applied to human energy use. Carbohydrates have a low thermic effect, meaning only six to eight percent of their energy is used to make them available to the body, whereas proteins have a thermic effect of 25 to 30 percent. Consequently, a significant portion of energy from carbs—92 to 94 percent— gets converted into fat.
This distinction is crucial because the body has different caloric requirements for various functions. Carbohydrates are not utilized by the basal metabolic rate (BMR), which relies on fats and proteins. Depending on one’s level of physical activity, the BMR accounts for 50 to 80 percent of total energy expenditure. For an active person, it might be closer to 50 percent, whereas for a sedentary individual, it might approach 80 percent.
Harcombe illustrates this with a comparison of two women, each consuming 2,000 calories daily. Despite the same caloric intake, one woman remains slim while the other becomes overweight. The deciding factor is carbohydrate consumption: the slimmer woman has a diet of 10 percent carbs, whereas the other has 55 percent.
Both women engage in light exercise, which requires approximately 500 calories above their average BMR of 1,500. The slimmer woman taps into her fat reserves while the other accumulates more. This distinction in calorie types largely explains the modern obesity crisis.
Moreover, the typical high-carb American diet not only triggers cravings similar to drug addiction but also promotes a cycle of overconsumption. Even if we attempt to satiate our hunger with a high-calorie, carb-heavy meal, we only exacerbate the BMR-calorie deficit. The excess carbs are stored as fat, while vital body and brain functions are impaired.
Additionally, high-carb diets can induce leptin resistance—the hormone that regulates appetite—leading to increased food intake and reduced fat burning. This vicious cycle contributes to obesity, a modern-day scourge with a death toll surpassing that of wars, famines, and genocides combined.
Myth 3: Saturated Fat Is Bad
The notion that saturated fat is harmful is a widespread misconception.
The confusion often lies with the conflation of trans fats and saturated fats. Trans fats, industrially modified vegetable oils, are present in about 40 percent of supermarket products and can significantly increase the risk of heart disease. These are in crackers, cereals, baked goods, and most processed foods.
On the other hand, saturated fats are in meat, egg yolks, dairy, and certain oils like coconut and olive oil. Misguided dietary guidelines have reduced these fats in our diets despite their health benefits.
Saturated fats are crucial for reducing lipoproteins associated with heart disease, increasing HDL (good cholesterol), nourishing the brain, and supporting the immune system. They also encourage the liver to release fat content.
Saturated fat or clean meat does not clog arteries via excess cholesterol, which a crucial building block of the immune system and cell regeneration.
Most importantly, when combined with a low-carb diet, saturated fats help burn excess fat reserves because they are a robust fuel for the energy required by our basal metabolic rate and additional activities.
We are not inherently designed to be overweight and unhealthy. We are complex systems capable of self-regulation and healing. Recognizing the importance of the types of food we consume simplifies the journey to our ideal selves.
The fundamental guidelines are:
- Cut carbs, especially sugar.
- Avoid processed foods with trans fats and chemicals.
- Drink water, not sweet drinks.
- Eat good fats from coconut oil, olive oil, and animal products.
- Enjoy life and manage stress.
- Eat in a short window during the day.
- Fast occasionally to reset your body.
- Move and sweat every day.
Incorporating strategies such as The Harcombe Diet or The Ketogenic Diet can accelerate this process, offering benefits like ketone bodies, which are particularly advantageous for brain health.
By dispelling these nutritional myths, we not only open the door to better health but also clear the fog for a clearer understanding of other critical health-related issues.
Republished with license: Original article