Common weight loss myths debunked

Common weight loss myths debunked

Quick-fix cleanses, the latest diet fads and other weight loss tips are all over social media. It’s not hard to find someone claiming to be a health expert, but it can be hard to know who to trust.

It’s important to rely on healthcare professionals when it comes to healthy, reliable weight loss advice, experts say. They can help weed out the myths.

“Unfortunately, a lot of information on the Internet is not factual and can end up backfiring by causing quick weight loss – followed by quick weight rebounding,” said Dr. Jeffrey Rosen, bariatric surgeon at Advocate Good Samaritan Hospital.

Here are some common myths debunked.

  • A damaged metabolism

This is mostly a fictionalized concept, Rosen said. In testing patients’ metabolism by measuring resting energy expenditure, or the number of calories burned while someone is at rest, “we find that most people with obesity have normal, above normal or only slightly below average metabolism,” he said. However, metabolic adaptation can occur after successful weight loss, he added.

Simply put, a smaller body needs fewer calories to refuel. How much that may impact someone in maintaining weight loss long term depends on several factors, including how much weight they lost and muscle mass, Rosen said.

“Your metabolism didn’t start off damaged,” he said. “But as you lose weight, it could slow down. However, this wouldn’t be enough of a difference to get in the way of weight loss goals, especially if you’re working with experts who can provide tips.”

  • Exercise alone is just as good as eating healthy to lose weight

No. In fact, Rosen said nutrition and dietary changes play more of a role than exercise when the goal is specifically weight loss.

“Exercise is crucial for a healthy lifestyle and feeling your best, but when it comes to weight loss, dialing in calorie intake and making healthy food choices plays the biggest role and yields the most significant results,” he said.

However, in looking beyond weight loss, exercise has many other benefits like improving mood, improved sleep and helping in the prevention of chronic conditions like cardiovascular disease and diabetes, Rosen said. Exercise and daily movement is also important for maintaining your weight.

  • Quick fixes

In general, if a weight loss tactic seems too good to be true, it usually is, Rosen said.

“Significant weight loss and getting healthy takes long-term commitment and lifestyle changes,” he said. “There’s no magic solution.”

And healthcare providers always trump social media when it comes to weight loss tactics or a new exercise routine, Rosen said.

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About the Author

Kate Thayer
Kate Thayer

Kate Thayer, health enews contributor, is a public affairs coordinator with Advocate Health Care. She spent nearly two decades as a journalist, most recently as a reporter at the Chicago Tribune. Throughout her career, Kate has written about public health, politics, government, education and legal issues, along with human interest stories. She enjoys running, podcasts and her twin daughters.