Weight Loss Myths Debunked

Myth: Long periods between meals slows the body to starvation mode

Fact: The starvation response is a term for reduced rate of metabolic activities and organ functions. It occurs when:

Food intake is drastically reduced or eliminated over many days and weeks. However, if a meal is skipped or ritual fasts are performed, the body does not go into starvation mode.

Digestion uses about 10% of the daily calories in a 24 hour period. If normal eating does not occur, there will be a slight decrease in calorie usage due as less time is spent breaking down the food. However, there will not be the process of energy conservation or the decrease in organ function that occurs during starvation.
During true starvation mode, the decreased need for calories equals about 200-300 per day and the calories are provided to the body by the breakdown of fat and muscle tissue.

Myth: Low Carb Diets Help with Quick Weight Loss

Fact: Dramatic restriction of carbohydrates may temporarily show a quick drop in the number on the scale but it is not because of a loss of body fat or a change in body structure.  This is due to:

1. Carbohydrates have water in their chemical structure and can hold more water than other energy sources.

2. Drastic restriction will cause a temporary loss of weight due to a loss of water and possibly lead to a measure of dehydration.

3. There is no loss of body fat from these diets, which is the main objective of weight loss. To lose one pound of fat which equals 3500 calories, it requires either eating fewer calories or using more energy from exercise.

4. Carbohydrates are an essential source of energy for the body and should not be eliminated nor should they be consumed in excess.

5. Fad diets do not ultimately succeed, as they are not in keeping with the way the human body functions. With this type of diet, it is common to increase fat intake as a result of the decreased levels of carbohydrate, with the fat contributing far more calories.

6. Individuals can also find themselves becoming tired, as the primary energy source of the body, carbs, has been restricted. Water in the body is tightly regulated and will eventually return to normal levels, and with that, the weight itself will return.

Myth: Obesity is Due to a Thyroid Problem

Fact: Thyroid problems and their metabolic effects are uncommon with the exception of women over 60.  Obesity itself is what causes changes in hormones such as:

1. Insulin (conversion of glucose to energy)

2. ghrelin (feelings of hunger)

3. leptin (feelings of fullness)

These hormones ARE produced in the over-weight or obese person but the cells of the body become resistant or insensitive to their effects.  The result of this is:

1. Muscle tissue which make up 35% of a woman’s body and 45% of a man’s body become resistant to insulin resulting in a

A. Higher level of sugar in the blood possibly diabetes.

B. The unused glucose is converted to body fat which increases the problem of excess fat

2. The job of ghrelin is to let you know that there isn’t any more energy in the blood for the functions of the body; it’s telling you to “feed me”.  If you don’t, the body will consume its own fat stores (that’s normal) but more importantly muscle tissue, and that’s bad.

3. The job of leptin is to tell you that enough food has been consumed for the body’s needs, and any more will just be converted to fat, “stop eating”.

The over-weight person is not getting these signals correct because they are overweight, not that they are over-weight because their hormone levels are insufficient or poorly acting.

Myth: Gluten is bad for you

Fact: Gluten is the protein found in grains. And while a very small percentage of the population is allergic to this protein, there is no negative effect on everyone else.  The protein in plant based foods is incomplete (lacks all the amino acids to maintain muscle tissue) and must be combined with a different plant based protein such as:

Rice or wheat (lacks lysine but has methionine)
Beans (lacks methionine but has lysine)

To eliminate gluten from the diet is unnecessary. And for those who are vegans or don’t consume enough protein from animal sources to supply sufficient dietary protein, the muscles of the body will have no chance to be replaced during normal growth of cells with lean body mass and the shape of the body will suffering.

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