Weight Loss Support - Weight loss myths and misconceptions




Vex
02-03-2013, 01:43 PM
I've been reading quite a few posts from people lately who are getting discouraged about slow or no weight loss. Usually these people are ones that have recently started in the last couple of months. That's such a crucial point in weight loss as that's when you decide if you stick with it for the long haul or give up. I hope I can point out some common misconceptions and give you hope that a few extra pounds is not the end.


Myth 1 - According to whatever tool, if I put X amount of calories in my body, I'll lose X amount of weight every week.

Reality - Most people never lose the same amount of weight every week, despite staying religiously on plan. Some may lose none at all, or even gain. It's weight loss over the long haul that matters. Any little thing can cause our bodies to hold on to weight, TOM, stress, sleep habits, or what color the sky is that day. Don't get discouraged if you're not losing exactly on schedule. If you're not seeing anything for 2 months, staying exactly on plan, maybe it's time for a reevaluation.


Myth 2 - You must exercise regularly to lose weight.

Reality - I would say for many people, as there are exceptions, exercise is not necessary to lose weight. Diet is the number one contributor to losing weight. Will you become healthier with regular exercise? Of course. Exercise is a great way to improve your health, but not necessarily to lose weight.


Myth 3 - If you eat too little your body will go into starvation mode.

Reality - Your metabolism may slow down and weight loss may slow down, but it will not stop completely. Starvation mode, the term as it's used regularly here, does not exist. Should you eat 500 calories a day? Absolutely not unless with the help of a doctor. Your body is not going to shut down at 1200 a day though.


Myth 4 - Eating X amount of whatever nutrient or not eating it is going to make or break my weight loss.

Reality - There are definitely people who are more sensitive to carbs than others, but all in all, making sure you eat x amount of this or that isn't going to make a big difference. For most people, it's calories in vs. calories out.


Myth 5 - I can never have (insert food here) again. :(

Reality - Yes you can! If you really want something, have it. Don't have multiples of it every day. Ice cream? Have a small one once a month, or one of the many 100 calorie ones out there. You don't have to eat salad for every meal to lose weight. There's so much variety out there now, there's a way to make your favorite food into a healthier version.


I'm not a doctor, or any sort of nutritionist. I'm just using my own experience and the experience of others here to base these thoughts on. It seems as if so many people recently are stressing out over these things, if maybe just one of them stays in the game because if it, I'd be happy.


betsy2013
02-03-2013, 01:48 PM
I agree with everything you've said and got a chuckle out of a typo -- came out crabs instead of carbs.

Other news reports that have aired recently:

Eating breakfast has always been touted as a necessity. Most recent research indicates that it doesn't matter if you eat a big breakfast or not (and, in fact, the encouragement to do so may have been from the......ta da.........breakfast food industry -- shocking, I know!).

Recent research has shown that eating your largest meal of the day at noon seems to help with weight loss.

We've always been told to go slow with weight loss and that rapid weight loss will be just as quickly put right back on. Latest research indicates that whether it's fast or slow loss, the regaining is dependent upon what you're eating then, not how fast the weight initially came off.

Jez
02-03-2013, 01:50 PM
I'll add a myth: That fat makes you fat.


Vex
02-03-2013, 01:50 PM
Yeah I saw the crabs typo. I have no doubt people are sensitive to them too. :)

freelancemomma
02-03-2013, 02:32 PM
Speaking of misconceptions, I found it amusing and ironic that one of the banner ads to the right of this thread (on my computer, anyway) is about "five foods that will cause you to gain weight." The foods are orange juice, tofu, soy-based milk products, whole-wheat grain products, and low-fat peanut butter. Guess I didn't get that memo when I lost 55 pounds while eating either tofu or whole-wheat grain products practically every day.

A couple of months ago I interviewed a weight loss expert who said that just about all weight-loss plans are based on either magic foods (to eat or avoid) or magic formulas (small meals, large meals, breakfast, no breakfast, etc.). In truth you simply have to eat less.

Freelance
blog: www.englishgrammargripe.com

JollyGreenSteen19
02-03-2013, 02:59 PM
I found these interesting. I agree with another poster, one of the biggest myths is that fat makes you fat. WRONG. It kills me when people say that. The one thing in my diet I splurge on (except for yogurt and ice cream, which has sugar in it and thus I buy low fat versions) is fat. Sour cream, cottage cheese, cream cheese etc... I always get the real deal and I don't think there's anything wrong with it. It's the carbs you have to watch out for and that pesky insulin. I'll pick a nice "fatty" sirloin over pasta and fries and bread at a restaurant any day :)

I do feel like exercise is an essential part of weight loss. I have lost weight through a strict diet alone, but I feel like exercising allows you to have more wiggle room and enjoy what you eat. It helps burn more fat off your body and shape/tone the muscles underneath as they poke up :)

There were some of these myths on the local news the other night. There is so much floating around based on dated 70's and 80's research studies. People just spout stuff out like a parrot. A new study said, for instance, people who lose a big amount of weight quickly versus those who lose it slow are just as likely to keep it off if not more. I thought that was interesting because I was always told if you lose it slowly it'll stay off longer, through what I assume is a more long term lifestyle change.

LockItUp
02-03-2013, 03:04 PM
Yes! Love all of those!

I'll add one:

I've gained enough muscle to offset the scale to mask fat loss.

Muscle is NOT easy to gain, and even with noob gains taken into account, a person would not gain a couple pounds of muscle a week! It's either water weight, or the person is not eating in enough of a deficit to lose anything.

novangel
02-03-2013, 03:12 PM
I'll add a myth: That fat makes you fat.

Yes, this is something I was told several years ago that I never knew. Fat doesn't get stored.

JohnP
02-03-2013, 04:35 PM
Good thread but there is some information here that is not accurate or perhaps I'm just not understanding what people are saying.

Fat is stored as fat and is how we humans get fat. Excess calories is what makes us gain fat over time but it is the dietary fat we consume that is absorbed.

Fat stored is going to be less than fat burned if you're in a caloric deficit but it is indeed dietary fat that is stored as fat and causes us to become fat. Don't misunderstand what I'm saying here. You only gain fat when your energy intake exceeds your energy output.

Carbs are very rarely converted to fat in humans and when they are it is in small quantities. Protein is almost never converted to fat. The pathways for conversion exist but they are highly inefficient and not typcially utilized. Fat is stored as fat.

This doesn't mean fat should be avoided. Fat is one of the most satiating nutrients and an important nutrient for other reasons.

BreathingSpace
02-03-2013, 09:02 PM
Myth 3 - If you eat too little your body will go into starvation mode.

Reality - Your metabolism may slow down and weight loss may slow down, but it will not stop completely. Starvation mode, the term as it's used regularly here, does not exist. Should you eat 500 calories a day? Absolutely not unless with the help of a doctor. Your body is not going to shut down at 1200 a day though.


If I had a dollar for every time someone spewed out this little gem on this board I would be rich. And probably less irritated! LOL.

That annoys me along with spelling errors like "loose" weight and the immediate jump from "I just started dieting and exercising for 1 week and I didn't lose any weight" and someone's inevitable response of "oh you've probably just gained muscle". SIGH.

Maybe that's my contribution of "myth" although I don't have science to back it up, just common sense. After 1 week how much muscle could you possibly have gained??!!!

Novus
02-03-2013, 09:52 PM
Carbs are very rarely converted to fat in humans and when they are it is in small quantities.

All the info I've read says that when you eat more carbs than your body can burn for fuel, the excess is converted to fat. Are you saying this is wrong?

Radiojane
02-03-2013, 10:11 PM
Part of it is we're conditioned to want it NOW. I'm just as guilty as everyone else. I started out wanting to lose 100lbs in 4.5 months. Completely ridiculous, and I'm not a stupid person usually. But every ad, every success story? They all push "fast". That's why we're seeing so many new posters 4 weeks in discouraged because they've "only" lost 3lbs.

No body is the same. The rules really are different for all of us. But those rules are tweaks inside the larger scope of healthy, cals in cals out etc, and we need to play around and educate ourselves on what our bodies need.

shcirerf
02-03-2013, 11:15 PM
Hmm, there are a lot of myths out there. *rolls eyes*

Over the years, and I'm no spring chicken. I'm 53, have grandkids! Love them.

Anyway, over the years, I've learned what works for me.

I do need to keep a food diary/journal. I need to go to my Weight Watcher meetings, and I need to get formal/scheduled exercise.

I have also learned, that while WW promotes veggies and fruit, fruit is bad for me. It monkeys with my blood sugar.

So, I don't eat much fruit, I just eat more veggies.

What it really boils down to is patience, and taking the time to learn your body and what does and does not work, and rolling with the dice you were given!:D

JohnP
02-03-2013, 11:29 PM
All the info I've read says that when you eat more carbs than your body can burn for fuel, the excess is converted to fat. Are you saying this is wrong?

It really couldn't be more wrong. Unfortunately the people who know how nutrition and science work aren't typically blogging or writing internet articles so you're left with nutrition "professionals" who are selling one product or another. I can list a number of reasons carbs should be limited by most dieters but conversion to fat is simply not one of them.

Carbs are stored but they are stored as glycogen. Obviously the ingestion of more carb calories means less fat calories are going to be burned as the body prefers carbs over fat for fuel.

The process of converting carbs to fat is called de novo lipogenesis and in many animals this is common but in humans it is not normal for this to happen except in small quantities and when you're consuming massive amounts of carbs. We're not rats.

If you want to read more about it you can read this article (http://www.bodyrecomposition.com/fat-loss/how-we-get-fat.html) which sadly like most of his articles is not footnoted but the fact that de novo lipogenesis is not substantial in humans is fairly well documented (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC295308/pdf/jcinvest00059-0365.pdf).

Hope this helps. In the end - it really doesn't matter if carbs are converted or not - because if you consume excess calories you gain fat. It's just nice to have accurate information.

Heather
02-04-2013, 07:57 AM
Great thread!

I had a question about what John just wrote. You said that carbs (and I'm presuming protein) don't convert to fat easily in humans, but then said
In the end - it really doesn't matter if carbs are converted or not - because if you consume excess calories you gain fat.
but that would mean that the only way to gain fat would be to eat fat, right?

Does that mean that if I ate a lot of food, but really tried to limit my fat intake that the amount of fat I gained would be proportionate to the amount of fat I ate, rather than the number of calories? (Sorry if I'm not asking that clearly... I'm in a rush right now)

Amarantha2
02-04-2013, 08:28 AM
I have the same question.

Great thread!

I had a question about what John just wrote. You said that carbs (and I'm presuming protein) don't convert to fat easily in humans, but then said

but that would mean that the only way to gain fat would be to eat fat, right?

Does that mean that if I ate a lot of food, but really tried to limit my fat intake that the amount of fat I gained would be proportionate to the amount of fat I ate, rather than the number of calories? (Sorry if I'm not asking that clearly... I'm in a rush right now)

nelie
02-04-2013, 10:45 AM
From my understanding, our bodies prefer glucose and burn glucose, but our bodies also will use up our fat stores as well. If there is excess glucose consistently, more than the cells need, this can relate to insulin resistance but also our bodies will prefer the glucose off the fat. Since it is easier to store fat, the bodies will store fat and burn the glucose instead.

Now if you are eating at a calorie deficit, your body will burn the carbs you eat, burn a little excess fat and use the protein for either energy or rebuilding. If you are eating at calorie maintenance then similarily, fat may get stored temporarily when you have eaten but it gets used up in proportion to storage since you are at maintenance. Now if you are eating in excess then your body burns as much carbs as it can, store excess as glycogen, burn excess protein and store the fat. Since you may also have excess glucose, you may be in danger of insulin resistance as the glucose tries to get stuffed into the cells.

That is my simplistic way of viewing it.

Elladorine
02-04-2013, 11:11 AM
Good thread but there is some information here that is not accurate or perhaps I'm just not understanding what people are saying.

Fat is stored as fat and is how we humans get fat. Excess calories is what makes us gain fat over time but it is the dietary fat we consume that is absorbed.

Fat stored is going to be less than fat burned if you're in a caloric deficit but it is indeed dietary fat that is stored as fat and causes us to become fat. Don't misunderstand what I'm saying here. You only gain fat when your energy intake exceeds your energy output.

Carbs are very rarely converted to fat in humans and when they are it is in small quantities. Protein is almost never converted to fat. The pathways for conversion exist but they are highly inefficient and not typcially utilized. Fat is stored as fat.

This doesn't mean fat should be avoided. Fat is one of the most satiating nutrients and an important nutrient for other reasons.
The more I know
the less I understand
All the things I thought I'd figured out
I have to learn again
~Don Henley :dizzy:

Sorry, got a song in my head. ;) But this is pretty interesting, and not something I'd given much thought to recently.

Years ago I'd listened to an audio book version of Susan Powter's Stop the Insanity, in which she stressed fat creates fat. To be fair it's been several years since I've listened (and I was practically still a kid), but that and the whole low-fat craze sweeping the nation back in the early-mid 90's gave me the impression that fat should be avoided at all costs. I'd lose a decent amount before completely stalling out in complete physical & emotional exhaustion and binging due to feeling like I was literally starved.

I've since changed my mindset and no longer see fat as "evil." :lol: The only thing I see as even remotely evil these days is added sugar, but only because I know how it messes with my system (blood sugar spiking, added cravings, lack of satisfaction over smaller portions). It almost feels like eating sugar (well, too much of it anyway) is having high-octane fuel but my body doesn't know what to do with it all.

Anyway, I'll be looking at those links soon, thanks for posting. :)

nelie
02-04-2013, 11:32 AM
Years ago I'd listened to an audio book version of Susan Powter's Stop the Insanity, in which she stressed fat creates fat. To be fair it's been several years since I've listened (and I was practically still a kid), but that and the whole low-fat craze sweeping the nation back in the early-mid 90's gave me the impression that fat should be avoided at all costs. I'd lose a decent amount before completely stalling out in complete physical & emotional exhaustion and binging due to feeling like I was literally starved.


To be fair to Susan Powter and others at the beginning of the low-fat craze, low fat truly meant low fat and not no-fat. A lot of excess calories came from fat so people that cut out fat, did lose weight and keep it off. All of my weight loss came from eating a low fat diet.

Now what others at the beginning of the low fat craze didn't really predict was that companies would cash in on the craze and start making processed, high sugar foods with no fat. People started eating excess calories in the form of sugar which caused different issues. Although some people used 'products' in their low fat diet, I never really used low fat 'products' because of the high sugar issue among other issues. And low fat doesn't mean no fat.

So fat isn't bad, it is important to the function of our bodies but so is glucose. Overall, calories are what counts and macronutrients can be played around with to whatever you feel comfortable with.

JohnP
02-04-2013, 11:37 AM
In theory a diet very low in fat would mean less net fat storage but there are two problems with this theory.

The first one is that it would be pretty difficult to avoid dietary fat while still ingesting massive amounts of carbs. The second one is that the body can adapt and ramp up DNL if your glycogen stores are constantly full.

Anyways I'm sorry I threw this topic off topic a bit.

Elladorine
02-04-2013, 12:15 PM
To be fair to Susan Powter and others at the beginning of the low-fat craze, low fat truly meant low fat and not no-fat. A lot of excess calories came from fat so people that cut out fat, did lose weight and keep it off. All of my weight loss came from eating a low fat diet.

Now what others at the beginning of the low fat craze didn't really predict was that companies would cash in on the craze and start making processed, high sugar foods with no fat. People started eating excess calories in the form of sugar which caused different issues. Although some people used 'products' in their low fat diet, I never really used low fat 'products' because of the high sugar issue among other issues. And low fat doesn't mean no fat.

So fat isn't bad, it is important to the function of our bodies but so is glucose. Overall, calories are what counts and macronutrients can be played around with to whatever you feel comfortable with.
Yeah, I get the gist of that now. :) Like I was saying, it's been years and I was still practically a kid at the time. I'm sure my brain was skewed by the whole "all or nothing" issue a lot of dieters face. And yes, I started eating excess sugars through processed foods which caused other issues, probably including over a decade of being an undiagnosed diabetic. :( The package says "fat free," so it's ok to eat as much as I want, right? :dizzy: It didn't dawn on me that it was "ok" to eat fats while trying to lose weight until about 2004 or so, when I really started to read up on nutrition. :^: I had to do something at that point since I was at my highest weight ever! :o

Sometimes I think the hard part is finding a healthy, comfortable balance of macronutrients. I seem to do ok these days if I allow myself healthy fats, a fair amount of protein, and keep my processed carbs low. What seems the most important to me though is watching my portions . . . since I choose not to count calories (once again it gives me the dreaded "all or nothing" issue) that seems to be the best way for me to restrict what I'm eating. :)

Rana
02-04-2013, 01:26 PM
This might help what JohnP was saying:

Fat Storage

In the last section, we learned how fat in the body is broken down and rebuilt into chylomicrons, which enter the bloodstream by way of the lymphatic system.
Chylomicrons do not last long in the bloodstream -- only about eight minutes -- because enzymes called lipoprotein lipases break the fats into fatty acids. Lipoprotein lipases are found in the walls of blood vessels in fat tissue, muscle tissue and heart muscle.

Insulin

When you eat a candy bar or a meal, the presence of glucose, amino acids or fatty acids in the intestine stimulates the pancreas to secrete a hormone called insulin. Insulin acts on many cells in your body, especially those in the liver, muscle and fat tissue. Insulin tells the cells to do the following:
Absorb glucose, fatty acids and amino acids
Stop breaking down glucose, fatty acids and amino acids; glycogen into glucose; fats into fatty acids and glycerol; and proteins into amino acids
Start building glycogen from glucose; fats (triglycerides) from glycerol and fatty acids; and proteins from amino acids
The activity of lipoprotein lipases depends upon the levels of insulin in the body. If insulin is high, then the lipases are highly active; if insulin is low, the lipases are inactive.

The fatty acids are then absorbed from the blood into fat cells, muscle cells and liver cells. In these cells, under stimulation by insulin, fatty acids are made into fat molecules and stored as fat droplets.

It is also possible for fat cells to take up glucose and amino acids, which have been absorbed into the bloodstream after a meal, and convert those into fat molecules. The conversion of carbohydrates or protein into fat is 10 times less efficient than simply storing fat in a fat cell, but the body can do it. If you have 100 extra calories in fat (about 11 grams) floating in your bloodstream, fat cells can store it using only 2.5 calories of energy. On the other hand, if you have 100 extra calories in glucose (about 25 grams) floating in your bloodstream, it takes 23 calories of energy to convert the glucose into fat and then store it. Given a choice, a fat cell will grab the fat and store it rather than the carbohydrates because fat is so much easier to store.

http://science.howstuffworks.com/life/cellular-microscopic/fat-cell2.htm

This is why you can say that fat turns into fat, because it can be absorbed into a fat cell much easier.

In order to break down a carbohydrate into a sugar to then convert into a fatty acid so it can get absorbed by a fat cell takes much more energy and the body likes to be efficient.

So, your body will take the carbohydrates and store them in your muscles as glycogen because it's easier.

The issue with insulin resistance and really, why the low-carb craze has taken off, is because there are studies that show that sugary foods can be blamed for the cause of weight gain in the body.

Studies have shown that fructose switches off the body's ability to produce insulin, resulting in excess glucose floating around in the blood stream, which then means it has to create more insulin in order to stuff the excess glucose into the cells.

But this affects your appetite regulators, which makes you feel hungry even though you just had a massive piece of cake, so you end up eating even more because your hunger cues are all off.

And now, you've consumed more calories that are probably fat, carb, and protein which will then be converted again in your body. If you are not exercising to burn the glycogen stored in your muscles and organs, it will not have any room for the other glucose that the insulin is trying to store in your fat cells. And if you develop insulin resistance, a whole other host of problems appear, like NFLAD (fatty liver disease), weight gain, high cholesterol, hormonal changes, and so on.

Some of this is simplified, because the science is more complicated than this and there is still much that has to be discovered.

Please feel free to correct me if I'm wrong in my understanding.

JollyGreenSteen19
02-04-2013, 04:15 PM
I appreciate the info JohnP. I am a scientist so I do like to read research ^.^

phinny99
02-04-2013, 04:18 PM
Interesting!

Amarantha2
02-04-2013, 04:18 PM
Thanks, this helped.

From my understanding, our bodies prefer glucose and burn glucose, but our bodies also will use up our fat stores as well. If there is excess glucose consistently, more than the cells need, this can relate to insulin resistance but also our bodies will prefer the glucose off the fat. Since it is easier to store fat, the bodies will store fat and burn the glucose instead.

Now if you are eating at a calorie deficit, your body will burn the carbs you eat, burn a little excess fat and use the protein for either energy or rebuilding. If you are eating at calorie maintenance then similarily, fat may get stored temporarily when you have eaten but it gets used up in proportion to storage since you are at maintenance. Now if you are eating in excess then your body burns as much carbs as it can, store excess as glycogen, burn excess protein and store the fat. Since you may also have excess glucose, you may be in danger of insulin resistance as the glucose tries to get stuffed into the cells.

That is my simplistic way of viewing it.

Amarantha2
02-04-2013, 04:19 PM
I am glad you did! Thanks.

In theory a diet very low in fat would mean less net fat storage but there are two problems with this theory.

The first one is that it would be pretty difficult to avoid dietary fat while still ingesting massive amounts of carbs. The second one is that the body can adapt and ramp up DNL if your glycogen stores are constantly full.

Anyways I'm sorry I threw this topic off topic a bit.