Weight Loss Myths: Does the Mainstream Media Finally Understand How To Lose Weight?

weight loss myths

We found an article on MSN from Runner’s World. It discusses weight loss myths. We were shocked at how similar our beliefs were to this article.

For years the mainstream media has been feeding us a lot of nonsense about diet plans and weight loss tips. Much of this is driven by embedded conflicts in the health and fitness industry.

Are supplement companies really going to perform studies that show you might not need as much protein as they say? How many food companies are going to study the effect of eating less?

Heck, a segment of the food industry exploded with the popularity of “low carb” diets, even the beer companies were in on it!

Needless to say, the article shares a lot of tips that we consider unconventional.

With continued media coverage, maybe one day, these will be “average fitness tips” instead of “not your average fitness tips.”

The Weight Loss Myths

Here are the myths the article discusses and our thoughts on each.

1. To lose weight, cut carbs or fat

This is the myth that weight loss is somehow about WHAT you eat instead of HOW MUCH you eat. In reality, it’s all about calories eaten versus calories expended.

This is backed up by a New England Journal of Medicine study that showed the composition of macronutrients (protein, carbs, fat) had no impact on participant weight loss.

2. Exercise in the fat-burning zone

This is the steady-state cardio myth. The so-called fat-burning zone lies between 50-70% of your maximum heart rate.

However, studies have shown that higher intensity exercise burns more total calories than exercising in the “fat-burning zone” due to the significant afterburn effect (EPOC).

The fat-burning zone does burn fat, but first, you have to burn off glycogen (carbs).  High-intensity training gets you there faster.

3. Mini-meals are better than three hearty ones

This has been a bodybuilding myth for years. An expansive Australian study showed that you’re more likely to gain weight by eating more often. Even though you might think the meals are smaller, you have a tendency to overeat at each one of those small meals.

Eating small meals only works if you control portion size. There is no material impact on your metabolism from eating more often.

4. Lift less weight with more reps to get toned

So many people believe in this myth. The truth is that you should do low reps with heavyweights to get really toned, defined muscles.

Bodybuilders are the ones who traditionally use less weight with more reps to induce sarcoplasmic hypertrophy which results in increased muscle size, albeit it is less solid muscle.

If you’re happy with the size of your muscles than myofibrillar hypertrophy (heavyweight, low reps) is preferred.

5. You can “make up” weekend splurges

You can’t make up for overeating on Saturday and Sunday unless you are under eat the rest of the week. A study found that many people lose weight during the week but gain on weekends because they eat too much. You have a couple of choices.

You could continue to maintain your dieting focus on the weekends or, our preferred approach, add in 1-2 intermittent fasts per week to offset the increased weekend intake.

6. You have to ban bad foods

It’s great to think that you can eat healthy forever. Unfortunately, the vast majority of people cannot follow food restrictions indefinitely. A study by the National Academy of Sciences showed that trying to go without a certain food led to even more gorging.

Additionally, studies have shown that calorie-restrictive diets are not followed in the long term because you eventually get the urge to binge.

We’re a fan of the 75/25 rule: eat well 75% of the time, allow sweets and treats 25% of the time.

Hopefully, that’s enough to create a caloric deficit.

There you have it. Six weight loss myths debunked by an actual media publication. We hope these types of articles continue to hit the mainstream.

There are so many health and fitness myths that prevent people from achieving their weight loss goals. Here’s hoping we can re-educate the public one person at a time.

Summary

  1. There are many common exercise myths that are not regularly debunked by mainstream media.
  2. Eat less, exercise more intensely, and lift heavy weights are the main themes within these myths.