Saturday, September 10, 2011

Seven Weight Loss Myths Exposed

Seven Weight Loss Myths Exposed

Learn the surprising truth about several popular weight loss strategies that just don't work—and find out which ones will actually help you slim down.

Myth #1: Low-Fat Foods Are a Good Choice

The Truth: Ironically, eating low-fat foods has had the opposite effect of the intention of people eating them. The reason is because a low-fat or reduced-fat item may have nearly as many calories as a higher-fat version because ingredients like sugar often replace the fat to make the product taste better. Additionally, a Journal of Marketing Research study determined that people ate 28% more chocolate candies if the treats were portrayed as "low-fat." It was concluded that low-fat labels cause people to underestimate calorie consumption and increase the amount they eat. Something else to keep in mind is that eating low-fat generally means the foods are higher in carbohydrates, which can lead to insulin resistance and diabetes.

Myth #2: Eating at Night Causes Weight Gain

The Truth: A calorie is a calorie no matter when you eat it. As a side note, if you train in the evening, eating at night is a must. Also, one of the biggest mistakes people make when trying to lose weight is that they under eat. Your metabolism is like a campfire, and in order to speed up your metabolism you have to add fuel to that fire by eating every three-four hours, often this means eating at night to keep your metabolism burning fat all night. Just be sure to choose a high protein meal as your last meal with some fresh vegetables so your body has fuel through the night.

Myth #3: Weight Lifting Will Only Bulk You Up

The Truth: Weight lifting helps preserve muscle, which is more metabolically active than fat. In fact, studies suggest strength training may boost resting metabolic rate by as much as seven percent. A 2009 study found just 11 minutes of weight training three times a week will boost daily energy expenditure. After all ladies, underneath every curve there is a muscle!

Myth #4: Running on Empty Burns Extra Fat

The Truth: In theory, because your blood sugar and muscle carbohydrate levels are low after an overnight fast, running before breakfast forces your body to use fat as its main fuel. However, just because you’re using more fat for fuel doesn’t mean you are burning off more fat. Burning fat has more to do with overall calorie expenditure, and when you work out on an empty stomach you aren’t able to work out as long or as hard if you're hungry. This means you may end up burning fewer calories than if you'd eaten something and worked harder.

Some other benefits to eating before your workout:

  • It can boost recovery and strength gains
  • It can help you sustain longer, more intense workouts
  • It can help you avoid low blood sugar, which can make you feel dizzy or nauseous
  • It can make your workouts more enjoyable (since you're not thinking about eating the entire time)

Myth #5: You Can Spot-Reduce Fat

The Truth: When you exercise your body taps into energy stores from everywhere, not just one place. It’s suggested to not target a particular body part no more than three times a week, and focus instead on a balanced full-body program. Your diet is key when it comes to burning fat off those trouble spots.

Myth #6: Longer Exercise Sessions Equals Better Results

The Truth: Running for an hour straight is a great calorie burner and will help you shed pounds. However, running for too long can actually increase cortisol levels leading to more belly fat. You might actually accrue more fitness and fat loss by occasionally breaking that hour-long workout into two half-hour runs or three 20-minute sessions. A study in the Journal of Applied Physiology found that healthy men who performed two separate 30- minute aerobic sessions burned more calories post-workout compared with a single 60-minute trial.

Myth #7: You Can't Overcome Your Genes

The Truth: Yes, some people are more predisposed to have a slower metabolism, and some people put on weight more easily or carry their ‘baggage’ in certain body areas. This being said, being slim is not hopeless. Case in point: A 2009 Finnish study published in the International Journal of Obesity tracked 16 same-sex twin pairs for decades and found that the twin who had been more physically active over a 32-year period accumulated 50 percent less belly fat than the twin who didn't exercise.


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