Top 3 Fat Loss Myths
Updated: Sep 10
When it comes to the world of fat loss, there are many opinions. This has led to many of these opinions being sold as facts, and it can be confusing for someone looking to get in shape, to be able to separate fact from fiction.
In this article, we will take a look at 3 of the biggest myths about fat loss.
Carbs don't make you fat. Excess calories do.
If you are dieting and not losing fat, you are probably still overeating. You just don't notice it.
You can't spot reduce fat. Focus on good nutrition and exercise to reduce overall body fat percentage.
Myth #1: Carbs and sugar make you fat
When we fail at something, it's easier for us to point our finger at a convenient scapegoat.
A decade ago, the blame was on a high-fat diet.
Today, its carbs and sugar.
Product marketers then use these scapegoats to sell us on a low-carb and low-sugar diet that is unnecessary, and often not even healthier.
The science here is clear.
If you consistently consume fewer calories than you burn, you'll lose weight.
If you consistently consume more calories than you burn, you'll gain weight.
No one type of food can make you fatter. Only overeating does that.
In our modern 21st-century diet, the calories can quickly add up when consuming food and snacks that are high in sugar. Hence, making carbs and sugar such a convincing scapegoat.
It's just as possible to get fat overeating on vegetables than it is to overeat on sweets. It's just much much harder to overeat on vegetables.
In well-designed, well-executed, peer-reviewed studies, scientists have found that there was no difference in fat loss in subjects consuming the majority of their calories from carbohydrates or from other sources.
In other words, the number of calories was more important than whether those calories come from carbohydrates or not.
Myth #2: Some people just have the "fat gene"
As shown in myth #1, there is no magic when it comes to fat loss.
However, many people inevitably reach the conclusion that their bodies are just incapable of getting leaner, or they have the "fat gene" when they have been dieting for a while and see no real progress.
In truth, they are probably still overeating even though they feel like they have been on a diet.
Of course, there are certain body types that are more receptive to calorie deficits than others, and some people still tend to be bulky even when they are lean. But as long as you are properly controlling your diet and in a calorie deficit, there is no reason why you shouldn't be getting leaner.
Studies have actually shown that most people are really horrible at estimating the actual number of calories they consume. People constantly underestimate their portion sizes and calories in their meals.
Even if you are counting every calorie you consume, many apps and food labels are inaccurate in their calorie labeling as well.
So how do we solve this problem?
Turns out, your body is actually really good at telling you when to eat and when not to.
This ability is most evident when we are newborns. Babies cry when they are hungry, and refuse to eat when they are not. As we grow older, we learn to eat according to social norms and based on our priorities. We eat when we have time or when we are reminded of food.
To prevent overeating, we need to learn to tune back into our physical hunger cues and understand what our bodies are telling us (just like when we were babies). This is one of the main focuses of the Kairos Nutrition curriculum.
Myth #3: You can burn (specific body part) by doing ______.
This myth is perhaps the most prevalent in the health and fitness industry. Almost every other week there is some new trend claiming to help you "burn belly fat" or "get the thigh gap you always wanted".
There have been studies conducted showing that when training a specific muscle group, there is an increase in blood flow and lipolysis (the breakdown of fat cells). However, these effects are so small as to be negligible.
Training your muscles lead to muscle growth and help with fat loss (discussed more in-depth in this article). But this fat-loss isn't targetted but happens in your whole-body. Your genes and hormones also play a role in where your body has a tendency to store or burn fat.
Instead of focusing on doing endless hours of crunches and mountain climbers, concentrate on creating a calorie deficit through good nutrition and exercise, and your body will naturally reduce its fat stores over time.
So what can we learn from de-bunking these 3 myths?
Carbs are not the enemy, eat a whole and balanced meal while reducing calorie intake. Try to stay away from sugary snacks, not because they are carbs, but because they are high in calories.
If you are dieting and not losing fat, you are probably still overeating. Focus on your physical hunger cues rather than obsessing about inaccurate numbers.
Crunches aren't going to help you lose belly fat faster. Focus on good nutrition and exercise to reduce overall body fat percentage.