These Weight Loss Myths Could Make You Gain Weight

By on April 5, 2013

If you’ve ever tried to lose weight, you’ve probably been bombarded countless times with often-contradictory information from well-meaning friends and relatives.

Because weight loss doesn’t work the same for everyone, the science of losing weight has become somewhat muddled by a great many myths over the years. Here are a few of the most popular myths about losing weight — along with the research that debunks them.

The More You Work Out, the More Weight You Lose

You’re tired and you’d rather relax with a good book, but you should force yourself to go to the gym because a good, hour-long workout will help you lose weight. Right?

Wrong. According to a study from the University of Copenhagen, exercise can help weight loss — but only if it’s the right amount.

The Danish study involved three groups of overweight men. One group one exercised moderately for half an hour a day, while the other didn’t exercise at all. The third group engaged in strenuous, 600-calorie-burning workouts for an hour a day. The diets of all the participants remained the same.

After 13 weeks, the men who didn’t exercise remained at the same weight, while the men who exercised moderately lost an average of seven pounds each. Surprisingly, the men who exercised strenuously lost only five pounds each.

Researchers believe that the strenuous exercisers were so fatigued after their heavy workouts, they had to completely crash for several hours after exercising. The moderate exercisers, however, reported feeling inspired and energized for the rest of the day.

In addition, researchers also believe that the heavy exercise caused some of the men to eat more than they revealed in their food diaries. If so, then the study indicates that the intense hunger caused by an overly-strenuous workout can have a negative effect on a diet regimen.

Sugar is Bad

You love sweets, so you’re planning to stock up on sugar-free ice cream and cookies because sugar causes weight gain. That makes sense, doesn’t it?

Not entirely, because nutritionists are now claiming that synthetic sweeteners tend to intensify cravings for sugar because they ultimately leave you unsatisfied.

According to a study conducted by the International Journal of Obesity, rats that were fed with artificial sweeteners tended to eat more. Researchers believe that this is because artificial sweeteners distort the body’s natural, innate ability to count and track caloric intake, which can actually make you crave more sweets.

Eat Small Meals

You typically enjoy a good, satisfying dinner when you get home from work, but you’ve decided to eat tiny meals throughout the day because this will help you lose weight faster. Right?

Wrong. In a 2009 study conducted by The British Journal of Nutrition, groups of overweight women and men followed a low-calorie diet for two months. Adhering to the same amount of calories, one group consumed six meals a day, while the other group consumed three. In the end, both groups lost virtually the same amount of weight. Similar studies have subsequently been conducted, all showing the same results. No matter the size of your meal, it’s the calories that count in the end.

If you’re still having difficulty separating diet fact from fiction, then ask your doctor about the latest weight loss tips and whether or not they’re reliable. By talking to an experienced professional, you can rest assured that you’re getting real facts instead of  urban myths.

1) The New York Times: For Weight Loss, Less Exercise May be More
2) WebMD: Artificial Sweeteners May damage Diet Efforts
3) The New York Times: The Claim: Eat Six Small Meals a Day Instead of Three Big Ones
Photo Credit: Tulane Public Relations via Flickr

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