Debunking Fat Myths

With so many information floating around about dieting, you just cannot discern between what is real and what is merely hyped or completely false.  For instance, a study showed that 77 percent of people questioned knew that trans fat is a type of dietary fat that can be unhealthy.  However, only 21 percent of them could name three foods that contain trans fat, while only 33 percent could name just one.

Instead of wasting your time around diet information that do not produce results, you need to take a deeper study on knowing which dieting fact is true or false.

Your body loses fat by literally taking it out of your digestive system

False.  Body fat is not something like you could eliminate by a visit to the toilet.  Instead, your body takes the fat out of storage in your fat cells, and then converts it into energy when you do not eat enough to match your energy needs.  This means that eating in smaller, enough-to-eliminate-your-hunger portions is vital in getting rid of excess fat and losing weight in the process.

Fat is the easiest nutrient for your body to store as body fat

True.  Food digestion actually consumes calories, about 10 percent of the calories you eat.  A lot of calories are needed to break down proteins and turn it into body fat, while it only takes fewer calories to metabolize the fat that you ate into body fat.

The larger your calorie deficit, the more body fat you will burn as fuel

False.  A calorie deficit is created when the amount of calories you take in is less than the total calories you use during physical activities as well as other normal bodily functions (like sleeping or digesting).  However, not every cell in your body uses fat as fuel, and how much fat your muscle cells burn depends on how intense or for how long the activities are conducted. 

In other words, if your calorie deficit is larger than the amount of energy your body can get from body fat, your body would simply get that additional energy by breaking down the protein in your muscle and organ tissues, as well as slowing down or stopping certain normal functions such as repairing and maintaining your skin and hair.

You get the best fat loss results by exercising at lower intensity levels

False.  It does not matter where your body gets the energy it uses while exercising for fat loss.  What matters most is that you expend more energy when you exercise at higher intensity levels.

It is better to exercise on an empty stomach

False.  Most of the energy you use during exercise do not come from your last meal, rather from the storage in your muscles.  The fuels contained in muscles, both in glucose and fat, can only be emptied if you are using these muscles.

A very low-fat diet is best for weight loss

False.  You still need some amount of fat to be healthy, as some important vitamins (like A, D, E, and K) are fat-soluble.  This means that they can only be absorbed by the body if your diet has an adequate amount of fat. 

Besides, some fats can even promote a healthy heart like monounsaturated fats found in many nuts and olive oil, as well as Omega-3 fats found in some fish oils and flax.  However, fat is high in calories, which is why you need to be careful about not eating too much fat if you are trying to lose weight.

It is better to concentrate on strength training rather than cardio exercise when it comes to weight loss

False.  Although muscle does burn more calories than fat even at rest, the actual number is very small.  For instance, adding 25 pounds of muscle would increase your resting metabolism by about 150 calories a day, but 30 minutes of brisk walking can burn more than that.  Also, it is not advisable to add that much muscle if you are trying to lose weight.

Meanwhile, vigorous cardio exercise can make your muscles burn between 8 to 20 times as much energy per minute compared to the amount of calories burned during rest.  It is important to balance your strength training and cardio for optimum weight loss results.