There are plenty of popular weight loss myths. Some arose from poorly constructed studies and have since been circulated endlessly. The worst part is that they can prove counterproductive to people who are trying to lose weight. A team of researchers therefore wanted to set the record straight by reviewing the scientific literature and popular media.
They established that the following are unfounded myths:
- Setting realistic goals will ensure success. People who are too ambitious will get frustrated and give up.
- You have to be mentally ready to diet or you will never reach your goal.
- Walking a mile (1.6 km) a day can lead to a weight loss of more than 50 pounds (22.7 kg) in five years.
- In order for the weight loss to last, it has to happen gradually. If you lose weight too fast, you will lose less in the long run.
In some cases, research has not yet established whether a popular statement is true or false. Some examples:
- Diet and exercise habits learned in childhood set the stage for the rest of your life.
- Eating lots of fruits and vegetables allows you to lose weight or not gain as much.
- Yo-yo diets lead to higher death rates.
- Eating snacks leads to weight gain.
- Adding more bike paths, jogging trails, sidewalks and parks would prevent obesity.
The following were found to be supported by solid evidence:
- When it comes to losing weight, heredity is important but it is not destiny.
- Regular exercise helps you maintain a healthy weight.
- Weight loss programs that provide meals are more effective.
- Weight-loss surgery in appropriate patients can lead to long-term weight loss, a reduced risk of diabetes and a lower risk of premature death.
- Some prescription drugs can help with weight loss.
If you want to lose weight, speak to your healthcare professionals about the best ways to do so. By putting the focus on measures that have been proven effective in reaching and maintaining a healthy weight, you will increase your odds of success.