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Weight Loss Myths

Today I want to debunk three huge issues when it comes to weight loss. Sometimes people look for a shortcut and listen to these lies. So let’s talk about them.

Number 1:  Old school cardio and diet

Let’s say we want to trim down and we’re trying to lose some weight. And you say “I’m gonna go to my local gym. I’m going to do an hour of cardio every day.” But you have done zero hours for years. You’re doing cardio every day, and cutting calories way back because you heard that with a 500 calorie a day deficit, after a week you can lose about a pound a week or so, because there’s 3500 calories in a pound of fat. Your body is not a one plus one arithmetic equation-it doesn’t work like that. I wish it did but it doesn’t.

When you do that much cardio after doing nothing for a long time, first of all, you’re going to create lots of inflammation. You have to build up slowly to that level. Inflammation increases insulin resistance. Inflammation is not good. It can actually cause some health issues if you’re dropping calories too quickly, creating a deficit. Your hypothalamus is going to kind of freak out, it’s going to be like “what’s going on here?” It’s job is to keep you safe and help you survive your environment. So it’s going to offset some of these hormones plus your hypothalamus can contribute to what’s called a setpoint of your metabolism, how it communicates with all the hormones in your body. It’s going to have something to say about this giant deficit of calories that you just increased. You may lose some weight by the way, but that’s gonna be coming back. 

What happens typically when we go on cardio and drop the calories, we’re going to end up losing muscle mass. When you lose muscle mass, you drop your metabolic rate, that means you burn fewer and fewer calories at rest. If you add to it, that hypothalamic adaptation I just told you about,  it’s going to try to correct for what you just did. It’s going to bring your metabolism crashing down.

Now what happens is you get burned out especially psychologically from  that cardio and diet. And then when you start to stop doing all that cardio and start to bring back your normal calories your metabolism is not the same. So you have a mismatch. There’s a net gain in caloric energy.

Plus we haven’t talked about gut health. We haven’t talked about sleep and all the other things involved with losing weight properly. And now that weight is going to come flying back really quickly. Now that’s if you lost any, a lot of people tried diet and exercise and they don’t lose a pound because of all the factors I mentioned, it doesn’t work.

Number 2: Keto.

I’m gonna keep saying this, there is a place for ketogenic diets. I’ll just mention a few-with people with different types of cancers, different types of neurological disorders, keto can be really helpful because it does certain things in our brain that glucose can’t do or doesn’t do well. So there are exceptions for keto. But in general I don’t think it’s really smart to cut out carbs completely. Can we reduce them a little bit? Absolutely. But to actually go into ketogenesis for a long period of time will tell our hypothalamus that we are not okay. It can stress it out, and it can then go into this survival mode.

It lowers your metabolic rate and lowers thyroid output. You don’t make as much thyroxine and you don’t convert as much T4 to T3. You start making reverse T3,  and it puts the brakes on your metabolism. What is that going to do? When you get done with keto, even if you lost some weight, again, we’re going to have a deficit between what you go back to consuming and where your metabolism is. There’s that weight gain gap again and that weight’s coming back. So be careful with that. 

Number 3: Diet Foods

Just because it’s low calorie, it’s sugar free, doesn’t mean you can eat the heck out of it. In fact, in studies, those who eat consistently diet foods and diet drinks weighed more than those that consume the regular thing. Am I saying that regular Pepsi or Coke is amazing for health? I didn’t say that.  When you consume a diet food, you artificially tell your body you’re gonna get calories you’re gonna get fed. That sweet taste from you know, Splenda, sucralose, whatever it is, even to add stevia, tells our body “Hey, foods coming.”

What happens is there is no reward and no food actually consumed. Because you’re eating low calorie food. Your body is tricked and hormones are all screwed up. Insulin gets elevated. That makes you hungry. You often overeat calories at the next meal to make up for them. That’s why eating diet foods really doesn’t help at all. So don’t think you can get a free pass and just eat low carb or low fat or sugar free this or that. I want you to eat real food.  I want you to drink real water. Let’s just do it the right way. 

So those are three food myths that hopefully help you with the idea behind weight loss and how to do this a little bit smarter. 

Take care.

Dr. Jason

Naturopathic doctor in Lansing, MI

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