Why Diets Don’t Work: Weight Loss Myths
Lately, I’ve been really pissed off at diet culture! Especially because I feel like it’s beginning to seep into my happy little bubble or real food. Yes, it happens. Health and wellness gurus pushing plain ol’ guilt-ridden, heavy on the moral implications, antiquated beliefs dressed up as healthy and sustainable weight loss. Listen if you ate 1300 calories in Lean Cuisine’s you would lose weight, and feel like crap. If you eat 1300 calories in keto food a day you will lose weight, probably not feel awful but the minute you try to eat a normal amount of food, you’re going to gain it all back. Severe calorie restrictions don’t work for the long haul, no matter how you dress them up.
I know diet dogma when I see it. As a life long dieter and subscriber to the self hate it imposes, I say enough!
Let’s debunk some common lies the diet industry likes to tell you!
- Your weight determines the status of your health.
Nope. Increased fat in the body is the issue. High triglyceride levels. Visceral fat. Increased inflammation. Height and weight tables are garbage. Lots of skinny people walking around with oxidative fat and inflammation under the food. Your body weight has little impact on your health. You don’t need to shrink away to make anyone happy. Get your lab work done. Strive to build muscle, lower triglycerides. Get strong, not skinny. You can lose body fat, gain muscle and never lose a pound on the scale.
- If you eat less you will lose more fat.
Oh buuudddddddyyyy…. This one is still kicking. Listen, overeating is not good. Right, we know this. Overeating, which usually occurs when you’re eating garbage foods because you’re nutritionally starved so you never feel sated. Yes, that’s a thing. However, extreme caloric deficits result in loss of muscle mass. Muscle is your friend, muscle helps you burn more calories! Yes, more muscle, the more you can eat and maintain a healthy weight. Also, under eating causes fatigue, hunger, lowers your immune system, can mess up your thyroid which may slow down your metabolism. You can’t build muscle on a caloric deficit, but if you eat enough you can at least maintain muscle while you lose body fat.
Fun fact, recent study found that folks that did lose weight with a low carb diet increased their base metabolic rate, which means they were burning up to 250 more calories a day (BMR) than those who did the old low calorie diet.
- Calories in calories out are all that matters.
NO! Food quality matters. The type of food you can eat can cause inflammation and even illness. Missing out on protein will result on muscle atrophy, and remember, less muscle, less calorie burning. Good fats keep you sated longer and can help you control blood sugar. Carbohydrates from whole foods like vegetables have important micronutrients and fiber which help your body eliminate environmental toxins it absorbs. Eating the right kinds of fat like Omega 3 fatty acids and Medium Chain Triglycerides will help you burn fat better! Also fats and protein from quality meat like grass fed cows is less oxidative and contains CLA (conjugated linoleic acid). Olive oil is another great fat that is full of powerful antioxidants!
- You don’t need that much protein in your diet
Lots of studies show that when you’re restricting your caloric intake, even slightly, you need more protein. This is especially so if you are active and you want to maintain your lean muscle mass. I recommend .8 to 1.2 grams of protein per Kg of body weight. I know on keto protein gets a bad rap and it’s ridiculous. Protein is not chocolate cake and gluconeogenesis is actually a good thing! In the absence of grains and high carbs protein does not spike insulin and has showed to improve glucagon function. Glucagon is the hormone which makes ketosis possible. This video from Dr. Benjamin Bikman explains is perfectly: https://youtu.be/z3fO5aTD6JU
- Fat makes you fat
Well, if you’re here you know that’s not true! But let me give you the quick version: When you eat high starch foods like refined flours, grains, sugars (the white foods) your blood sugar spikes and your body pumps out tons of insulin to quickly correct this. But insulin tends to over correct and your blood sugar spikes and then dips dramatically. This signals your brain that you’re hungry because you need more sugar in your blood. Your central nervous system is also telling your body to release glucagon to mobilize all energy stores, and this up and down blood sugar – insulin roller coaster is what leads people to become insulin resistant and eventually diabetic. Eventually, your cells become resistant to insulins message. You overconsume food, and your insulin is constantly shuttling glucose to the liver and the muscles and the fat tissue for storage. Protein and Fat don’t affect blood sugar or cause an insulin spike, fat is also slowest to digest and keeps you sated longer. Having a healthy balance of fat and protein with colorful, whole food vegetables (carbs) on your plate is important.