Four Weight Loss Myths Debunked

Myth #1:  “A Calorie is a Calorie.”

The mantra “calories in = calories out” has dominated diets for decades.   It has led dieters to count calories, restrict intake, and perform long sessions of exercise while watching the “calories burned” number go up.  It has led to hungry dieters with unsatisfactory results that are not sustainable.  The myth that all calories are equal is debunked my scientific facts such as these: 

Fiber: You eat 160 calories in almonds, but only absorb 130, because some fiber is not absorbed, passing through the intestine without being metabolized.  This is true for other high fiber foods as well. 

Protein: It takes twice as much energy to metabolize protein as carbohydrates, so fewer calories are left over to to use or store as fat. Also, protein increases satiety, which is the feeling of fullness in which you do not want to eat more. 

Fat: Fat has 9 calories of energy per gram- more than twice that of carbohydrates and protein, but some types of fat are healthy- such as omega - 3s, and some are very unhealthy- such as trans fats which can lead to atherosclerosis.  Stick to health fat calories that are plant and fish based fats such as found in nuts, avocado, olive oil, fish and eggs.  Remember, fat is not the problem, sugar is the problem. 

Added Sugar: Calories from added sugar are different from those from any other calories.  These are what is jeopardizing health worldwide.  There are 61 different names of ingredients that are all added sugar.  74% of all food items in grocery stores have added sugars.   Increasing total calorie intake has little effect on the risk of diabetes- unless those calories are from sugar.  Sugar increases corporate profits; it is an inexpensive preservative that has addictive properties.  Calories from added sugar increase the risk of disease in normal weight and overweight people.  It can cause more than diabetes- it can lead to fatty liver or metabolic syndrome as well.  Watch this trailer for a documentary called Sugar Coated for more information:  

Myth #2: “I can’t lose weight because I can not exercise.” 

There are many reasons why people can not exercise in their current situation.  They may have pain or joint problems or simply be too large to exercise.  For many people, that can seem like an insurmountable barrier to committing to a weight loss program.  Maybe that is because they have lost weight in the past when exercising, or because they have felt like they automatically eat better when they exercise.  The good news: you can lose a significant amount of weight without exercising.  Why is that?  Well, approximately 80% of weight loss is determined by your diet, not your exercise.  That can be good and bad news.  If you love to exercise but tend toward weight gain, it also means that you can not eat whatever you want, either.  If you have a barrier to exercise, weight loss may be just what the doctor ordered.  Losing just 5-10% of your body weight can cause dramatic reductions in joint, muscle and back pain, increasing mobility.  Many people begin an effective weight loss program, lose weight, and suddenly feel like doing things they haven't done in years.  Now, exercise is very important for long term weight control.  A regular exercise program greatly decreases the chance of weight regain.  Resistance exercise reduces the chance of bone density loss that can come from weight loss.  So, if you still have a barrier to exercise after losing some weight, talk to your physician about an evaluation or referral to a physical therapist or trainer. 

Myth #3: “I will be hungry on a diet.”

Any successful weight loss plan needs to control hunger.  The urge to eat when hungry is a very strong survival instinct.  If you are hungry on your diet, you are on the wrong diet.  For most people, manipulating the macronutrient composition, fiber content, water content, exercise, or timing of intake will control hunger.  However, there are conditions in which the neurotransmitters in the hypothalamus of the brain fail to register satiety and people have uncontrolled hunger.  This is one of the situations in which FDA approved medications may have a role in the treatment of obesity.  There are several new medications approved and on the market.  Talk to your physician if you have uncontrolled hunger on your weight loss program. 

Myth #4:  “My health insurance does not cover weight loss.”

Your health insurance may cover physician services for weight loss.  The American Medical Association rightly designated obesity as a disease.  The United States Preventive Services Task Force recommended intensive behavioral counseling for obesity.  The Affordable Care Act mandated coverage for services highly recommended by the Unites States Preventive Services Task Force.  If you have one of the 22 medical conditions directly related to excess weight, then it is more likely that weight loss may be covered to benefit that medical condition.  All of this means that you may have health insurance benefits for weight loss services provided by a physician.  


  • Your weight loss plan should not just be counting calories.  Losing weight does not happen from eating less and exercising more.  
  • You can lose weight without exercising.  Exercising is easier after you have already lost some weight.  Exercise will reduce the chance off gaining it back and improve your long term success. 
  • You do not have to be hungry to lose weight. 
  • Your health insurance may cover weight loss services.   

Call or email us today to attend a complimentary information session on our physician directed weight loss programs.  We can request health insurance authorization for you.



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