Don’t be an April Fool! Weight loss myths revealed.

Diets don’t work!

Exercise will make you gain weight!

This supplement will melt fat away while you sleep! 

Unfortunately, claims like these are not an April Fools joke. They are repeated so frequently that diets and exercise are avoided by many in favor of supplements to promote weight loss. Also unfortunately, they aren’t true. My Health & Fitness column in the Aiken Standard this week busts these common weight loss myths. Here is a bit more about each.

1. Diets don’t work! This is a common claim, usually to explain why most people who lose weight end up gaining it back. But diets do work. Almost every diet leads to weight loss in the short-term and some lead to  long-term weight loss. I have written about selecting the “best” diet and why the diet you pick isn’t the most important predictor of weight loss previously. And it is possible to lose weight and keep it off. But it is difficult, as this article explains so elegantly. Difficult, not impossible.

2. Exercise will make you gain weight! This is another popular myth about weight loss.  The good news is that exercise does work to promote weight loss. In fact, weight loss by exercise alone results in greater fat loss and preserves muscle compared to weight loss by diet. It’s true. But you probably shouldn’t try to lose weight by exercise alone. The best results will come from combining diet and exercise.

3. Melt fat away while you sleep by taking supplement X! This sounds great, which explains why Americans spend billions of dollars on dietary supplements each year. Unfortunately, most of these supplements have not been researched either adequately or at all to determine their effectiveness or safety, or they have been shown to be ineffective, as shown here. A conservative conclusion is that there are no supplements that have been shown to safely promote long-term weight loss.

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