Exploring Commonly Held Weight Loss Beliefs: Let’s Separate the FACTS, the MYTHS and the Unproven PRESUMPTIONS.


This week’s BLOG is devoted to some commonly held weight loss beliefs which are actually MYTHS – i.e., scientifically incorrect, & false – as identified in a recent NEJM publication.

Included among the MYTHS are:

  • “Small but regular increases in physical activity will produce large long term weight loss” For example, it has been claimed that walking 1 mile per day will result in a weight loss of >50 lb over a 5 year period. In truth, the total weight loss will only be about 10 lb based on recent studies using computational models to determine energy expenditure and predict weight change in humans.
  • “Losing weight too fast results in less weight loss in the long term” In fact, in several weight loss trials, more rapid and greater initial weight loss has been associated with lower body weight at the end of long term follow-up.
  • “Breast feeding is protective against future obesity in the child” Actually, the existing scientific data indicate breast-feeding does not have an effect on future obesity, although it does have other important benefits for both infant and mother and should therefore be encouraged.
  •  “Sexual intercourse burns 100-300 kcal for each participant” The truth is, a man in his early to mid 30’s expands about 21 kcal during sexual intercourse – far less than is commonly claimed.

Our next BLOG will deal with the commonly held beliefs which are true FACTS.

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