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Ten Nutrition Fat-Loss Myths

When Bodyscan customers mention the nutritional element of their plans to lose body fat or gain muscle (and not many do), they often cite one or several of the following myths.

Look again at why these nutritional misconceptions may be undermining your fat loss efforts.

1. Eat organic food   In a systemic review assessing the nutrition-related health effects of organic foods it was concluded that “evidence is lacking for nutrition-related health effects that result from the consumption of organically produced foodstuffs.” Money saver! Eating organic food without an energy deficit in place will not lead to body fat loss. Energy balance matters!

2. Eliminate carbohydrates   An energy surplus or deficit determines the total amount of fat gained or lost over a 24-hour period and not the quantity of carbohydrates alone.

3. Do fasted cardio   There is no plausible mechanism for it to be superior to fed cardio for fat loss once calorie intake is matched. The decision to do fasted cardio or not so be based on personal preference. Check out a more detailed explanation here.

4. Eat low fat   An energy surplus or deficit determines the total amount of fat gained or lost over a 24-hour period and not the quantity of dietary fat alone. 

5. Eat little and often   Eating little and often and does not boost metabolism or ‘stoke the metabolic fire’.  Meal frequency is relative to the amount of food consumed (metabolic response to eating correlates with volume of food). For fat loss, choose a meal frequency that suits personal preference, lifestyle, and one that leads to the greatest adherence.

What’s that all about?

6. Go on a detox diet   To shed light on the popular surge in detox/cleansing diets to facilitate toxin elimination, researchers Klein and Kiat concluded that “there is no compelling evidence to support the use of detox diets for weight management or toxin elimination.” Save your money, folks – your liver and kidneys tend to do a pretty good job without the extra assistance!

7. Restrict food after 19.00   An energy surplus or deficit determines the total amount of fat gained or lost over 24-hour period and not some arbitrary time point. 100kcals at 18:59 is still 100kcals at 19:01. Pick a meal pattern that is in line with goals, preference, and lifestyle.

8. Go keto   In a tightly controlled metabolic ward study published in 2016, there was no physiological advantage in energy expenditure or body fat loss reported in response to a high carbohydrate baseline diet versus an isocaloric ketogenic diet. A ketogenic diet may be a useful tool for some for fat loss and/or weight management but unnecessarily restrictive for most.

9. Remove sugar   A study in overweight subjects found no significant differences in body fat levels between a low versus high sucrose diet (4% vs. 43% of total energy intake, respectively). Both calories and macronutrients were matched between groups. Again, this reiterates the point that for fat loss, energy balance matters! Choosing whole foods for the most part may make the process easier.

10. Eat breakfast   Contrary to popular belief, breakfast is not the most important meal of the day and it does not kickstart your metabolism. If you are not hungry when you wake up and are looking to lose body fat, you don’t need to force down a breakfast, particularly not a sub-optimal one (e.g. croissant and a large latte). Breakfast or no breakfast, make your first meal of the day a protein-packed nutritious one.

Adopting any one of the strategies highlighted may help you lose body fat, but only if doing so leads to a reduction in calorie intake and thus a sustained energy/calorie deficit over time.

Don’t feel you must to do any of the above to get fat loss results, particularly if it is undermining your progress – pick a strategy that you enjoy, suits your lifestyle and be consistent. Adherence trumps all.

One Instagram page we like at Bodyscan belongs to The Fitness Chef (Graeme Tomlinson). He also regularly debunks myths and boils fat-loss down to how it is achieved – a sustained calorie deficit over time.

Whatever fat-loss regime you’re trying right now (faddish, myth-based or otherwise), the only way you can be 100% sure it’s working is to get an accurate measure of your body composition – now and farther down the track.

A DEXA scan is far and away the best means of measuring body fat and tracking even the smallest changes. DEXA scanning, as well as being accurate, is extremely consistent and reliable in its measurement of body fat, much more so than bio-impedance or skinfold calipers. Indeed, skinfolds are probably the least reliable method in Bodyscan’s experience.

As well as the scan results, an experienced DEXA practitioner (Bodyscan has performed more than 17,000 scans as of May 2022) will advise the best way to achieve your fat and muscle goals and bust the myths that get perpetuated. Read our DEXA FAQs to answer your questions or drop us a line here.

Kevin Garde
Bodyscan Consultant and Nutritionist

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