For the study, published online Jan. 30 in the New England Journal of Medicine, Allison and his team conducted Internet searches of popular media and scholarly scientific papers, to come up with a list of obesity-related myths that could have widespread public health implications if believed. The researchers identified seven myths they said were not scientifically-backed by evidence.
We’re on the fence on this one. Clearly, myths around weight loss run rampant across the internet. But good information abounds also.
The myth-busting article above doesn’t put the skids to particular ideas; rather, it points out that when studied, this particular researcher found no clear evidence that particular widespread beliefs — often based on sounding reasonable and being generally good ideas — pay off.
Some of the mythbusting is completely logical. If you walk a little bit every day as a lifelong habit, certainly it’s good for you, but certainly in and of itself it won’t change your weight by all that much, unless you’re also limiting your food intake to less than it takes to support a heavy weight. Some of the findings of this study are contradicted by other studies — for example, there are studies indicating that rapid weight loss has better, or worse, long term results than slow weight loss.
We also need to call out, for sure — no one habit, in isolation, is really going to ever produce evidence-based, empirical, definitive results, unless you lock identical copies of yourself up and vary only one thing between the two copies of yourself, for the rest of your life. Can’t be done.
How to handle this? Generate your own list of healthy patterns, and start in on making them lifetime habits. Feel free, within your doctor’s guidelines, to experiment a little on things that are good, or have poor results, for you. For example, I find that eliminating dairy does not seem to have a notable effect on my weight, probably because I don’t consume all that much dairy to begin with. But eliminating grains, for me, does produce a notable effect, probably because it forces me to consider what I am eating and be careful in that regard. Your mileage may vary, but that’s the point, you’re transforming your life, not just worrying about one particular choice.
- Obesity myths debunked (cbsnews.com)
- 7 obesity myths shattered (cbc.ca)
- Calories burned during sex overestimated, New England Journal of Medicine says – CBC.ca (cbc.ca)
- 7 Obesity Myths Busted: Having Sex Doesn’t Burn 300 Calories (scienceworldreport.com)
- Obesity Myths Exposed (abcnews.go.com)
- Busted: 7 obesity myths, and why they’re wrong (scooprocket.com)