Boomer Health: New book gets to the bottom of long-held weight-loss myths – Palm Beach Post

This is the time of year when weight-loss ads are ubiquitous.

Oh, look theres former Miami Dolphins quarterback Dan Marino shilling for a popular meal plan.

And hey,what to do you know theresOprah Winfreysincerelytelling you about how anotherwell-knowneating planhas transformedher life.

Andlets not forgetthe nonstop offers ofgreatdeals onnewgym memberships.

Indeed,according to CNBC,the weight-loss industry as a wholehas grown into a $70-billion-plusannualbusiness behemoth.

But with such growth has also come myriad misinformation about what is effective and whatisnt.

In his new book Supersized Lies: How Myths about Weight Loss are Keeping Us FatAnd the Truth about What Really Works(EverwellBooks/$16.99/available on Amazon) veteran healthauthorRobert J. Davis(aka The Healthy Skeptic)explores the science behind long-held popular health claims.

With chapter titles like The CalorieFallacy, Exercise Illusions, Superfood Foolery and Timing Isnt Everything,Davisbreaks down the myriad components that affect how our bodies process and react to both food andexercise.

In addition, each chapter containsseveralmythor truth? suppositionsabout food, dieting, exercise,weight lossand more.

Here are someof the myth or truth? breakdownsI found especially interesting:

Avoiding gluten has become popular in the diet and nutrition industry. Gluten is a proteinfound in rye, barley and wheat and can be harmful to those with celiac disease. But for those free of celiac disease, theres no science behind avoiding the substance.

While some individuals without celiac disease report symptoms due to gluten (a condition known as gluten sensitivity),its unproven that weight gain is one of them, writes Davis. Nor is there proof that gluten-free diets lead to weight loss.

The glycemic index(GI) a number ranging from 0 to 100 ranks carbohydrates based on how much they raise ones blood sugar. Potatoes and rice are considered high-glycemic foodswhile nuts and beans are considered low-glycemicones. Those who advocate avoiding high-glycemic foods do so because they believe such foods promote weight gain.

However,Daviswrites studies overall have failed to show that low-GIdiets are superior for weight loss and that the concept of GI itself is flawed because it assumes that foods are consumed in isolation on an empty stomach.

Weve been told since childhood to eat our fruits and vegetables but what effect does the fructose and glucosein fruit have on our waistlines?

Turns out most of the produce aisle is pretty safe for your weight-loss plan so feel free to grab that apple.

Overall, research show that fruit does not contribute to weight gain and is even linked to weight loss, writes Davis. And low-sugar fruits arent necessarily better for your waistline than high-sugar ones.In three large studies, apples and pears, whose sugar content is on the high side, were more strongly associated with weight loss than lower-sugar fruits like grapefruit.

That said, Davis also recommended avoiding fruit juice becauseits both full of sugar and bereft ofbeneficial fiber,andbecausedrinking fruit juice has beenlinked with weight gain.

Foods such as cucumbers, lettuce and celery have gained the reputation among dieters as requiring moreenergy expenditure to digest than they contain thus being foods that actually burn calories to consume.

Sowhats the old saying about when something sounds too good to be true?

Thats the case here even in foods with miniscule calorie counts like celery and cucumbers.

However, there is one substance that, technically, will cause your body to burn moreenergythan ittakes in calorically.

Ice cold water ... has no calories, and we burn a few calories to warm it up to body temperature, writes Davis. But the number is likely toosmall to have an impact on our weight.

Theidea that creating a 3,500-calorie deficit will equal a 1-pound weightlossdates back to research of overweightwomen in the 1950sbut Davis says this simplistic formula is misleading…[becauseit] fails to take individual differencesinto account or to consider how the body adapts to weight loss.

He cites studies of identical twins that suggest howpeople gain and loseweight hassuchavastarrayofgenetic componentsthatits virtually impossible to uniformly predict how caloric increases and decreases will affect specific peopleover time.

The unfortunate truth is that some medications including antidepressants, beta blockers, mood stabilizersand steroidal hormones, among others are associated with weight gain.

As Davis explains, Certain medicines…can slow metabolism, cause fluid retention, increase fat storage, or stimulate appetite, all of which may lead to weight gain.

But these effects dont necessarily occur in all people so if youre on any of these or other weight-gain-associated drugs such as antihistamines,birth control pillsand/orantibiotics consult with your own physician about their potential side effects.

While many of us correlate sweating with working out hardand burning calories,the act of sweatingalone hasmore to dowith other factors including gender, age, genetics, air temperature, humidity, etc. than it does with exercise intensity.Sure, you might drop a few pounds of water weight if you sweat a lot, but once you rehydrate, the lost weight will return. In addition, a low- or non-sweat workout does not necessarily meanyoure not working out hard enough.

According to Davis, a good rule of thumbforgauging workout intensity is theso-called talk test. If you can talk and sing during your activity without becoming breathless, the intensity level is low. If you can talk but not sing, the intensity is moderate. And if you can barely get out any words, youre doing vigorous exercise and burning more calories.

This is one Ive long done not because of the supposed weight-loss potential but rather because I have no appetite first thing in the morning.

That said, many competitive bodybuilders swear by fasted cardio when theyre trying to cut weightand fat prior to a contest. The theory theyre subscribing to is that if the body is depleted of carbs prior to exercise, it will turn to stored fat for energy.

This strategy works sort of.

As Davis explainsof the numerous studies done on this topic, theres some evidence that fasted cardio may boostfat burning, but only fleetingly. Over the course of days or weeks, which is what counts, fasted cardio doesnt appear to promote loss of either fat or weight in general.

Thus,the decisionwhether or nottoexercise on an empty stomach or after a light breakfast for energy should bemade based on your personal preference and what enables you to perform optimally not on your weight-loss and fat-burning goals.

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Boomer Health: New book gets to the bottom of long-held weight-loss myths - Palm Beach Post

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