Weight Loss Myth Busted

Posted by in Health Matters, Lessons Learned

weight loss mythYou may not know the physiology behind it. That’s okay. I didn’t know it either until I read about this study from the University of New South Wales. I did the same thing you probably did. I had read an article that I found online a bit ago. I fell for a weight loss myth. Then, I learned the truth.

A Weight Loss Myth Busted

Several misconceptions about weight loss run deep. The researchers asked a simple question: where does the weight go? Depending on your source, the answer tends to fall into one of four answers:

  • Expended as energy or heat loss
  • Converted to muscle from fat
  • Excreted from the body as feces
  • Sweated away or excreted as urine

The correct answer may surprise you. Through a complicated chemical equation, the researchers concluded that over 80 percent of the weight leaves your body in your breath as carbon dioxide. The remainder is converted to water and  leaves via sweat, tears, breath, and feces.

The misconceptions have a lot of logical problems. Energy loss, as the researchers explain, violates the law of conservation of mass. This law states that in a closed system, i.e., your body, that mass remains constant. Mass cannot be created nor destroyed, but can change form.

The second one about muscle is just plain silly. But it’s one you probably encounter a lot in popular media. The third one may seem logical, but it is far from it. The article that I mentioned in the first paragraph of this piece made this blunder. The author cautioned that you may “go a lot more” while losing weight. And the last one fails the same test.

Misconceptions Abound

The fact that this information isn’t common currency is one thing. The disconcerting thing about the study was who carried on this weight loss myth. The researchers surveyed family doctors, dieticians, and personal trainers. The majority of all three groups said weight loss was through energy expenditure and heat loss.

Personal trainers, the people you may deal with the most on this issue, perpetuated the weight loss myth the most. After energy loss, loss through feces captured the next highest number of the answers, followed by don’t know, sweat/urine, and becomes muscle. Only dieticians—albeit a small percentage—even considered carbon dioxide and water.

I went to the Aerobics and Fitness Association of America (AFAA) to see what it takes to be a certified personal trainer. If I wanted to pursue it online, all I have to do is watch a series of 14 video lectures and take two exams. A rigorous program, indeed.

I don’t mean to knock personal trainers. But if these are the people we go to for weight loss and fitness advice, shouldn’t they of all people know how weight loss happens?

http://roadtowellness.weborglodge.com/By Chris DR

photo credit: August 15 – 21 via photopin (license)