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News: Forget everything you think you know about weight loss
News: Forget everything you think you know about weight loss

Eat breakfast every morning. Have sex every night. And when all that sex results in a baby, make sure you breastfeed!

Beliefs like these are constantly hyped as a solution for weight loss, according to a new study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, but that doesn’t make them true.

The study examines false and scientifically unsupported beliefs about obesity that are commonly represented in the media, and even in scientific literature.

Researchers identified seven obesity-related myths:

1. Small sustained changes in energy intake or expenditure will produce large, long-term weight changes. (Restricting and burning calories won’t produce long-term weight changes).
2. Setting realistic goals in obesity treatment is important, because otherwise patients will become frustrated and lose less weight. (Goals won’t help you lose more weight).
3. Large, rapid weight loss is associated with poorer long-term weight outcomes than is slow, gradual weight loss. (Gradual weight loss isn't more permanent).
4. Assessing the stage of change of diet readiness is important in helping patients who seek weight-loss treatment. (Feeling "ready" to change physical activity levels and diet doesn't make a difference to weight loss).
5. Physical-education classes in their current format play an important role in preventing or reducing childhood obesity. (Phys-ed classes don’t prevent childhood obesity).
6. Breastfeeding is protective against obesity. (Breastfeeding doesn’t prevent weight gain).
7. A bout of sexual activity burns 100 to 300 calories for each person involved. (Sex isn’t a magical way to burn calories as a couple).

Before you give up and dig into a bag of chips with glee—remember that while each of these beliefs may not help you lose weight, they could still offer other health benefits.

What the study is actually saying is that you can’t breakfast and breastfeed your way thin. Obesity is a (pardon the pun) larger issue—that, according to the researchers, requires the formulation of “sound public health, policy, or clinical recommendations” that are based on “evidence-supported facts.”

What do you think? Is this study accurate? Have you tried any of these common weight-loss suggestions? Did it work for you?

-Katharine Watts, Associate Web Editor

Related:
5 ways Canadians are fighting obesity
Is Canada stuck on the road to obesity?
Are Canadians too fat?

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