Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Myths about Weight Loss!

This week, discussing a favourite, common and popular myth amongst the dieters and the non-dieters alike - avoiding carbohydrates to lose weight!!
The problem lies, when low-carbs is assumed to mean no-carbs!
Carbohydrates are the primary and major sources of fuel used for energy production in the body. The myth implies that firstly, a no- carb diet means control on the insulin production and thereby avoiding weight gain, and secondly, that lower the carbs, faster the body tends towards using fats as the source of fuel.
While in reality, carbs are required for efficient burning of fats, as well as to spare proteins for their primary function of building the body!
The process of burning fats, has carbs as an important requirement, and hence a no-carb diet will hamper the process of burning fat which inturn would not result in a permanent weight loss.
Most proteins also require carbs for their processing, and thus get affected by a low-carb diet.
A low-carb diet may not provide enough resource for your daily body functions. Another aspect is that with low dietary intake of carbs, the body will target the stored carbohydrates (in the form of glycogen), which results in loss of body water, which may be put across as weight loss!
To lose weight, it is necessary to restrict the total calorie intake, and not target any individual source of fuel as bad and cut it off from the diet.

Another popular myth is that skipping meals help lose weight!
The truth is that, skipping meals has 2 adverse effects - firstly it affects the blood glucose level, which leads to binging later and all the excess food getting stored as fat, and secondly, it affects the metabolism, and the body lowers its metabolism and goes into storage mode, thereby storing the food eaten as for later use - and the only way to store - is to convert it into fats reserves!
Also, the question arises, as to how long a person can keep skipping meals. Thus, when the person resumes the normal diet, the lower metabolism means most of the food is stored as fat, since the body is now used to thinking that there might not be any food coming for a long time!

The best option is to eat small portioned, frequent meals all through out the day, with finishing of major food intakes in the morning, and eating lighter towards evening.

Running is the best way to lose weight!
a) The truth is that running is a high intensity – high impact activity. Hence, the impact forces exerted by the ground on your knees and ankles are also greater in magnitude and are related to your weight. Hence, for a heavy person who is just beginning an exercise routine, it is not advised to begin running as a part of their cardio workout. Infact, once a doctor had advised my friend, that if you are even 5 kgs overweight, you must avoid running, as it will negatively impact your knees, for a short-term gain of losing weight, if at all!!
b) Since running is an intense activity, it is ideal as a progression activity to brisk walking and other cardio options available in a health club. In other words, running is an option, only for an intermediate –advanced level individual, who has been working out for some months, and has conditioned his body well through a balance of strength training & cardio, both!
c) Weight loss, as discussed earlier, is achieved through burning fat reserves, which the body uses, only when the activity is medium intensity and sustained over a period of time. Any high intensity activity demands sudden supply of energy, for which the target is usually Carbohydrate reserves, and not fat reserves!! Also, a high intensity activity is difficult to sustain over a period of time, for an average person, and hence what usually results is bursts of running, followed by slowing down or even stopping, instead of maintaining the pace over extended periods of times…

Thus, brisk walking is an excellent option for beginners, with gradual progression onto jogging and running, may be even as an interval-training option! And remember to wear the right shoes, warm-up and cool-down before and after the activity!

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