Weightloss MythsThe no diet diet
The Myths and Reality of Weight LossIn today's world, there are few commercialized areas of science that are so widely filled with myth, legend, and fantasy as that which focuses on weight loss. Everyone wants a simple, safe, no-willpower solution. Someday, we may actually get one. For now there are no magic cures. But there are quite a few myths that need to be exploded.
Maybe you have read this one: eating ice cream actually causes weight loss.
Here's the theory behind this claim: since ice cream is cold, it requires energy (measured in calories) to warm it up. Therefore, your body is consuming energy while eating.
Cool, huh? Okay, no more bad jokes. Here's the facts about eating ice cream to lose weight.
Your body does, of course, require energy to warm up cold things such as ice cream, and even more energy to digest it. After all, any action of the body requires energy, that's basic physics applied to physiology.
When it comes to eating cold foods like ice cream, for example, the devil is in the details.
When you are eating ice cream, usually high in fat and sugar, you are taking in far more calories than are needed to warm and digest it. Sorry, you still need to go easy on the desserts...even really cold hot fudge sundaes.
Sometimes you'll hear the same thing said about ice water. Even better, it has no calories. But the energy needed to warm it to body temperature is negligible in terms of the weight loss effect. However, sometimes you will feel hungry when in fact the body is just slightly dehydrated. Drinking water can cause you to feel less hungry, and it's much lower in calories than regular soda or even orange juice. I have written an article on this subject called Water, Diet Sodas, and Weight Loss.
You might have heard or read this one: adding a pound of muscle makes the body burn an extra 50 calories. Not only not true, but meaningless. "Burns 50 calories" over how long? Just sitting around consumes about 70 calories per hour. The body is consuming energy to maintain internal temperature, repair cells, pump blood, etc. 24 hours a day. It will slow down a bit while you sleep, but it is still working.
Even if you do add a pound of new muscle, it will burn, at most, about a dozen calories per hour if you really exert it. There is a positive side to this. Adding muscle is a good idea, since to do so requires high effort - either through running, weight training or other vigorous exercise. Mild exercise, such as walking, is good but tones more than builds muscle. The average man will burn about 350 calories in an hour long workout.
More good news. Think about this. What if you added five pounds of new muscle and dumped five pounds of fat? You COULD be burning several extra calories, not only during exercise, but even while at rest. So, it's a good idea to add lean muscle mass and burn fat.
Vigorous exercise will also raise your resting metabolic rate for a day, burning about 250 calories more than if you hadn't exercised. A brisk walk will do the same thing, but at a lower level. It's still a good idea to workout every other day and walk on the non-workout days. It keeps the muscles toned, stretched and helps prevent the lactic acid buildup that can cause sore muscles.
The basic truth about weight loss is that when you take in more calories than your body can use, the remaining energy is stored, generally in the form of chemical bonds in fatty tissues. When, on the other hand, the body requires more energy than you have supplied, it will turn to those fat stores in order to get some needed energy. That leads to lower fat in the body and hence to weight loss. That reality is best achieved by the old-fashioned combination of proper diet and adequate regular exercise.
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