Weight Loss Myth #1

I have read hundreds of books and articles and blog posts regarding weight and weight loss.  Most of the time, the authors repeat the same dogma over and over again – statements that are not grounded in facts, but in repetition.  This amounts to a lot of noise regarding the subject. Noise that often prevents us from hearing the facts. Fortunately, if you dig through the noise, you can find some really great scientific articles and studies published about weight regulation and the human body.  One of the things we do at Heartland Weight Loss is translate that information (which is often very dry and academic) into a narrative to help people understand the science and use that knowledge to effectively conquer excess weight.

Although the story can’t be summed up in a single document, we have compiled a few of the myths that are super pervasive – and that tend to be barriers to effective weight loss for many of our patients. Here’s the first one – keep an eye out each week for the rest of them!  

MYTH #1: You should eat multiple small meals throughout the day to improve your metabolism: Now, it’s true that after eating, your metabolism does increase slightly to start digesting the food you ate.  However, this is still a positive-energy process – you always end up with more energy eaten than expended. And eating two small cheeseburgers at different times is going to use the same amount of metabolic energy as it would to eat them together at the same time.  And actually, when you look at the hormonal response to food, most people are typically better off eating less often. Eating anything (even healthy food) stimulates the release of insulin. Insulin’s main job is to get any excess food put away for later use. While insulin is elevated, doing its job, the body is in “storage mode”.  Once that storage process is accomplished and insulin drops back down to low levels, when the body needs energy, it starts to access those stored molecules – effectively entering “burning mode” When we eat little bits throughout the day, we keep that insulin level up – and we never get to access the stuff that has been stored away. Now it’s obviously more complex than this.  Some things stimulate insulin a lot more than others – and the higher the insulin goes, typically the longer it takes to come back down, but the general idea is the same. Our bodies need more time without elevated insulin levels – both for weight loss and to decrease insulin resistance (what happens to bodies when they are constantly stimulated by a substance all the time).

Think about it like this! (image courtesy of Jason Fung, M.D. – from his (fantastic) book, “The Obesity Code”

Check back with us next week for the next weight loss myth. Until then…

be strong – be healthy – be happy

Courtney Younglove, M.D.

ATTENTION LAWRENCE PATIENTS: 18th Street is closed at Wakarusa until further notice due to construction. You can access our parking lot via Research Parkway and Research Park Drive. Expect traffic delays and make sure to give yourself plenty of time to get to our office.
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