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Weight Loss True or False: Which Claims Are Correct?

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Probably one of Americans’ lifelong goals is to lose weight — it is also one of the most broken promises. Worse, many of those who lose the pounds fast get it back just as quickly.

In one of the studies on Biggest Loser contestants, participants weighed nearly 300 pounds after six years of their final weigh-in, where the average weight was 199 pounds. In other words, on average, they regain at least 70 percent of their original weight.

But why is it hard to shed the extra pounds? For one, weight loss isn’t as simple as calories going in and out. Some underlying diseases, for example, can slow down the metabolism. You are less likely to get rid of the fat as easily as those who don’t have the condition.

Second, many suffer from information overload that they end up believing weight-loss claims that might not be entirely true. Here’s another round of true-or-false statements to keep in mind to point you toward the right direction.

1. Older People Cannot Lose Weight

This is false.

For many years, most people believe that aging can dysregulate an individual’s metabolism, forcing older bodies to add more weight despite eating the same amount of calories. Moreover, the older you get, the more likely you will lose muscle. Muscles burn more calories than fat.

But a 2020 study by the University of Warwick revealed that these could be myths and that people 60 years old and above can actually lose the equivalent amount of weight as their younger counterparts. Even better, they can do so by only modifying their lifestyle.

For the research, the team worked with 242 patients who joined an obesity service and divided them into two groups, one of which was composed of senior men and women.

After a lifestyle intervention that included changes in the diet, support from a wellness coach, and exercise, the results suggested that those who are 60 years old and above decreased their body weight by over 7 percent. Meanwhile, the younger ones lost an average of 6.9 percent of their body weight.

Furthermore, the older age group spent around 33 months in the obesity service, while the younger participants stayed in the program for about 41 months.

2. You Need to Lose a Lot to Experience Significant Health Benefits

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This is another false piece of information, according to the recent University of East Anglia research.

A huge weight loss can definitely do your body some good. However, studies showed that a gradual decrease in weight could be just as beneficial.

Take, for example, the 2020 research in JAMA Internal Medicine. The team discovered that even losing two to three kilograms of excess weight (that’s about 4.4 to 6.6 pounds) and increasing your physical activity within the next two years can already decrease the risk of type 2 diabetes by a staggering 47 percent for individuals in the prediabetes stage.

How about people already diagnosed with type 2 diabetes? You can refer to the 2019 research by the University of Cambridge. Those who lose at least 10 percent of their weight over five years can already increase their chances of having their disease go into remission by twofold!

These two studies highlight two important points about weight loss. One, no effort ever goes to waste. Two, you don’t need to rush the process to experience health benefits. In fact, it is better to be consistent as it is more sustainable and reliable.

3. Intermittent Fasting Can Aid in Weight Loss

Based on studies over the years, this could be true.

In a 2019 University of Adelaide research, women who combined calorie restriction (eating no more than 70 percent of their ideal energy intake) and intermittent fasting lost the most weight. They are also more likely to improve their health by lowering their risk of obesity.

The success of intermittent fasting, based on this study, could be because adhering to a strictly controlled diet is challenging. Many will eventually go back to their old ways.

Meanwhile, a 2020 publication of the University of Illinois-Chicago revealed that intermittent fasting might be a potential alternative for people who don’t want to count calories or follow restrictive diets.

In their experiment, they found that those who maintained a feeding time between four and six hours lost about 3 percent of their body weight, reduced their calorie intake by 550, and improved their oxidative stress levels and insulin resistance even if they ate whatever they wanted.

To be clear, no one should go through any weight loss program without seeing their doctor first. Otherwise, the process may do more harm than good. Needless to say, by clearing out some of the most popular claims these days, you can be on a better track.

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