Published On By Dimitar Marinov [MD, PhD]

Myths About Weight Loss

There are lots of myths that make it confusing and frustrating for those trying to lose extra weight. It’s really important to clear up these misunderstandings so you can develop a good plan for sustainable weight loss results.

You might have heard statements like carbohydrates contribute to weight gain, skipping breakfast may help you lose weight, or that all calories are equal. Another common misconception is that specific foods or supplements could melt away fat.

Many people believe that severely restricting their calories may accelerate weight loss. However, this may backfire, as severe calorie restriction might cause overeating and a slow metabolism.

We’ve put together a list of 14 myths about losing weight that you should know before you begin your weight loss journey.

14 Biggest Myths About Weight Loss

  1. Weight Loss Diets Work In the Long-term

    Weight loss diets are often marketed as effective approaches to reduce excess weight and even prevent future weight gain. However, research suggests that around 85% of the people following specific weight loss diets end up regaining lost weight within a year.

    Studies also indicate that people who diet are most likely to gain weight in the future, implying that dieting might be a predictor of future weight gain. It could create an endless cycle of weight loss followed by weight regain.

    Depending only on diets may not be the best way to keep off weight in the long run. It’s more suitable to focus on making lasting lifestyle changes, like eating healthier, staying active, and getting enough sleep.

  2. Skip Breakfast To Lose Weight

    Contrary to popular belief, skipping breakfast may not necessarily lead to weight loss. Research shows that skipping breakfast could make you consume more calories later in the day, resulting in weight gain rather than loss.

    Such behavior may stem from increased hunger and cravings due to prolonged fasting periods. Avoiding breakfast may disrupt your metabolism, making it less efficient in burning calories.

    When you skip breakfast, your body may compensate by conserving energy, which could hinder weight loss efforts in the long run. Missing breakfast may negatively impact cognitive function, energy levels, and mood, affecting your productivity and decision-making abilities.

    Therefore, you could start your day with a balanced breakfast that includes proteins, healthy fats, fiber, whole grains, and vegetables. It may provide energy to kickstart your metabolism and help suppress appetite, which might help prevent overeating and weight gain.

  3. Supplements May Help You Lose Weight

    Many weight loss formulations claim to provide rapid weight loss and a slimmer physique. However, research suggests that these supplements have a minor impact on weight loss, and factors like the placebo effect could influence it.

    If you believe a certain supplement can help you lose weight, you might naturally start exercising more or eating healthier without realizing it. These changes in behavior could lead to some weight loss, although it may not be drastic.

    These dietary formulations may offer a slight advantage when taken with a calorie-controlled diet and regular exercise over an extended period.

    Factors like genetics, lifestyle, and overall health could determine how your body will respond to a particular supplement.

  4. All Calories Are Equal

    All calories may contain the same amount of energy, but how your body uses these calories might depend on the source of these calories.

    For instance, calories from protein are not processed the same way as calories from fat or carbohydrates. Consuming protein may help boost metabolism, reduce cravings, and optimize hormonal function, all of which help support weight loss efforts.

    Calories from whole, nutrient-dense foods like vegetables and fruits are more satiating than calories from processed, refined foods like sugary snacks. Choosing whole foods rather than processed ones may help reduce hunger levels and prevent overeating.

  5. Carbs Contribute To Weight Gain

    Consuming a low-carb diet has shown effectiveness in supporting weight loss without the need for conscious calorie restriction.

    Keeping your carbohydrate intake low and protein intake high might help you achieve weight loss. However, it does not inherently mean that carbs are the sole cause of weight gain.

    Consuming refined carbohydrates, such as refined grains and sugars, may contribute to weight gain. The processing of refined carbs strips away beneficial nutrients and fiber, causing a rapid spike in blood glucose levels that might lead to weight gain with time.

    Therefore, you should include whole, unprocessed carb sources like vegetables, fruits, and whole grains as part of a well-balanced diet.

  6. Eating Breakfast Is Necessary to Lose Weight

    It is often assumed that skipping breakfast leads to weight gain. However, mere breakfast habits alone do not significantly impact weight loss efforts, as discussed previously.

    People who skip breakfast may weigh more than regular breakfast eaters. However, the correlation may be influenced by other healthy lifestyle habits among breakfast consumers. For example, the main influence of eating breakfast is related to hunger control, rather than directly impacting weight loss.

    A study involving 309 adults found that participants who ate breakfast showed no significant difference in weight than those who skipped it.

    It is a common misconception that breakfast could jumpstart metabolism, and eating multiple small meals may boost calorie burn throughout the day. Instead, the key to sustaining weight loss lies in eating intuitively – listening to your body’s hunger and fullness cues.

    Breakfast may be a part of a healthy routine, but it is not a mandatory component for weight loss. You should focus on your dietary patterns, food quality, and portion control rather than fixating on the necessity of breakfast for achieving weight loss goals.

  7. Weight Loss Is All About Willpower

    It may not be true to say that weight loss is solely about willpower. Genetic, hormonal, or physiological factors may play a significant role in weight regulation. Conditions like hypothyroidism, PCOS, and depression might increase the risk of experiencing weight gain.

    Hormonal imbalances and disruptions in the body’s natural weight-regulation systems could make it difficult for people to lose weight and keep it off.

    For instance, some people may have leptin resistance (a hormone responsible for signaling fullness to the brain). When the brain perceives a lack of stored fat due to leptin resistance, it triggers a starvation response, making it difficult for them to eat less.

  8. Artificial Sweeteners Are Beneficial

    Most people believe that artificial sweeteners could function as healthy sugar substitutes. However, the belief that using artificial sweeteners is universally beneficial may not hold true for everyone.

    Factors like metabolism and overall health could affect the efficacy of artificial sweeteners. Some people may benefit from reducing sugar intake through artificial sweeteners; others might experience adverse effects like digestive issues or increased cravings.

    Some artificial sweeteners, like aspartame, have raised concerns because they may be linked to health risks like headaches and digestive issues.

  9. Eat Less, Move More

    Creating a calorie deficit through reduced food intake and increased physical activity would always lead to weight loss. However, it might not be as simple as “eat less and move more” for people with slow metabolism, stress-related issues, thyroid problems, or hormonal imbalances.

    Sustainable weight loss requires long-term behavioral modifications. Merely instructing people to eat less and exercise more may neglect the psychological aspects of their weight, such as emotional eating triggers and the influence of environmental cues on eating behaviors.

    Hormones like insulin, cortisol, and thyroid hormones play significant roles in controlling weight. Imbalances in these hormones might make it difficult to lose weight, regardless of calorie intake and physical activity.

    People with excess weight may face challenges beyond calorie restriction and exercise. Metabolic differences, hormone balance, and genetic predispositions may impact weight loss outcomes significantly.

  10. Diet Foods Can Help You Lose Weight

    Most diet foods marketed to provide rapid weight loss may not necessarily contribute to successful long-term weight management.

    Some diet foods contain hidden sugars, artificial additives, and unhealthy fats that may hinder weight loss efforts. These ingredients might increase cravings, disrupt metabolism, and lead to overconsumption, ultimately sabotaging your weight loss goals.

    Diet foods, especially processed options, may be low in nutrients but high in calories. These products claim to be ‘healthy’ or ‘diet-friendly,’ and consuming them may cause you to exceed your daily calorie limits. It could impede your weight loss progress.

    Relying heavily on diet foods may cause nutrient deficiencies due to the need for essential minerals, vitamins, and fiber in these products. Without a balanced diet rich in whole foods, you may experience fatigue, cravings, and difficulty sustaining long-term weight loss.

  11. Eliminate All Sugar

    Excess sugar consumption may contribute to weight gain, but eliminating it may have unintended consequences for your weight loss journey.

    Not all sugars are created equal. Added sugars in processed foods may contribute to weight gain, but natural sugars found in fruits could provide essential nutrients and fiber that support a balanced diet.

    Specific types of sugar, such as glucose from starchy foods, might actually help stabilize blood sugar levels and support weight loss.

    Eliminating all types of sugar in your diet may cause cravings and potential binge eating episodes. Restricting sugar too severely may result in rebound overeating, where you consume more calories than you intended, potentially disrupting weight loss efforts.

  12. Low-Fat Foods Aid Weight Loss

    Reduced-fat or low-fat foods may contain less fat than their full-fat counterparts. However, these products might compensate for the reduction in fat by adding sugar. Therefore, you should check the labels for their overall nutritional content to make informed choices.

    The term “reduced fat” does not necessarily equate to “low fat.” It simply indicates that the fat content in the product is lower than its regular, full-fat version.

    Opting for low-fat alternatives may be a part of a balanced diet for weight management. However, it is equally important to consider the overall nutritional balance of your meals.

  13. Snacking Between Meals Will Cause Weight Gain

    Snacking between meals does not necessarily lead to weight gain when done mindfully with nutrient-dense options. Consuming snacks that comprise protein, fiber, and healthy fats may actually support weight loss efforts.

    These nutrient-dense snack options could help keep you feeling full and satisfied, reducing the likelihood of overeating during the next meal.

    You could consider eating snacks like Greek yogurt with berries, hummus with vegetable sticks, or a small handful of nuts. These snacks may provide a mix of nutrients and flavors to keep cravings in check without compromising your weight loss goals.

    Even healthy snacks may contribute to weight gain if consumed excessively. Therefore, you should practice portion control and listen to your body’s hunger cues to avoid consuming more calories than needed.

  14. Switching To Vegetarian Diet May Promote Weight Loss

    Many people believe that turning to a vegetarian diet may be a sure-shot way to achieve weight loss. Plant-based diets may be lower in calories than diets that include animal meats. However, switching to a vegetarian or vegan diet is not a guaranteed approach to weight loss.

    Some vegan and vegetarian foods are calorically dense and might lead to weight gain if not consumed mindfully. Some of these high-calorie vegetarian foods may include avocados, nuts and nut butter, legumes, or sweet potatoes.


Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Can Eating Late at Night Induce Weight Gain?
    Eating late at night may cause you to consume excessive calories and disrupt metabolism, potentially leading to weight gain. However, daily calorie balance is more important than meal timing alone in determining weight changes.
  2. Is Spot Reduction Through Exercise Effective for Weight Loss?
    Spot reduction of fat through exercise is a myth. Making approaches to target specific areas for fat loss is not feasible. Weight loss success is determined by overall body fat reduction through a mix of regular exercise and healthy eating.
  3. Do Protein Shakes Alone Lead to Weight Loss?
    Protein shakes may help improve muscle recovery and satiety but may not solely contribute to weight loss. Your overall diet quality and caloric balance are major determinants of a successful weight loss strategy.
  4. Will Strength Training Alone Burn Fat Effectively?
    Engaging in strength training could help increase muscle mass and metabolic rate, but relying on it solely may not help shed significant fat. Combining cardio exercises and strength training may be beneficial for overall weight loss and body fat reduction.
  5. Are Vegetarian Diets Always Conducive to Weight Loss?
    Following a vegetarian lifestyle may support weight loss due to increased fiber and nutrient-rich foods. However, managing your weight requires attention to your overall calorie intake and portion sizes.


Losing weight could be challenging. Factors like your caloric intake, physical activity levels, metabolism, and overall health may influence the success of your weight loss efforts.

Severely restricting your calories, eliminating entire food groups from your diet, or skipping breakfast may not necessarily lead to weight loss. Instead, you should consume nutritious foods with macronutrients like fiber, proteins, fats, etc., in the appropriate amounts.

When trying to lose weight, you may come across some myths like diet foods help lose weight, snacking between meals causes weight gain, or all calories are equal. However, these are common weight loss misconceptions that lack scientific backing.

Consuming nutrient-dense foods, managing portion sizes, and engaging in cardio and strength training might help support weight loss. Maintaining adequate water intake, reducing stress, and getting enough sleep may also help you lose weight.

  • This article is for informational purposes only and should not be considered medical advice.
  • It is not recommended to disregard/delay seeking professional medical advice or treatment because of what you read or accessed through this article.
  • The results may vary from individual to individual.
  • Consult your doctor for any underlying medical conditions or if you are on any prescribed medicines before following health tips or instructions.

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