Fat loss is a common goal for many people, but there is a lot of misinformation about it out there! With the rise of social media, it’s common to see fat loss myths promoted as ‘hacks’. It can be extremely challenging to know what to believe!

These myths are dangerous. They not only advocate unhealthy or harmful ideas, they waste people’s time, money, and effort on strategies that don’t work. 

To avoid confusion, we’ve debunked some of the most common fat loss myths below.

Myth #1: Spot reduction is possible 

This refers to the belief that you can target fat loss in specific areas of the body, such as the stomach or thighs, by doing exercises that work those muscles. 

It has been consistently shown that spot reduction is in fact not possible. While exercises that target specific areas of the body can strengthen and tone those muscles, they don’t necessarily lead to fat loss in those areas. Instead, fat loss occurs throughout the body in response to a calorie deficit. So, doing crunches or leg lifts alone won’t magically melt away belly or thigh fat!

It’s important to note that areas where you may carry extra fat, are often the last to go as they are harder to lose. However, consistent effort and adherence will help you track towards your goal!

Myth #2: Intermittent fasting = guaranteed fat loss

The idea that fasting is most effective for fat loss is a common myth.

While fasting can be an effective tool to stick to a calorie deficit, it’s by no means a magic fix. Regardless of the time you’re eating, if you’re not in a calorie deficit, you won’t lose weight.

For some, fasting provides an easy solution – they’re not hungry in the morning anyway, and so consume their calorie target in the afternoon/evening. For others, fasting leads to a vicious cycle of overeating, and then overrestricting to compensate. This can often lead to eating more than you would have if you had not fasted in the first place!

Always stick to what works best for you, not what has worked for someone you know or follow.

Myth #3: Eating fat makes you fat

The myth that eating fat makes you fat is a common misconception. While it may seem counterintuitive, consuming dietary fat does not necessarily translate to weight gain or an increase in body fat.

Fat is one of the three macronutrients needed as part of a healthy diet and you should not shy away from it even when you’re looking to lose body fat.

By consuming fat, we provide the body with essential fatty acids – these are vital for growth and cell functions but cannot be synthesised by the body. Our bodies utilise them for:

  • Optimal functioning of nerves and the brain.
  • Assisting in the production of hormones.
  • Absorbing vitamins A, D, E and K (this is not possible without dietary fat!).

It’s important to note that fat is more energy-dense than protein and carbohydrate. It provides 9 calories per gram, compared to 4 calories per gram from protein and carbs. Because of this, it is easier to eat a higher number of calories from a smaller volume of high-fat food. 

Myth #4: Carbs are the enemy of fat loss 

While some people find success with low-carb diets, carbohydrates are not inherently bad for fat loss. Carbohydrates are the body’s main source of energy, needed for brain and organ function, as well as physical activity. They also play a role in the structure and function of cells, tissues and organs. Without carbohydrates, your body struggles to function properly and you often end up feeling run-down and fatigued. 

Additionally, because 1g glycogen, the storage form of glucose, bonds with at least 3g water in the body, people tend to notice a drop in ‘fat’ when they start a low-carb plan. Restricting dietary intake of carbs means the body breaks down glycogen to glucose, for energy instead. When this happens, there’s a relatively quick reduction in ‘weight’, but this is predominantly water excretion, rather than fat loss.

It’s also worth noting that success from a ‘low-carb’ diet often comes from a change in lifestyle, rather than nutrition. Foods like pizza, cakes, and sweets are high in carbs, and not particularly satiating – you can eat a lot and not be full. Regularly eating foods like this, and then moving to lower-calorie, higher-volume food, would naturally lead to some fat loss.

New clients commonly ask whether to opt for a balanced macro-split or a low-carb plan, especially if their goal is fat loss. There is not necessarily a ‘correct’ option here. It is often down to personal preference and/or circumstances. If you have a hectic lifestyle and exercise frequently, a balanced approach may be more suitable and sustainable long term!

Myth #5: Fat loss supplements or detox teas can help you lose fat quickly

It’s a definite no from us! They’re expensive, pointless and potentially harmful. Further, to date, no definitive scientific evidence backs the use of supplements or detox teas for ‘cleansing’ the body/for fat loss.

Many of these products have detrimental side effects. This includes cramps, diarrhoea and dehydration, which all, in turn, have negative effects on overall health and well-being.

Further, many of the companies do not state the toxin the products are targeting. They often refer to toxicity in a basic manner, when it should consider factors such as context and dosage before making bold, often misleading claims.

Additionally, many marketed products are sold as food or dietary supplements, meaning they do not go through the same testing and approval processes medicines do by the FDA (in the USA) or MHRA (UK). They are then subject to food safety laws instead which are less rigorous.

Lastly, celebrities are often paid to promote these products or detox diets, with little to no knowledge about what they entail and their effects. They have large followings, often made up of younger audiences, who can be more impressionable.

There is no magic pill or drink that can help you lose fat quickly and sustainably. Sustainable fat loss requires a combination of healthy eating, regular exercise, and consistency.

The world of nutrition can no doubt be a bit of a minefield to navigate. When it comes to separating fact from fiction, be wary of anything that lacks scientific evidence, is overly simplistic, promises quick fixes or comes from a non-credible source. If it sounds too good to be true, it likely is!

Fresh Fitness Food provides personalised meal plans delivered straight to your door, ensuring not only that you have the nutrients you need to keep you energised, but also that you have the time usually spent shopping, cooking and washing up, to engage in your favourite activities. Order today and start smashing your goals with personalised nutrition!

Get £50 off a 5-day trial with code: BLOG50. Start your trial here!

Want to discuss which nutrition plan is right for you first? Book a call with our in-house nutrition team here.

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