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The Biggest Myth About Weight Loss

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People who wish to lose weight are familiar with the advice of watch what you eat and exercise. The former guidance basically means counting the calories that one consumes. But what if we all have been misled? According to an article in The Economist, it is time to bury the world’s most misleading measure –counting on calories to tell us what will make us fat.

It is true that if you consume less calories than you burn you will lose weight but calculating the exact calorie count is a far more complicated process than people realize. Usually, when a person goes on a diet the first thing they are told to eschew is foods with a high fat content, but while fat is the most calorie-dense of macronutrients certain fatty acids actually help with digestion.

So why the misconception. Well it turns out that money played a role. Uncovered documents from 1967 reveal that sugar companies secretly funded studies at the Harvard University designed to blame fat for obesity, rather than sugar. The powerful sugar lobby also influenced US lawmakers to come out with similar findings.

Following such biased revelations, the food industry started removing fat from food items and replacing it with sugar, starch and salt. As a result, the world witnessed the most dramatic rise in obesity in human history. Between 1975 and 2016 obesity almost tripled worldwide, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO): nearly 40% of over-18s – some 1.9bn adults – are now overweight.

In 2007, Salvador Camacho suffered an attack of severe arrhythmia, or irregular heart beat. “A cardiologist told me that if I didn’t lose weight and get my health under control I would be dead in five years,” he says. So began his struggle to lose weight, but despite diligently following his doctors and nutritionists advice of eating less and moving more; he didn’t lose weight.

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“I filled in Excel spreadsheets every night, every week and every month listing everything I ate. It became a real obsession for me….I really did everything you are supposed to do…I was told to exercise for at least 45 minutes at least four or five times a week. I actually ran for more than an hour every day.”

“It’s just ridiculous,” Camacho, tells the publication. “People are living with real pain and guilt and all they get is advice that is confused or just plain wrong.”

 

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Naya Daur