How to Lose Weight: Fallacies and the Truth

What Some People Believe and the Truth My Aunt says that ‘Lemon Juice’ helps in losing weight :

According to many aunts and grandmothers, lemon juice will help you lose weight. They can’t tell why they believe this, possibly because they heard it from someone, somewhere. The scientific evidence is that the vitamin C in lemon juice helps repair worn out tissue but does not destroy fat. Lemon juice may be healthful as a source of nutrients, but it is valueless as a treatment for obesity. Lemon juice has no action on fat whatsoever.

A Morning Glass of Water helps lose weight.

Many people believe that a glass of hot water on awakening is a sure cure for excess weight. The notion that water – plain, warm or left in any vessel overnight and had first thing in the morning dissolves fat is wrong. Fat does not dissolve in water.

A dietitian has told a friend of mine that the cheapest method of losing weight is simply to drink two and a half litres of water a day. This has the effect of “breaking up the fat” and “shrinking the stomach”. Is this sensible?

It’s so insensible that I find it difficult to imagine that any qualified dietitian really has said this. Water -to- make -you-slim reminds me of the tale of the fantastic new contraceptive pill which, the inventor claimed, was quite infallible. When he was asked : “Is it to be taken before or after ?” the reply was : “Neither; you take it instead of.”

I can easily imagine that two-and-a-half liters of water will make you lose weight if you take it instead of food. But if you are supposed to drink the water and go on eating as usual, then well, the idea is utterly daft.

You should never believe anybody who talks of “breaking up the fat”. The fat is already broken up into tiny droplets inside special cells. I can’t see how drinking water can break these droplets into still tinier drops. Besides, if it did, then what ? The fat would still be sitting in the cells because the only way to shift it is to “burn” it – in other words to metabolize it by making the body need to call on its stored energy reserves.

“Shrinking the stomach” is another phrase to warn you that you’re being conned.

The only way you could do anything at all that remotely resembles this would be to go on a total hunger fast, something I’m sure you don’t want to and I certainly don’t recommend. As far as water is concerned your stomach has a shrink proof label.

Honey helps to reduce.

It is very important to realize that honey contains no essential nutrients required for good health, except Carbohydrates. It has the same chemical structure as refined sugar. Honey is a concentrated form of food and as such one teaspoon of honey is more fattening than one teaspoon of sugar. For some, of course, honey can have a psychological effect. After all, people reason, sugar pills have cured many ailments; can’t honey, then, cure obesity ? Unfortunately it cannot, whether taken with plain water or with warm water and lemon juice.

Cold water is fattening

Water is not food and therefore cannot be fattening. This refers to either fridge water or plain water and not to soft aerated sweet drinks which are fattening. In fact proper intake of water is important in a scientific weight reducing programme.

Toast (Khakra) Instead Of Bread (Chapatti)

A common fallacy holds that toast (Khakra) is less fattening than bread (Chapatti). This is erroneous. When you toast a piece of bread, you are removing water from it. Nothing else. Only water. If you eat toast as much as you would eat bread, the relative amount of carbohydrate you consume is actually higher. This is one reason why toast is recommended to people who are recovering from illness and should gain weight.

If you happen to be allergic to “gluten” a protein found in wheat, oats, barley, ingestion of these grains in any form will result in abdominal distension and diarrhoea characterized by foamy stools. Toasting removes the gluten from bread or chapatties to some extent and can prove a bit useful. Apart from this, toasting has no place in the removal of excess body fat.

Skipping Meals Is A Good Way To Reduce

Many obese people skip their breakfast, lunch or dinner in the hope of losing excess weight. It will shock most of these obese people to learn that when they skip meals they may be contributing towards weight gain. How can not eating make anyone fat? The answer involves a basic body principle called “Specific Dynamic Action ” ( see page 174) which is really quite simple.

When food is eaten in balanced nutrient (see chap. 21) proportions, there is dynamic action or boost in the metabolic rate. The raised metabolic rate in turn helps to oxidize (burn) excess fat. By skipping meals and losing the benefit of Specific Dynamic Action a fat person may end up gaining weight as the body works more slowly on the food already in the system.

The body works better on three meals a day than two or one. When you divide your food among three meals – breakfast, lunch and dinner, your metabolism is elevated for twelve to eighteen hours out of the twenty-four.

Skipping Potatoes Helps

Are potatoes fattening? Not when compared to bread or cereals. With identical portions, bread is twice as fattening as compared to a potato. Why then the widespread believe that potatoes make you fat? I can only conclude that the problem is not the potato but the way in which the potato is prepared. French fried or potatoes cooked in oil, are fattening food. The truth is that a potato properly prepared, boiled, baked or steamed, is a valuable adjunct to a balanced nutrient diet.

Filling The Stomach With A Soup Helps to Reduce

Not all soups help to reduce. Some are fattening. Trotters soup containing marrow fat, an animal fat, for example, is fattening. Soups with high carbohydrate content – thick cornflour, wonton and sweet corn soups are the ones that are most damaging and the ones to avoid. Also all thick creamed soups are fattening.

Soups which can be safely eaten are the ones which have been prepared by a fairly generous addition of water to make the soups like the bouillon soup, clear vegetable soup, etc.

Fruit Juices are not fattening

It takes more fruits to make a glass of fruit juice than can be eaten at one time. Therefore, relatively fruit juices are fattening. Also juices prepared in juice stores usually have glucose added to them which is undesirable for people on a weight reducing programme. It is always better to eat the fruit itself than drink the juice because this gives added bulk of fibre.

Dried fruits instead of Fresh Fruits

There are many people who believe that dried fruits are the best things to eat while on a diet. These people are totally wrong.

Figs, dates, raisins, dried apricots and peaches are highly concentrated carbohydrate foods and are extremely fattening. It may seem strange to you that so small a quantity of food can cause a weight gain. The body of a person who has a weight problem works with remarkable speed to produce fat as soon as concentration of Carbohydrate is eaten. Unfortunately, fat cannot be lost as quickly.

Whiskey and Water are not fattening

This is a misconception, i.e. Soda and whiskey is fattening, and water and whiskey is not. The blunt truth is it’s the whiskey, not the soda, that creates the fat.

Alcohol, is a highly concentrated carbohydrate. Therefore, whiskey (alcohol) either with soda, or with water or straight, is fattening. If you are trying to lose weight, I would suggest that you stop drinking alcohol or limit it yourself at the most to one drink a day.

It must be remembered that alcohol has a stimulating effect on the appetite. Therefore it is better to avoid overeating the fattening starchy and fried foods , papads, chivda etc. which are often provided with drinks.

It’s natural and healthy to add a few kilos with the years

Your correct weight at age 25, is about what you should weight for the rest of your life. Insurance Company’s records, of hundreds of thousands of people, explode the idea that it is natural, healthy and safe to add a few kilos as you grow older.

At about age 50, the body’s metabolism or “speed of living ” begins to slow down a bit. We don’t rush and bustle and tear about quite so recklessly as adolescents who are spendthrifts of energy. Since we don’t burn up quite so much energy, we don’t need to take in quite so much either. Our need for energy decreases, slowly and imperceptibly.

When intake of food is decreased, as needs decrease with age, “quality” of food must be borne in mind. Protective foods that give life to our years and vice-versa must be eaten. How can one plan a good, protective diet that is especially well-suited to the needs of persons who are getting along in years ?

These general points are easy to remember :

It should be relatively low in fats (because fats play a part in hardening of the arteries).

Sugar and starches (carbohydrates) should be obtained from foods that are not highly concentrated or over-refined. Cooked green, leafy, yellow or root vegetables, cereals, bread, contain naturally occurring carbohydrates that make fewer demands on sugar-resulting mechanisms of the body. Intake of vitamins, minerals and bulk is enchanced by eating a variety of the above mentioned foods.

All the above specifications are very much like the plan for a well-Balanced Nutrient Diet.
You will live longer if you stay on the thin side – especially after 40.

Fat people are healthy people

This is one of the most common of all fallacies regarding weight in our country where people speak of a fat person as being healthy. The harsh truth is that obesity is a disease and that too a grave one and far from an indication of being healthy.

Invariably at my clinic a question regarding the family history of a patient is followed by the following conversation :

“What about your parents; are they also fat?” I ask.

“Doctor, my mother and father are both healthy.”

“What do you mean by healthy?” I ask.

“Well ! healthy like me. You see Doctor, my parents have a good appetite and are fond of eating just like me.”

Obese persons are not healthy. They have an improper metabolism. A part of the food they eat is converted and stored as, body fat. Very often the obese people are overfed yet malnourished. In other words, a person may be fat on the outside and yet be starving on the inside.

So don’t equate obesity with being healthy. Both are poles apart. Take one last, good look at what you believe about being fat and healthy.

Fat men are successful and prosperous.

Losing weight makes you weak, haggard, tired, irritable, depressed, unhealthy or ends up into many such side-effects.
Losing weight lowers your resistance to disease.
Losing weight lowers your vitality.
Now discard these beliefs forever.

Sleeping after lunch makes you fat

When food is eaten the digestive system is set into action. There is an increase of blood flow to the digestive system. This aids in the process of digestion. Consequently blood flow to other parts of the body including the brain decreases. A decrease in blood flow to the brain causes slight drowsiness. As the digestion proceeds, the blood sugar level rises adding to your drowsiness and making you feel sleepy. This is a normal physiological pattern.

If you load your body with foods that are oily, fried or full of rich gravies, thick sauces, rich sugars and creamy desserts, the blood flow to your digestive system is accordingly increased. Also your blood sugar levels rise proportionately higher than when your food is natural, wholesome and balanced. Naturally then you are likely to fall asleep.

It is not sleeping or resting after meals that makes you fat. What you’ve eaten for lunch or dinner is an important factor contributing towards obesity.

Eat sensibly, eat healthfully. Don’t feel guilty about your forty winks. Haven’t you heard the wise saying :
“After lunch rest a while; After dinner walk a mile.”

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