7 Myths That Keep You Fat

By Shane YoungOctober 22, 2014

So you finally decided to lose some pounds? You go the gym, you eat less, and you feel like you have the will power to continue on your journey to weight loss.  But after starving yourself and exercising for weeks, you feel frustrated because you just cannot get that weight that you are aiming for.

Now you think what went wrong?  The problem may not be your effort, it might in fact be your beliefs. You may be clinging to some of the most commonly believed myths about weight loss and diet programs. Read on, and if some of these myths sound awfully familiar, don’t worry we’ll discuss how you can truly shed those pounds.

The Seven Myths

1.     It’s all about calorie intake.
2.     If you eat, you will feel good.
3.     You should always follow the Food Pyramid.
4.     Increasing protein intake can cause kidney problems.
5.     Fat makes you fat.
6.     If you are tired, eat whatever you want.
7.     If you eat less, you’ll lose weight faster.

Why the Seven Myths are Silly?

There are a lot of associations and stories that most people think of when they hear the word “fat”.   The misinformation and false studies within the medical field are largely responsible for making people believe that fat isn’t good for the body. Among the different food groups, fat is the most misunderstood. 

In his book, Unleash your Thin, well-known author and nutritionist – Johnny Bowden stresses that it is important for the public to know the truth about fat.  He reveals that these seven myths about fat are actually destructive to the body. He warned people not to believe what the medical fields and other health gurus are saying about fat.  In reality, some of their teachings are misguided and completely wrong.

He says that the public needs to be reeducated about fats.  People should know why fats are important and which fat foods to avoid.  He argues that there are many obese and overweight people because they don’t actually know the truth about the different food groups.

Myth 1 – It’s all About Calorie Intake

According to Bowden, one of the destructive myths that nearly everyone perpetuates in the American diet is that – “It is all about the calorie”.  Some people are so self-conscious about their calorie intake that they actually download apps to keep count throughout the day!  The American Diet Society and most health organizations are unanimous in saying that high caloric intake can make you fat.

However, Bowden, a well-known nutritionist, makes an important clarification–that it is not the calorie per se which causes weight gain–it is actually the hormone.  It is the hormone that drives weight gain or weight loss.

The “types” of calories you are eating affect your hormones, thus, affecting your weight gain.  For example, if you eat thousands of calories of sugar it will have a tremendous effect on your hormones. Even eating proteins and fats affect your hormones, but those have a very different effect on blood sugars.

Certain types of food have hormonal effect on the body.  Thus, it is a huge mistake to say that calories alone causes weight gain.  In the mainstream, most weight watchers would say to watch out for your calories.  They would usually advise you to count and monitor your calories. But Bowden stresses that calorie counting is just tiny part of the bigger picture.  The much more important part is your hormones.  You need to know and understand how your hormones work, so that you can understand how to turn on the fat burning hormone that is responsible for weight loss.  According to Bowden, it is all about understanding how your hormones and metabolism work in concert.

Myth 2 – If you eat, you will feel good

Suppose you are stressed all day long because of a long day of hard work and after sleeping, you wake up with a high stress hormone. Let’s just say that it becomes a tendency to take in something pleasurable to relieve that stress. Most likely you will go to a café and order coffee and muffins to feel good.  Because this is what the players in the food industry have conditioned you to believe for years.  According to Bowden, the food industry has actually mastered the science of making people believe that if you eat this food, you will feel good about yourself. The food industry has studied people’s mindset for years.  They know which kind of products are attractive to people and how they can drive people to buy their product.  In our earlier example, if you go to the coffee shop and ordered sweets to relieve your stress, you are actually taking in hundreds of calories that can elevate your blood sugar level.  When your blood sugar is elevated, insulin will come into play. Your insulin functions as a sugar wrangler. Insulin helps lower down your blood sugar levels. Insulin then gives the excess sugars to your muscle cells, or if your muscle cell doesn’t need it, insulin will give it to your fat cells.  The problem comes when you take in lots of carbohydrate and sugar rich foods. Since your muscle cells cannot take excess sugar, insulin will give it to your fat cells so you will have excess fat storage on your body. Too much fat cells can cause abdominal obesity, or belly fat! If you continue to have elevated blood sugar and high insulin levels, even your fat cells will no longer accept these excess sugars. This can lead to further complications such as inflammation, heart disease, diabetes, insulin resistance and metabolic syndrome.

Myth 3 – You Should Always Follow the Food Pyramid

The Food Pyramid Guide and My Plate put further emphasis on eating grains, starches and low fat food because these foods could actually turn on your fat burning switch.  But according to Bowden, this is a completely a wrong diet recommendation.  There is no such thing as a fat burning switch in your body that keeps things on and off.

There is no apparatus that can make insulin go down to help make your fat cells empty.  But there is another hormone which is considered a sister hormone to insulin called glucagon. Insulin and glucagon have an interesting relationship, they are like sharks and dolphins in the ocean. Although sharks and dolphins are in the ocean they don’t go together.  When there is a school of sharks, dolphins are away.  When dolphins are near, the sharks go into hiding.  They simply just don’t go together.

Insulin and glucagon have a similar strategy.  They also don’t go together. So what does this interesting analogy means? If you eat carbohydrate foods such as whole wheat, brown rice – you are actually increasing your blood sugar level and insulin to a higher level. If you have a high sugar level, glucagon, which is a fat-burning hormone, goes into hiding, it doesn’t come out. It will not help release the fat cells because you have a high blood sugar level.

Interestingly, if you take in foods that are low in carbohydrates and lower in sugar, your blood sugar will not go up and insulin will also go down.  A low carbohydrate diet doesn’t stimulate insulin.  If your blood sugar level is low, glucagon will sense it. Glucagon will release the fat burning hormone so that your body can produce the sugar that your brain and your organs need.  Glucagon helps open and burn the fat cells. So this means also that a high fiber diet is not enough to burn the fat. What you need to do is to cut the carbohydrates, increase your protein and interestingly, increase your fat intake.

Myth 4 – Increasing Protein Consumption can Cause Kidney Problems

People say that an increase of protein consumption can cause kidney damage.   But according to Bowden, protein does not cause kidney disease.   There is no single study that says excessive protein intake can cause kidney damage. What the study shows is that if you have an injured kidney or an existing kidney disease such as nephrotic syndrome, you may need to have a supervised protein intake.  It is a complete myth, that a high protein diet can threaten your kidney.

Myth 5 – Fat MakesYou Fat

It is common for you to hear people saying that if you eat fat, you will become fat.  This myth is actually embedded in our DNA. Most dieters will say that you should avoid fatty foods because you will gain excess weight. But according to Bowden, among the food groups, carbohydrates has the highest effect on insulin; proteins have a moderate to lesser effect on insulin while fat actually has a zero effect on insulin!

So what does this mean?

Among the food groups, it is actually the fat that has no effect on the insulin levels. Bowden stressed that the idea of eating fat can make you fat is a complete misunderstanding.  It is actually the opposite of what we believe in.  It is plain silly and just not true.

Categorically, fat doe not increase your insulin levels.

Myth 6 – If you are tired, eat whatever you want

Giving in to your cravings when you are tired is not a good practice.  If you feel that you are stressed out and you want to overeat, think on how the hormones work. It will remind you of the right way to shed the pounds and keep the fat off for good.

Myth 7 – If you eat less, you’ll lose weight faster

In reality, the less food you eat, your metabolism will tend to grow slower.  It is your body’s way to conserve the energy.  So actually, you are losing the water weight.  This will lead to some serious cravings which leads to binge eating.

Weight loss is not about starving yourself but choosing the right kind of foods that will stimulate glucagon to burn fat cells.

In summary, the main reason why Dr. Bowden wrote “Unleash Your Thin” is that he wanted to educate readers about the truth behind weight loss and diet programs.  He wanted to teach and reach out to people so they will know how to take action and gain control of their lives.  He shared an effective strategy on how people can overcome fat addiction and how they can keep their weight on a healthy level.

Now that we have debunked the 7 Myths you can keep the fat off for good!


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