No, counting calories doesn't help you lose weight. The family predisposition to obesity? It exists, of course, but the eating style matters more
Although the great world of nutrition is changing thanks to the most modern scientific research, there are still many false beliefs related to body weight. Like the one that a low-calorie diet alone is enough to lose weight and maintain a good state of health or that performing physical activity authorizes us to take more food than we should.
Here are the most common myths:
- The low-calorie diet is the only one that makes you lose weight
- It is not true that losing weight is useless because sooner or later all the weight lost will be regained
- It is not true to say that since obesity can be genetically predetermined we cannot do anything about it
- It is not true that if we do some physical exercise we can or should eat more
The low-calorie diet is the only one that makes you lose weight
No, counting calories doesn't help you lose weight. “Low-calorie diets – says prof. Pier Luigi Rossi, medical specialist in nutrition sciences and preventive medicine in Arezzo and author of the book 'From calories to molecules. The new horizon of weight control '(Aboca) are both ineffective and dangerous as they can cause deficiencies in essential micronutrients. A salad of cereals and vegetables and a glass of beer can have the same number of calories, but the molecules contained in the two foods have very different metabolic effects ”. To lose weight, it is more useful, healthy and scientific to look at the molecules contained in foods. "A new science, called nutrigenomics, has shown that some nutrient molecules present in the foods we bring to the table have the ability to act on the DNA of fat cells and steer the body towards a weight loss mode," adds the doctor. “Fruit, vegetables and fish are not only very healthy products of nature and rich in extraordinary properties for our well-being, but they represent real foods with a slimming action. The only ones able to act on the genetic heritage of our cells and guarantee effective and lasting weight loss over time. Ensure, in your diet, five portions of vegetables a day and eat fish at least three times a week ”.
It is not true that losing weight is useless because sooner or later all the weight lost will be regained
"Ignoring or underestimating the metabolic consequences of excess weight is wrong – write the experts of Crea in the Guidelines for healthy eating (Rev. 2018) – while trying to tackle the problem is still appropriate and advisable. However, it is true that to solve it permanently it is essential to change one's eating habits and lifestyle, also to avoid falling back into the same mistakes made previously. It is all too obvious that if, at the end of a weight loss, the previous habits are restarted, the lost weight will be regained in a short time and perhaps something more ”.
“A condition often experienced by those who follow low-calorie diets”, adds prof. Pier Luigi Rossi. "Another weakness of this method, useless precisely because the more caloric intake is reduced, the more the body increases its energy yield. In fact, when you finish the diet and go back to eating normally, the body finds itself with a greater load of energy that accumulates in the form of fats ”. The secret – writes the author in his book – is to move from a low-calorie diet with a limited duration over time to a new dietary lifestyle where the precious molecules that make up a food are the protagonists. The main ones are oxygen, carbohydrates, proteins, lipids, vitamins, minerals, water, dietary fiber, molecules active on DNA (gene modulators).
The molecular quality of foods, that is their different composition in nutritional principles, conditions the cellular metabolism, the hormonal profile, the gene modulation of a person, therefore his body weight and his state of health.
It is not true to say that since obesity can be genetically predetermined we cannot do anything about it
Genetics certainly plays a role, but when we observe that in the same family the members are all overweight it is likely that all are exposed to the same bad eating and lifestyle habits. “The family predisposition? It certainly exists – we read in the book by prof. Rossi-, but the crucial role is played by lifestyles. In the 'match' against the balance that millions of Italians challenge every day, nutrition plays the most important part. This is also confirmed by the most modern scientific research: the keys to living longer and better depend for 50% on lifestyle and nutrition, for 30% on genetics inherited from our parents and for the remaining 20% on the System National Health. It is above all we who influence our health and the duration of our life. Everyday".
It is not true that if we do some physical exercise we can or should eat more
There are no miraculous exercises and above all we must not overestimate the surplus of energy expenditure that the exercise itself is able to ensure. Good physical activity – reads the Guidelines – must serve to preserve and tone lean mass and normalize blood parameters (blood sugar, cholesterol, etc.). “To increase lean muscle mass, and therefore metabolically active cells – advises prof. Pier Luigi Rossi – it is necessary to plan and perform muscle resistance exercises that involve the main muscles of the human body (arms, trunk, legs, abdomen) through the use of rubber bands, weights or mechanical resistances or with exercises performed in the gym. To lose weight, you need to plan and perform aerobic activities such as exercise bikes, treadmills, step exercises, cycling, running. But also climbing stairs or walking. Equipped with a heart rate monitor (an instrument that can be purchased in sporting goods stores), during the aerobic movement it is necessary to bring the heart rate above 100 beats per minute: in this physiological condition, the body 'burns' body fat because it consumes more oxygen ".
Food, therefore, is not just energy. And body weight is influenced by several factors, not just by genetics: first of all by the daily diet. "To keep us fit and healthy – adds the expert – it is important to learn to choose your food, eat healthily and with a healthy pleasure, free from false beliefs that have influenced our eating style for decades, contributing to the generation of metabolic diseases. , unfortunately, have become common, such as metabolic syndrome, insulin resistance, type 2 diabetes mellitus, arterial hypertension and atherosclerosis. Finally, becoming 'aware' in choosing what you bring to the table every day also allows us to rediscover the ancient link with food ", concludes prof. Rossi.