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Top 5 Fat Loss Lies

Get-Fit Guy reveals the top 5 fat loss lies perpetuated by the weight loss industry - plus tips on how to stay healthy and fit for good.

By
Ben Greenfield,
January 28, 2014
Episode #171

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As obesity levels climb at a breakneck pace, the burgeoning weight loss industry is also growing by leaps and bounds – in 2013 it was up 1.7% to $61 billion – and that’s just in the U.S. alone!

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There’s no denying that people are making money off our expanding waistlines and our desire to lose fat, tone muscle, and get better bodies. But where there’s money, there’s often myths and mistruths, too. So in this episode, you’re going to discover the top 5 fat loss lies perpetuated by the weight loss industry - plus, the truth behind the claims.

Top 5 Fat Loss Lies

Lie #1: Food labels are steeped in science and can be trusted

Most of us, at one time or another, have inspected the food label on a package of food or a meal description on a restaurant menu and perhaps eaten just a little bit more content in the knowledge that he item was low-sodium, low-calorie, or low-fat. 

But food labels are not always pristine and accurate accounts of what's inside the package. For example, a study published in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association found that the actual amount of calories in frozen foods was an average of 8% higher than what was listed on the label. That same study found that items served in restaurants had 18% more calories than the menus said they did. These kind of gross inaccuracies are prevalent on packaged foods as well.

The food label discrepancy is partially due to the fact that under rules published by the FDA, which regulates nutrition labels on foods, “The ratio between the amount obtained by laboratory analysis and the amount declared on the product label in the Nutrition Facts panel must be 120% or less.”

In a nutshell, this means that if a lab analysis of a food found that it had 120 calories, the food’s packaging could state that it had 100 calories and would still be in compliance with FDA regulations. And that’s not all.  If a food that has 20 grams of fat – but only listed 17 grams of fat on the label – it would also be in compliance. It gets even better: The FDA requires that food packages contain at least 99% of the weight listed on the box, so many food manufacturers often put more food into the package than they list on the label in order to make sure they comply with these regulations.

In summary, this means that if you’re eating lots of packaged foods, you may be getting over 20% additional calories than what you actually think! This is why I recommend shopping the perimeter of the grocery store, where there are fresh items in their raw, unpackaged form. But even then you need to be careful if you’re using websites to calculate nutrition data on those food items, since the simple act of cooking a food actually makes it higher in calories!

Lie #2: If it’s in a packaged bottle it must be 100% safe

Many popular fat loss products can cause serious side effects. Take for example OxyElite Pro, which is marketed as a weight loss, muscle gain, and metabolism boosting supplement, but has been linked to dozens of cases of hepatitis, liver failure (some patients needed liver transplants), and even death!

As you would have expected, the FDA warned USPlabs LLC, which distributes OxyElite Pro, that certain OxyElite products were dangerous and not eligible for approval because they contain the toxic ingredient aegeline. So USPlabs agreed to recall certain OxyElite products and told the FDA it would destroy warehouse stocks of the supplement. But in a letter to the FDA, USPlabs maintained that aegeline has been safely used for centuries.

The diet-supplement market primarily exists because supplements are far less strictly regulated than many foods and drugs. Similar to the case of OxyElite, most FDA regulation of supplements only happens when the FDA hears complaints from consumers after the supplement is already on the market. Because of this, it can take months for dangerous, toxic, or tainted items to be removed from the shelves.   

The moral of the story: Beware of weight loss supplements!

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