Fitness expert debunks harmful health myth about weight loss: 'That's not how it works'

On the internet, false information about supposedly “healthy” foods and miracle weight loss programs spread like wildfire.

On the internet, false information about supposedly “healthy” foods and miracle weight loss programs spread like wildfire. Just how prevalent is this misinformation? One 2002 report from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the Partnership for Healthy Weight Management analyzed 300 weight loss advertisements and determined that 40 percent of them contained a claimed that “was almost certainly false.”

Sadly, it’s difficult to differentiate helpful, science-backed health information from the falsities that live online. Thankfully, fitness, nutrition and health experts are using their social media platforms to help their followers figure out what’s true and what’s trash.

One fitness professional who’s helping their followers stay alert and informed is Tony Coffey, owner of Bloom Training. The 25-year-old fitness coach recently went viral on TikTok with his response to a viral trend that prompted people to share the fitness myth that drives them nuts.

“How about we do as many as we can in 60 seconds?” Coffey said before listing some of the health and fitness myths that bother him. On that list: the idea that “carbs and sugar make you fat,” the fallacy that “foods you eat later at night will be stored as body fat” and the mindset that “if you’re not sore after a workout, that means you didn’t work hard enough.”

Coffey clearly has a lot to say about all the misinformation in the health and fitness community, so In The Know spoke to the fitness guru about the three common myths he wants everyone to stop believing.

1. “Carbs and sugar make you fat.”

Weight loss programs love to shame dieters into believing that carbs and sugar are the enemy. That’s not the case.

“As a society, we need to move away from the idea that one food or food group is inherently good or bad for you,” Coffey said. “Everything is in the dosage. So everything in balance can lead to an overall healthy lifestyle. And what we know [from] over 100 years of consistent study is that the only thing that can lead to weight gain is overconsumption in energy or calories.”

2. “You can target belly fat by doing more core work.”

“When you’re doing more work, you’re working your abdominal muscles, not the fat that lays on top of it,” Coffey explained. “You can’t target where you burn fat. Your body burns from all over and different people burn and favor different spots of their body.”

3. “Anything promising quick results is true.”

Fitness influencers and weight loss companies love to promote rapid results in order to lure customers in and convince them to spend money. However, according to Coffey, anything that promises quick results is either a gimmick or a short-term solution.

“Changing your health and your body composition takes time,” he explained. “If you walk 10 miles into the forest, you have to walk 10 miles out. Change takes time.”

Crash diets are a great example of this fallacy. As the Obesity Action Coalition points out, one study examining low-calorie, rapid weight loss programs found that 40 percent of participants gained more weight than they had originally lost after completing the program.

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