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The Ten Biggest Fat Loss Lies - Exposed!
By Tom Venuto
If you've ever walked into a health food store and asked
for information about supplements...
If you’ve ever read any one of the many popular bodybuilding
or fitness magazines...
If you've ever read the latest best-selling diet book...
If you’ve ever watched late night TV and listened to a diet
or fitness guru preach about an amazing new diet, exercise
machine or supplement...
If you’ve ever surfed the web for information about diet,
nutrition or training...
If you’ve ever done ANY of these things, then chances are...
YOU'VE BEEN LIED TO, MY FRIEND!
Are you shocked? Surprised? Outraged? If so, then join the
club - you're not alone. Honest information about nutrition
and fat loss is harder to come by than ever before, and
nearly everyone has been mislead at one time or another.
To successfully navigate through this bog of misinformation,
you're going to have to become a very shrewd and
discriminating consumer. The purpose of this article
is to help you do just that.
There are three reasons why it's so hard to find truthful
information these days:
1) Money (Greed). Weight loss is a 30 billion-dollar a
year industry. With this kind of money at stake,
unscrupulous marketers will tell you anything - even
outright lies - to get you to buy their products and
to further their financial interests.
2) Information overload. Now that we're in the information
age, lack of information is not a problem anymore. The problem
these days is too much information. Fitness and diet "guru's"
preach about their "latest breakthroughs" on TV infomercials
24 hours a day, seven days a week. Hundreds, even thousands
of diet and exercise books fill bookstore shelves. Dozens
of magazines clutter the newsstands every month. And to
top it all off, the explosion of the Internet is adding to
this "info-quagmire" at an exponential rate.
3) Conflicting advice. Even industry professionals such
as registered dieticians, research scientists, MD's, Phd's,
and certified trainers, give a tremendous amount of
contradictory advice. There are a lot of opinions out there
and everyone seems to tell us something different.
This has left a lot of people frustrated, disillusioned,
and thoroughly confused. It's hard to know whom or what
to believe anymore.
I want to do something about that. I want to do something
that almost no one else has the guts to do: That is, to tell
the complete, unadulterated truth.
So, without further ado, here they are; the top 10 biggest fat
loss lies - exposed!
Fat Loss Lie #1: You need supplements to lose fat.
Supplements are not necessary to lose body fat. Exercise
and nutrition are the only things you need to lose fat
permanently. Some supplements can help speed up the process
a little, but not nearly as much as you may have been lead
Supplements are only responsible for a small fraction of the
results you achieve. Based on 19 years of experience, I believe
that 95-97% of your results will come from good training and
good nutrition. If most of your results come from diet and
training, doesn't it make more sense to maximize the 95-97%
FOCUS ON YOUR DIET AND TRAINING PROGRAMS FIRST!
Believe it or not, advanced trainees, competitive bodybuilders
or athletes will probably benefit more from using supplements
than beginners. High level athletes are more likely to have
"maxed" out their training and diet programs.
Once you've reached a high level of development from
intelligent, intense, methodical training and quality
nutrition, then progress always comes more slowly. At
this point, every little bit extra counts - that's when
supplements are most useful.
In world class athletics, competitions can be won or lost
by hundredths of a second, a tenth of a point, a fraction
of a pound, or a single judge’s opinion. The extra 3-5%
that supplements may provide could be the difference
between winning and losing.
Now let's look at the average beginner or intermediate who
hasn't perfected their diet and training yet: They're still
eating junk foods and skipping meals. They're not even
working out, or at least not consistently. And what do
they do FIRST? You guessed it; they immediately run out
searching for a "shortcut!"
It's a shame that so many people are looking for easy ways
instead of making the effort to learn how to eat and train
better. Achievement expert Brian Tracy once said, “Superior
people never wish it were easier, they wish they were better!”
It makes no sense to "dive" into supplements first in hopes
of finding an easier way. Get your nutrition and training
in order first; maximize the 95%. Once you reach that level,
then by all means, take advantage of every legal and ethical
edge possible to help you fulfill 100% of your potential.
If anyone tries to convince you that you can't do it
without supplements, beware; they are probably just
trying to sell you something.
Fat Loss Lie #2: The only way to get really lean is to "starve" yourself.
Most commercial diet programs are very low in calories. Many
border on starvation: 1200 calories, 1000 calories, even 800
calories or less!
BE WARNED! Starving the fat off doesn't work
(at least not permanently).
In fact, very low calorie diets can actually make you
It's is the ultimate paradox:
When you eat less, your body burns less. When you eat more,
your body burns more.
Very low calorie diets slow down your metabolism and cause
you to lose muscle. Eventually they shut down your
metabolism completely. When this happens, the weight
loss stops and any increase in calories that follows
will cause immediate fat gain. This rebound effect is
inevitable, because no one can stay on low calories forever.
Carefully scrutinize the calorie recommendations of any diet
program before you start it. You'll probably discover that 95%
of them have you slash your calories to starvation levels.
That's why they work in the beginning - because you are starving.
But they never work for long.
Your body is smart. As soon as you are in danger of starving,
your body will quickly adjust your metabolic rate downward
like a thermostat, so you burn fewer calories.
The only way to lose fat and keep it off permanently is to
reduce your calories slightly and increase your activity
The Moral: It is better to burn the fat than to starve the fat.
Fat Loss Lie #3: You can believe everything you read in the magazines.
Most magazine publishers own supplement companies and use
their magazines as a means for promoting their products.
Certain well-known magazines have been doing this for decades.
One day, it dawned on the rest of them that more money could be
made selling supplements than selling advertising or
subscriptions. Soon, everyone jumped on the bandwagon and
started supplement companies.
You see, magazines have credibility. After all, they can’t print
a lie right there on paper, can they? Editorials are much
more believable than advertising. Most people will believe
anything that is printed in a "reputable" medium. That's
why magazines are the perfect vehicles for promoting
Did you ever notice how many magazine articles are about
the latest "breakthrough" in supplements? These "articles"
aren't really articles at all; they are nothing more
than advertisements in disguise! (with an 800 number for
easy ordering at the end!)
Even if a magazine doesn't have a vested interest in a line
of supplements, you still can't count on them to reveal the
whole truth to you because they don't want to offend the
deep-pocketed companies that are spending big money to
A full-page ad in a high circulation national magazine can cost
tens of thousands of dollars. With this kind of money at stake,
do you think any magazine will print an article saying
supplements don't work and on the very next page run an ad
for the same supplements they are knocking? Not very likely
This is the same reason you often get better investing advice
from the smaller, lesser-known financial newsletters than you
do from the major financial magazines and newspapers; because
the major publishers don't want to write editorials that will
upset the advertisers.
The bottom line? Don't believe everything you read.
Question everything. Use your head. Use common sense and your
own good judgement. Beware of hidden motives. Just because
it's right there in black and white doesn't mean it's true.
Fat Loss Lie #4: Meal replacement products and diet shakes help you "burn" fat.
Supplement companies would like you to believe that meal
replacement products (MRP's) have some sort of "magical"
fat reducing properties. The truth is that MRP's are
nothing more than "powdered food" (or “liquid food”).
Listen: The primary benefit of MRP's is convenience.
It's difficult to eat frequently, so MRP's are great when
you're in a hurry and you don't have time to eat whole foods,
but they are not better than food, no matter what
any supplement "guru" says.
Owners of supplement companies will say that MRP's are the
greatest thing since sliced bread or electricity. That
shouldn't come as any surprise; sales of these products
run in the tens of millions of dollars each year.
Whenever you have a choice, and whenever time permits, you
should always choose whole foods over MRP's.
Eating real food is better than drinking meal replacement
products (MRP's). The human gastrointestinal system has
evolved to efficiently digest whole food, not powders or
pills. The process of digesting solid food every three
hours actually increases your metabolic rate. This is
known as the "thermic effect of food." Powders fail to
take advantage of this metabolic boost.
John Parillo is a trainer, nutritionist and author of
several excellent books on bodybuilding. Even though
Parillo sells his own line of supplements (and he does
push them quite heavily at times), listen to what he
wrote about MRP's:
“Food is the cornerstone of nutrition. If you do not
eat the proper foods - lean proteins, starchy carbohydrates,
and fibrous carbohydrates - nothing else matters.
No supplement can ever provide you with all the benefits
that food supplies. We were built to process foods -
proteins, carbohydrates and fats - not powdered or
liquid supplements alone. If you want to make the
best possible progress with your physique, I suggest
that you forget the hype surrounding all supplement
diets or meal replacement programs and get back to
basics. And that means food."
I suggest you heed Mr. Parillo's advice.
Fat Loss Lie #5: Thermogenic "fat burners" that contain ephedrine and caffeine are the "end all - be all" of
weight loss products
Xenadrine, Hydroxycut, Metabolife, Thermadrol, Diet Fuel,
Stacker and Ripped Fuel. Ever heard of any of these? If not,
you must have been living in a cave somewhere for the past few
years because "thermogenic" fat burning pills have become the
hottest weight loss craze in the history of the industry.
Millions of dollars are spent on these products every year
and there's no end in sight to this fat burning pill feeding
frenzy. But are these products all they're made out to be?
Let me set the record straight once and for all.
Open up any bodybuilding or fitness magazine these days and
you'll see multi-page advertisements boasting of amazing
results, with dramatic photos of physiques allegedly transformed
by using these products.
One headline says "Proven to increase fat loss 1700%."
Another says "Burn up to 613% more fat!" Still another says,
"34 times more fat lost than control group."
Frankly, the hype surrounding these products is starting to get
out of hand.
Where did these numbers come from?
1700% or 613% or 34 times greater THAN WHAT?
It's all too easy for supplement companies to cleverly
take statistics out of context - just one of many sneaky
tricks they have up their advertising sleeves.
(Sounds to me like they’ve been studying the infamous book,
“How to Lie With Statistics.”)
If any supplement really did burn 1700% more body fat, there
wouldn't be any fat people left! But there are: There are
more overweight people in the United States than ever before!
Don't believe the hype! Thermogenic fat burners help you
perhaps 3-5%. These products work, but they don't work
Most of your results will come from hard training and a good
diet. There are no magic bullets. Why is it that people just
don't seem to get this? It's human nature, I suppose. We all
want instant gratification, so it's awfully easy to be swayed
by the glossy four page magazine spreads with those mind
blowing (doctored?) before and after photos.
Supplement companies are very shrewd marketers.
Testimonials, endorsements, scientific studies
and before and after photos are incredibly persuasive.
Even the names of the products were carefully chosen:
Do you think it's a coincidence that the herbal supplement "Xenadrine"
sounds a lot like the prescription
drug Xenical? Not a week goes by that someone doesn’t e-mail
me asking me about the "DRUG" Xenadrine.
My friend, listen carefully: If you want to lose body fat,
get your diet and training program in order FIRST. Once
you're eating nutritiously, restricting your caloric intake,
doing cardio and working out with weights, then and only then
- and only if you have a clean bill of health - should you
try a thermogenic herbal product if you need an extra boost.
I've said this before but I'll say it again, there are no
shortcuts. The "secret" to permanently losing body fat is
not supplements or drugs, it is the combination of good
nutrition and a solid training program.
Fat Loss Lie #6: Losing fat can be accomplished quickly and easily.
Losing fat is simple, but for most people it is NOT easy. There's
a big difference between simple and easy:
"Simple" means there is nothing complicated about the process -
it's like an algebra formula; just plug in the numbers where the
X's and Y's are and the formula always produces the correct result.
"Easy" implies that something can be done with little or no
effort. Anyone who tells you they've discovered an “easy”
way to lose fat is lying.
Getting a lean and muscular body requires two things:
1) You must be willing to work hard
2) You must be patient
The problem with many people is that they shy away from anything
that appears to be hard work. They are always looking
for short cuts. As soon as they see something that
promises results "quickly," "easily," "effortlessly,"
"while they sleep," "without exercise," and so on, they
whip out their wallets and fall for it hook, line and sinker.
Shortcuts always fail! Take a shortcut and you're bound
to get lost - or smack into a brick wall!
Everything worth having in life has a price attached to
it - EVERYTHING! If you want to have a lean and muscular
body, you must be willing to pay the price for a lean
and muscular body. STOP looking for easy ways. Just
pay the price and it’s yours.
It's an absolutely unbreakable law of the universe:
You can't get something for nothing. Your results will
come in direct proportion to the amount of effort you put
in. You can only reap what you sow.
Make no mistake; people who have great bodies,
especially bodybuilders and fitness models, have
worked very hard for a very long time to get where
they are. The best natural bodybuilders in the world
(Skip Lacour, for example) are in their mid to late
30's and they have been training for 10 to 15 years.
You wouldn't expect to step out on a golf course for
the very first time and hit the ball like Tiger Woods
would you? Of course not! In fact, you'd probably have
a hard time keeping the ball on the course. Then how
could you possibly expect to start a nutrition program
or walk into the gym for the first time and get
results overnight? You can't…
Mastery of anything takes time and effort.
Fat Loss Lie #7: Some people will never be able to lose weight and they should just give up and accept their genetics for
what they are.
It's true; your heredity will, to a large degree, dictate
your athletic ability and the ease with which you will be
able to lose fat or gain muscle. However, it's a lie to say
that some people can't lose weight because they've inherited
a "slow metabolism."
Let's be honest; not everyone is going to become an Olympic
Gold medallist or a Mr. Universe or a Ms Fitness America.
However, you should never just "accept your genetics" and
give up. Everybody can lose fat. It just takes a little
longer for some than for others.
Some people have inherited a metabolism and body type that
tends to favor fat storage. These people are called
"endomorphs." Endomorphs may have a slower metabolism,
they are often carbohydrate sensitive, they gain fat
quickly when they eat poorly, they gain fat quickly
if they don't exercise, and they may hold onto stored fat,
even on a clean, low fat diet.
Weight loss is easier for some than for others and that
doesn't seem fair. But that's the way life is. Life
isn't fair. This simply means you're going to have
to adjust your diet and training to fit your body type
You may have to work harder than other people. You may
have to be more persistent than other people. You might
need a stricter diet than other people. You might need
to train harder than other people. You might have less
margin for error (fewer cheat days).
The only question is: Are you willing to do what it takes
I write and speak about the role of genetics in fitness a lot
and the reason is because I'm sick and tired of hearing people
using their "bad genetics" as an excuse for why they can't get
in shape. As Richard Bach wrote, “Argue for your limitations
and sure enough, they’re yours.”
It's amazing what a human being can achieve when they have a
crystal clear goal and they are willing to do whatever it
takes to achieve that goal. Genetic limitations seem to
Marla Runyan is a world champion middle distance runner.
At the 2000 Olympic trials in Sacramento, Runyan captured
third in the 1500 meters, finishing in 4:06.44; a time good
enough to gain her a berth on the 2000 US Olympic team.
At the 2000 Olympics in Sydney, Merah-Benida of Algeria
won the 1500 meters in 4 minutes, 05.10 seconds. Violeta
Szekely of Romania won the silver and Gabriela Szabo of
Romania won the bronze. Runyan was eighth crossing the
finish line in 4:08.30.
Disappointing? Not when you consider that Runyan has
been legally blind since her 9th birthday. Marla suffers
from a genetically inherited disease of the retina,
called Stargardt's. She is considered legally blind
because her condition cannot be corrected. Her vision
is limited to the peripheral - she can only see shapes
in front of her, and can't even make out the face of her
coach ten feet away. Despite this so-called handicap,
Marla Runyan is the eighth best runner in the world
in the 1500 meters.
The first U.S. paralympian to reach the Olympics, Runyan
says she doesn't even look at her lack of sight as an
obstacle; "I think my vision is just a circumstance that
happened and I don't look at it as a barrier. I never said
I want to be the first legally blind runner to make the
Olympics. I just wanted to be an Olympian."
"I have been legally blind for 20 years. I am very used to
my eyes and how the world appears to me. In fact, I am so
used to it that I often forget I see things differently
from everyone else. The track looks the same to me as it
did 15 years ago. Therefore, I do not consider my vision
impairment a "handicap" when it comes to running. It is
not a factor or an excuse for a bad race."
And then there's Carl Joseph. Carl Joseph was captain
of his football team. He could dunk a basketball. He high
jumped 5 feet 10 inches. He threw shot and discus. He
was also born with only one leg.
Like Runyan, the difference between Carl and others with
genetically inherited disabilities is nothing more than
his attitude. Carl Joseph didn't make excuses:
"A lot of people go through life wishing they could change
this or that. God gave me one leg, and I'm just as happy
and thankful to be healthy and to have done as much as I have.
Ever since I was a kid I could do anything I wanted to.
One leg or two, it didn't make any difference to me.
It's all in the mind. My mind always told me I could do things,
so I just went out and did them."
When I first wrote about these two athletes as an example
of what a genetically disadvantaged person can achieve,
I received an e-mail from an angry reader. He wrote;
“Those are terrible examples. – Will a positive
attitude restore Marla’s sight? Will positive
thinking re-grow Carl’s leg? Etc., etc…”
I feel sorry for this fellow because he entirely missed
the point, and because of his own “vision problem” he
has limited his own development. The answer to his
questions of course, are no; The chances of any amount
of positive mental attitude growing back a leg or
restoring one’s sight are mighty slim. But that doesn’t
matter; the difference between people like Marla and Carl
and the man who wrote to me is that Marla and Carl didn’t
use their disability as an excuse for not even trying.
Marla and Carl did the best they could with whatever they
had. It was much harder for them; and even with all the
effort, they still couldn’t reach the level of those
without such disabilities. But being better than others
was not the goal. What they did was to become the best
they could be. So you don’t get a gold medal; is 8th best
in the world so bad?
Fat loss lie #8: Zero carbohydrate or very low carbohydrate diets are the best way to lose body fat permanently.
No diet issue has created more confusion and controversy than
the low carbohydrate vs. high carbohydrate debate.
Contrary to what certain diet "guru's" tell you, carbohydrates
are not fattening.
It is a flat out LIE to say "carbohydrates are fattening."
What's fattening is eating more calories than your body
can utilize at one time.
However, it's true that some people lose weight more quickly
on a low carbohydrate diet (that's not the same thing as
saying carbohydrates are fattening.) It's also true that
almost every bodybuilder or fitness competitor uses some
variation of the low carb diet to prepare for competitions.
But very low carb diets are not the ultimate answer to
permanent weight loss. At worst they are unhealthy. At
best they are a temporary tool that should only be used
for short periods to achieve specific fat loss goals
(preparing for bodybuilding competition, for example).
Even for people who respond well to less carbs and more
protein, there are many drawbacks:
1) Very low carb diets are difficult to stick to.
If you remove carbohydrates from your diet for a long period
of time, you are setting yourself up for cravings and bingeing.
The more you cut back the carbs, bigger the rebound will be
when you put carbs back in. That's why 95% of people gain back
all the weight they lose on a very low carb diet.
2) Very low carb diets are unbalanced and missing many
nutrients. It's never healthy to remove entire food
groups from your diet for a prolonged period of time.
A healthy diet is one that has balance between protein,
carbs and fats and includes a wide variety of foods,
not an overemphasis on one food or food group.
3) Very low carb diets may be unhealthy. Many low carb diets
like the anabolic diet or the Atkins diet, suggest eating
large amounts of saturated fat. (no pancakes allowed, but
bacon, sausage and whole eggs for breakfast are just fine).
In the absence of carbohydrates you can eat fat with protein
and still lose weight, but it's never smart to eat large
amounts of saturated fat. If heart disease or health problems
run in your family, you're asking for serious trouble.
4) Very low carb diets cause your energy levels to plummet.
Not only will you feel tired and irritable without carbs,
but it will also affect your training: Low carbs = low energy.
Low energy = poor workouts. Poor workouts = poor results.
5) The weight loss on a very low carb diet can be deceiving.
You will definitely lose weight if you don't eat carbs, but
much of the weight will be muscle and water. Suppose you lose
5 lbs in one week on a low carb diet: That sounds impressive,
but if one pound is fat, two pounds are water and two pounds
are muscle, what good is that? Your goal should never be
weight loss. Your goal should be to lose 1-2 pounds of fat
per week while maintaining your lean body mass.
Most people will lose fat simply by adding a regular exercise
routine to their schedule and by "cleaning up" their diets. By
"cleaning up" your diet, I mean that you have mastered
all the nutritional basics like eating small frequent
meals, controlling portion sizes, cutting down on saturated
fats, avoiding sugar and junk foods, etc.
What I'm saying is that a low carb diet should be considered
a "last resort." If you've already tried the conventional
approach to dieting (which works for most people) then you
might want to consider low carb diets as an alternative.
The conventional fat reducing diet looks something like this:
If you choose the low carb approach to dieting, the best method
is to decrease your carbohydrates moderately. Never cut your
carbs out completely! It's not necessary, it's not healthy,
it's hard to stick to and it's no fun! It's usually not wise
to go to extremes in anything and this is as true for nutrition
as with anything else in life: moderation is the key.
The "modified" low carb diet might look something like this:
Competitive bodybuilders might decrease the carbohydrates to
25-30% of total daily calories, but only for short periods
right before competitions. They may also zig-zag their
carbohydrate intake so that they don't stay on low carbs
all the time. Every few days or so, they have a high carb
My advice to you is forget about those diets that suggest
you must go into ketosis or require you to limit your carbs
to miniscule amounts, such as the common recommendation of
30 - 40 grams a day. Carb cutting, when taken to the extreme,
will do more harm than good.
Fat Loss Lie #9: If you eat the right diet, you can lose fat permanently without exercise.
A full-page ad in a recent issue of the National Enquirer
featured this headline:
"Lose up to 2 pounds daily... Without Exercise."
Yeah right! And you'll make a million dollars a day too...
without working! That's a whopper of a lie if I've ever heard one.
Trying to lose fat without exercising is like trying to sit on
a chair without four legs. If one leg is missing, your chair
is going to fall over. An effective fat burning program must
have four crucial components:
1. Aerobic exercise
2. A nutritious diet with a mild calorie deficit
3. Weight training
4. Goal setting and motivation
It is extremely difficult (if not impossible) to lose fat
permanently without exercise. If anyone ever tries to sell
you a program for losing fat without exercise, hold on to
your wallet and run for cover.
Even if it was possible to get lean without exercise, you
should be working out for your health anyway, not just for
Fat Loss Lie #10: You can lose 30 pounds of fat in 30 days.
*****AMAZING MELT AWAY FAT ABSORBER CAPSULES*****
LOSE 30 POUNDS IN 30 DAYS... GUARANTEED!!!
******LOSE 10 POUNDS THIS WEEKEND!!!*******
You see ads like these all the time, and they sure are
enticing, aren't they? But is it really possible? Can
you really lose weight that quickly?
The answer is YES. It's quite possible to lose 30 pounds in
30 days or 10 pounds over the weekend.
But that's the wrong question; the question YOU should ask is
how can I lose 30 pounds of FAT healthfully and permanently?
Don't confuse WEIGHT loss with FAT loss!
Your body is 70% water, so it's easy to lose weight quickly.
Any diet that dehydrates you will create quick, dramatic weight
loss. Wanna lose 10 pounds over the weekend? THAT'S EASY!
Just stop drinking water! Of course that would be pretty
stupid and pretty dangerous too, but that's exactly what
you're doing when you lose weight that fast - you're
simply dehydrating yourself.
(or even worse - you're losing muscle too!)
The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM), the largest
and most respected health, medical and exercise organization
in the world, has established guidelines for healthy weight
loss. In their position statement on "Proper and improper
weight loss programs" they recommend losing weight at a
rate of no more than two pounds per week.
This two pounds per week guideline has become recognized
as the standard rate for safe weight loss. Time after
time I see people get impatient and they attempt to violate
this rule, only to lose muscle, slow their metabolisms and
eventually gain all the fat back…and then some! Weight loss
is not something to be rushed - this is not a race.
You can lose 30 pounds of weight in 30 days,
but you'll NEVER lose 30 pounds of fat in 30 days.
There are virtually no limits to what you can achieve
in the long run. You can reach any fat loss or fitness
goals you are truly committed to. But there are limits
to how quickly you can safely achieve them.
Thoreau said, "In the long run, you hit only what you aim at,
so aim high." Don't be afraid to set big, audacious goals,
but always set realistic time frames for achieving them.
If you lose one to two pounds of fat per week consistently,
you're doing GREAT!
Well, that's it - those are the 10 biggest fat loss lies.
I hope you've found this information to be illuminating.
Tom Venuto is a lifetime natural bodybuilder, personal trainer,
gym owner, freelance writer, and author of “Burn The Fat, Feed
The Muscle”: Fat Burning Secrets of the World’s Best Bodybuilders
and Fitness Models. Click here to visit Tom's Burn The Fat, Feed The Muscle website.