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Oct 8 / Jeremy & Kim

The 500 Calorie Fat Loss Myth

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There is a lot of really bad information out there about fat loss.  Even health and fitness websites often give bad, misleading or flat our wrong information.  For example, I was looking through various health and fitness blogs the other day when I came across an article about debunking fat loss myths.  I was completely dumbfounded by what I saw. The article was actually perpetuating a fat loss myth while claiming to bust the myth that you can lose 10 pounds in two weeks.  Even though we see contestants on the Biggest Loser lose ten pounds in two weeks all the time, what really bothered me was how they described how you could lose 1 pound of weight per week.  It said, “If you cut 500 calories (or cut 300 and burn 200 through exercise) every single day of the week, you’ll lose about a pound a week. And that’s real weight loss.” Real weight loss!?!?!?! WHAT?!?

To see a health and fitness website make this claim is extremely frustrating.

You cannot simply reduce your daily caloric intake by 500 calories and expect to lose weight.  If you haven’t already, go to our previous post on Reading the Calorie Compass.  That post tells you the truth about how to determine the necessary caloric intake you need to lose 1 pound per week.  The truth is, if someone is overeating by 1,000 calories per day and they then reduce their daily caloric intake by 500 calories, they will still gain weight, albeit a little slower, but they will definitely NOT lose any weight.  And that’s real weight gain!

So I decide to explore this website a bit further and guess what else I found!  This is how they tell you to determine your daily caloric intake for fat loss.  I am not making this up.

Calculate your calorie goal

YOUR CURRENT WEIGHT X 12 = calories needed to maintain your weight

To lose 1 pound/week: Cut 500 calories/day
To lose 2 pounds/week: Cut 1,000 calories/day”

Please, please do not listen to websites that tell you this information.

It is flat out wrong.  Think about it.  Say a 5’10” male weighs 220lbs.  According to the information above that man needs to eat 2,640 calories per day in order to maintain his current weight.  They also claim that if he reduced his daily caloric intake by 500, down to 2,140 per day, he would lose one pound of fat per week.  What a joke.  A 5’10” male who weighs 220lbs has a BMR of 2,125 per day.  Dropping his caloric intake to 2,140 is still slightly more than his BMR.  This means he will maintain or very slowly gain weight!  And if he ate 2,640 calories per day he would continue to get heavier.  There is no way he would ‘maintain’ wait.

The 500 calorie fat loss myth is dangerious.  Please, if you haven’t already, read our post on the calorie compass so you can be sure you are creating a sufficient caloric deficit to lose weight.

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