Nutrition expert clears up frequent nutritional myths
Can you eat as much of fruit as you want? Does eating make you fat faster in the evening? Are overweight people to blame for their weight? There are numerous myths and claims about proper nutrition. The "Understanding Obesity" project at the University of Leipzig is concerned with such questions and would like to find the best possible answer to them. The nutrition expert and head of the project Professor Dr. Matthias Blüher reports on the seven most common food myths.
Professor Blüher is head of the obesity outpatient clinic for adults at the Integrated Research and Treatment Center for Obesity Diseases of Leipzig University Medicine. In a press release on the project "Understanding Obesity", he clears up the most common myths that are repeatedly exposed on the subject of nutrition.
Do we need fewer calories in summer than in winter?
Many people think that our body needs fewer calories in summer than in winter because it uses less energy. "That is not true," explains the nutrition expert. The body generally consumes more energy both in situations with extreme heat and in extreme cold. Energy consumption is increased both when freezing and when sweating.
It is easier to lose weight in summer than in winter
"It cannot be assumed that there are different chances of losing weight in summer or winter," explains Professor Blüher. In fact, many people seem more willing to eat lighter and lower-calorie meals in summer. In contrast, many people would eat more sumptuous meals in winter and would rather put on the classic winter bacon. According to the expert, this is the only difference.
Can you eat as much of fruit as you want?
A common claim about nutrition is that fruit is always healthy and you can eat as much of it as you want. "Unfortunately, this is not entirely correct," said Dr. Bloomer. In the case of fruit, too, the dose determines the poison. "Fruits can also contain a large number of calories and carbohydrates," explains the nutrition specialist. Research has shown, for example, that fructose from fruit can make a significant contribution to the development of fatty liver.
Does eating in the evening make you fat faster?
Again and again it is reported that eating makes you fat faster in the evening than at other times of the day. Is that correct? "That is true and it is not true," said the professor. Here it depends on how much is on the table for dinner. In theory, it is assumed that calories are no longer used as effectively in the evening, since you will soon go to bed after eating. Ultimately, however, there is no proof of the time of day when calories start growing faster. The bottom line is only the total amount that you take in over the entire day.
Those who don't eat supper lose weight
Of course, the total amount of the day also counts here. Like Professor Dr. Matthias Blüher reports, however, that it is easier for many people to lose dinner when losing weight. Scientific research would have shown that people who eat breakfast regularly have a higher chance of losing weight.
Do light products help you lose weight?
There is also a “no” from the expert on this myth. "In light products, sugar is often replaced by sugar substitutes," says Blüher. This often results in an increased appetite because the sugar substitutes act on the intestinal bacteria. In many cases, the increased appetite will prevent you from losing weight or at least make it difficult.
Are fat people to blame for their weight?
The professor clearly answers this question with a “No”. Obesity is a disease in which many factors play a role. "We now know, for example, that genetic factors play a huge role in the development of overweight and obesity," reports the specialist. Hormonal aspects and the social environment are also involved in the development of overweight. These factors could not be actively controlled or influenced by those affected. The World Health Organization WHO now defines obesity as a recognized disease.
Those who exercise and eat less always lose weight
The most common advice to overweight people is that you just have to eat less and do more sports, then you will also get overweight under control. "In theory, that's true," says Blüher. However, weight loss concepts that only focus on eating less and exercising have always failed in the long term. The reasons for this are not yet fully understood. But it is very likely that our body tends to want to defend a weight once it has been reached.
The famous yo-yo effect brings back the bacon
According to the expert, various mechanisms mesh here, which means that our body always wants to return to its maximum weight. "These factors include, for example, the exhaustion of the calories ingested from food and the regulation of basal metabolism, appetite and satiety," summarizes the professor. We also have no conscious control over these factors.
The mechanisms behind weight gain are known
This claim is also a myth. "We are still trying to fully understand the causes of obesity for individuals and on a social level," explains Blüher. So far, science has only been able to establish clear connections in a few individual cases. As an example, the professor names a genetic defect that increases the risk of obesity.
The project "Understanding Obesity" is intended to shed more light on the myths of nutrition. It follows an interdisciplinary approach that connects medicine with the social and human sciences. "The causes and consequences of obesity are not a purely medical issue, but are embedded in our culture and society," the nutrition experts write about their project. Effective prevention and therapy strategies should therefore also be developed and thought in this context. (vb)