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Do you know the Myths and Facts about Obesity?

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If you think you burn more calories while having sex, check the fact in myth No. 6

Facts about obesity

There is still information circulating about obesity that is without verified scientific evidence, just basic presumptions. Some of it persists despite countering evidence (myths). Declaration of these unsupported beliefs may draw poorly informed policy decisions, inaccurate information about clinical and public health recommendations, and unverified allocation of research resources which might divert attention away from actual facts that are useful and evidence-based.

In this article, we have observed and will highlight 6 top myths and facts. According to “The National Institute of Health”, these facts will highlight concerns such as the effects of small steady increases in energy intake or expenditure, establishing realistic weight loss goals, the effectiveness of fast weight loss, claims around the effects of regularly eating breakfast, increased consumption of fruits and vegetables, and energy expenditure while having sex.

False and unsupported beliefs about obesity are pervasive in the scientific community and the media. We will review the myths about obesity along with evidence that refutes the claims.

Myth-1: Developing small steady changes in energy intake or expenditure will result in large, long-term weight changes

Fact: There is a fallacy behind losing weight with very tiny changes in the intake. But studies suggest that large changes in weight are not necessarily linked with small and steady modifications in food intake, Slow and steady don’t always win the race.

This relies heavily on the ole’ school 3500-Kcal rule. The 3500-Kcal rule predicts an individual who increases the daily energy expenditure by 100 Kcal everyday by walking 1 mile (1.6 km) a day will lose more than 22.7 kgs over a period of 5 years. This is only true on paper, whereas the actual weight loss that occurs is only 4.5kgs because changes in mass simultaneously alter the energy requirements of the body. In the Very Low-Calorie Ketogenic Diet (<800 Kcal per day), studies have shown a very large result and in a shorter time. This shows how a notable change in the intake can lead to a greater weight loss and an even greater chance of maintaining the lost weight

Myth-2: Establishing realistic weight loss goals is important otherwise it leads to weight loss seekers becoming frustrated and lose lesser weight

Fact: Several studies say that more ambitious goals are associated with better weight loss outcomes.

Although this is a reasonable hypothesis, empirical data reveals no negative association between ambitious goals, weight loss and program completion. In fact, several studies have shown that more ambitious goals are at times associated with better weight loss outcomes. Other studies have also highlighted that strategies designed to improve weight loss outcomes by altering unrealistic goals resulted in more realistic expectations but did not improve outcomes.

Myth-3: Undergoing large, rapid weight loss yields poor long-term weight loss outcomes as compared with slow, progressive weight loss

Fact: Within weight loss trials, fast and greater initial weight loss has resulted in lower body weight at the end of the long-term follow-up period.

A meta-analysis of random controlled trials compared rapid or fast weight loss (achieved with the Very Low -Calorie Ketogenic Diets with <800 kcal per day) with slower weight loss (achieved with Low-Calorie Diets) at the end of a short term follow-up period (monthly) and long-term follow-up period (=1 year). It showed that there was a significantly greater weight loss and maintenance in the case of fast weight loss diets. Even though, it is not clear why some obese people have greater weight loss than others, a recommendation to lose weight more slowly may interfere with the success rate of weight loss

Myth-4: Importance of breakfast; Eating breakfast regularly as opposed to skipping will prevent the case of gaining weight or obesity

Fact: Skipping breakfast actually resulted in no effect on weight.

Two randomly conducted controlled trials that observed the outcome of eating versus skipping breakfast resulted in no effect on weight. However, the observation in one of the studies suggested the effects of weight loss when the outcome of eating or skipping breakfast depended on the breakfast habits, portions, and what they consumed.

Myth-5: Value of fruits and vegetables; Consuming more fruits and vegetables will results in weight loss or gaining less weight

Fact: It depends. Weight gain may occur or there may be no change in weight at all.

It is true that consuming fruits and vegetables have various health benefits. However, when there is no other changes followed such as proper portion control and physical activity, weight gain may occur or there may be no change in weight.

Myth-6: Energy expenditure of sexual intercourse; a bout of sexual activity burns around 100 to 300 kcal for each participant

Fact: Approximately 21 kcal is only burnt during sexual intercourse. Oops

The energy expenditure of sexual intercourse can be estimated by considering the activity intensity in metabolic equivalents (METs), the body weight in kilograms, and time spent. For example, if a man weighs 154 lb (70 kg) he would, at 3 METs, burn approximately 3.5 kcal per minute (210 kcal per hour) during a stimulation and orgasm session. This level of energy expenditure is similar to what you would achieve with walking at a moderate pace (approximately 4 kms per hour). Given that the average bout of sexual activity lasts for 6 minutes, a man in his early-to-mid-30s may burn approximately 21 kcal during sexual intercourse. Of course, he would have spent roughly one third that amount of energy just by simply watching television, so the added benefit of one bout of sexual activity with respect to energy expended is credible at approximately 14 kcal.


The hype surrounding myths about obesity is very common. In spite of enormous efforts being put into promoting these ideas, research often seems to be sidelined even with the accumulation of observational data. Several trials that have been completed or are in progress do not isolate the problems faced by presumed influences and the findings are therefore not defined.

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