You know all those high-calorie, sugar-laden recipe videos that litter your Facebook newsfeed? Fast-paced hands arranging layers of cookie dough, peanut butter cups, and chocolate brownie batter that come together to make a mouthwatering, decadent dessert that’s also ridiculously fattening. “The internet and social media sites are basically making you fat,” Lisa Hayim, MS, RD, and founder of The WellNecessities, told us for our article on The 30 Worst Flat Belly Mistakes Women Make. “If it isn’t 25 ways to eat tater tots then it’s [another] national [something] day. The internet has made it basically impossible to stay away from cravings and indulgences. These are not excuses to eat unhealthy food.” Next time you see one of these videos, scroll quickly past. Or better yet, unfollow the page completely, and follow Eat This, Not That! on Facebook for healthier videos and more slimming tips.
A randomized controlled trial done in 2016 showed that green tea helped in the treatment of obesity. Numerous supplements have been purported to help with weight loss, but most fail when tested in a scientifically rigorous manner. Many miracle diet pills have come and gone. There were the prescription drugs like Fen-Phen, which, like the old street drug ‘speed’ caused weight loss, but also caused all kinds of heart problems. Fen-Phen could make you thin, but could also kill you. There was Orlistat, which blocks fat absorption. It caused weight loss, but also some bothersome side effects like diarrhea from all that mal-absorbed fat. Best advice for Orlistat? Don’t wear white pants. Then there was Meridia, which caused weight loss, but a little side effect like heart attacks and strokes caused it to be discontinued.
The fad military diet consists of low-calorie, odd food pairings such as bun-less hot dogs with banana, carrots, and broccoli. “Any diet like the military diet that severely limits the amount of calories you consume or eliminates one or more entire food groups puts any individual at risk for nutrient deficiencies,” says Kyle. “This can be more harmful than holding onto those 10 extra lbs you’re trying to lose.” (32)
Rather than seeking professional help, patients often look for other options that may even have the opposite results. Regarding resorting to any kind of product available in the markets that promise miraculous results, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) notes that dietary supplement firms do not need FDA approval to commercialize their products. The agency maintains a list of tainted weight-loss products and advises patients that some substances may even cause other diseases.
He is, however, quick to point out that nobody is doing this with any harmful intentions. But he does stress that erroneous information has a tendency to be elevated into truths if it’s repeated sufficiently often. And when myths like these are as widespread as they are, they prevent the public and professionals from getting their priorities right in the fight against obesity.