Expert demolishes the myths and delusions about weight loss
A LEADING scientist has warned fatties making excuses for not losing weight that they are kidding themselves.
Alexandra Johnstone says people claiming to be "big boned" or who "only have to look at a cream cake to put on weight" are deluded.
Scotland is second only to America in its battle against the bulge - with one in five adults now classified as clinically obese.
It costs the NHS in Scotland £200million a year to cope with the fallout, with the bill expected to double in 10 years.
Dr Johnstone leads a research programme at the Human Nutrition Unit of Aberdeen's Rowett Institute and has produced a guide on why certain diets are destined to fail.
She said: "There is no one simple answer to tackling the problem of obesity but with 50 per cent of the Scottish population collectively overweight or obese, there is a desperate need to provide scientifically-proven advice on how to lose weight.
"Obesity and excessive weight gain does not happen overnight and therefore the solution is not a 'quick fix'.
"Eating should be enjoyable and it is still possible to achieve this and lose weight to improve health.
"Weight loss can be achieved under the right conditions.
"However, there are a lot of misconceptions or myths associated with obesity and weight loss."
Here Dr Johnstone tackles some of the common claims about weight gain...some true, but others false.
I Only Have To Look At A Cream Cake To Gain Weight
This implies that some people gain weight more easily than others and led to the concept of 'small and large eaters' in the 1980s.
It was thought that small eaters had lower energy expenditure, making them predisposed to gaining weight.
However, it is widely recognised that getting people to report their food intake accurately is almost impossible.
I'm Fat Because I Have A Slow Metabolism
The opposite is true. Obese people have a higher Body Metabolic Rate in comparison to lean people.
If a lean subject was given a sack of potatoes to carry around for a day, then he or she would expend more energy.
I'm Not Fat, I'm Big Boned
Unlikely as bones only make up four per cent of body weight. Water is, in fact, the largest component in the body, being 60-70 per cent of the weight of the body mass.
I'm Fat But This Is My Natural Weight
A myth as there is no concrete evidence of one set body weight in humans.
Rapid Weight Loss Is All Water Loss Anyway
This is partly true as rapid weight loss often invokes a greater loss of water mass, likely to be linked to mobilisation of muscle mass and/or glycogen stores.
Opt for a slower rate of weight loss to enhance fat mass loss.
There's No Point In Trying To Lose Weight Because I Quickly Regain It
It is true that most people who lose weight regain it but obesity is a problem that occurs over years, with people often gaining weight steadily.
A key message is to weigh yourself regularly and to halt the upward incline of weight by eating a healthy diet and maintaining levels of physical activity.
I Can't Lose Weight Because I'm Too Tired
Rapid weight loss can make you feel tired and irritable. Aim for a small but steady weight loss to avoid fatigue, rather than crash dieting.
Biologically it is more difficult to lose weight than it is to gain weight. The human body's appetite system is designed to protect us from weight loss, sending signals to either increase food intake or reduce energy expenditure.
Being Fat Is In My Genes
It is not the case that major gene defects are unlikely to be the cause of obesity.
While it is true that you can have a genetic predisposition to gain weight, biological inheritance accounts for only 20 to 30 per cent of these variables.
Environmental factors are of more importance.
Weight Loss Lowers My Metabolism
Larger people have a higher metabolic rate than smaller people, so when you lose weight, your metabolic rate will decline. This may be why some people plateau with weight loss.
Surprised at how many Scottish people are clinically obese. Second to the Yanks. Must be all the deep fried mars bars and beer.