New report busts obesity myths

Posted at 10:03 PM, Jan 30, 2013
and last updated 2013-01-30 21:41:32-05

(CBS News) –  A new report in the New England Journal of Medicine is debunking myths about obesity.

“You’re always advised not to lose a lot of weight too fast, that it’s going to be bad for you, in fact, that doesn’t appear to be true.  Again, from randomized control trials it seems the large weight loss at the beginning is actually better,” said Dr. Diana Thomas.

Thomas is one of the authors of a new report clearing up common obesity myths.

Another widespread misconception: if you make a small lifestyle change – like walking 20 minutes daily or eating two extra potato chips a day – it will add up to large long-term weight changes.

“You’ll eventually plateau; even that initial weight gain is not going to be as big as predicted,” said Thomas.

The report from the New England Journal of Medicine also says setting realistic goals does not impact weight loss and breastfeeding does not protect a child from obesity later in life.

The study also points out what does work: restricting calories to lose weight. And exercise to keep it off. 

Researchers say a lot of the myths are based on flawed and outdated studies, but they persist because government websites and weight loss apps haven’t kept up with the latest data.