The old saying of 'don't always believe what you read in the papers' was always dependent on what papers you were reading. It's no secret that the red topped tabloids have long been in favor of printing a spurious, pun driven headline, rather than a lead page that gives you the facts.
Obviously, the reason is that this is more appealing to Joe and Joanne public and the more the gobble it up the more papers get sold and the richer the owners get. You don't have to print the truth you just have to print what sells.
The Digital Age of Lies?
Fast forward twenty years and in a bold new digital age and the adage still rings true as "don't always believe what you read in the; politics blog, mummy blog, fitness blog, Instagram text, clickbait. Never has so much money been made from people falling for clicking on link purporting to lead to an article with a title like (checks browser) "Wrinkles Melt Away with This New Product" only to be bombarded with half-truths and more advertising.
In a world where everybody is clambering to look like the latest Instagram fitness "influencer" who's iPhone app filtered ass and cleavage is flashed over every post, it's no wonder that blogs and posts from people who describe themselves as entrepreneurs and bloggers are earning the big bucks in the war for clicks as well as the digital channels that host them.
It hasn't taken too long for them to twig that you don't have to blog the truth, you just have to blog what people want to hear.
People are more likely to click on 'get a bikini ready body in 4 weeks' than 'eat less, move more"
Here is some of my favourite fitness diet clickbait entrepreneur blog related bovine faeces:
Sugar is the devil
Every once in a while, it's the turn of a foodstuff to get a complete shoeing. Fat and dairy have had their turn and currently it's sugar that is getting a belting by a raft of celebrities with sugar-free cookbooks to capitalize on the trend.
I enjoy a sugar in my coffee in the morning and I like it on my porridge much to the derision of people who then go and wolf down a selection of giant cookies.
The problem of course is not really sugar but how much of it we consume.
Sugar crystals – the main way most of us recognise it – contains about 15kcal per teaspoon. Melt it down in a cake mix or dissolve it into a soft drink and suddenly you can cram a lot more calories into a given area.
A teaspoon of melted sugar contains more calories than a teaspoon sugar grains.
Of course, too much sugar is bad for you but so is too much spinach and lean meat if you eat enough. Sugar contributes to a balanced diet like everything else. If you tip the scales then that's up to you.
I've stopped losing weight because my body is preventing me from starving myself
The idea is that there is a mechanism in the body that prevents you from losing weight to stop you from disappearing completely. It's because in the days of the caveman if your body detected it was losing fat - essential for survival - it would begin to hang on to the lard whilst ditching everything else.
Whilst the body to does adapt to losing weight it is nowhere near enough to suddenly halt weight loss.
I've not lost any weight but this is because I've been working out at the gym and built lots of muscle
Muscle does weigh more than fat but whilst you can start losing weight right this second gaining muscle will take much longer. On average, it takes muscle 4-6 weeks to begin muscular hypertrophy (getting bigger), the success you have in lifting bigger weights within this time is the nerves in the muscles beginning to recruit more fibres.
The two reasons why you're not losing weight are either you're eating too much and not getting a calorie deficit or you've lost weight and haven't to re-evaluated how much your daily intake should be as it has most likely reduced.
Sadly, it isn't because there is an expertly crafted six pack under a beer belly.
When it comes to burning fat muscle is king
A bit of a muddy answer this one. Your body burns calories but doesn't really burn one specific kind. If we could all just tell our bodies to burn fat we would all be super lean. It will burn fat, protein, and carbs.
Whilst its thought that the type of exercise you do can influence which one the body uses, it's difficult to say for sure that everybody's body works the same. It's said that a low intensity workout will burn more fat with a shift to carbs as you increase the effort. Protein also gets used depending on what's available. As weightlifting is a lower intensity exercise so its argued that this burns more fat than a sprint session on the track but as every living tissue burns calories it's not necessarily the muscle doing all the burning, actually your liver and kidneys are probably doing the most work.
But the one calorie burning tissues that you can actually make bigger and hungrier is muscle.
Low fat diets, high fat diets, high carb, low carb
Fad diets are largely bullshine, I've tried a few and apart from making me feel nauseous there was little benefit in the end. Whilst these diets do tend to work for people it rarely has anything to do with a miracle combination of micro nutrients and more to do with the fact that they actually cause a calorie deficit.
"I lost weight by only eating a fasting diet of 500kcal a day for six days a week then eating a massive 8000kcal on Sunday". Eating 1571kcal a day would have had the same effect but without the crippling headaches. Simply eat fewer calories than you need and you'll shrink.
How to lose belly fat fast
There is no way to target belly fat or any other part of your body. You either lose it or you don't. If you do nothing but squats then you'll develop your leg muscle but the fat will be burnt from wherever your body chooses.
The afterburn effect
A good strenuous workout will burn calories, even when you've stopped exercising, raising your BMR (the rate at which you burn calories when you're just sitting on your arse).
This increase isn't anywhere near as high as some like to make out. For 80 minutes of 75% maximum effort will give you an extra approx. 150kcal over the next ten and a half hours. It's not uncommon for people to mistakenly hoover up a pizza and litre of cola safe in the knowledge that they will burn it just by watching a Hollyoaks omnibus.
Smoothies are healthy
I have a couple of mates who are on a weight loss kick and espouse the virtues of the nutri-bullet and other smoothie makers. Billed as a way to super load your body with all the essential nutrients and things that make you healthy it can be easily overlooked that a pint of avocado, apple and banana smoothie will be loaded with calories, which is fine if checked and in line with requirements. But if not it can easily wipe out a deficit.
They eat what?!
It's not just too many calories that is a problem you'd probably nod your head in agreement as I tell you that too few calories a day will make you feel seriously unwell. But it's surprising how swiftly this is ignored with a fitness blog posting pictures of an unrealistically small meal leading to the belief that they exist healthily on nothing but water with a few raspberries tossed in. They neglect to photograph the deluxe burger they have for desert.