How about none of the above?
That’s right. None of that guarantees anything in the way of weight loss.
What does is this: A caloric deficit.
That is, eating fewer calories than you burn.
You see, the overarching mechanism in play here is energy balance, which is the relationship between the amount of energy you eat and burn.
The unit of measurement we use when discussing energy balance is the calorie, which is the amount of energy required to heat one kilogram of water one degree Celsius.
Energy balance is a vital concept to understand because it alone determines how your body weight changes over time (and how many calories you should be eating).
You see, the real “secret your personal trainer isn’t telling you” is this:
- You have to burn more energy than you eat to achieve meaningful weight loss.
- You have to eat more energy than you burn to achieve meaningful weight gain (both fat and muscle).
Now, if you’re tempted to scroll up to top of this article to see if it was written a decade ago, know this:
If you take the time to peruse the last century of metabolic research, you’ll find that every single well-designed weight-loss study, including numerous meta-analyses and systematic reviews, have determined that we have to expend more energy than we ingest to achieve meaningful weight loss.
Yes, every single one.
In the realm of metabolic science, this isn’t just old news — it’s an immutable bedrock of the discipline, and doubting it is akin to questioning whether the earth is round.
This is why the canker sores of calorie-denying fad diets that erupt into the mainstream every year, one for one, fail to gain scientific acceptance. No, you can’t “eat yourself skinny” or “hack your metabolism” with “negative-calorie, fat-burning foods.”