Nutrition, Science, Science, Sport

Science and weight loss : you shouldn’t believe everything

New miraculous food or revolutionary sport programs appear every year. According to the authors, they are all supported by numerous scientific publications.


So why isn’t it working with you ?


Many scientific studies focus on the effects of different active ingredients on our fat cells (the one we hate because they store the lipids). What do those studies exactly say? How carefully should we read and understand them to avoid confusion?


1-Those studies are (often) carried out in vitro or on animals

Neither are we rodents, nor cells in a box. A lot of those studies were carried out on cells, mice, rats or rabbits. Even though the human physiology is close to the animals, we don’t work exactly the same way.

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2-Those studies target a purified active ingredient

The in vitro results are often attractive; however we need to understand that they were obtained by adding an active condensed and purified content directly onto the cells. Things we eat everyday only contain a small amount of the active ingredients. They pass through the digestion process, during which only a fraction of the active ingredients will remain into our blood. Sometimes a part of the active ingredient might also be damaged or transformed because of enzymes in our body. Thus, the quantity of the active ingredient which reaches our fat cells is very low compared to the quantity used in those studies. That could explain some discrepancies in the results.


3-Those studies are carried out on specific populations

Some studies are obviously carried out on humans, not on cells or animals… But those studies are meant to be for a defined population and the results can change from a population to another (age, gender, weight, health etc). The “average” human does not exist… It is hard to extend those results to the entire population.


4-Those studies are carried out according to a rigorous and established procedure

The environment and conditions of the study are pre-defined and are important settings. The results change indeed according to the compound, the method of administration and the posology. It’s also hard to copy those conditions in daily life.


In other words, the effect of an active ingredient (or an exercise), whatever it is, is only accurate in the particular context of the study. However the results obtained on a defined population will not necessarily apply in your particular case. We are all different and the reaction of the body to a certain diet changes from a person to another. Some internal factors (such as genetics, hormons, health…) and external factors (diet, sport, stress…) will lead you to store food as fat or to use it to bring energy to your cells. Learn to know yourself and adapt your diet for the best.