If you want to get in shape, there are millions of books, articles and blogs that can help you. But there are also millions that will mislead you. Here's a quick look at some of the hidden misinformation out there:
- Watch out for success stories based only on a few people. 10% of women who told themselves "I can't skip the gym" stuck with their goal, while 80% of women who said "I don't skip the gym" were successful, according to a Wall Street Journal article (referencing this study). It sounds compelling - until you see that the study only included 10 women in each group. Know where the data comes from before you trust it.
- Be careful about recommendations from fitness apps. My favorite app, Lose It! once told me to eat shrimp more often, because "on days you eat shrimp, you tend to keep your total calories lower." But the app simply looks at correlations - not causation. What if the days I eat shrimp are also the same days I eat salad? This is a great example of an "omitted" variable that could be driving the results.
- Don't believe the myths about weight gain. As I wrote about a few weeks ago in this blog post, many stories about gaining weight during the holidays continue to cite original studies from 15 years ago that rely on non-representative samples of the population. If your sample set doesn't represent the full population, it may be difficult to say that the results from the sample apply to everyone.
What are some other examples of misleading data and weight loss? Let us know in the comments and you could win a copy of our book!