If you’re in the market for weight loss advice, you won’t have to look hard to find it. In fact, you’ll have to work pretty hard to avoid it. Books, magazines, websites, blogs, and television shows, not to mention well-meaning friends, family members, and coworkers are full of helpful tips. The problem is that most of the weight loss advice that’s coming your way is hokum.
10 Diet Myths Busted!
Eating very little does not necessarily mean that you will lose weight because each food has different caloric values. It is not only about the amount of food that you eat but the number of calories it has. Most diet plans have a lot of restrictions, typically cutting calories, removing carbohydrates and advising you to put less food on your plate. This is not always the case. Remember, burn more calories than you ingest!
Myth-2: You don’t have to count calories.
The number of calories that a person needs will depend on the size of their body and their level of activity. A person with a large build needs more calories than someone who is small. While we should not be obsessed with every calorie we eat, you must be aware of how many calories you are consuming by the foods you choose to eat on a given day. You need to make sure that you are eating less than you are expending.
Myth #3: Fruit juice is better than soft drinks.
A lot of people do not realize how much sugar they consume when they drink fruit juice. Some fruit juices even contain more sugar than soft drinks! For example, an eight-ounce glass of apple juice contains 117 calories and 29 grams of sugar, while eight ounces of cola contain only 97 calories and 27 grams of sugar. While that quantity of apple juice does contain small amounts of vitamin C, it is full of empty calories. You can simply get vitamin C from other low-calorie sources.
Often dieters will focus only on the solid foods they eat and not on the fluids. Consuming 4 glasses of fruit juice a day will increase your calories by almost 500 per day, often reducing the deficit and preventing weight loss.
Myth #4: The only way to lose weight is to cut your carbohydrate intake.
Low carbohydrate diets such as the Atkins diet work by keeping carbohydrates so low, that the body’s only choice is to use the next available fuel source: fat. Dieters that drop their carbohydrates drastically will notice an almost immediate drop in weight. Unfortunately for the dieter, this initial weight loss is nothing more than a loss of water. When carbohydrates are broken down, they become glycogen. One part glycogen holds on to four parts water. The body consists of up to 75% water and less glycogen means less water.
You should not cut all carbohydrates from your diet. Instead, cut down on your carbohydrate intake to around 30 – 40% of your daily calorie intake. Limit your intake of desserts and other unhealthy carbohydrates. Go for fiber-rich ones such as whole grains, bran, oats, etc. And let’s face it, company’s are making some pretty tasty treats with those good carbs lately, give them a chance!
Myth #5: Cutting all fats out of your diet will help you lose fat.
Our bodies need fats to function. Eating fats containing HDL cholesterol (High Density Lipoprotein….the “good” cholesterol!) can actually help reduce cholesterol levels in the body, reducing the risk of stroke and heart disease. Cutting too much fat out of our diets can actually be dangerous and counter-productive for fat loss.
Restrictive dieting can be very difficult to sustain especially when you feel deprived of the treats that you really love. Deprivation is the downfall of all diets. Give yourself a treat every so often that you can feel good about.
Myth #7: As long as I exercise, I can eat what I want.
This is not true. While exercise is important, it only equates to about 40% of the equation. The ONLY way to lose weight is to eat less and move more.
Myth #8: Never eat after Dinner.
A tip to remember if you want to have a pre-bedtime snack is to think first about how many calories you’ve eaten that day. Make sure that the snack fits your desired daily calorie intake. You should also avoid snacking in front of the TV since you can overeat more easily when you’re distracted by TV.
While it is not wise to eat a heavy snack before bed as your metabolism is naturally slower while you sleep, your body can easily process a protein shake and for active people, this can actually help accelerate fat loss and minimize muscle wastage.
Myth #9: You should eat three square meals a day. Snacking can make you put on weight.
Leaving large gaps between meals will make your body go into starvation mode. Four hours after your last meal, your body automatically shuts down and goes into starvation mode. Fats contain 9 calories per gram, so the more fat we have stored, the longer the body can continue to live in this perceived state of famine.
You can break the famine-feast cycle when you convince your body it’s not starving. Although the idea of eating more to lose more might not sound sensible, the truth is, eating regularly helps accelerate fat loss and keep ones metabolism fired up. Unfortunately, eating only three square meals a day and not snacking have been ingrained into people’s minds since childhood.
Snacking need not get in the way of good nutrition. It does not have to be equated with junk food since you can choose better alternatives that truly help to fill in the gaps between meals and complete a healthful diet. If you simply choose nutrient-rich snacks that fit into your healthy eating plan, you can use snacks as a way to fill in necessary food-group gaps too.
Myth #10: Low-fat or non-fat means less calories.
Often when food manufacturers reduce fat, they replace it with carbohydrates (which serve as cheap fillers) and the slow killer, sugar. The calorie range is often the same and has the same, if not a worse, impact on weight gain.
Consumers really should read the nutritional information on their food’s packaging. Many people misguidedly think that a certain type of candy may be eaten in large quantities because its label says fat-free. If they actually checked the nutritional information, they would find that the amount of carbohydrates in the product is sky high.