The 7 Biggest Diet Myths Debunked
Common misconceptions about weight loss and dieting may prevent you from reaching your weight loss goals. What are the biggest diet myths that make us fat?
Diet Myth 1: The best way to lose weight is to cut calories dramatically
If you reduce your portion sizes, you will lose weight. However, you need to do this gradually. Weight loss should be about 1 to 2 pound per week. To lose a pound per week, you need to create a calorie deficit of 500 calories a day. Please note diets that provide less than 800 calories a day can increase the risk of diseases related to poor energy and nutrient intakes.
Losing weight gradually is better for your health than fast weight loss. If you lose weight rapidly, you are likely to gain it back. Researchers from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute recommend a combination of a reduced calorie diet and increased physical activity as the best way to achieve a steady and healthy weight loss.
Diet Myth 2: Eat only low-fat and no-fat food and you will lose weight
The common misconception is that low-fat and no-fat products are low in calories. In fact, many low-fat products have as many calories as their full-fat counterparts.
In the 2005 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, dietitians recommend to reduce the dietary fat intake and consume no more than 35 percent of calories from fat. Saturated fats should be limited to 10 percent of calories. It is important to keep track of your fat intake; however, do not forget that calories, not just fat, make you gain weight.
Diet Myth 3: Eating after 8 p.m. causes weight gain
In fact, it does not matter when you eat. If you want to lose weight, you need to burn more calories than you take in. Eating late in the evening does not cause weight gain if the total calorie intake is the same. Your body stores excess calories as fat, regardless of whether you take them in during the day or night.
When you want to have a snack before going to bad, count the calories you have eaten during the day. If the total number of calories exceeds your norm, have a cup of herbal tea or just drink some water.
Diet Myth 4: Starches are fattening and should be avoided
Many foods high in starch are included into the healthiest foods list. They are often low in fat and calories. Rice, fruit, bread, beans, cereals and some vegetables like potato, corn, and peas are starchy foods. They are a very important source of nutrients required for your health.
If you eat starchy food in moderation, you will not put on pounds. To get all the benefits and avoid gaining weight, substitute whole grains for refined grains, rather than adding whole grains to your diet.
Diet Myth 5: Certain foods can burn fat and make you lose weight
No food can make you lose weight. Foods containing caffeine may slightly increase your metabolism for a short time. The theory that some fruit like kiwi and grapefruit help to burn fat has never been proved. The best way to lose weight is to eat a balanced diet and do regular physical exercises.
Diet Myth 6: To lose weight, you need to skip breakfast
Skipping breakfast or any other meal may slow down your metabolism. Moreover, if you do not have breakfast, you are likely to get hungry before lunch and tend to have a snack, usually something unhealthy and high in calories like chips or a chocolate bar. Besides, you may eat more than you normally do.
Start your day with a healthy breakfast that contains some protein and fiber. This helps you keep your blood sugar level steady and control your appetite. People are more successful in weight loss if they have breakfast. If you do not like to have breakfast, eat an apple or drink some milk.
Diet Myth 7: Physical activity is not the key factor in weight loss
Regular physical activity together with a proper diet plan is more effective for weight loss than just dieting. Even when you are resting, your muscles burn more calories than any other body tissue. When doing exercises, you develop and strengthen your muscles and increase your metabolic rate. Physical activity helps you burn calories and reduce body fat. Therefore, try to squeeze exercises into your daily routine.
- The Weight-control Information Network. Weight-loss and Nutrition Myths: http://win.niddk.nih.gov/publications/myths.htm
- National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. Key Recommendations From the Expert Panel on the Identification, Evaluation, and Treatment of Overweight and Obesity in Adults