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.



8 thoughts on “The 7 Biggest Diet Myths Debunked”

  • I have just lost 40 pounds in 100 days. I believe calorie density is something you have to consider. If you eat a cup of soup with whipping cream in it, the calories will be more than if you eat a cup of soup made with veggies, chicken broth and 1 oz of chicken. My experience is how full you feel is in part due to volume. I believe you could feel satisfied longer with the chicken veggie soup, because it has protein content. Losing weight is complex. That is why there are so many opinions — most of which are partly true, and partly not the full answer.

  • Glad someone addressed the fact that potatoes, bread, corn, rice are NOT the enemy!.. in fact I find without a small portion of starchy food in each meal I will remain hungry and simply eat and intake endless amounts until I get a starchy food.

    Basically EXERCISE REGULARLY and eat things in moderation.

  • I love myth-busting websites that end up actually just perpetrating the same old myths which people are actually attached to.

    This website is another great example. Let’s go through the list and see how many of these so-called “myths” are actually true.

    1) Since people like the author of this article like to harp on the “fact” that “weight loss” can only happen in a negative calorie balance, for them of course this is true. The most quick and effective way to lose weight is to cut calories. However, if you aren’t eating nutritious and satisfying food you will find this very difficult.

    2) You will only lose weight with this strategy if you are successful in cutting calories. Cutting dietary fat usually means increasing carbs, which are hard to resist and cause weight gain. So I agree that this is mostly a myth.

    3) This one is so stupid I won’t even address it.

    4) Starches, when eaten in excess, are fattening. This is a fact. This is how your body makes fat. Staches can and should be moderated (i.e. avoided at certain times) or even eliminated.

    5) This where they really start to go wrong. Of course there is food that can make you lose body fat. It’s called ‘fat.’ Eat enough of it for long enough and your body will begin to burn its own stores even if it doesn’t need the extra energy. The excess will be excreted through the urine and can’t be turned back into fat.

    6) Although skipping meals is a great way to reduce calories, and being able to skip them without feeling hungry is a good sign, it is technically a myth that you ‘need’ to skip breakfast to lose weight.

    7) This “myth” is true. Exercise is not the key to “losing weight.” Diet is the key. What you eat and not how much, is what is important. Eating fat will result in fat loss from the body. Consuming sugar and starch will lead to fat synthesis.

    Starving the body of glucose is the *only* way to lose fat. The same mechanism is at work whether you are eating a reduced calorie diet or a reduced carbohydrate diet–you reach a point called the “fasted state” where glucose is no longer available and ketosis begins. This always means destroying body fat for ketone bodies, whether you are in a calorie “deficit” or not. These ketone bodies cannot be turned back into fat even if there are too many to use. When will people understand this?

  • In response to Cameron, I think the reason “experts” say that breakfast is essential is that generally people who are trying to lose weight struggle with temptation and more importantly, willpower. If they’re starving hungry by 11am, they’re more likely to eat whatever’s close to hand – in the modern world usually something quick from a vending machine and not a healthier choice. This then causes them to go over their recommended daily calories and put on weight.

    I lost over 50 pounds 6 years ago and have kept it off, but it’s a personal journey and most definitely a lifestyle change. It really is down to whatever works for the individual, I personally would find it difficult to function without breakfast but that doesn’t mean that everyone has to do the same.

    Good on you for making that lifestyle change and hey, if it ain’t broken don’t fix it!

  • I agree with you on that fact you must eat breakfast to lose weight is not true and just a trend thing going around with a bunch of “experts” backing it up. The same experts that reverse their opinion on coffee, eggs, etc. yearly.
    I’ve tried the eating 6 small meals, the eating breakfast etc. Nothing works for me like cutting breakfast does.

  • This gives me the chance to relate my success-story: I lost 25-30 pounds 7 years ago, and have kept the weight off. But the fact that I’ve succeeded where most people fail doesn’t stop the “experts” from scolding me for daring to buck conventional wisdom.

    I don’t eat breakfast.
    I don’t eat lunch.
    I don’t swallow the claims that this is bad for my health.

    Many people prefer to scold than stopping to consider something that may help them. But doesn’t my success in an area dominated by soul-crushing failure indicate you should consider my points?
    My own story of weight loss is, of course, anecdotal, so how about some research that supports my claims: first, Dr. David Levitsky, professor of nutrition at Cornell, conducted a controlled study where subjects skipped breakfast. They ate more than they usually would at lunch, but not enough to make up the difference. There was a net loss in caloric intake. Dr. Mark Mattson of the National Institute of Aging had subjects skip breakfast and lunch, then had them a prescribed, full day’s allotment of calories worth at dinner. They neither gained nor lost weight, but his opinion was that if left on their own they’d eat less for dinner. That’s my experience. Exercise discipline and don’t eat junk-food (except occasionally), and you won’t eat more throughout the course of the day. Just make sure you have a good selection of assorted, nutritious foods for your one meal.
    As for metabolism: one’s basal-rate of metabolism never stops, but it does decrease while sleeping. It’s true that eating can increase it – through what’s called thermogenesis – but then so can drinking a glass of cold water.
    My routine is tough at first to get used to, but I think many can relate to how you get into a “zone” where you just don’t feel hungry. Today I ran 11 miles/17.7K on an empty stomach (btw- I’m not lying; I have better things to do than misrepresent myself on an internet forum). When I finished at about 1, I had plenty of fluids, but no food. Yeah, yeah, I’ve heard it all about how “bad” that is for you. Talk to the hand. I’m right on this; I’m TELLING you. I’m not going to claim it’s the ONLY way to lose weight, but long-term success stories are rare, so I’m clearly doing something right. And I feel utterly confident that the “Breakfast is the most important meal” canard will be revised, as part of ongoing scientific inquiry, in due course.

  • Peace be unto to you!

    I have been dieting and exercising around since the last week of april. In no less than two months and a half, i lost about 30-40 pounds. It felt great because from my horrendous weight of 170 ( my height is 5’4), it dropped to 130 (my ideal weight). I was thinking that I will be able to maintain my ideal weight with my exercise and diet regimen, however, in one month and a half (around august), i discovered that from my 130 pounds ideal weight it dropped to 124.8 pounds. My parents were shocked and demanded that I return to my ideal weight.

    The problem is that I’m not sure what to eat anymore since my cravings for food have returned. I went back to 130 but it dropped to 125 when I resumed exercise ( I only skipped meals thrice)and my diet. I’m not sure what to do anymore.

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