10 Weight Loss Myths Exploded!

weight loss myths

Weight Loss Myth number 1:
Faddy diets - eating only cabbage, or pineapple, or grapefruit - work for permanent weight loss.The reality - Sure if you eat an incredibly restricted diet like this for any length of time, you will definitely lose weight. But fad diets like this are not the best way to lose weight and keep it off. Such programs often promise rapid weight loss, and at first they deliver, but it is too difficult and frankly unhealthy to follow such a plan for any length of time - so people quickly get tired of them and regain any lost weight.

To simply survive nutritionally on a very low calorie diet requires extremely careful planning and product choices, you can't just cut down to one or two 'magic' foods - read our meal replacements and very low calorie diets section for information about properly planned programes for fast weight loss.

Weight Loss Myth number 2:
Starches/carbohydrates are fattening and should be limited when trying to lose weight
In reality - any foods high in starch, like bread, rice, pasta, cereals, beans, fruits, and some vegetables (like potatoes and yams) are low in fat and calories. They become high in fat and calories when eaten in large portion sizes or when covered with high-fat toppings like butter, sour cream, or mayonnaise. The 'low carb' diet fashion has lead to some confusing messages being misunderstood, and whilst their glycemic index might be relatively high, foods high in starch (also called complex carbohydrates) are an important source of energy for your body. Always choose high-fibre, unrefined starch sources where you can - eg whole grains, fruit, vegetables etc

Weight Loss Myth number 3:
There are certain foods you must eat, or not eat, when trying to lose weight.
In reality - to lose weight, you need to use more calories than you eat. It is possible to eat any kind of food you want and lose weight. You need to limit the number of calories you eat every day or increase your daily physical activity - ideally both at the same time. Portion control is the key. Try eating smaller amounts of food and choosing foods that are low in calories. When trying to lose weight, you can still eat your favorite foods—as long as you pay attention to the total number of calories that you eat.

Weight Loss Myth number 4:
Low-fat or fat-free on a label means it must help you lose weight.
In reality - a low-fat or fat-free food is often lower in calories than the same size portion of the full-fat product. But many other processed low-fat or fat-free foods have just as many calories as the full-fat versions of the same foods—or even more calories. They may contain added sugar, flour, or starch thickeners to improve flavor and texture after fat is removed. And 'low fat' can simply mean the food product contains less than 10% fat - for some categories of food this is completely meaningless.

Weight Loss Myth number 5:
You can forget about socialising or eating out whilst following a weight loss diet
In reality, of course you can still go out to eat - you just need to apply a little commonsense. Restaurant and fast food portions are often vast, so share with a friend. Choose salads and grilled foods, and opt for small/regular portions in fast food restaurants. Fried foods are high in fat and calories, so order them only once in a while, order a small portion, or split an order with a friend. Also, use only small amounts of high-fat, high-calorie toppings, like regular mayonnaise, salad dressings, and cheese/cheesy sauces. Avoid the bread basket in a restaurant, its too easy to plough through a load of carbs before your meal even arrives, and don't forget the empty calories contained in every bottle - as well as the effect of alcohol on your willpower and resolve when the pudding menu appears.

Weight Loss Myth number 6:
Skipping meals is a good way to lose weight.
In reality, study after study shows that people who skip breakfast and eat fewer times during the day tend to be heavier than people who eat a healthy breakfast and eat four or five times a day. The jury's still out over the metabolic implications of this, and it may simply be that people who skip meals tend to feel hungrier later on, and eat more than they normally would. It may also be that eating many small meals throughout the day helps people control their appetites. Try to eat small meals throughout the day that include a variety of healthy, low-fat, low-calorie foods.

Weight Loss Myth number 7:
Eating after 8 p.m. causes weight gain
In reality, it does not matter what time of day you eat. It is what and how much you eat and how much physical activity you do during the whole day that determines whether you gain, lose, or maintain your weight. No matter when you eat, your body will store surplus calories as fat. If you are thinking about a late night snack, consider what else you have eaten during the day. Also try to avoid grazing in front of the TV in the evening as its very easy to get distracted and overeat unintentionally.

Weight Loss Myth number 8:
Nuts are fattening and you should never eat them if you want to lose weight.
In reality - of course small amounts of nuts can be part of a healthy vegetarian weight-loss program. Nuts are high in calories and fat. However, most nuts contain healthy fats unsaturated fats. Nuts are also good sources of protein, dietary fiber, and minerals including magnesium, copper and selenium. Vary your choices of nuts or try a mixed selection for maximum nutritional benefit - the most commonly eaten nut, peanut, is actually a legume and relatively low in these essential trace minerals

Weight Loss Myth number 9:
Dairy products are fattening and unhealthy.
In reality - Dairy products can certainly form part of a vegetarian weight loss plan. Low-fat and fat-free milk, yogurt, and cheese are just as nutritious as whole-milk dairy products, but they are lower in fat and calories. Dairy products have many nutrients your body needs. They offer protein to build muscles and help organs work properly, and calcium to strengthen bones. Most milk and some yogurt are fortified with vitamin D to help your body use calcium. Dairy products contain lactose, which some people have genuine trouble digesting, and of course vegans do not eat dairy at all, so it's important to replace this source of protein, calcium and vitamin D in the diet in this event - tofu is an excellent substitute as it is high in protein and set with calcium sulfate. Dark leafy greens are great for calcium, and one great source of vitamin D is simply getting outside in the sunshine.

Weight Loss Myth number 10:
Vegetarians and vegans don't have weight problems anyway!
In reality - whilst repeated research shows that people who follow a vegetarian eating plan, on average, eat fewer calories and less fat than nonvegetarians and also tend to have lower body weights relative to their heights than nonvegetarians, there is still a need for this website! Choosing a vegetarian eating plan with a low fat content may be helpful for weight loss. But vegetarians—like nonvegetarians—can make food choices that contribute to weight gain, like eating large amounts of high-fat, high-calorie foods or foods with little or no nutritional value. Someone who eats a lot of meat might well lose weight when switching to a vegetarian eating plan, but sadly it is just not true that vegetarians and vegans never need to go on a weight loss diet.

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