Misinformation convolutes our weight loss journey. It seems like every month some new research is coming out to confuse us. Often the research is contradicting or misinterpreted, which leads to common dieting myths that create unhealthy habits. Do you believe any of these myths?
Myth #1: Eat a big breakfast to avoid overeating later.
It’s important to avoid skipping breakfast, but you don’t want to overdo it with too many calories either. In fact, a large breakfast can add an extra 400 calories. However, people don’t necessarily eat fewer calories throughout the day.
Myth #2: Grazing on small portions throughout the day boosts one’s metabolism.
Eating smaller, more frequent meals helps people control their appetites, but not if you are grazing on high-fat, high-calorie foods. If you are trying to lose weight, it’s best to plan out your meals with healthy vegetable sides and work in a couple of healthy snacks.
Myth #3: Low-fat or Fat-free food always has fewer calories too.
Fat is often replaced by protein, starch and sugar – which can really rack up the calories. For example, a small low-fat blueberry muffin has 131 calories, whereas a regular blueberry muffin has 138. Smaller portion sizing and moderation are more important practices than switching to low-fat foods.
Myth #4: Eating late at night will make a person fat.
It’s simply not true that food consumed at night will be unused and therefore be converted into fat. You will gain weight if your energy intake exceeds your expenditure, regardless of when the calories are consumed. Large meals may cause digestive disturbances, which is why eating late is not recommended. It’s better to eat a more modest-sized dinner and a snack before bed than a huge meal.
Myth #5: Sports drinks are healthier than soda.
You may opt for Vitamin Water before a workout rather than Coca-Cola, but keep in mind that Vitamin Water has 13 grams of sugar and 50 calories per serving… and there are 2.5 servings per bottle, which adds up to 125 calories. That’s just 15 calories shy of a Coca-Cola. Yes, sports drinks have more vitamins and minerals, but you still need to watch out for sugar and calories. Water with lemon is a much better alternative.
Myth #6: You can lose weight by dieting alone.
Diets may help you reduce your blood pressure or risk of cardiovascular disease, but researchers have found that diets often stop working after a person loses 5-10 percent of their weight and doesn’t help people sustain weight loss. Additional lifestyle modifications and exercise are needed to lose weight and keep it off.
Myth #7: You can lose weight simply by cutting starches from your diet.
Low-carb diets have perpetuated this myth, but starch is not necessarily bad. It’s true that the body processes starch and carbohydrates into sugar that may be stored as fat – but it also may be used as energy. The real culprit is indulging in high-fat sauces and toppings like sour cream, butter and alfredo.
Myth #8: Eat whatever you want as long as you’re exercising.
Your body is cutting more calories if you’re exercising, but you will not lose weight if you are replacing all the energy you burn off with sugary sports drinks or high-calorie foods. It’s best to find other “rewards” for a good workout that are not edible.