Fact or Fiction?
Busting diet myths
So, how do you tell the difference between a faddy diet or diet myths and one which will help you lose weight at a sensible rate and keep it off?
Look out for the warning signs and beware of these common diet myths:
Diet Myth 1 – Skipping breakfast is a good way to lose weight
Skipping meals, especially breakfast, can make you feel tired and hungry and more likely to reach for high-fat, high-calorie snacks. In fact, people who eat breakfast are more likely to maintain a healthy weight than those who don’t.
Diet Myth 2 – Food restrictions
If you eat nothing but celery or oranges all day long for a week you will, of course, lose weight. But fad diets that drastically cut calories will quickly become boring and won’t be effective in the long run. It’s not necessary to starve to lose weight – making small changes that you can stick to is the key to long-term success.
Diet Myth 3 – No treats
Depriving yourself of all the foods you enjoy won’t work. You’ll eventually give into temptation and abandon your efforts. There’s no harm in allowing yourself a treat now and again.
Diet Myth 4 – No eating past 8pm
It doesn’t matter when you eat if you are eating too much – a calorie is a calorie at any time of the day! It’s healthier for your digestive system not to eat a heavy meal before you go to bed but a late dinner will not make you any fatter than an early one.
Diet Myth 5 – Lose your belly fat / bingo wings / thunder thighs
As unfair as it may seem, we can’t pick and choose where we gain or lose weight from. When the body loses fat, it is lost throughout the body. Focusing on one area of the body when exercising may develop better muscle tone in that area but it will not remove more fat.
Diet Myth 6 – Certain foods help you burn fat
No foods can actually help you to burn fat. The important thing is eating less calories (energy), rather than eating specific foods that are thought to have special properties.
Diet Myth 7 – Carbs are fattening
It’s calories that count, and gram for gram carbohydrate has less than half the calories of fat. However, carbohydrate rich foods can be high in calories because of the fillings and toppings commonly added to them – such as creamy sauces on pasta and butter or cheese on baked potatoes. Some carbohydrate foods, especially wholegrain versions, are packed full of fibre which can keep hunger at bay. For example, wholegrain pasta is more filling than white pasta and will keep you satisfied for longer.
Diet Myth 8 – No snacking
Eating healthy snacks between meals can actually help you to control your appetite. Fruit, vegetables, crudites and low fat yoghurt are great choices.
Diet Myth 9 – Low fat only
Replacing fat with other ingredients can still result in a product with a high calorie content. Don’t be fooled – check the label. Quantity is also important – you won’t cut back on calories if you eat twice as much of a low fat product as a full fat one.
Diet Myth 10 – Intense exercise regimes
Even low intensity exercise will help use up more calories. Walking, gardening or doing housework can make quite a difference.