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 any food in 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. 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. 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.. 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.
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.
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.
A low-carb diet involves limiting foods like grains/breads, starchy vegetables and fruit in the range of 50 to 150 grams per day. Instead, you’ll get most of your calories from protein and fat. Many people go on a low-carb diet to lose weight or reduce their risk of heart disease, cancer, diabetes and metabolic syndrome. The idea is that excess intake of starch causes the body to store glucose as fat. If you’re on one of these diets, look out for these sneaky blood-sugar-spiking foods and condiments…
Rice Cakes – With 8 grams of carbs in two, rice cakes may not seem that bad, but again, they cause blood sugars to spike dramatically.
Light Bologna – Even though there are virtually no carbs in bologna, you have to remember there are still fillers, nitrates and sugars.
Hummus – Remember to calculate at least 20 g of carbs if you’re indulging – even if the package says 7 grams of carb per 2 tbsp.
Light Ranch Dressing – Your blood glucose levels will spike when you choose this dip, even though the bottle claims there is just 3 grams of carbs per 2 tbsp.
Peanut Butter – There is only 7 grams of carb per 2 tbsp serving, but it’s easy to scoop out way more than that if you are not careful about your portion control.
Cocktail Sauce – Like Teriyaki sauce, you will notice your BG level catapulted sky-high, even if it does say there is only 7 grams per 2 tbsp.
Bacon Bits – Despite a reading of 2 carbs in 1.5 tablespoons, you may notice your blood sugar spike after eating this.
Many foods contain sugars and “starch fillers” that can sabotage your diet, even in the absence of actual carbs. In addition to the foods mentioned, powdered coffee creamer, chewing gum, lunch meats, sausages, egg substitutes and low-fat foods are all culprits for this phenomenon. In addition to eating the wrong foods, other eating habits may derail your diet. Be sure you are eating every four hours and keeping your calorie counts under control. You also have to be careful not to eat too few carbs or you will feel sluggish and fatigued.
It’s also important to consider that, even if you follow your low-carb diet perfectly, it is not a good overall plan for long-term weight loss and health. Studies show that people were able to lose 9 pounds over 2 years by switching to a low-carb diet, but the results are comparable to other diets that had higher carbs. It’s believed that the increase in protein and cutting of calories on low-carb diets are what has the biggest impact on weight loss.