When it comes to losing weight, it seems that the worst weight loss myths just won't go away. "Eat this." "Don't eat that." "Eat at this time, but don't eat at that time." You name it, when it comes to weight loss, it's been tried. Just like anything else, the only true way to lose weight and a keep it off is through hard work, dedication, sacrifice and desire. If you treat your diet like you do your bank account, balancing your calories with adequate activity, a healthy goal weight can be reached by anyone. Don't be fooled by one of the following worst weight loss myths if it's your goal to drop a few pounds any time soon!
1. Eliminate Carbohydrates
As a dietitian, this is one of the worst weight loss myths and the one that drives me the most crazy! What most people don't know is that the human brain relies entirely on carbohydrates for energy. While carbohydrates are also the body's main fuel source, you can survive on protein and fat alone but not for long! When your body uses protein and fat as a fuel source, the breakdown results in toxic ketones. Within a short period of time, these toxins build up in the body, causing it to become too acidic, eventually resulting in death. This weight loss myth is not only false but actually one of the most dangerous too! Instead of eliminating carbohydrates, choose healthy ones like whole grains, fruits and vegetables!
2. Cut out Fat
Slowly but surly, people are beginning to understand that there is a difference between healthy fat and unhealthy fat. Healthy fat found in foods like nuts, nut butters, seeds, avocados, olive oil and olives are actually very beneficial to your health and can actually help you lose weight. Since fat is slower to digest than other foods, consuming a healthy fat with every meal will actually help you feel full and satiated for longer than a meal without fat. Fat is not the enemy!
3. "Free" Foods Don't Have Calories
You might have been told that there are particular foods, like celery or cucumbers, that are "free foods" because your body burns more calories digesting them than they actually contain; unfortunately, this simply isn't true. While these foods are very low in calories, their calories still contribute to your daily total. If you eat 3,000 calories worth of grapefruit and only burn 1,500 calories on any given day, that's still a surplus of 1,500 calories regardless if it's a grapefruit or if its French fries. While food quality certainly matters, a calorie is still a calorie.
4. Fruit Has Too Much Sugar and Will Make You Gain Weight
First things first: fruit should be included in a healthy diet. While there is natural sugar found in fruit, there is also fiber which slows down the digestion of the fruit, unlike the sugar found in candy, cakes, soda and juice. Fruit is high in vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and phytonutrients, all of which your body needs to get or stay healthy. One serving of fruit only has about 15 grams of sugar compared to one soda which has about 44 grams per can. It's not the fruit that causes weight gain my friends! Eat up for good health!
5. Milk Will Help You Lose Weight
You might be shocked to read this one, but there is no true evidence to suggest that milk or milk products will help you lose weight. While there are numerous advertisements out there that try to convince you that milk will help you lose weight, there are just as many research studies out there that show no correlation between milk consumption and weight loss. Actually, it might do just the opposite, especially if you are choosing full-fat dairy products.
6. Don't Eat after 8 Pm
A calorie is a calorie just like an apple is an apple. No matter what time of day you eat that apple, you still ate an apple - not a banana, not an orange, an apple. The exact same goes for the calories that you consume throughout the day. If you wake up everyday at noon, eat breakfast at 1 pm, lunch at 5 pm, a snack at 9 pm and dinner at 1 am, that is no different than if you woke up at 6 am, ate breakfast at 7 am, lunch at 11 am, a snack at 3 pm and dinner at 7 pm. What does matter is that you are eating consistently and not eating all of your calories at one meal. Just like your car needs gas to run efficiently, your body and metabolism need fuel to run efficiently too!
7. Eliminate Gluten
For those with Celiac disease, a gluten intolerance, a gluten allergy or a gluten sensitivity, the removal of gluten from the diet is necessary. However, for those without any of those conditions, going "gluten-free" isn't necessary when it comes to weight loss. Gluten, the protein found in wheat, barley and rye, is found in many processed foods. Many people lose weight on a gluten-free diet because this causes them to eliminate these types of foods, not just the gluten.
When it comes to weight loss, it's all about calories in versus calories out. Choose a diet high in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, healthy fats and lean protein and soon you will see that weight loss is just a side effect of healthy eating! Have you tried any of these weight loss myths before?