As a Nutritionist, I have heard all sorts of crazy things clients believe will help them lose weight. Here are a few of the most common weight loss myths.
1. Carbohydrates are fattening—limit them.
No matter what food group you choose, if you cut out the items from that group, you will reduce your caloric intake and lose weight. The problem is that you will also reduce your nutrient intake, unless you choose what to eliminate carefully. It is not necessary or desirable to cut carbohydrates from your diet completely. Instead, choose wisely, the best choices are always unrefined, whole-grain carbohydrates.
2. Some foods make you burn calories.
Celery, grapefruit, etc will not help you burn calories and lose more weight. “Negative” foods (foods that cause you to burn off more calories than the calories you get from eating the food) simply do not exist. If is it sounds too good to be true it probably is not true.
3. Eating after 7 or 8 pm makes you gain weight.
It makes no difference what time you eat. What matters is how many calories you consume versus how many you burn off through activity over time. Some research has found that eating a small, nutrient-dense snack at night may actually be beneficial for maintaining muscle and heart health.
4. The less fat you eat, the better.
Fat, when eaten in moderate amounts, is important for our health and aids in weight loss by helping to increase our feeling of fullness. However, remember that every 1 gram (g) of fat contains 9 calories, while 1 g of carbohydrate or protein only contains 4 calories; so, it is easy to “overdo” the fat.
5. Drinking lots of water helps to “flush fat” out of your body and leads to weight loss.
Water has no real impact on weight loss, although it is important to overall health. Drinking ice-cold water also does not increase calorie burn.
6. The combination of foods that you eat really matters—for example, do not eat carbohydrates and protein at the same time.
The combination of carbohydrate, fat, and protein that you eat does not make any difference in weight loss. The only thing that matters is how many calories you consume vs how many you expend.
7. Muscle will turn to fat if you stop exercising.
Muscle cannot turn to fat. It is not physiologically possible. However, you will lose muscle if you do not exercise, which makes it easier to gain fat.
8. Fruit contains too much sugar—avoid it when you are trying to lose weight.
One medium-sized apple contains 14 g of sugar. For comparison, a ½ cup (C) of spaghetti sauce with meat (sauce in a jar) contains 11 g of sugar, and 1 C of low-fat fruit-flavored yogurt contains 47 g of sugar.
9. Snacking will make you fat.
Snacking will not make you fat if it is done correctly. The total amount of calories you eat within a day is what matters, but you can split your food up any way that you would like. Some people enjoy eating three large meals per day, while others prefer eating six small meals per day. For many people, eating smaller, but more meals help keep them energized and able to be more active throughout the day.
Genine Brand R.D., L.D.N. is available for Personalized Nutrition Counseling. Contact us at: 305-446-6899 for more information.