Thursday, July 2, 2009

13 Big Fat Dieting Myths

by: Melanie Thomassian

Wouldn't you agree the diet industry is saturated with unhealthy weight loss misconceptions? This has helped lead to an explosion of behaviors, which do little to encourage good health and well-being in the long run.
I hate the fact that in our day and age for some people "health" equals "fad dieting!"
In truth, there's no quick fix. Being healthy is a constant and ongoing battle. But, rather than listening to the latest lies from the "diet gurus", perhaps we should be trusting our gut instincts a little more.

Here are 13 of the fattest lies about dieting:

1. You don't need to exercise to lose weight
Obviously you can lose some weight without exercising, however the best way to lose it and keep it off, is to combine a healthy diet with regular exercise. The simple fact is this, exercise is important regardless of your current weight.

2. Skipping breakfast helps you lose weight
In actual fact, studies indicate that when you cut out breakfast, you're more likely to take in extra calories later in the day to compensate. And, it's not good for your metabolic state and mood either.

3. Eating late at night hinders weight loss

At the Dunn Nutrition Centre in Cambridge, volunteers were placed in a whole body calorimeter, which measured calories burned and stored. They were given a large lunch and small evening meal for one test period. Then a small lunch and large evening meal during a second test period. Results revealed the large meal eaten late at night did not make the body store more fat.

So, it's clearly not when you eat that's important, but the total amount you consume in a 24-hour period.

4. Certain foods are "good" others are "bad"
This one drives me insane! It's pretty obvious that some foods are better than others, such as fruits, vegetables, and nuts etc. But, don't try to tell me I can never eat a piece of bread again...that's just silly! Moderation is the key.

5. Low fat foods are better for you

If a product claims to be "fat free", more than likely you'll find the sugar content is skyhigh. Remember, "fat free" doesn't necessarily mean "low calorie" or "calorie free." To get a clearer picture of what you're eating, check the nutrition label carefully.
It's also worth pointing out that a strictly fat free diet isn't necessary - you do need some fat in your diet - just try to avoid trans fats where possible, and replace most saturated fats with unsaturated fats found in healthy oils, avocados and nuts etc.

6. Fruit juice is as good as eating whole fruit

My motto is to eat foods as close to their natural form as possible, and fruit juice doesn't really fall into this easily. Although not inherently bad for you, you'd certainly be much better eating the whole fruit, rather than taking in empty calories from juice.

7. Weight gain is inevitable as you age
Admittedly, metabolic rate does drop with age, but simply eating a little less would fix that. The problem for most people is that activity levels decrease as they age. So, if you want to make sure you don't gain extra pounds with each passing birthday, increase your activity level and watch your calorie intake.

8. Quick weight loss is best

In truth, slow and sustained weight loss is much better. That way you're more likely to lose excess fat, not muscle. And, you should be able to maintain your weight loss long-term.

9. Weight gain is highly likely when you quit smoking

While it's true that some people do gain weight when they stop smoking, this isn't the case for everyone. Nicotine is said to increase the body's metabolism, however this effect is small, and isn't a good enough reason to put off quitting.

10. Losing weight will solve your problems

If you have problems before losing weight, unfortunately they'll still be there after the pounds are gone. So, what should you do? It's important that you get real with yourself about the source of your difficulties, then set realistic goals to help you achieve what you want in life.

11. Everyone gains a few pounds over the holidays

It is 100 percent possible to enjoy your holidays and still lose weight, or at least stay at a constant weight. How? By eating in moderation. If you assume you'll gain weight during the holidays, it's a bit like a self-fulfilling prophecy. Start out with the right mental attitude instead, and be positive about what you can achieve.

12. It's my "slow metabolism" which prevents weight loss

Unfortunately, people are becoming increasingly more sedentary, and it seems likely this is a crucial factor in the increasing problems with weight gain.
BBC Health report:

"Scientists have measured the exact amount of calories overweight and healthy weight people burn while sitting or lying quietly. This was done by measuring the amount of oxygen breathed in and the amount of carbon dioxide breathed out.

Results from these studies have consistently shown that overweight people use more energy to keep their bodies working. This is because they have larger bodies with bigger muscles and internal organs.
However, after taking into account differences in body size, lean and obese people have been shown to have similar metabolic rates."

13. Fattening foods lead to rapid weight gain
In actual fact, real weight gain is a pretty slow process. If you eat a very fatty meal and the scales are saying you've gained a few pounds, it's highly likely this is due to fluid. If you hang in there, and get back to eating healthy again, those few extra pounds will resolve themselves.

What's the biggest dieting myth you've ever heard?


  1. The stupidest myth I ever heard is that when you DON'T exercise, "muscle turns to fat". They're two different types of cells!

    I had to school Health-hater Husband about that. He had no comeback to debate me.

  2. Exactly.. I think the mentality is, the muscle decreases and the fat increases, so some see it as "replacing". That's like if you had salt and pepper shakers and the salt depleted and i refilled the pepper, saying the pepper "replaced" the salt.. LOL

  3. Too funny Cher. Diet Blog had this article today too! Amazing that people choose to live by crazy fad diets & myths!

    I am so with you on the muscle/fat thing. I can't tell you how many people I have had to educate about this & still do along with the thought process that doing ab exercises will give you abs. Yes,you can work them but you have to get rid of that fat over them to see them!

    Hope you are surviving thru the stop cig process!

  4. From some in the bodybuilding crowd: Fruit is fattening, never eat it. Butter and red meat and saturated fats are healthy. Calories don't matter, only carbs.


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