Don’t Believe These Dieting Lies!

Have You Falling For Dieting Myths?

When you’re trying to lose weight, it’s all too easy to get desperate and be willing to try ANYTHING. But it’s important to remember that not everything you hear about weight loss is true, or safe. Being careful what you try and going about your weight loss in a reasonable, safe, healthy way is the most important part!

Myth: Carbs are bad!

Fact: First of all, no food is all bad. This myth is based on only one part of the carbohydrate family, simple or refined carbohydrates—sugar, juices and starches such as white rice, white bread, potatoes and pasta. Complex carbs such as fruits, veggies and whole grains are great energy sources and you can eat more without adding a lot of calories. The high fiber content of complex carbs will make you feel more satisfied and not leave you with craving more the way simple carbs do.

The real problem comes when you combine fat and refined or simple carbs—this combination sends out major signals to your body to store fat. It causes a big increase in blood sugar, which increases the production of insulin, which tells your body to store fat in your cells. So, enjoy high-fiber fruits, vegetables and whole grains. (A lot of products that seem to be made with whole grains aren’t—check to make sure “whole” is in front of the grain on the ingredients’ list or choose one labeled “100 percent whole grain”) Go easy on packaged foods, soda and fruit juices, pasta and bread, potatoes and white rice.

Myth: Certain foods, such as grapefruit, celery or cabbage soup can burn fat.

Fact: No foods can burn fat. Some foods with caffeine may speed up your metabolism (the way your body uses energy, or calories) for a very short time, but they do not cause weight loss.

Myth: Exercise turns fat into muscle.

Fact: Fat and muscle tissue are composed of two entirely different types of cells. You burn fat and build muscle. You can lose one and gain another, but fat can never turn into muscle.

Myth: “Low-fat” or “fat-free” or “no added sugar” means low calories.

Fact: A low-fat or fat-free food is often lower in calories than the same size portion of the full-fat product. But many processed low-fat or fat-free foods have just as many calories as the full-fat version of the same food—or even more calories. They may contain added sugar, flour or starch thickeners to improve flavor and texture after fat is removed. These ingredients add calories. And foods labeled “no added sugar” are often sweetened with fruit juice concentrates and end up with the same amount of calories and no better nutritional value than the original.

Read the Nutrition Facts on a food package to find out how many calories are in a serving. Check the serving size too—it may be less than you are used to eating.
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Some Dieting Lies Are Actually Dangerous!

We’ve all heard some crazy weight loss myth that’s harmless and easy to disregard, but others are more dangerous and could put your body into starvation mode, rather than true weight loss.

Make sure you don’t make any of these dieting lies a part of your weight loss efforts!

Myth: You shouldn’t eat dinner (or anything else) after 7 p.m.

“There is no universal time that everyone should stop eating,” says Kinsella. “People get up at different times, go to sleep at different times, and eat at different times. Many countries eat dinner later than Americans but their populations weigh less than Americans do. Unless someone has an eating disorder and needs to eat at regular intervals to establish normalized hunger cues, or someone has a self-care reason for eating (like they’ll soon be stuck in a meeting without access to food), it is more important for people to be connected to their internal hunger cues than to be eating based on an external influence, like the clock.”

What’s even more curious is how this diet myth originated. Kinsella wonders if the don’t-eat-at-night rule may have more to do with how we regulate our earlier meals while dieting. “Some people get in bad cycles of skipping breakfast and then overeating at night,” she says. Furthermore, it’s often not about the time we eat but how we’re eating. “Sometimes, people find themselves late-night snacking out of habit while they’re watching TV. Both these patterns should be addressed simply because they aren’t self-care behaviors. But, non-hunger mindless snacking at 9 a.m. would be just as much of an issue as [it is at] 9 p.m.”

Myth: There is such a thing as eating right for your blood type.

“No. There is no scientific evidence to support special diets based on blood type.”

Myth: Juicing is healthy and cleansing is necessary.

I think we all know where this is going, but just in case: “The liver and kidneys are the body’s own detoxification system. They do a fantastic job of continuously removing waste products and toxins without the help of juice. Furthermore, there are some obvious drawbacks of juicing; juices are inadequate in protein, fat, essential fatty acids, and fiber. These nutrients are crucial for satiety and vital components for a balanced meal. The protein factor is particularly crucial here. When protein intake is inadequate, the body catabolizes protein from muscles and organs. Hence, someone on a juice cleanse ends up losing muscle mass — a major contributor to metabolism. They’ll likely end up with a worse body composition in the end.”

Myth: Gluten is bad for me and you and everyone, period.

Here’s the part where everyone chases me out of the village with torches.

Again, there’s no argument against the benefits of eating more healthy, whole foods and less junk. Also, if you’re going gluten free, that probably (hopefully) means you’re getting more veggies on the plate to make up for the lack of grain. More veggies can’t hurt! But, unless you have a medical issue, grains can’t hurt you, either. Celiac is a real disease, and one study indicates that approximately 5 to 6% of the population is gluten-sensitive. However, research also indicates many who report gluten sensitivity are not actually reacting to gluten, but some other factor in their food (see, for instance, FODMAPs) or, frankly, just believe that they are.

Says Theresa, “A gluten-free diet is a necessity for people diagnosed with celiac disease. Gluten-free diets are also one of the most popular food trends, but there is no benefit to going gluten-free if it is not medically warranted.”

The gluten-free trend (and, whether or not you really do have celiac or gluten-sensitivity, this is still an undeniable trend) just points to another issue plaguing our culture around food. “Eating healthy” is often just used as a different way to say “dieting.”

“Many people are attracted to the fad as a new way to restrict or lose weight… [But] ‘gluten free’ does not necessarily mean ‘better for you.’ Many gluten-free products are a lot more processed than their whole-grain, gluten-containing counterparts. Corn and rice flours are lower in fiber and have a higher glycemic index. Bottom line: a gluten-free cupcake is not healthier than a cupcake with gluten.”
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What dieting lies have you fallen for?

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