Navigating a new diet can be tricky when there’s so much misinformation available. Let’s face it: diet fads change and what was once acceptable years ago can sometimes be proven false. While I could run a 30 bullet point list on all the weight loss myths, I wanted to particularly highlight 5 diet myths that you need to know.
If you’re trying to lose weight, you may have heard a lot of the same myths. If you’re like me then at some time you may have even believed some of them, as they’re hard to avoid in Western culture. Notably, most of these myths are false, but, indeed, the relationship between food, your body, and your weight is very complex. To help you gain some perspective I’ve highlighted 5 popular diet myths and the truth behind each one.
Myth #1: Diet Foods Help You Lose Weight
The sad truth is that a lot of junk food is marketed as healthy. You’ve probably seen the marketing with words like “low-fat” and “fat-free” branded on high-sugar beverages. It goes without saying that you should be skeptical of any health claims on food packaging, especially on processed items. To keep from being deceived I routinely check nutrition labels on packaged foods before eating.
Myth #2: Don’t eat after 8:00 P.M.
You’ve probably heard the theory that late-night calories simply sit in your system and turn into fat. However, the reality is that calories can’t tell time. According to Mary Flynn, a research dietitian at Miriam Hospital in Providence, the calories may sit around a little longer if you eat and then lie on the couch and watch late-night talk shows, but when you move around the next day your body will dip into its stores. That being said you do need to watch your unhealthy late-night snacking. Cutting out the buttered popcorn or bowl of ice cream before bedtime will help you immensely.
Myth #3: Juice Detoxes, Smoothies, and Diet Sodas are Effective Weight-Loss Tools
According to a study published in the research journal Obesity, people who regularly slurp artificial sweeteners are more likely to gain weight. Why? It’s because fake sweeteners increase cravings for calorie-dense foods. Juices, smoothies, and various “health drinks” can also confuse our internal calorie-counters and make weight difficult to control. Dr. Caroline Apovian, an obesity researcher at Boston University, states our bodies today interpret beverages as having fewer calories than they actually do and find them less satisfying than solid food. As a result, people often eat more to compensate.
Myth #4: Carbs Lead to Weight Gain
The Cleveland Clinic says that not all carbohydrates are bad for you and they do not contribute solely to gaining weight. In fact, the myth seems to spring from carb’s effect on insulin. On the other side of the coin, it seems like people lose weight on low-carbohydrate diets. However, those diets almost always restrict calories, too, and fewer calories add up to fewer pounds over time no matter how many of your calories come from fat, protein, or carbohydrates.
Myth #5: You Need Protein Right After a Workout
This is not a myth so much as an exaggeration. According to health experts at the blog WebMD, what matters most is your daily protein intake. Unless you’ve been exercising on an empty stomach, you don’t need protein immediately after your workout, but you might benefit from a few grams of protein within the next couple of hours. What matters most, however, is how much protein you get over the course of a day.
Did debunking these diet myths help you with your weight-loss regiment? Is there a popular diet myth that you once believed? I’d love to hear your thoughts at firstname.lastname@example.org. And for those in the process of dieting, I encourage you to read this post for inspiration. And be sure to sign up for my newsletter below to receive more great health and wellness tips straight to your inbox each Friday.