All around us, there are numerous news articles floating around regarding weight loss that it becomes difficult to separate fact from fiction. To help you follow only science-backed facts, here are 15 popular weight-loss myths debunked once and for all.
1 Follow Fad Diets To Lose Weight Permanently
Fad diets do not work in the long run. While you may find that your weight reduces sharply initially, do not expect sharp weight loss to continue for a prolonged period.
A key reason for this is because fad diets are extremely hard to follow as they strictly limit food choices or daily calorie intake. Most people get tired of them sooner or later and then give it up totally.
Furthermore, highly restrictive diets in terms of calorie intake or food limitations can have health consequences if followed for a considerable length of time. For instance, diets with daily calorie count lower than 800 calories can put you at risk of heart rhythm abnormalities.
In any case, losing weight rapidly in itself is unhealthy. For instance, you can develop gallstones if your weight loss rate continues to be more than 3 lbs per week after the initial few weeks.
Experts opine that a weight loss rate of 1.5 – 2 lbs per week attained through eating healthy foods, consuming moderate portions, and doing exercise regularly is the most effective and the healthiest way to shed off the extra pounds and keep them off.
2 Limit Your Starch Intake Because They Are Fattening
Starch has been given a bad name in recent times—and without good reasons. Many point to the fact that they are high in calories and fat and so are not suitable for someone wanting to lose weight.
But that is not the case…
Calorie count or fat content in starch becomes alarming only in two situations:
- When you eat them in large portions
- When you use a high-fat topping over them such as butter or mayonnaise
High-starch foods form a very important source of energy for us, and you really should consume 6 to 10 servings per day from rice, pasta group, bread, and cereal, even if your aim is to lose weight. The key is to be mindful about the serving size. A slice of bread, half-a-cup of cooked cereal, rice, or pasta, or an ounce of instant cereal is equivalent to one serving. Also, opt for whole grains (for example, oatmeal, whole wheat bread, bran cereal, and brown rice) and say no to high-fat toppings.
3 Weight Loss Products Labeled “Natural” Or “Herbal” Are Safe
This is not the case. Most of the times, the efficacy and safety of these products have not been scientifically tested. Some of them may contain ingredients that might not be safe.
For instance, some herbal weight loss products contain ephedra which can have serious side effects. As well, ephedra-free products may contain other ingredients that can cause unwanted side effects.
If you want to use a natural or herbal weight loss product, it is best to consult your doctor first to go through the ingredients before you consume it.
4 Grapefruit, Celery, Cabbage Soup Are Some Types Of Foods That Burn Fat, So You Should Consume More
Absolutely not the case here! There are no foods that burn fats. While caffeine and some other foods can boost up your metabolism, the effect is short-lived.
Eat fewer calories by adopting a balanced diet and exercise regularly to lose weight.
5 Low-Fat Or Fat-Free Food Does Not Contain Any Calories
Normally, low or fat-free food contains fewer calories per serving than its full-fat variety. But this is not always guaranteed too.
Some processed low-fat or nonfat foods contain many additives and preservatives. As a result of this, their calorie count may be equal or even greater than the calorie count of their full-fat variety.
Some may list significantly lower calorie count per serving but take note that their serving size may be smaller than normal. Therefore, read the nutritional label carefully. Pay attention to both calories per serving as well as the serving size.
6 You Can Lose Weight Irrespective Of What And How Much You Eat
You can eat anything and lose weight, provided your daily calorie count is lower than what you burn. The bigger the gap between the two, the more weight you will lose. So, remember the key is not what you eat, but rather how much. Portion control is the main thing.
7 Skipping breakfast Helps Reduce Daily Calorie Count
Quite the opposite happens actually. People who skip breakfast replace calories during the day with eating more at other mealtimes or snacking between meals.
Instead, you should aim to eat a filling but not calorie-high breakfast which will set you well for success.
8 Adopt A High-Protein/Low-Carb Diet To Lose Weight
Three things stack up against high-protein/low-carb diets.
Firstly, such a diet requires getting the majority of your daily calorie requirements from foods high in protein, such as cheese, eggs, and meat. Eating too much of high-protein foods might put you at a greater risk of heart disease. Weight loss is important, but not at the cost of your overall health.
Number two, the low-carb part of this diet dictates fewer servings of whole grains, vegetables, and fruits. This can have serious repercussions. For instance, lack of dietary fiber can lead to constipation, and on the other hand, a daily carbohydrate intake of less than 130 g can lead to high production of uric acid in the body (because of ketosis) and consequently increase the risk of getting kidney stones and gout.
Thirdly, a high-protein/low carb diet strictly limits your food choices and means giving up a whole class of foods, like fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. As said earlier, such a restrictive diet is extremely hard—and in fact not even recommended—to follow over a sustained period of time.
There is no inherent advantage in adopting a high-protein/low-carb diets. Weight loss occurs when you consume fewer calories than you burn, and high-protein/low-carb diets are in the limelight only because their daily calorie count is low. However, a low-calorie, balanced eating plan, one that contains the recommended amounts of fat, protein, and carbohydrates, too will give the same result. Besides being healthier overall, it is easier to follow too!
9 Do Not Eat After 8 pm
When you eat is not important. What and how much you eat matters, as well as the amount of physical activity you do in a day. Irrespective of your eating schedule, you will gain weight if you put in more calories than you burn.
A light and healthy late-night snack will not hurt your weight loss plan as long as you do not exceed the recommended daily calorie count for yourself.
With that said, people who eat while watching T.V. usually end up eating more than they want to because of the TV distraction.
10 Lack Of Sleep Does Not Affect Weight
Recent studies point that sleep deprivation is more closely linked to weight gain than most think. However, it is not just the lack of sleep that can cause weight gain, but too much sleep can also contribute to weight gain.
In a study, researchers categorized women participants according to the number of hours they slept at night. They found that women sleeping for less than 6 hours or more than 9 hours were likely to gain as much as 11 pounds more than women sleeping for 7 hours a night.
Another study done on men pointed in the same direction: too little or too much of sleep contributed to weight gain. In this study, researchers found that men who continuously slept for fewer hours than recommended showed a greater tendency to eat calorie-rich foods and thus tip over their recommended daily calorie intake.
Studies done on children and adolescents too have forwarded similar results. A plausible reason might be that the duration of sleep affects hormones that regulate hunger and stimulate our appetite. Another factor could be that one is likely to feel tired more quickly and do less physical activity if he or she is sleep-deprived.
11 Lifting Weights Is Not Recommended For Those Trying To Lose Weight
Some fear that lifting weight will “bulk them up” and so they stay away from the gym. This fear is unfounded, and in fact, you stand to hurt your weight loss efforts if you do not include some sort of resistance training in your exercise regime.
Resistance training can be done with or without weights and helps you build muscles. Did you know that muscles burn a greater number of calories than fat, even while the body is at rest like when you are sitting? That is the main reason why resistance training is important, more so when you want to lose weight.
When you burn more calories than you consume, you lose weight. However, unless you incorporate resistance training, the lost weight will come from both your muscles mass and body fat. If you want to preserve your muscle mass, you must also do some resistance training.
Do moderate-intensity cardio for at least 30 minutes 4-5 times a week and resistance training 2-3 times a week. You can do cardio and resistance training together.
12 Nuts Are Not Recommended
There is no reason why you should not have nuts in small amounts, even if you are focusing on limiting your calorie intake. The key is to eat small portions of nuts.
It is true that nuts are high in fat and calories, but they are a good source of dietary fiber, minerals like copper and magnesium, and protein. Moreover, they contain healthy fats. Include them in your daily diet in small amounts.
13 Avoid Red Meat
Many studies have shown that there is not much correlation between the consumption of red meat and increased risk of certain diseases, like cancer and heart disease.
As far as weight gain is concerned, red meat, when consumed in small amounts, is not a concern at all. In fact, small quantities of lean meat should be part of your diet plan if you are a non-vegetarian to provide your body with necessary proteins for body repair function.
14 “Going Vegan”
Some research supports the argument of “going vegan” if you want to lose weight. According to research, on average, people adhering to a vegetarian diet plan consume fewer calories than non-vegetarians. Vegans also consume less fat than non-vegetarians.
However, keep in mind that a vegan is as likely as a non-vegetarian to make unhealthy food choices, which in turn can lead to the consumption of a lot of fat and high calories intake.
So basically, it boils down to the food choices you make! Whether you are a vegetarian or a non-vegetarian, you must eat a balanced diet and keep your daily calorie intake under control. For vegetarians though, they should make conscious efforts to consume nutrients that are typically present in animal foods and not so commonly found in vegetarian foods, such as iron, calcium, vitamin D, vitamin B12, zinc, and protein.
The vegetarian sources of these nutrients are as follows:
- Iron – lentils, spinach, cashews, or fortified bread
- Vitamin D – soy-based beverages, milk, fortified foods, cereal, or fruit juices
- Calcium – dairy products, broccoli, kale, fortified soy-based beverages, or collard greens
- Vitamin B12 – soy-based beverages, dairy products, or fortified cereals
- Protein – dairy products, nuts, seeds, beans, tofu, soy-based products or peas
- Zinc – whole grains