When it comes to losing weight, there are many conflicting sources of information floating around, and it can be challenging to disentangle the truth from all of the fabricated myths. You should always carefully research the validity of any popular dieting tips or tricks you come across before buying into one, as they will often turn out to be either false or misleading. Here are some popular dieting trends that you might be surprised to find are simply myths.
All Fats Are Bad
False – not all types of fat are bad for you! In fact, fat is one of the three main nutrients your body needs in order to function well. The trick is to eat healthy fats, such as those found in olive oil, avocados, eggs, fish, nuts, seeds, and some dairy products. You should be avoiding both trans fats and saturated fats, which are generally found in foods like butter, high-fat dairy, pastries, red meat, and most processed foods, especially those that are deep-fried.
Some Sugars Are Worse Than Others
Curb that sweet tooth! Research shows that we absorb all added sugars in a similar way, making added table sugar just as bad for you as high-fructose corn syrup. Instead of trying to avoid one specific type of added sugar, it is best to limit all processed sugars, including sodas, candy, and other sweets.
Late-Night Snacking Causes Weight Gain
You can rest easy tonight, because there is no conclusive evidence that the occasional midnight snack will cause you to put on weight. However, it is well-known that an unnecessarily high intake of calories will cause weight gain, and many people who snack at night tend to eat high-calorie foods or overeat. Additionally, late mealtimes may trigger heartburn and indigestion. So even though eating late at night won’t necessarily cause you to gain weight, it’s still a good idea to maintain earlier mealtimes.
Coffee is Bad for You
According to recent studies, this popular claim has ultimately been proven to be false. Research has shown that coffee is high in antioxidants and may decrease your chance of developing both cancer and type 2 diabetes. It can also potentially boost your metabolism, which increases the rate at which your body burns calories. Just be sure to steer clear of unhealthy additives such as sweeteners, flavored syrups, and creamers.
Drinking More Water Aids Weight Loss
Although water is a vital necessity for the human body, water alone will not necessarily help you lose weight. Remembering to drink water throughout the day may help you to avoid other high-calorie beverages and will keep you well-hydrated, but it won’t make much of a difference in your weight loss journey if you are not making other significant changes.
Sea Salt Contains Less Sodium
In comparison to plain table salt, sea salt and other gourmet salts contain very similar amounts of sodium, all of which may increase your blood pressure and could potentially cause heart disease. When making a meal at home, try adding more herbs and spices to flavor your food, instead of immediately reaching for the salt. And when doing your grocery shopping, try to avoid processed foods such as condiments, soups, condiments, cheeses and canned foods, as these generally contain high levels of added salt.
All Carbs Cause Weight Gain
False! Carbohydrates are a type of calorie-providing macronutrient which are naturally found in many different types of food, such as grains, fruits, vegetables, legumes, and dairy products. Many people tend to view all carbs as unhealthy, when in reality it is most often refined carbohydrates such as white bread, pasta, pastries, and sodas that are the true culprits and often cause rapid weight gain when consumed regularly.
You Should Never Eat Refined Grains
Processed grains are often stereotyped as unhealthy and completely stripped of all nutrients, but some leading nutritionists would say otherwise. While whole grains are usually a better option, refined grains do have some benefits. Processed grains often contain higher levels of folic acid, and some important nutrients like copper and iron are more easily absorbed when eaten with refined grains. Just make sure you are getting enough fiber alongside your refined grains, and you should be good to go.
Athletes Need a Ton of Protein
In this day and age, protein has become overhyped and overrated. Athletes are told that they need to drastically increase their protein intake in order to build up strength and muscles, when in reality most American diets already provide sufficient amounts of protein. When trying to build muscle, it is more important to focus on getting enough nutritious calories throughout the day and to focus on your training.
Sugar Causes Diabetes
New research has concluded that it is not sugar itself that causes diabetes, but a diet filled with too many simple carbs like pastries, pasta, candies, and soda. Simple carbs tend to be high in both fat and sugar, which will eventually cause your body to resist insulin, leading to diabetes. People who exercise fewer than three times per week, obesity, depression, or a family history of diabetes are other predictors for the disease.
Eating Sugar Will Cause a Sugar Rush
This myth may have been established in the 1940’s when health officials attempted to circulate the idea that sugar causes hyperactivity, although current studies have conclusively proven this to be false. Some people may still report feeling a change in their energy levels when consuming sugar, but this is likely due to having low blood sugar prior to consuming it.
At the end of the day, the most important contributing factors to your weight loss journey are the nutrients you consume and the time you spend working out. When you have a choice, always opt for whole, unprocessed foods, and be sure to keep lots of fruits and vegetables in your diet. Try to get your heart rate up for at least forty-five minutes, four times a week. Remember, if you come across a claim that sounds too good to be true, it most likely is.
Source: Zelman, K. M. (2018, February 5). Busted, Popular Diet Myths. Retrieved from https://www.webmd.com/diet/ss/slideshow-diet-myths