It seems as though everywhere you look, someone or something has a new secret on the best way to lose weight. You can constantly find magazines featuring a celebrity’s dramatic weight-loss or infomercials with the latest weight-loss gimmicks. With so much buzz about losing weight, it’s hard to tell what’s truth and what’s myth when it comes to dieting.
Myth: Carbohydrates will make me gain weight. If I want to lose weight, I should limit them or cut them out of my diet completely.
Fact: Carbohydrates are the body’s main source of fuel for energy, so you don’t want to completely eliminate them from your diet. Complex carbohydrates, which include most vegetables and whole unrefined grains, such as quinoa, brown rice and oats, are a good source of energy. Just be sure to limit the amount of simple carbohydrates you consume, such as sugar and foods made with white flour. Eating excessive amounts of simple carbohydrates can cause a rapid rise in blood glucose levels.
Eat carbohydrates as part of a balanced diet that includes protein and fat as well. Websites such as ChooseMyPlate.gov and apps such as MyFitnessPal can calculate the recommended amount of each food group you should be eating each day to achieve your weight-loss and nutrition goals.
Myth: I will lose weight if I skip meals.
Fact: Actually, you want to eat more meals, not skip them. Many studies have shown that people tend to weigh less when they eat a healthy breakfast and spread their calorie allotment across four or five meals a day. When you skip a meal, you feel hungrier later and are likely to eat more than you normally would or make unhealthy choices. Give your body more time to burn calories by eating higher calorie meals earlier in the day.
Myth: If I eat low-fat and fat-free foods, I will lose weight.
Fact: Not necessarily. In most cases, low-fat and fat-free versions have as many, if not more calories as their full-fat counterparts. Manufacturers have to put something in there to make up for the fat that was removed. The fat usually is replaced with a combination of sugar, starch and flour, along with other unpronounceable additives meant to improve flavor and texture. In addition to adding calories, these products include other processed chemicals your body doesn’t need.
Myth: If I exercise enough, the pounds will melt off.
Fact: Exercise is crucial for living a healthy lifestyle, but the only way to lose weight is to burn more calories than you consume. The more you exercise the more fuel your body will need and the hungrier you will be. It’s important to find a good balance between eating healthy and exercising.
The Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans states, for substantial health benefits, adults should exercise at a moderate intensity for at least 150 minutes (2 hours and 30 minutes) a week. In addition, it’s recommended that adults do muscle-strengthening activities, for all major muscle groups, of moderate or high intensity at least two days a week.
Recommended review by a dietitian.