American Council on Exercise by American Council on Exercise

The media is flooded with an overwhelming amount of information on the ‘right’ way to lose weight and get fit. It’s hard to know what’s true since some ‘expert’ advice can seem confusing, unsafe, or flat-out strange! Let’s take a look at some popular diet myths and the truth behind them. 

  1. Myth: Eating late at night causes weight gain
    Fact: Weight gain happens when you consume more calories than you burn, no matter what time of day you eat. However, night-time snackers have a tendency to choose higher calorie foods—which can cause weight gain. 
  2. Myth: You should eat each food group separately for optimal digestion
    Fact: Your digestive system is made to handle more than one type of food at a time. Protein and fat actually slow the digestion of carbohydrates, which helps blood sugar stay stable. And keep in mind that few foods are purely carbohydrates, protein or fat—so it doesn’t make sense that you can’t mix them.
  3. Myth: Low-carbohydrate/high-protein/no-fat diets are the best for weight loss
    Fact: These restrictive diets may result in quick weight loss, but they are not easy to follow long-term, the lost weight is commonly regained, and most importantly-the body misses out on important healthy nutrients.  Want a plan that does work? Try MyPlate, Weight Loss, DASH diet, or Mediterranean diet.

  4. Myth: Skipping meals is a good way to lose weight
    Fact: Skipping meals actually slows your metabolism and leads to overeating at other times of the day-which both cause weight gain.
  5. Myth: It is better to eat six meals a day instead of three
    Fact: Because weight control is achieved by balancing the number of calories consumed with the number burned, it doesn’t matter if the calories come in the form of three large meals or six smaller ones. However, some people find that they’re better able to control their intake one way or the other. It’s a matter of preference.
  6. Myth: Grapefruit will speed up your metabolism
    Fact: There are no foods that will help you burn more calories. The only surefire way to speed up your metabolism is to exercise and build muscle.
  7. Myth: Rapid weight loss can be maintained
    Fact: Extremely restrictive diets may cause a huge amount of weight loss in the first week or so (sometimes 10 to 20 pounds!), but it generally can’t be maintained. Most of the weight lost is water and lean tissue, so the minute you get off the diet, you’ll gain the weight back—and probably more.
  8. Myth: You have to stop eating your favorite foods to lose weight

    Fact: Skipping out on your favorite foods leads to feelings of deprivation, which makes us more likely to ditch the diet altogether and go overboard on these once ‘forbidden’ foods. A better approach is to embrace healthy eating, regular activity, and all foods in moderation.

So remember this when deciding if you should try the next big diet, pill, shake, or gadget- If it seems too good to be true, it probably is!


Additional Resources: 

American Council on Exercise

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