Thanks to the technical advancements, information can easily be accessed by everyone through the internet, whether it is correct or wrong.
It is also for this reason that a lot of information has been twisted to radically change how people view the world. While easy information has its advantages, it could also be very prone to abuse.
If you have been a victim of misleading information, then you will definitely get the picture.
The same is true with diet myths. Different diet and weight loss myths have spread like the plague, continuously preventing people from having a good shot at weight loss.
These weight loss myths have been believed by so many for so long now which could probably be the reason behind the growing number of people suffering from obesity and other weight-related illnesses like heart failure, high blood pressure, and diabetes.
Do not be a victim of this fraud!
Knowing the right information is your first and most important step in achieving your goal of having a healthy lifestyle.
In this article, we will segregate the myth from the truth so that you, along with so many other people in the world, would be able to live life to the fullest!
MYTH #1 – It Is The CARBOHYDRATES That Make You FAT!
Prior to Dr. Atkins’ Diet Revolution, a lot of diet fads would have you believe that carbohydrates make you fat. According to these programs, you should cut out as much carbohydrates as possible when you’re trying to lose weight.
This contention was highly disputed by Dr. Atkins’ Diet Revolution as supported by Jean Harvey-Berino, Ph.D., R.D., Chairperson of the Department of Nutrition And Food Sciences At The University Of Vermont, who said that there was nothing wrong with consuming carbohydrates, so long as these are consumed in moderation.
Carbohydrates are the body’s main source of energy, particularly for intense and immediate movements. It follows therefore that once your carbohydrate intake is lowered, your body energy also declines.
Our body can store carbohydrates in the same way that it can store fats, although it can only do so to an extent.
These carbohydrates are stored inside the body, particularly in the muscles and liver, in the form of glycogen. Up to 400 grams of glycogen can be stored in the muscles while up to 100 grams can be stored in the liver.
The fat burning process of our body includes the burning of both carbohydrates and fats. Low intensity movements and exercises mostly use the fats stored in the body while high intensity movements use up the carbohydrates reserves.
It is for this reason that a low-carb diet is not recommended for anyone indulging in very very active lifestyle. For example, Athletes often engage in high intensity exercises and will need carbohydrates to fuel up and hence a low-carb diet is just not recommended for them.
Note that eating the right amount of carbohydrates is as important as eating the right type of carbohydrates.
On this note, we would like to make a distinction between good carbohydrates and bad carbohydrates; good carbohydrates will help your body become leaner and more active while the bad carbohydrates increase your chances of getting fatter by the day!
Simple Carbohydrates And Their Effects On Your Body Fat
There are basically two types of carbohydrates – the simple and complex carbohydrates. Simple carbohydrates are composed either of single sugar molecules (monosaccharide) or by two molecules which are linked together (disaccharide).
You are probably wondering why the difference is so important that it has to be pointed out. The difference lies in how the body works to digest them.
Monosaccharide, being a simple form of carbohydrate, is easily digested and broken down by the body. As a result thereof, it can cause a rapid rise in the body’s sugar level if taken in excess.
What is the effect of a rapid rise in blood sugar?
The answer is simple – the body releases insulin as a defense mechanism. This insulin gets rid of the glucose in the bloodstream and may cause a rapid drop in the sugar level resulting in hyperglycemia.
But how can this fact affect your weight?
Low blood sugar may cause cravings, binge eating, mood shifts, and weakness. This is because the body finds ways to get the sugar it needs, thus sending hunger signals to the brain.
The excess production of insulin also causes the fat storage enzymes to panic and store more fats while burning existing stored body fat. It is as if you’re not burning fat at all!
The simple solution to this problem is by choosing the right carbohydrates to consume; that is the more complex types of carbohydrates like starches (potatoes, brown rice etc) and fibrous ones (vegetables, fruits etc).
These carbohydrates are harder to break down and would prevent you from experiencing a sudden drop in blood sugar and rapid rise in insulin level.
In simple terms, you should try to avoid simple carbohydrates i.e. refined sugar, white flour products, etc. if you really want to achieve fat loss.
The Role Of Complex Carbohydrates in Your Weight Loss
Complex carbohydrates are strings of sugar molecules linked together. Because of their stable structure, complex carbohydrates are harder to break down than simple carbohydrates.
Complex carbohydrates are classified into two, namely, starchy and fibrous.
Starchy carbohydrates are derived from the energy storage of plants. As such, these can be found in potatoes, grains, rice, wheat, cereals, and other plant-derived food.
This type of carbohydrate can be completely absorbed and digested by the body.
On the other hand, fiber (which may also be plant-derived) cannot be digested by the body. As such, it goes through the digestive system without being absorbed by the body.
It also has other benefits; it can help protect your body from diseases like colon cancer and gastrointestinal illnesses. This is the reason behind the low calorie composition of green vegetables!
This component helps your body stay full without starting with a calorie count.
If losing weight is your goal, make sure to always include complex carbohydrates in your meal!
This type of carbohydrate is harder for the body to absorb, thereby giving you ample carbohydrate supply without lowering your blood sugar and raising your insulin level.
Here’s a video to illustrate the carbohydrate myth.
|TIP: Eat a lot of complex carbohydrates! Do not forget to serve fruits, leafy vegetables and legumes in each meal. Along with this, try to avoid simple carbohydrates like refined grains, junk foods and other unhealthy food.|
MYTH #2 – Taking Snacks In Between Meals Is A Big No!
A lot of people believe that taking snacks is bad for people who are trying to lose weight. While this may be true to an extent, it must not be taken as a totally bad thing.
The good news is you don’t have to starve yourself just to shed some pounds! The only thing that you have to know is the difference between mindless snacking and mindful snacking. Easy, right?
According to Elizabeth Pivonka, PhD and President of the Produce for Better Health Foundation, “The idea that you shouldn’t eat between meals is a myth,” and it can in effect help you lose weight.
Having snacks in between meals can actually prevent you from having so many cravings and from binge eating later in the day. In fact, most dieticians even recommend snacking on smaller meals rather than a big meal in one sitting.
However, your choice of snacks should be mindful. Once and for all, choose a healthy snack to indulge in. Try to incorporate fruits and vegetables in your snacks in between meals.
Do not give in to the temptation of the fast food restaurant nearby, unless it serves the healthy stuff!
Here’s what happens if you choose wrong snacks in between meals. Watch the video below.
|TIP: Always make sure that you have a healthy snack nearby so you can always grab one when you’re hungry. Keep sliced fruits and vegetables in your fridge so you can always add them to your meal if you’re still unsatisfied with your main meal.
Note that being hungry could be an indication that you are not having the necessary amount of calories.
To be sure, find a calorie tracking software like MyFitnessPal and do some calorie calculations.
MYTH #3 – Never Ever Eat After 8pm If You Wanna Lose Weight!
The truth is, your body does not know what time of the day you take your meal so it really makes no difference to your weight. The things that your body actually appreciates are what and how much you eat, and how much you engage in physical activities all throughout the day.
These are the factors that will determine whether you will lose weight or not. Remember that your body is wired to store extra calories as fats and it doesn’t matter if it’s the end of the day or not!
One of the reasons why some people say that it’s wrong to eat at night is the fact that people are less active at night. As such, you will not be able to burn as much calories as you do during the day when you’re more active.
Going to bed after you have eaten your dinner makes things worse; it makes your sleep less restful and it won’t kick-start calorie burning as it would during the day.
This is an amazing cool video debunking this diet myth – a must watch 🙂
|TIP: If you really want to grab something to eat in late evening, make sure to accompany it with some activity. This doesn’t mean that you need to run the mill; it only means that you need to do something whether it is cleaning the plates, arranging your closet, or playing with your dog.
Also try to keep your portion sizes in check!
MYTH #4 – ALL Fats Are Bad For You!
This is definitely a myth! You have to know that there are different types of fats, and only the wrong ones may cause weight gain.
On the other hand, the right types of fats can help you lose weight in a healthy way.
Below are the different types of fats and their effects on your body.
Unsaturated Fat (The Good Fat)
Liquid at room temperature, unsaturated fats may just be what you need to lose weight!
The two types of unsaturated fats: polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats are often derived from vegetable oils, and can help lower your cholesterol level.
But please note that no matter how healthy unsaturated fats are, these must still be taken with caution since these contain high amounts of calories which can cause weight gain.
Polyunsaturated fats are liquid both in room temperature and in the fridge. Here are some of the primary sources of polyunsaturated fats:
- Soybeans and soybean oils
- Sesame and sunflower seeds
- Most nuts and seeds
- Corn oil
Polyunsaturated fats are needed by the body in order to perform certain functions. However, the body does not have the ability to produce these fats and so these must come from the food you eat.
It helps in building cell membranes, the protective shells of cells as well as sheathes around the nerves. It can also help prevent blood clots, muscle contraction (promotes muscle relaxation), and inflammation.
These fats lower both the LDL and the triglycerides, thereby promoting healthier levels of cholesterol in the body. It also contains omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, some of the essential nutrients that cannot be produced naturally by the body.
These omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids help prevent and treat several ailments, i.e. heart disease, stroke, lupus, eczema, and arthritis. It promotes joint health, better skin texture, absorption of nutrients, and better metabolism.
Monounsaturated fats are liquid at room temperature, but it can become solid in the fridge. Here are some of the sources of monounsaturated fats:
- Canola oil
- Peanut oil
- Olive oil
Monounsaturated fats works in two ways; they lower the bad cholesterol (LDL) and boost the good cholesterol (HDL).
While polyunsaturated fats can also help lower cholesterol levels, some specialists prefer monounsaturated fats because these are more stable.
There are also some speculations that polyunsaturated fats lower not only the bad, but the good cholesterol as well.
The vegetable oils you are using are primarily made up of unsaturated fats. However, these oils have varied amounts when it comes to monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats.
To be sure, always go for either canola or olive oil as both of them have high levels of monounsaturated fats. These oils are a must for your pantry!
Note that at the end of the day, fat is still fat when it comes to calorie counting. Do not immediately believe advertisements saying that a particular cooking oil is “lighter” than others as this only refers to either taste or color.
Remember that when it comes to all oils, 120 calories per tablespoon is the rule. Do not go beyond that!
Saturated Fat (The Bad Fat)
Unlike unsaturated fats, saturated fats turn solid even at room temperature. This animal and plant-derived fat is the primary cause of high cholesterol level and heart disease among people.
This is not surprising since this type of fat is very abundant in the typical American diet consisting of butter, hotdogs, cream, fatty cuts of meat, and cheese.
Since saturated fats are solid at room temperature, it is harder to break down and burn even through intense physical activity. As such, it raises the total cholesterol level, including the LDL.
As of today, no link has been established between saturated fat intake and cardiovascular disease and coronary heart disease (according to American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 2010), but at the same time a contrary study by Harvard School of Public Health, 2010 found out that avoiding these fats altogether reduced the risk of the above diseases by 19%.
But saturated fats taken in moderation are perhaps not that bad. They may be an important source of essential nutrients that are needed by the body.
In fact, some plant-based saturated fats such as palm fruit oil and coconut oil may help you gain a faster metabolism while stearic acid found in animal-derived products are converted by the body into a monounsaturated fat. This makes this type of fat a neutral fat at the most.
To be sure, it is better to always be mindful of your saturated fat intake and limit it to no more than 7% of the recommended daily intake as per the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans.
Remember that fat is fat, and it still contains the calories, excess of which can sabotage your weight loss attempts.
Trans Fat (Worst Fat)
Have you ever wondered what food processing does to your food? Take a look!
When the food undergoes processing, it goes through the process of “hydrogenation”. Hydrogenation changes an unsaturated liquid oil to a more solid and saturated form.
This is done to increase the shelf life of food, or to turn it into solid if manufacturers prefer such as in the case of margarines.
According to recent studies, trans fat totally raises the amount of bad cholesterol (LDL) and lowers the amount of good cholesterol (HDL) when taken regularly or in large amounts.
This increases the risk of developing heart disease! For this reason, the American Heart Association suggests that you use “trans fat free” sandwich spreads instead of the usual butter and margarine.
You may not notice it, but trans fats are all over the place from French fries to popcorn.
Because of its harmful effects on the body, the new food-label laws which came into effect in January 2006 required all food companies to list the amount of trans fats in their food packaging.
This has solicited the attention of the media, but it unfortunately wasn’t able to amply raise awareness among people, thus resulting in high obesity rates in the world, particularly the US.
In a survey by a market research firm called the NPD Group, it shows that 94% of us are aware of trans fats while 73% of us are concerned about its effects on the body.
However, most of us only knew of the trans fats contained in French fries and other common fast food fare but are not aware of its existence in cakes and other snacks.
Unfortunately, the fact that people know and are concerned about the trans fat content of their foods does nothing to quell the still increasing sales of food containing trans fats.
Watch the video below where Jane Fonda discriminates between Good & Bad fats.
|TIP: Try to avoid trans fats at all costs. Say no to cakes, fries, and burgers and say hello to unsaturated fats like avocado, walnuts, and fatty fishes like salmon, tuna, sardines etc which are rich in omega 3 fatty acids!|
MYTH #5 – Food Combinations Work!
A lot of diet schemes, such as Hay Diet tells you that our digestive system can deal better with some food combinations than with others.
This belief actually requires you to be engaged in more food planning and preparation than actually necessary for losing weight.
Dr. William Howard Hay came up with the concept of food combination to improve health in 1911. This concept revolves around the combination of food and the avoidance of certain combinations in one meal.
According to him, we should not combine starch and sugar with protein and fruits in the same meal. He also maintains that fruits and vegetables must be given priority, and that protein, fats and carbohydrates should be taken in moderation.
It also tackles the importance of time intervals in between meals (which can be approx 4 hours) of different food groups to create the perfect “food combination” that will make you healthier and fitter.
This theory is totally a myth. Our digestive system is perfectly capable of breaking down the food we eat, no matter what the combination is! In fact, eating varied food can even help the digestive system break down and absorb nutrients easily.
For example, the Vitamin C in orange juice can help increase iron absorption from plant-derived meals like beans, rice and legumes.
Moreover, all the food that we eat is a combination of one or more nutrients, i.e. protein, carbohydrates, fats, etc. so you cannot really segregate them altogether even if you try to combine the food in your meals.
All of these macronutrients are combined by nature to provide for the building blocks of a healthy body and that’s the way they should be.
Well, I think celebrity fitness trainer Vince DelMonte has hit the right chord. Do not think about the Food Combination stuffs if you do not have a strong grip on the subject of nutrition. Watch it…
MYTH #6 – Fad Diets Work PERMANENTLY!
Remember that fad diets are not the best options for losing weight and sustaining weight loss!
These fad diets often contain false promises of quick and easy weight loss, but soon you’ll realize that this pattern is very hard to follow for good. In fact, most people quit even before a month has elapsed!
The result is they gain back the weight they lost, sometimes even double!
Remember that anybody could lose weight once the calorie intake is limited. But if you’re wise enough to care where the lost weight comes from and how long it could stay off, then you would see that fad diets don’t really work.
The two major obstacles in weight loss fads are as follows:
- The weight loss you achieve with a low-calorie diet could never last. In fact, 95% of the people who tried failed in the end;
- The weight you lose on a low-calorie diet is not fat but muscles and this should not be your goal! Losing fats without losing muscles can never be attained with fad diets.
Do you still need proof that these fad diets don’t work in the long run? Just look at the number of obese people around you and you’d be surprised to see that there are just so many of them!
You need further proof? Just look at the numbers and be amazed.
- More than 2 in 3 adults are considered to be overweight or obese.
- More than 1 in 3 adults – obese.
- More than 1 in 20 adults – extremely obese.
- About one-third of children and adolescents ages 6 to 19 – overweight or obese.
- More than 1 in 6 children and adolescents ages 6 to 19 – obese.
Don’t easily dismiss these numbers, because obesity has a lot of implications.
The health threats associated with excess body fat are Type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, osteoarthritis, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (excess fat and inflammation in the liver of people who drink little or no alcohol), and different types of cancer and stroke among others.
But despite the fact that there are a lot more diet fads nowadays than there were before, you can just see that the number of obese people didn’t dwindle.
Why? Because these fads don’t work. It’s as simple as that.
But surely, we just don’t say that fad diets don’t work without having a basis for it. There is actually a scientific reason why these fad diets don’t work in the long run!
Here’s what Dr. Caroline Cederquist has to say about Fad Diets.
These fad diets restrict your calorie intake by making you eat certain foods and making you avoid others. This limited calorie intake is not well-taken by the body.
When you starve yourself for long, your body goes into panic mode and starts its defense mechanism processes. Your body can sense whether it’s getting enough or not, and it will employ all ways geared towards your survival.
It can stop burning calories, save energy or store fat abnormally. This is when your body goes into a “starvation mode” and starts to act differently (although it takes weeks before the body reacts to starvation).
Since muscles are the easily available active tissues, your body starts to rely on them for energy. Your body won’t look into your stored fats at once and that’s bad news.
This process called Gluconeogenesis transforms muscles into glucose. Mind you, this process makes no distinctions between skeletal muscles, internal organs and even cardiovascular muscles – either or all of them can be consumed!
Aside from this, fad diets have certain consequences. Some of them are:
- Decrease in metabolism – It happens during a severe calorie intake for a prolonged period of time (days/weeks). This is your body’s way of saving your resources, which means that the lower your calories, the slower your metabolism goes.
- Muscle loss – Muscle loss through the process of Gluconeogenesis as discussed above.
- Abnormal fat storing – Lipoprotein Lipase (LPL) is the fat storing enzyme of the body. As you eat fewer calories, your body starts to produce more LPL in order to store fats for future use. This will in turn, prevent your body from producing fat-burning enzymes like Adipose tissue HSL (Hormone Sensitive Lipase)!
- Decreased thyroid hormone activity – The thyroid gland is primarily responsible for the burning of calories while the body is at rest. When the body senses a calorie shortage, it kick-starts its defense which is to shorten the activity of the thyroid hormones. As a result, metabolic rate decreases.
- Gaining back lost weight – While everyone may start to lose weight during the first weeks on a fad diet, it would not take long before the body realizes what’s happening and decides to catch up by conserving energy. This is the time when you start to hit a deadlock. When you reach this deadlock, you’ll notice that it becomes harder for you to lose weight no matter how much effort you put in. This causes a lot of people to just give up out of frustration. Eventually, people would start to get tired of working so hard and getting little or no results. This will be the time when people will think that the diet fad is no longer working for them. At this moment on, the fat you have lost begins to creep back and you go back to worse than square one since you have slower metabolism and less muscles.
Dr. Steven Knope, author of the new book Concierge Medicine shares his view about Fad Diets.
|Tip: Losing fat the healthy way is still your best shot at permanent weight loss! Do not go too fast and be satisfied with losing ½ to 2 pounds a week by gradually changing your lifestyle and food choices.|