Vowed to hit your ideal weight this year? Before taking on that low-carb or after-6 diet, learn the truths behind the most popular weight-loss plans. Here, we debunk some common diet myths.


Myth:
A no-fat diet is good for you.
Truth:
Completely taking out one food group from your diet is never a good idea. The thing about fat is the body needs it for energy, tissue repair, and to transport vitamins A, D, E and K to the rest of your systems, says Lyndel Costain, a registered dietitian and nutritionist with 20 years of experience. She adds that women need around 70g of fat a day, with 30g as the minimum.


Eat up on good fats found in nuts (including sunflower, sesame, and pumpkin seeds, almonds, peanuts, and macadamia nuts) and in foods rich in omega-3s (salmon, grass-fed beef, edamame, and flaxseed oil are great sources). These release essential fatty acids, are necessary for maintaining healthy skin, and carries vitamins into the body.

Planning to lessen your fat intake? Cut down on consuming food that is high in saturated fat (usually found in butter, milk, and even vegetable oil) since it can raise the level of cholesterol in the blood.


Myth:
Eating food late at night will cause weight gain.
Truth:
It’s not when you eat that’s important, but the total amount you consume in a 24-hour period and how much physical activity you’ve done. “The bottom line is a calorie is a calorie. Whenever you eat it, your body doesn't really recognize what time of day it is,” says Nigel Denby from the British Dietetic Association.


Instead of gorging on food the whole day and then abruptly stopping by 6 p.m., eat well-balanced, properly-portioned meals three to six times a day. (Check out this guide to know if you’re eating nutritionally-balanced meals.) And you can't forget to couple your diet with regular exercise. You need about 2 ½ hours a week of moderate aerobic activity to drop the excess lbs.

Myth:
Drastically cutting calories means more weight loss.
Truth:
Sure, taking out all the junk, carbs, and sugar from your diet works…at first. But that quick shedding of pounds is mostly just from water weight—and is only temporary. “Psychologically, it's difficult for people to adhere to strict diets over a long period because they feel deprived and hungry,” says Traci Mann, an associate professor of psychology at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis. The result? You end up just regaining the weight—sometimes packing on even more lbs over the years. Slashing major calories can also cause fatigue, constipation, nausea, diarrhea, and in some cases, even an increased risk of developing gallstones.


You can, however, cut out unnecessary cals so you can drop down to your ideal body weight. Some tricks to try: don’t pile on the salad dressing, skip the whip cream on your iced coffee, and drink less soda.


Myth: “Light” food means less calories.
Truth:
Food items labeled “light” may have fewer calories or fat—but not without increasing the sodium, sugar, chemical additives, or artificial sweeteners. “When you remove fats, you lose taste, and manufacturers make up for that by increasing the sugar and salt levels,” says Alex Renton of the Daily Mail UK, who did his research with Catherine Collins, principal dietician at St Georges’ Hospital in London.


The takeaway? Don’t be fooled by labels. Remember, the word “light” tricks you into thinking that it’s okay to eat more of it—not realizing that you actually end up consuming the same amount of calories as in the “regular” version of the food product. Always read the nutritional information found at the back of the product to make sure you know what you’re buying and eating.


Myth:
Wheat bread or multi-grain bread is healthier than white bread.
Truth:
You’re in the grocery to buy bread and you stand between the stack of white and wheat bread—if you’re trying to lose weight, chances are you’ll pick up the wheat bread. It’s the healthier option, right? Well, not really. Before making that choice, know this: Reports say that wheat bread is generally white bread with caramel and molasses. The better, healthier alternatives? 100% whole wheat and whole grain breads.



Photo: (Instagram) @annecurtissmith; GIFS: giphy.com

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