It's impossible to say what's real and what's not because there's too much diet information accessible. Is there any truth to any common theories, or are they just all marketing speak? We requested our Director of Nutrition to disprove some of the more often held nutrition myths.
Myth 1: You can lose weight by avoiding carbs.
Diets that exclude sugar and refined starch can aid weight loss, but they are only one part of the equation. A well-balanced diet must include fibrous, starchy carbohydrate items. These foods encourage satiety and tend to prevent overeating while eaten on a regular basis. If you want to lose weight, it's essential to reduce carbohydrate portion sizes, yet don't completely eliminate them.
Myth 2: Skipping meals can help you lose weight faster.
It's likely that the opposite is true in fact. Consider the case of a truck driver who goes without eating during the day whilst on a long journey, then comes home and has a big meal in the evening – and remains overweight. Sure, a lack of activity plays a role in their weight increase, but missing meals is still a significant factor.
If you don't eat, your body goes into 'fasting mode,' which slows down your metabolic rate in order to save energy. A slow metabolism means you're not burning calories as fast as you should be, and you're more likely to store energy as fat rather than burn it. If you want to lose weight, you can consume three to four small, nutritious meals a day, all of which should include protein and fibrous carbohydrates.
Myth 3: Foods that are "low-fat" or "fat-free" are healthier.
Since the 1970s, we've been led to believe that fat is "poor" for our health, and there have been attempts to get us to consume less fat. Furthermore, this is now happening, with fat being portrayed as a harmful nutrient on expired food labels. Being fat isn't a bad thing! We need fat, and a balanced diet requires a moderate amount of the correct types of fat at each meal. Often, keep an eye out for snack foods labeled "fat-free," since they can produce more sugar than their regular equivalents. More information about fats can be found here.
Myth 4: If you consume certain foods, you can lose weight.
In certain cases, this isn't a misconception since protein-rich diets are more thermogenic on a gram-for-gram basis than starch- or fat-rich foods, and protein and fat are more satiating than carbohydrates. As a result, fiber-rich diets will keep you fuller for longer, reducing the need to binge on high-calorie snacks. As a consequence, some ingredients will help you lose weight in an indirect way.
However, there are no diets that can trigger calorie deprivation and weight loss. Certain fiber-rich foods, such as celery, are thought to contain little protein, fat, or digestible starch, resulting in negative calories. The concept behind these foods is that the energy spent digesting food is greater than the energy produced by the food attributable to the digestive system's activity.
Unfortunately, this isn't true since fiber offers some nutrients (around 2 calories per gram of fiber vs. 4 calories per gram of digestible carbohydrates), but even though celery is small, it provides some energy, refuting the negative calorie hypothesis. That's not to say that foods like celery aren't beneficial to weight loss; they certainly are. It's just that having a lot of celery isn't going to make you lose weight right away.
Myth 5: Snacking is bad for you.
Snacking in abundance may be dangerous to your wellbeing, but snacking in moderation and with the right snack range can be a healthy way to get extra nutrition whilst still staving off hunger pangs!
Myth 6: You must give up your favorite things in order to lose weight.
You don't have to completely exclude those ingredients from your diet if you're trying to lose weight. Moderate intake of your favorite items can assist you with sticking to a weight-loss plan. Of course, how many you consume can be determined by your own tastes, and whether or not they are high in calories will have an impact on how many you have in your diet.
Myth 7: You must monitor your calories on a daily basis to guarantee that you are getting enough calories.
While many that are more nutritionally inclined may find it beneficial to know many foods are high in calories and which are low in calories, calorie counting is not essential. You can not invest the same amount of money every day. Furthermore, calorie content has little effect on nutritional value. Identically calorie-counted foods may have vastly different nutritional profiles and satiety effects.
Myth 8: Eating just before bedtime can make you add weight.
If you feed before going to bed, you would not add weight! However, eating too much late at night is not a good idea since laying down in bed with a full stomach is terrible for digestion. Furthermore, since our metabolic rate is higher throughout the morning and lower throughout the evening owing to the release of hormones involved in metabolism, such as insulin, it is preferable to spread food intake during the day.
While these nutrition misconceptions are likely to persist, informing yourself about nutrition and distinguishing reality from fiction will make you feel more motivated to create a nutritious and long-lasting dietary routine that meets your specific needs.