Debunking Diet Myths

Photo Credit: FotoosVanRobin CC-BY-SA-2.0
It can be difficult for some people to lose weight. When they don’t reach their weight-loss goals as fast as they think they should, some may be willing to try just about anything to lose weight. There is no shortage of fad diets and myths that can actually harm your efforts to eat a healthy diet and lose weight. There are no quick fixes for weight loss. The healthiest, safest way to lose weight and get fit is exercise and a nutritious diet.
One myth that persists is that you have to eat a low-carbohydrate, zero fat diet to lose weight. A low-fat diet with healthy carbohydrates and heart healthy fats combined with exercise can help aid in your weight loss efforts. Calories are the real diet busters. To lose weight, you have to burn more calories than you consume. Carbohydrates are an important part of your healthy diet. The USDA dietary guidelines suggests at least 1/2 of your food plate should contain fruits and vegetables, a little more than 1/4 of your plate should be whole grains and the final portion of your plate should be protein. The nutrients from all of these food groups are important for a healthy body. You have to reduce caloric intake and increase exercise to lose weight.

Some people still believe that skipping meals is a good way to lose weight. Skipping meals or fasting is not a good way to lose weight. When you skip meals, you will be more hungry and may over-eat at the next meal. Skipping lunch may cause you to eat more than you normally would at dinner. Skipping breakfast is a bad idea. Your body has been without food for hours while you were sleeping. Eating breakfast will replenish your nutrient-deprived body and jump-start your metabolism. Some people are able to lose weight by eating 3 small meals plus 2 healthy snacks throughout the day instead of 3 larger meals. It is also a myth that one type of food can help you lose weight. For example, grapefruit has been touted as a magic weight loss food because it is claimed to speed up the metabolism. Grapefruit is a healthy, vitamin-rich food, but eating a lot of grapefruit will not cause the fat to melt. Only a healthy diet and exercise really works. 

Another popular myth is that you have to give up all the foods and drinks that you love if you are going to lose weight. Again, weight loss requires burning more calories than you take in through your food. You can still have a piece of cake or a soda occasionally. Lasting weight loss requires a commitment to lifestyle changes that include exercise, plenty of sleep and a nutritious diet. Reduce the calories you ingest from sweets and sugary drinks to help reduce your total caloric intake. Include more fiber and whole grains in your diet to help reduce the overall number of calories in your diet. Get at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise every day to lose weight and get fit. 

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