Below are some of the most common diet myths I hear.
Diet Myth #1: You must eat low-carb to lose weight.
Facts: Be weary of any diets that eliminate food groups, or entire macronutrients like carbohydrates. Fad diets are exactly how they sound: initially embraced enthusiastically, but do not last long. These diets are often short-lived for people who try them because they are typically difficult to follow and when quick results are not seen, straying is common. Regardless of what diets claim to do, the fact remains that weight loss is achieved when a caloric deficit is achieved, or in other words: fewer calories in, more calories burned. How to do this? Watch your intake and keep up with exercise! As far as carbs go, most people do need to decrease their carb intake because their portions are too large. Focus on nutrient-rich carbs like whole grains, fruit and vegetables.
Diet Myth #2: Smaller, more frequent meals are the way to go
Facts: Let’s face it, everyone is busy, and snacking throughout they day may seem like a more probable option these days. However, those little “snacks” could be leading to larger quantities consumed total in a day. Don’t let 6 small meals turn into 6 large ones! The key is in choosing nutritious, nutrient-dense foods, and controlling portion sizes. Sometimes, 3 meals a day works better for controlling portions. Always use your mind, and your hunger cues as your guide.
Diet Myth #3: Weekend splurges are ok.
Facts: In reality, the weekend is roughly 30% of the week; thinking of this period of time as a time to go crazy and leave behind good habits is the wrong mentality. In essence, poor eating choices on the weekend is counterproductive to eating healthy in your lifestyle. Balance is everything. Aim for consistency: eat breakfast daily, practice keeping a food journal, plan your meals, and do what it takes to keep yourself on track.
Diet Myth #4: Low-fat foods are a healthy choice
Facts: Low-fat foods can be deceiving. Often, these products contain more sugar or salt to replace the flavor of the fat being taken out. Be mindful, some “low-fat” products may still contain unhealthy saturated fat or trans fat, both of which are linked to increased risk of heart disease. “Low-fat” may also indicate to your brain that it is ok to eat more than a normal portion simply because of the labeling. Be cautious of this, overconsumption of calories will lead to weight gain every time!
In general stick to whole foods that are minimally processed, and this will be the best guide to eating well and feeling good.
Assistance provided by Stephanie Horvath