As with many other things, a lot of myths about diet abound. Here are some of the common ones practiced today. You’ll be surprised some of these practices you’ve probably bought already are just myths.
1. Eating late at night causes you to put on weight. This is perhaps the most common diet myth. The flawed logic is that since you are largely inactive in the evening, your body won’t burn off what you have eaten, and as a result, you’ll inevitably put on weight. This is misleading because, to lose weight, a person must simply burn more calories than he or she consumes in a given period. Hence, it doesn’t matter that you consume your calories late in the evening. What really does is the sum of calories you consume in a 24 hour period.
I admit a lot of slim people follow this rule. The fact is, people who avoid late meals tend to be more disciplined with their food consumption. However, understand correlation is not causation! If your late dinner is a healthy portioned low carb and low fat meal, then, there is no reason you would gain weight.
2. Eating only fruits for a meal helps to lose weight. This is another ill-advised practice. The flawed logic is that fruits are generally healthy, light and nutritious. Hence, it’s better to avoid ‘heavier’ food items such as carbohydrate, fat and oils, in your meals if you are trying to lose weight. Unfortunately, this is not just but very unhealthy. The body needs to have all major food groups in every meal to keep it healthy and working at optimal level to burn fat and produce energy.
Fruits are healthy but apart from the vitamins and nutrients, they are essentially fruit sugar (fructose), fibre and water. Eating a meal of just fruits amounts to consuming large amounts of sugar. Excess sugar is quickly turned into fat for storage. Meals, therefore, should always be balanced with healthy carbs, fats, proteins and fruits to ensure you get all required nutrients, so energy can be gradually released into the blood stream throughout the day.
READ ALSO: 8 Common Health & Fitness Myths Busted
3. Low-fat foods help you lose weight. ‘Low fat’ or ‘fat-free’ doesn’t necessarily mean low calorie or calorie-free. Our supermarkets are filled with boldly marketed ‘low fat’ products designed to lure you to buy. Avoid this marketing gimmick. When a product says ‘low fat’, it might mean low in fat but high in sugar which is equally bad for your waistline and health.
A good tip is to avoid foods with a high portion of the fat content from saturated fat or high proportion of its carbohydrate content as sugars. Foods labeled ‘low fat’ should contain no more than 3 g fat per 100 g.
4. Eat only when you’re hungry. Spacing food evenly throughout the day is key to weight loss or maintaining your weight. People who eat healthy foods at regular intervals, starting with breakfast , are better nourished, sharper and experience fewer mood swings than those who skip meals. People often think they can save calories by skipping meals but often tend to make up for those saved calories at other times of the day.
5. Drinking liquid meal replacements will help shrink your stomach. Dear readers, liquid diets are strictly for babies and invalid hospital patients! The stomach is a muscular organ which stretches temporarily when you eat, and then returns to its normal size. Drinking liquid meal replacements does not shrink your stomach. As you control your portions, you may get used to eating less over time, but that’s not because your stomach has shrunk. It’s best to do some crunches and eat a healthy diet that will help you lose excess fat.
6. Some foods burn fat. There is no food that can magically burn fat and melt away flab just by eating it. Grapefruit, celery and cabbage soup have been praised by some experts in this regard but none of these can speed up your metabolism to the point that will make you lose weight.
Photo credit: shutterstock