Unfortunately, diet myths still circulate and confuse thousands of people. There's no such thing as a top 10 of dieting myths, but we've pulled together some common ones to try and debunk a few of the more common ones.
You don't need to look far inside a glossy magazine, or to watch too many programmes on the TV to find a lot of crazy dieting tips and fads! The Internet is also the worst and probably creates more diet myths than the others put together.
It can all get very confusing. After all, what are you supposed to do when faced with the latest slimming magazine or book that tells you to avoid fat in order to lose weight, yet by avoiding fat you then increase your sugar intake (most low fat foods are jam-packed with sugar) meaning your carbs go through the roof.
With all the conflicting information, knowing what a 'healthy diet' is really does become a nightmare when foods can be randomly labelled 'good' and 'bad'. So, to help take away some of the stress of knowing what's right and what's not regarding healthy dieting, we've got 6 tips compiled by a top personal trainer and nutritionist.
Enjoy putting some of the many diet myths to bed once and for all by reading through the six we have right here.
Unfortunately, it's true that calories do count when it comes to losing weight. To 'melt' away that fat it's essential to create a 'calorie deficit'. Simply put, you need to burn more calories than you eat.
It's best to do this on a daily basis, but more important is creating a calorie deficit each week. The reason for this is that a lot of people are 'naughty' at the weekend and have an increased daily calorie rate on Saturdays and Sundays.
However, more is not better if you cut your calories excessively for two key reasons.
Firstly, a low calorie intake over a sustained period of time can reduce your metabolism, meaning you may burn less calories. This in turn makes it progressively harder to lose any weight.
Secondly, 'starving yourself' every day will eventually cause your body to burn muscle tissue meaning you lose body tone. This is a big 'no no', unless you want a gaunt and unhealthy body.
Having said all that, what is the solution? Firstly, don't cut your calories lower than 1200 calories per day; most women slim quickly on a 1200-1500 diet. Secondly, make sure you eat a diet that's rich in lean protein to support your body tone including lean meat, chicken breast and fish. Fruits and vegetables are also important as they contain more nutrients compared to refined foods but less calories.
It's a slimmers dream, but sadly this mostly a myth, not just for celery (you burn more calories chewing it than you ingest!) but for other 'amazing' foods.
There aren't really any foods that we can eat to make us enviably slim and toned without any hard work, so it's best to skip anything that sounds too good to be true. The good news is there are some food types and nutrients that do support an effective weight loss plan. Most importantly, protein-rich foods are proven to reduce cravings and reduce the amount of food eaten later in the day (brilliant if you often find yourself nibbling or never feel satisfied after a meal).
Secondly, nutrients like green tea and caffeine contained in a product like "Sculptress" capsules/shakes have been found to help burn fat and boost metabolism when combined with exercise. So, while 'fat burning foods' are really a myth, by eating a protein rich diet and combining it with a research-blended product, you can help boost your metabolism, curb hunger and burn body fat effectively if you exercise regularly.
This is one of the ultimate dieting myths. Although some low fat foods contain less calories than their full fat counterparts, many of them are packed with added sugar or a combination of sugar and sweeteners like aspartame (which has it's own problems - read our article). Worse still, some fat free products are complete junk food, such as fat free biscuits!
However, there are some healthy low fat foods out there such as low fat diary products like cottage cheese. So not all low fat options are bad!
What's more, some fat-rich foods like olive oil, avocados, nuts and oily fish contain very beneficial fats which are important for optimal health. In reality, it's all about choosing unprocessed foods and eating sensible portion sizes, regardless of their fat content.
There are many ways to lose weight but studies do suggest that women who miss breakfast and only eat 1-2 times during the day tend to pile on excess pounds more than those of us who graze on healthy snacks and small meals 4-6 times during the day. This suggests that skipping meals to lose weight is a bit of a myth.
There are several reasons why skipping meals can lead to poor slimming results. Most notable is the fact that most women get so hungry that they over-eat when they do finally give into their cravings. It's no surprise that women who eat small meals/snacks every 2-4 hours find it easier to manage their appetite and calorie intake in the long-term. For example, an effective plan may be a balanced breakfast, lunch and dinner, plus a protein shake or bar as a mid-morning and afternoon snack.
Carbohydrates (like protein and fat) don't make you pile on the weight per se. In truth, excess calories eaten over a number of weeks and months make us fat! So, it's absolutely fine to include carbs in your diet, as long as you create an over-all calorie deficit.
Most women do best in the long-term when they have a balanced intake of carbs, protein and fat, because it means that no food is really 'off-limits' in moderation. However, there are a couple of things to bear in mind.
Firstly, processed carbohydrates don't contain much fibre and can be packed with sugar, meaning they can make your cravings worse. In addition, sugary food or excessive portions of carbs really can make it harder to lose weight so stick to balanced servings of unprocessed carbs like whole grain pasta, basmati rice, fruit and grainy bread.
Combining carbs with proteins and healthy fats can also help to slow their digestion and reduce their GI. The take home message, healthy carbohydrates are fine in moderation.
We're ending with one of the biggest dieting myths. Many slimmers opt to remove all fat-containing foods when trying to lose weight and firm-up. However, while cutting processed and excess fat will help control calories and boost health, the right kind of fats are actually essential for successful weight loss. What's more, healthy fats are vital for health, your skin and your well being.
Fats such as olive oil, nuts, avocados and especially omega-3 from oily fish have a host of benefits including faster fat loss, less cravings, firmer muscle tone and a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease. A high-quality fatty acid blend of supplement can take the stress out of making sure you still get the important "good" fats when slimming down or toning up.
Here's a simple 1 day example of how to eat good fats when slimming, toning or simply being healthy:
1 handful of chopped nuts sprinkled on yoghurt at breakfast time
1 serving oily fish with lunch (salmon, trout, mackerel, sardines, pilchards)
1 tbs home-made virgin olive oil dressing on your salad/veg at dinner
We hope we've dispelled so of the biggest dieting myths to help you start slimming quickly while binning all the faddy books and glossy magazines!