I took a leaf out of the Myth Busters book this week and decided to bust some of the diet myths and weight loss lies that I hear in the media, from friends and clients.
As a professional qualified dietitian, I look at scientific research to determine what is fact and fiction when it comes to a healthy diet and healthy weight loss plans. And it is a fact that these nine diet myths do not have any scientific evidence whatsoever to back them up.
Ask any qualified dietitian and they will tell you that the only way to lose weight is with a healthy balanced diet coupled with exercise. You can read more about how to eat a healthy balanced diet on these previous posts:
In the meantime, lets bust some diet myths and weight loss lies.
1) You should eat according to blood type.
There is no evidence whatsoever to sow that eating this way leads to weight loss or should be part of a healthy diet.
2) Food combining helps you lose weight.
Strict food combining does not help to lose weight. However, combining a protein and a low GI source together at each main meal is a sensible
way to eat to help regulate blood sugars and help you feel full.
3) You can eat as much fruit as you like.
Fruit contains a natural sugar called fructose and is not a ‘free food’ because it contains plenty of kilojoules as well. If you are watching your weight and/or your blood sugars limit fruit intake to 2 pieces per day.
4) Avoid carbs after 5pm to lose weight.
There is no scientific evidence whatsoever to prove this fact. The simple fact is that by avoiding carbohydrates at the dinner meal the kilojoule content of that meal will be lower. It is this kilojoule deficit that creates the weight loss.
5) A low fat diet is best for weight loss.
This diet was a revolution of the past 2 decades but we know now that eating a diet with 30% fats is essential for positive health benefits. However it is important that these fats come from unsaturated sources such as plant based oils and spreads, avocados, nuts and seeds and oily fish. It is also worth remembering that just because a food is low in fat, it does not mean that it is low in kilojoules. There is one exception and that is dairy foods. These foods contain artery clogging saturated fats so sticking to the low fat versions can be heart friendly.
6) Detox diets are good for you.
There is no shortage of detox products on the market. However the liver does an excellent job of naturally flushing toxins from the body. The key
is to not put too many toxins such as alcohol, processed foods or food high in saturated fat into your body in the first place.
A short detox of 3-5 days can be beneficial to kick start a weight loss program – but a detox can be as simple as cutting out processed foods and stimulants such as alcohol and caffeine, and eating meals based around wholegrains (such as brown rice, quinoa, lentils, beans and pulses) with vegetables and a handful of raw nuts for 3 days.
7) I can’t lose weight because I have a slow metabolism.
This is not true with the exception of those who have been diagnosed by a doctor as having an under-functioning thyroid. Metabolic rate can be increased by gaining muscle, eating more and increasing the amount of exercise you do.
8) Eating late at night can make you fat.
There is no evidence to this. When it comes to weight loss the old principle applies – energy in must be less than energy out. However, eating less at night can of course aid weight loss simply by cutting down on number of
9) Spicy foods speed up metabolism.
Unfortunately there is little truth to this. Researchers have found that capsaicin found in capsicums and chilli may boost metabolic rate but only for a very short period. What will speed up your metabolic rate is exercising more, and adding more resistance training to your regime to build up muscle which is itself metabolically active. The more muscle you have in your body, the more calories you burn on a daily basis. Now that does not mean you need to pump iron at the gym. Pilates, yoga, body balance and even tai chi builds muscular strength which will in turn increase your metabolism naturally.
I am running a 10 Weeks to Freedom Anti-Diet Weight Loss Program at the moment. If you would like to know more, I would love to hear from you. Telephone me on 1300 853 560 or email me via my website HamiltonDietetics.com
If you would like help with your diet, or would like to speak to a dietitian about preventing or managing specific health conditions, creating a weight loss or weight management programme or anything else related to diet, nutrition and health get in touch with Lynda at Hamilton Dietetics.