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The 10 Biggest Weight Loss Myths

From debunking the confusion on eating less to weigh less to clarifying the truth about dairy and its effect on the scale, learn the facts about losing weight here!

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With such an extensive volume of nutrition information available right at our fingertips, it can be difficult to separate the truth from fiction.

From debunking the confusion on eating less to weigh less to clarifying the truth about dairy and its effect on the scale, our experts are dishing the facts about losing weight.

The Truth About Weight Loss

Myth #1: You must eat less to lose weight.

"If I restrict my calories and count them to a tee, weight loss is sure to follow." Though such logic is grounded on the basic diet premise of "calories out must exceed calories in," there is much more to the equation than such a linear approach.

Because believe it or not, overly restricting calories can be quite destructive and actually start working against weight loss. Very low-calorie diets can cause severe side effects, including brain fog, dizziness, irritability, and worse yet, lead to muscle loss.

Losing precious muscle not only compromises overall strength, but takes a hit to a healthy metabolism, which makes weight loss even more of a challenge. Tack on heightened risks of suffering from intense cravings, weight loss becomes even more trying.

This is where the "eat more to lose weight myth" essentially comes into play: Not necessarily to eat boundless "cheat meals," but rather focus on eating more nutrient-dense foods that support muscle mass and metabolic processes.

When it comes down to the truth about weight loss, eat more whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables, lean and plant-based proteins, and healthy fats sources. Adding these whole foods in the diet naturally increases nutrient content, while encouraging you to eat less of highly processed, innutritious products.

Myth #2: Eating fat will make you fat.

Contrary to popular belief, eating fat does not necessarily lead to excess body fat and falling victim to myths about fat might be keeping you from your weight loss success. Fat has a much slower digestion process, which helps to induce satiety and lower the risk of overeating, thus controlling calorie and encouraging weight loss.

But this is not necessarily the go-ahead to adopt a keto diet… Instead, stray away from those "fat-free" products that are often filled with sugar and other additives to increase palatability in fats absence, along with enjoying an appropriate portion and serving size of a full-fat food.

Nutrition experts place emphasis on a Mediterranean style-diet emphasizing high amounts of monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFAs) and polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) sourced in fatty fish, avocados, nuts and seeds, olive and canola oils.

Myth #3: Eating carbs causes weight gain.

One of the most believed "facts" about weight loss is eating carbs causes weight gain. And if dietary fat does not exactly cause weight gain, then carbs do, right? Not necessarily, either.

Just like fat, there are varying types of carbs. Yes, they can be refined carbohydrates to processed foods in the form of sugar or white flour, including into white breads and pasta, cookies, cake, candy, and sugar-sweetened sodas and drinks.

But carbs are also naturally sourced from whole grains, fruits, veggies, milk, legumes, nuts and seeds. In their natural, wholesome form, carbs are excellent sources of fiber, offer fundamental vitamins and minerals, and bare a number of health benefits. 

In fact, consuming a fiber-rich diet has shown to support a healthy weight and ward off the risks of health conditions, including diabetes, heart disease, and certain types of cancers.

That being said, it is important to opt for the right types of carbs, as unlike naturally-occurring carbs, refined, and high-sugar products offer empty calories and hold little to no nutritional value.

Myth #4: Cutting out dairy is essential for weight loss.

Cutting out dairy for weight loss became popularized due to much part of its celebrity following. In fact, Khloe Kardashian swears giving up dairy helped her shed weight. "I learned a lot about dairy and what it does to your system and I cut it out," she states.

But do you really need to forego dairy staples to lose weight? And is string cheese good for you as they say? But wait, what about the calcium in dairy for bone health?

In short, giving up dairy to lose weight is possible, as would cutting out any sort of food group could. And to the answer the question, "Are cheese sticks healthy?"

Certainly! As is milk, yogurt, cottage cheese and other wholesome dairy products that supply protein, calcium, phosphorus, iodine, and other essential nutrients.

Myth #5: You'll gain weight if you eat after 7:00 p.m.

You have heard it time and time again… If you want to lose weight, the kitchen must close at 7:00 p.m. and not open until breakfast. While this theory aligns with components of intermittent fasting, which does show to provide some impressive benefits, going into the kitchen after dark will not necessarily lead to weight gain…

Just don't go overboard! Too much snacking on junk food or desserts before bed adds on excess and unwanted calories. Consider a bedtime snacks for weight loss and better sleep, including string cheese and whole grain crackers, Greek yogurt and berries, and an egg wrapped into a wheat tortilla.

Bottom line: The truth about weight loss not solely depends on meal time itself, but about WHAT you eat.

Myth #6: Snacking between meals will cause weight gain.

The poor reputation of eating between meals mostly stems from the foods often chosen amidst a snack attack, including that bag of chips or candy bar, and the (often empty) calories they add to daily totals.

But if done with intent and moderation, snacking can actually assist in weight loss goals. Snacks balanced with protein, fiber, and healthy fat can keep hunger at bay prevent from overeating when the next meal arrives.

So, go ahead! Try healthy snacks for weight loss, including apple slices with nut butter, beef jerky, cottage cheese, turkey and pickle roll-ups, and homemade trail mix.

Myth #7: Certain exercises can target "trouble" spots.

If wanting to lose fat in a certain area, such as the belly, doing countless sit-ups or crunches likely will not… And despite what you see on commercials and in the media, spot reduction in exercise remains a myth.

To this day, there is no specific exercise pattern, nor pill or supplement for that matter, that can guarantee fat reduction in a particular region. So in order to peak the abdominal muscles, you must lose overall body fat, which is determined by personal genetics and lifestyle choices.

Myth #8: Cardio is better for fat burning than strength training.

All too often dieters turn to cardio to torch calories and burn fat. While can cardio drop the number on the scale faster, greater fat loss and muscle growth results from strength training, which helps speed up metabolism.

So truly when it comes down to cardio versus weight lifting for weight loss, the best workout includes a combination of each. More specifically, the American Heart Association (AHA) encourages a minimum of 150 minutes of aerobic activity weekly, which can be in the forms running, brisk walking, swimming, dancing, cycling, or any other activity that elevates heart rate. 

Also include weight and strength training at least twice a week and focus on the major muscle groups, including the back, chest, arms, and legs.

Myth #9: Going vegetarian or vegan is a ticket to weight loss.

It is not too uncommon individuals turn to a vegetarian and vegan diet in hopes to shed those unwanted pounds…

But "eating vegan" can still contain calorically-dense foods and may even lead to weight gain. Although a bag of chips may be both vegetarian and vegan-friendly, continuously indulging on such products may not be the most appropriate method to lose weight.

However, you could lose weight if implementing these tips for eating healthy as a vegetarian, including by incorporating fresh fruits and veggies, whole grains, healthy fats, and plant-based proteins. 

But like any sort of weight loss plan, it is important to remain mindful of high-calorie foods that are essentially absent of valuable nutrients (whether they are classified as vegan or not).

Myth #10: All "diet food" is bland and boring.

Perhaps if you resorted to chicken, rice, and broccoli each day… But eating healthy is not a trade off for bland and boring food.

A weight loss meal delivery is passionate about providing gourmet meals perfectly suited for weight loss and overall health, along with the provision of a rotating rotating menu of numerous delicious recipes!

Written By Sarah Asay, RDN. Published on November 07, 2012. Updated on March 11, 2019.

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