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A Nutritionist’s View On 6 Common Weight Loss Myths

If a weight loss plan seems too good to be true, it probably is. We had a Nutritionist debunk six common weight loss myths.

 Woman eating potato chips in front of a fridge, weight loss myths debunked

It seems like there’s a new diet craze every week. Read on to help you separate weight loss fact from fiction

Going gluten free promotes weight loss

This is not true. “Just because you are eating gluten free doesn’t mean the foods are lower in calories or will aid in weight loss. There are still calories,” says Liz Blike, registered dietitian at Intermountain.

Blike says, “As far as weight control, one should be aware of their specific calorie needs and read food labels to make sure a gluten-free product fits into their total calories. Sometimes gluten-free products can be higher in calories to make the product more appealing.”

Related: 5 Lunch Foods Wreaking Havoc on Your Body  

You can eat all you want if it’s healthy

False again. Just because it says “healthy,” “natural,” or something similar doesn’t mean you should have free reign. Even if a food is considered “healthy,” the calories can still add up fast.

Studies show people tend to view healthy foods as less filling, so they eat more. If you’re not careful, you may end up overeating.

Say goodbye to sugar entirely

Confessing your sugar addiction is sometimes seen as the first step to weight loss. Stories promising miraculous results from cutting all sugar from your diet abound. it is very difficult to cut all sugars from your diet. Many healthy foods—like fruits—contain natural sugars that give us the energy we need to get through the day.

Plus, foods lower in sugar aren’t always lower in calories. In some cases, the reformulated recipe can contain more calories than the original.

“Depriving yourself of certain foods or food groups is the worst thing you can do to your mind and body,” said Runner’s World nutrition editor, Heather Mayer Irvine, who cut sugar out of her diet for one full month as an experiment. “Once I started eating everything in moderation my weight stabilized, I was happier, and I stopped feeling like I was missing out on things.”

Related: 5 Ways to Cut Back on Added Sugars

Focus on eating fat-burning foods

Fat-burning foods are said to speed up the metabolism, but most nutritionists disagree.

Mike Roussell, a scientist and published author on nutrition, says, “Any meal in general provides you with a temporary boost in metabolism due to the thermic effect of food.” He continued, “Most foods aren’t going to instantly cause an increase in fat burning, but choosing low-glycemic foods over high-glycemic foods will allow you to burn more fat and more calories over time.”

Snacking makes you fat

Snacking gets mixed reviews. Some people believe a snack between meals is healthy, but others think it will make you gain weight. The answer lies in how you snack.

If you wait a long time between meals people tend to make poor ‘unhealthier’ choices because they are too hungry or even starving,” says Liz Blike. “Snacking between meals maintains the “energy flow”.  Not only does consistent food intake keep your hunger at bay, it helps stabilize blood sugar levels if this is a concern.  You also have a better opportunity of eating foods from all the food groups and getting all the nutrients your body needs.”   

You should kick-start weight loss with a good detox or cleanse diet

A “detox” or a “cleanse” is characterized by radically limiting food intake or a hyper-focus on a specific food or food type. Before starting such a diet, it’s important to consider possible impacts.

Blike says, “A ‘detox’ diet has other concerns like they are low in fiber which can result in problems with constipation or other GI issues especially if you are using liquid vegetable drinks as a detox. The detox diet can tend to be low calorie and also consist of liquid calories.  In both instances these can lead to getting less than desired nutrition/nutrients and can also lead to binge eating because of too few calories.  Low calories can also make you “hangry”!  Cranky or moody.”

Why do so many people swear by cleanses? It may be due in part to the fact that they are eliminating highly processed foods that have solid fats and added sugar. Simply avoiding these high-calorie low-nutrition foods for a few days may be part of why people feel better.

Related: How to Eat Like A Professional Athlete

Be sure you understand the facts before deciding if a weight loss plan is right for you. Check out other healthy living articles here.


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The content presented here is for your information only. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, and it should not be used to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease. Please consult your healthcare provider if you have any questions or concerns.

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