5 Dieting Myths Debunked

Gained a few ice cream kilos? Before you start your weight loss regime, make sure you know the facts.

Gained a few ice cream kilos? Before you start your weight loss regime, make sure you know the facts.

Healthy food makes you skinny

While there are undoubtedly foods that are better for you than others, when it comes to losing weight, calories are calories. All foods – even the good ones – are sources of energy which, when not used up, gets stored as fat. So, while a bag of cashew nuts is a whole bunch better for you than a bag of potato chips, the amount of energy you ingest will probably be the same, or higher as nuts are very high in fats. Likewise some fruits are surprisingly high in sugar which will get in the way of your losing weight. Opt for berries and stone fruits over bananas and grapes, and remember that even if the choices you’re making are really nutritious, you still need to pay attention to how much of it you’re putting in your mouth.

You shouldn’t eat late at night

Calories are calories and they go to the same way, whether you ingest them at 7am or 3am. The reason we gain weight when we eat a bag of slap chips on our way home from the club is not because of the late hour, it’s because of the fat content of the food. What counts is your total calorie intake for the day – if you’d eaten hardly all day and danced your butt off all night, that bag of chilli chips won’t make an ounce of difference. But if you have three solid meals plus a calorie-laden night late snack, you’re going to grow a muffin top.

Low carb diets make the fat fall off

Your weight might plummet after a few days on eggs and steak, but it’s not fat you’re losing, it’s water. Water attaches to carbs and causes your cells to store water. Cut them out of your diet, and you’ll flush it out and see a loss on the scale. This might look exciting, but the second you eat your next BLT, guess what – your weight will go straight back up again. Rather than cutting out an entire food group (which is never a good idea), make healthier choices, exercise more and you’ll lose the weight slowly and safely.

To lose weight you need to make drastic changes

No, you don’t have to start running marathons and live on a tin of tuna in a brine day in order to be slim. A great, very sensible myth-debunking book recently came out by Dr Luc Evenepoel called Dr Luc’s Promise – Lose the Weight and Keep it Off which, based on his own evidence, convincingly argues that in order to lose weight and keep it off you only have to eat a little bit less and exercise a little bit more. His magic number is 12% – i.e., 12% less food, 12% more exercise and you’ll remain at your ideal weight forever. If you can make this a lifestyle change – and it can be as easy as attending one extra gym class a week or ordering the salad instead of the fries – you’ve won what can become a lifelong battle.

 You must avoid ‘bad’ foods

There is no such thing as ‘good’ and ‘bad’ food; it’s just food. When you start labeling things and swearing off them forever, you deny yourself which can lead to cravings and totally falling off the diet wagon. Dying for a chocolate biscuit? Eat the biscuit. Then, put the packet away. One biscuit is not going to make an ounce of difference, but 12 biscuits will. It’s human nature to want what we can’t have. Instead of making rules about what you can and can’t eat, listen to your body. Sometimes it wants something sweet; sometimes it wants something salty or fresh or meaty. Give it what it wants without losing the plot. That way you’re much more inclined to stick to your good eating plan.