Advertising
Advertising

Get Healthy and In Shape: 15 Diet Myths Debunked!

Get Healthy and In Shape: 15 Diet Myths Debunked!

Let’s be honest, we’ve all tried a crash diet now and then to try and shift a few pounds. Not all of them work, some do, though it’s never a long-term change, but why is that? We all know that diets are bad for us, but with no clear explanations for all the misconceptions that surround them it’s no surprise that we keep trying every new fad diet that come out through the media. I’m going to explain some of the myths that surround diets and give you an understanding of the right way to lose weight.

1. Going on a diet is the quickest way to lose weight

In the short term, your will power during a diet will help you shift a few pounds. Whether it’s from a liquid diet, smoothie substitutes or calorie deficit, in the beginning it will work. However, this change is only temporary – it’s not permanent. Christopher Gardner, an assistant professor of nutritional science at Stanford University School of Medicine, said: “A diet won’t work if you think of it as doing a different thing for a while and then you’re going to stop doing it.”

This mentality is what stops us from shifting the weight permanently. We should be aiming to adopt a completely new lifestyle as a whole, not just for the duration we keep up the latest fad diet.

2. Eating small meals will boost your metabolism and you will burn more calories naturally

The majority of foods we eat don’t have any impact on our metabolism. Things like caffeine may slightly and only temporarily increase your metabolism, but even this increase is not enough to have an effect on weight loss. Eating regularly helps keep your metabolism working consistently and this is good for you. It will stop your body from feeling hungry as it won’t be worried about not getting any energy from food. Large gaps in between meals can confuse your body, leading to unwanted cravings and unnecessary calories.

The only thing that’ll help you burn more calories is muscles – so get moving!

Advertising

3. Too much pasta will make you fat

Ever tried a carb-free diet? I have! I now know better though. Carbohydrates don’t make you fat, it’s the extra calories you consume as a result that do it. Like, for example, the sauces or condiments you add to the dish to make it taste better, not to mention the amount of pasta you’re actually eating. Eating pasta in moderation, like most foods, will not make you fat. Just be aware of portion control and try not to have it every day!

4. Caffeine can help you lose weight

Somewhere along the way came the assumption that drinking caffeine can suppress our appetites when we’re feeling hungry. Theoretically it can, but this isn’t exclusive to caffeinated drinks. Water will do the same thing, and drinking four to seven cups of water a day won’t lead to anxiety, sleeplessness or an increase in heart rate or blood pressure, whereas comsuming the same amount of coffee might.

If you want a hot drink, try green tea – there are countless flavours to choose from and they’re much better for your health too!

5. Milk can help you lose weight

I read once that calcium helps the body break down fat more efficiently, thus leading to more weight loss. This doesn’t have any scientific evidence to back it up. A few studies in 2000 showed that dieters who consumed dairy lost more weight than those who didn’t, but there was no explanation as to why this happened.

6. Don’t eat after 8 p.m.

Ever heard the saying “double calories at night”? Many dieters believe that you burn more calories in the morning and when you eat at night the food sits in your system and then turns to fat. But calories cannot tell time. Mary Flynn, Ph.D., a research dietician at the Miriam Hospital in Providence notes, “Your body digests and uses calories the same way morning, noon, and night.” The misbelief may have come about because you obviously move around more in the morning and throughout the day than in the evenings, so you may have less of an opportunity to burn your intake off. Just be aware what it is you’re actually eating in the evenings and ask yourself if you actually need it.

Advertising

7. Don’t eat protein and carbs together in the same meal – it’s too much!

This misconception relates to the enzymes the body uses when we digest food. Apparently eating foods that require the same type of enzymes aids digestion and evidently helps with weight loss. Your digestive system can actually handle a variety of food all at once. Christopher Gardner says, “There is no proof that eating protein and carbohydrates separately aids digestion or weight loss.”

So eat up, mix up and just enjoy your food!

8. To lose weight you need to cut down your calorie intake drastically

I’m not going to say drastically cutting calories won’t make you lose weight, because it will. But the damage it does to your body is not worth it. Not to mention that maintaining a calorie deficit of however much for the rest of your life is quite considerably unrealistic. This means the inevitable will happen – you’ll pile back on the pounds when you go back to how you ate before.

It’s not about eating less, it all about eating more of the right things.

9. Diet foods help you diet

We believe labels like “low fat,” “low carb,” “no added sugar,” etc. make losing weight easier. The truth is these labels don’t always equate to low calories and certainly don’t equal nutritious meals or snacks. Recent studies carried out by Robert Lustig have suggested that when the fat is taken out of foods and replaced with artificial sugar replacements that are low in calories this is actually much worse for our health than the stuff removed in the first place.

Advertising

My advice? Stick to healthy foods that are natural, and that you can trust.

10. Eating fats make you fat

If you’re trying to lose fat, then why eat it, right? Wrong! Fat is not the enemy per se. Fat-rich products like cakes, chocolate bars, sweets, etc. won’t be good for you as a whole, let alone your waistline. Good fats on the other hand are essential for maintaining good cholesterol, keeping your arteries clear and your health in general in check. Fats also help with the absorption of certain vitamins and phytonutrients (compounds in plants that help promote good health).

You just have to be careful which fats you’re eating. But remember: dark chocolate is good for you!

11. Snacking is a bad idea

Not many diets promote snacking. They mostly dictate what we can or can’t eat, the amount of calories we should limit ourselves to and to control portion sizes. What they don’t tell us is how to handle the food we want in between meals, and because of this we think that snacking isn’t good for us and that we shouldn’t do it if we’re trying to lose weight.

In actual fact, snacking in between meals can actually help us eat less and beat off the urge to overeat or binge later. The only thing to be wary of it what it is you’re snacking on. Make it something healthy. Try a fruit salad, nuts or even go adventurous and have an apple or banana with some peanut butter! Just make sure you’re enjoying the food you’re eating.

Advertising

12. You can eat what you want so long as you exercise

Some of us find it hard to eat the foods that are commonly associated with diets, so we compensate for a bad diet by overexercising.

Unfortunately, you can’t work off a bad diet. You need to be willing to make a lifestyle change. The fact is, your metabolism slows down as you age, and as a result you often have to either eat less or exercise more to avoid gaining weight. There is a common saying that abs are made in the gym but earned in the kitchen, meaning you have to back up your exercise with the right foods.

13. Cholesterol is bad for you

When we hear the word cholesterol, we automatically place a negative stigma on it. But there’s both good and bad cholesterol. That good cholesterol helps to build cells and make vital hormones that are essential for a balanced diet and healthy well-being. And that bad cholesterol is what builds up in your arteries and causes serious health risks.

14. Vegetarians can’t build muscle

People assume vegetarians just eat leaves and salads all the time and they struggle to gain muscle because they don’t eat meat. But meat is not the only source of protein. Cheese, nuts, pulses and grains all contain protein, and when eaten right can deliver the same benefit for gaining muscles as meat does. While protein is an essential part of a balanced diet, too much of it can cause damage to the kidneys. This is because the body can only store a certain amount of it and too much can cause long-term side effects. So as mentioned before, take the “in moderation” approach to food and you’ll be fine!

15. The scale is the only way to measure progress

Many diets focus on getting to that goal weight. They advertise losing seven pounds in four weeks and to have regular weigh ins to track progress. It’s really not the best way though. While it can be an indication of progress, your weight will fluctuate daily, weekly and monthly. This is because when you exercise you will be burning your fat but simultaneously you will be building your muscles. You may believe that muscles weighs more than fat but it is simply less dense, meaning one pound of muscle takes up less space than one pound of fat. So, how can you measure your progress? Simple. Take your own measurements: waist, arms, legs, neck, bust, chest, etc. This will help you have a clearer picture of your progress without getting fixated on a number.

I hope by reading this you’ll look into diet myths in more detail and consciously make the decision to not get caught up in them. The only real way to lose weight and keep it off is to eat healthily, exercise and be good to yourself.

More by this author

Effective Ways To Stop Negative Thoughts From Getting You Down Get Healthy and In Shape: 15 Diet Myths Debunked! 10 Things Only People With Orthorexia (Eating Disorder) Would Understand When You Start To Pick Up Running, These 13 Amazing Things Will Happen 15 Simple Exercises and 20 Easy Recipes That Keep Your Heart Healthy

Trending in Health

1 13 Bad Habits You Need to Quit Right Away 2 Can You Stop Depression from Damaging Your Brain? 3 Why You’re Feeling Tired All the Time (And What to Do About It) 4 How to Practice Guided Meditation for Sleep to Calm the Mind 5 How To Overcome Anxiety and Feel More at Ease (Part 2)

Read Next

Advertising
Advertising
Advertising

Last Updated on May 21, 2019

13 Bad Habits You Need to Quit Right Away

13 Bad Habits You Need to Quit Right Away

Creating your productivity ritual — a routine that helps you to maintain a peak level of energy can get you the best out of your days.

Part of creating your productivity routine involves removing activities that drain you (what I call “kryptonites”), and that includes your bad habits.

Like it or not, bad habits are bad for you — mentally, physically, emotionally and even socially in some cases. While some bad habits are harder to quit than others, it doesn’t change the fact that you need to get rid of them. Here are 13 bad habits to quit right away:

1. Stress Eating

I used to be a serious stress eater. I would eat whenever I felt unhappy, stressed, disappointed, anxious, or even… happy! My eating had nothing to do with being hungry, and everything to do with using food to fill my emotional voids.

While eating would comfort me, this feeling was momentary and would disappear right after I was done eating. Instead, what I had left would be the same emotional void that triggered me to eat in the first place (be it unhappiness or stress), a 2,000 excess calorie intake over what I should have eaten for the day, and anger at myself for having stress ate.

I’ve since overcome stress eating. I have healthy eating habits and a healthy relationship with food today where I no longer use food as a tool to fill my emotions.

If you are a stress eater, don’t fret — here’s how to manage your stress better:

How to Manage Stress (A Step-by-Step Guide to Turn Stress Into Success)

2. Nail Biting

Not only is nail biting unhygienic, it is also socially repelling, leads to dental problems like malocclusion of the anterior teeth,[1] potentially cause stomach problems,[2] and lead to severely deformed fingernails in the long run.

People who bite their nails tend to have shorter nails than the average person; their nail plates also experience scarring and may eventually become absent.[3]

Understand what triggers your nail biting behavior and replace it with another neutral to positive habit. Make habits to break habits.

For example, if you bite your nails when you are stressed, go for a walk or listen to music instead the next time you feel stressed.

Advertising

3. Hanging out with Naysayers

We all know these people — people who play devil’s advocate to every idea you have and every goal you want to pursue. We are already our greatest self-critics, so it doesn’t help when there’s someone beside us, ever ready to pounce on what we say and tear it down.

Hang out less with these naysayers and spend more time with supportive people who share constructive feedback instead. You will be much happier this way.

Learn how to get rid of naysayers with these 10 Ways to Ignore the Naysayers and Achieve Your Dreams.

4. Being with People Who Don’t Appreciate You

Haven’t all of us been in this situation before? Trying to please people who don’t appreciate us? Bending over backwards to be there for people when they are never there for us?

While we give without expectations of return, we need to draw a line with people who don’t value us because these people damage our souls.

Stop spending time with people who don’t appreciate you, and spend more time with people who do instead.

Unsure who you should get rid of? Learn about it here: 5 Kinds of Toxic People That You Need to Get Rid of Now

5. Smoking

Smoking is one of the leading causes of preventable death globally.[4]

In just the United States alone, about 500,000 deaths are attributed to smoking-related diseases annually. A recent study estimated that as much as one-third of China’s male population will have significantly shortened life-spans due to smoking! Gender-wise, male and female smokers lose an average of 13.2 and 14.5 years of life respectively — that’s over a decade of life right there.[5]

Not only that, smoking causes pre-mature skin aging (i.e. wrinkles), yellowing of teeth, bad breath, and worse of all — jeopardy of the health of people around you, including your loved ones. Studies have shown that non-smokers exposed to second-hand smoke are at risk to many of the health problems associated with direct smoking.[6]

Smoking risks

    6. Excessive Drinking

    All of us know that drinking too much alcohol is bad for us, but do you know how bad it really is?

    Advertising

    According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, drinking too much — be it on a single occasion or over time — can seriously damage your health:[7]

    • Brain problems: Alcohol interferes with the brain’s communication pathways, making it harder to think clearly and move with coordination.
    • Heart diseases: Cardiomyopathy – Stretching and drooping of heart muscle, Arrhythmias – Irregular heart beat, stroke, high blood pressure
    • Liver diseases: Steatosis or fatty liver, alcoholic hepatitis, fibrosis, cirrhosis
    • Pancreas problems: Pancreatitis, a dangerous inflammation and swelling of the blood vessels in the pancreas that prevents proper digestion.
    • Different types of cancer: Mouth, esophagus, throat, liver, breast

    If you drink a lot, perhaps cutting it out right away will be tough. Cut down the number of glasses you drink each time, followed by the number of times you drink a week.

    If need be, seek help from an AA group — you aren’t alone in this. Change starts from today.

    7. Eating Junk Food (Including Diet Soda)

    Junk food — they are everywhere in our society today. From McDonald’s, to KFC, to Burger King, to 24-hour takeouts, junk food such as fries, highly processed burgers and sodas has become a staple in our society today.

    If you think, “Hey, but junk food is tasty!”, think again:

    A study by Paul Johnson and Paul Kenny suggests that junk food consumption alters brain activity in a way similar to addictive drugs like cocaine and heroin.[8]

    “After many weeks with unlimited access to junk food, the pleasure centers of rat brains became desensitized, requiring more food for pleasure.”

    And you wonder why you seem to crave fast food when you just had some the day before?

    While it may not be possible to remove junk food completely from our diet right away, we can reduce our junk food consumption starting today. Instead of soda, opt for a fruit juice (fresh juice, not the carbonated kind) or mineral water. Instead of fries, switch to mashed potato, a salad, or rice (many food outlets allow for this today). Instead of a fried meat patty, go for a grilled one.

    Where possible, opt for healthy food joints like salad bars and delis as opposed to fast food outlets. Every little step goes a long way.

    Here’re some healthy snacks ideas for you: 15 Healthy Snacks You Should Always Have At Home

    8. Eating Too Much Red Meat

    There has been conclusive evidence that consumption of red meat increases the risk of colorectal cancer; and suggestive evidence that it increases the risk of oesophageal cancer, lung cancer, pancreatic cancer, and endometrial cancer.

    Advertising

    In addition, some studies have linked consumption of large quantities of red meat with breast cancer, stomach cancer, lymphoma, bladder cancer, lung cancer and prostate cancer![9]

    Personally, I’m a vegetarian so I don’t consume red meat, but for those of you who consume red meat, do watch out and limit your intake — better still, cut it out of your diet. World Cancer Research Fund recommends limiting intake of red meat to less than 300g (11 oz) cooked weight per week, “very little, if any of which to be processed.”

    Of if you’re thinking about becoming a vegetarian, check out this guide: 5 Practical Tips For Starting a Vegetarian Lifestyle

    9. Watching Too Much TV

    I stopped watching TV since eight years ago and I have never regretted it. Every once in a while I will switch on the telly to see what is on, and then I will switch it off because it’s just the same boring shtick over and over again.

    Watching TV, particularly well-written dramas, can be a good way to unwind. However, remember that TV isn’t your life.

    Spending three hours every night watching TV will not change your life for the better. Rather, using that time to reflect on your life, take stock, and take action on your goals will.

    It’s not easy to remove TV from your daily routine right away, but follow these 6 Steps To Remove TV From Your Life.

    10. Being Late

    Not only is being late being rude to others, it also means that you’re always rushing from one place to another, playing catch up in your agenda, and having to apologize to every person you meet.

    Stop being late and not being punctual, but practice being early instead. Target to arrive 15 minutes earlier before any appointment and bring along something to do in those 15 minutes (or longer if the other person turns out to be late). Then you can stop playing catch up and stay ahead in life.

    Learn more tips about how to be more punctual here: How to Be On Time Every Time

    11. Being in Bad Relationships

    Are you always dating the wrong guys/girls? Do you end up with jerks all the time? Well, you may not be able to stop yourself from meeting bad partners but you can certainly stop yourself from furthering contact with them, spending time with them, or even… entering into a relationship with them.

    I used to invest myself in this guy who was nothing but toxic for me. After a good five months of experiencing nothing but getting burned over and over again, I realized that he was a total waste of my time and I deserved better. I decided to cut him off, and it was soon after that I met my soulmate.

    Advertising

    Learn about why you shouldn’t stay in a bad relationship and how to deal with it if you’re in one: Why Trying Hard to Stay in an Unhappy Relationship Is Not Love, but Fear

    12. Leaving Things to the Last Minute

    Burning the midnight oil isn’t fun — it’s exhausting.

    Those of you who got through college by burning the midnight oil would have learned this the hard way. Not only is it damaging for your body, it is also mentally draining as you’re constantly in a hyper-tense mode, feeling anxious about whether you can finish your work on time.

    Start today on a new note. Rather than react to your deadlines, be proactive about them by planning ahead, identifying what needs to be done for the week, and getting things done in advance.

    By staying ahead of your tasks, you can also use your extra time to plan ahead in your life and get more things done.

    Take a look at this guide and learn how to stop procrastinating: Procrastination – A Step-By-Step Guide to Stop Procrastinating

    13. Focusing on the Negatives

    In every situation, there are two ways you can react: zoom down to the problem areas and crib about how things aren’t the way you want, or celebrate the areas that are going well and work on making everything better.

    Many of us see the importance of doing the latter but in practice, we do the former. Why though? Criticizing and focusing on the negatives is easy but it doesn’t empower nor inspire us to be better.

    Make a change — for every negative encounter you run into, I challenge you to identify three things that are good about it. Practice doing this for one week, and by the end of the week you’ll find that your first instinct is to think positive, not negative.

    And here’re even more ways to help you stay positive: 11 Tips for Maintaining your Positive Attitude

    The Bottom Line

    So here you find the 13 most common bad habits and their consequences on your mind and body. The good news’ you can quit them all.

    Just spot out your own bad habits and take my suggestions to quit them. Then you’ll find your life a lot healthier and happier!

    Need more tips to break your bad habits? Check out these articles:

    Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

    Reference

    Read Next