The Truth About Diet Myths
Do you feel lost and confused about what to eat? What not to eat? When to eat?
Yea, I get it. There is a lot of misinformation out there, especially when it comes to diets. I was like you. Exhausted, overwhelmed and confused. I eventually would give up and try the trendy diet because hey, everyone else is doing it.
A lot of the media is garbage and constantly bombarding you with conflicting information. You’ll see reports discussing how food is a miracle cure one week with its super foods, zero pesticides and antioxidants, and then the following week if you eat that same food you’ll block all of your arteries, get cancer and gain 10 pounds.
I’ve done a lot of research and I am currently getting certified through NASM Weight Loss Specialist program. I have learned a lot about what works and what doesn’t. Today, I’m about to give it to you straight! Here are the top diet myths debunked!
The High-Protein/Low-Carbohydrate (Keto) Diet Myth
If you are not familiar with the Keto diet, it essentially restricts carbohydrate consumption by eliminating most carbs (rice, bread, pasta) and replacing them with meats, poultry, eggs, and dairy products.
The low carb diet induces a state of ketosis through severe reduction of carbohydrates. Ketosis is a metabolic state in which fat provides most of the fuel for the body. The liver converts fat into fatty acids, and ketones (the byproduct) reach high levels in the blood.
It sounds great in theory. Fat as fuel? That must mean its fat burning!
Well, according to the scientific community there is no consensus “that low-carbohydrate diets produce significantly greater rates of weight loss or longer-term weight loss maintenance when compared with more conventional low-fat diets.” —NASM Weight Loss Specialist Article
Additionally, this diet can be harmful to the heart. The Keto diet is the Atkins diet repackaged with some sparkles and using scientific words to make it sound more official. Atkins came in went in the 90s and I’m sure Keto will have the same fate until it is repackaged as another trendy diet.
Ok, maybe thats true, but I have a friend on Instagram who has lost a ton of weight on Keto! How is this possible? You will see people claiming they lost 50 lbs in 4 months because….
Restriction of carbohydrate depletes glycogen (stored carbohydrate), which causes you to pee or poop out extra water. Essentially, most people are loosing water weight
Ketosis can affect appetite
Due to the limited amount of food choices people often times eat less. Food is less appealing and can be boring when we don’t have variety.
Carbs/Sugar Will Make You Fat Myth
People are deathly afraid of carbohydrates. The thought is typically carbs stimulate insulin release, and insulin stores fat. Therefore, eating carbohydrates makes you fat.
To function properly, the body must maintain blood glucose within a particular range — not too high or low —think like the Goldie Lock’s effect. Insulin and glucagon help create this this balancing act in the body. If the range all over the place and not balanced this often times will result in diabetes, or some extreme fluctuations result in death. So Insulin is completely natural and part of a healthy functioning body.
Same is true with sugar. Sugar is a naturally occurring component of food, found in fruits, honey, and milk whether the sugar is added or refined, both types contain the same number of calories (just 4 grams).
Just like the Keto/low carb diet it is silly to “demonize ” any macronutrient and/or sugar. They are not good or bad they are simply neutral. The body needs carbohydrates, fat, and protein to function.
Negative-calorie diet Food Myth
I remember in high school being told that eating celery helped you loose weight because it contained no calories and after the body digested it you would use more energy and thus it created negative calories. Grapefruit, berries, tomatoes and carrots have been mislabeled as negative energy balance foods just like celery. Although your metabolism does use energy when digesting, absorbing, and carrying nutrients through out the body, at the end of the day the energy utilized is not significant enough to cause weight loss.
In truth, negative-calorie foods are often just very low calorie diets. Weight loss occurs because of the small amount of calories consumed.
Eating at Night Causes Weight Gain Myth
At one point in my life I was a server at Red Robin. I used to get home crazy late like 10 or 11pm. I’d I always come home starving but would be afraid to eat a snack that late because eating right before going to bed wouldn’t give you the opportunity to use the calories and would thus would result in weight gain.
In reality there is no magical time when the body stores food as fat and when it doesn’t. If a person is mindlessly snacking all evening, you will more than likely eat an excess of calories which will then be stored as fat.
If you like a midnight snack, don’t be so hard on yourself. Studies show that the most difficult time of day for people to resist overeating is in the evening and nighttime hours. Its okay to snack at night. Just don’t eat the entire pantry.
If You Exercise, You Can Eat Whatever You Want Myth
I want to start off by saying you can eat whatever you want…. just mindfully.
Some people think when they begin to work out that they are using way more energy than they actually are. Guilty! I’ve been that person! I’ve hopped on the treadmill for 20 minutes and then ate 12 cookies afterwards thinking I was completely justified. This is not so. We are great at over estimating are workouts.
If you want to be successful at weight loss its going to be a combination of both movement and making mindful food choices.
Starvation Mode Prevents Weight Loss Myth
The last myth I want to debunk is the starvation myth. I’ve also fallen victim to this. If we use common sense and look at population who actually do suffer from starvation none of those people are over weight. So where did this media hype none sense come from? Well, even when we do severely limit calories in someone’s diet it can cause a small change in our metabolism. This slight change has never enough to enough to prevent fat loss.
Now don’t take this the wrong way. I’m not encouraging you to skip meals or hop on a 800 calorie diet. Far from it.
Professionals in the health and fitness world discourage extreme calorie reducing diets because it often leads to low energy which creates less daily physical activity, hangriness, and malnutrition.
Also, when we starve ourselves it leads to ravenous hunger, which can result in binge eating behavior.
So there you have it. Six common diet myths de-bunked. Did I miss any? What diet myths have you tried? Let me know by leaving a comment below. Also, in closing I want to note that flexibility is what makes weight loss success. The closer the weight loss program is to the way you like and enjoy to eat, the more successful are going to be. Please feel free to reach out to me if you are looking to any coaching with eating or moving your body!