Myth #1: Carbohydrates cause weight gain and should be avoided.
Truth: Carbohydrates are essential for good health. They provide necessary vitamins, minerals and fiber for optimal body function and energy production. Aim for healthy carbohydrate options such as fruits, starchy vegetables (potatoes, sweet potatoes, and corn), low fat dairy and whole grain options (bread, pasta, rice, tortilla, pita bread, couscous – just to name a few). Inadequate intake of total carbohydrates can impair weight loss, cause fatigue, promote constipation (other gastrointestinal problems), and potentially lead to cravings for low nutrient, carbohydrate containing choices such as sweets (candy, cakes, etc.), chips (corn or potato) and sweetened beverages (sweet tea, soda, juice drinks, etc).
Myth #2: A gluten-free diet optimizes weight loss.
Truth: Gluten is a protein component of wheat, rye, and barley. Individuals sensitive to gluten experience gastrointestinal problems (bloating, cramping, diarrhea, etc.) and impaired nutrient absorption. Diagnosis of gluten sensitivity is made after thorough evaluation and testing by a medical doctor. These individuals are instructed to follow a well planned, gluten-free diet. However, following a gluten-free diet for weight loss (without a diagnosed gluten sensitivity) is unnecessary. Long term weight loss is dependant upon balancing calories consumed with physical activity and not on the amount of gluten ingested.
Myth #3: A low-carbohydrate, high-protein diet is the easiest way to lose weight.
Truth: Following a balanced eating plan – appropriate portions of carbohydrates, protein, and fat – actually aids in weight loss. Healthy carbohydrates provide sustained energy, essential vitamins and minerals and fiber. Protein provides essential amino acids necessary for optimal body functions and aids in satiety. Healthy fats aid in absorption of fat-soluble vitamins (A, D, E, & K), provides essential fats, flavor and satiety. Restricting specific macronutrients (eg. Carbohydrates) may lead to food cravings resulting in excessive calorie consumption, nutrient deficiencies, as well as slow your metabolism (the rate at which you burn calories for energy).
Myth #4: - Eating after 8pm leads to weight gain.
Truth: Healthy lifestyle behaviors such as maintaining a well-balanced eating plan and incorporating regular physical will help in maintaining a healthy weight. A well balanced eating plan generally includes 3 meals and 1-3 snacks throughout the day.
Myth #5: Dairy can make you gain weight:
Truth: Low-fat and nonfat milk, yogurt, and cheese products are not only nutritious, but are also low in calories. They provide nutrients and protein which helps build muscle and strengthen bones. Studies have shown that three daily servings of dairy can actually aid in weight loss efforts.
Myth #6: All sugar is fattening.
Truth: Sugar is a simple term for ‘carbohydrate.’ All carbohydrate containing foods are ultimately metabolized and distributed throughout the body in the form of blood sugar (glucose). The body processes all forms of carbohydrates the same. Opting for nutrient-dense (healthier) carbohydrate choices and limiting less healthy options will help to ensure adequate nutrient intake. An excess in total calories (from any food source), not balanced with sufficient physical activity, can lead to weight gain.
Myth #7: Skipping breakfast will help you lose weight.
Truth: Avoiding breakfast may impair weight loss efforts by decreasing your metabolism (or, the rate at which you burn calories for energy), increase food cravings (often for less healthy options) and ultimately lead to the overconsumption of total calories.
Myth #8: Food labeled “organic” is always better for you.
Truth: Organic foods – those grown in a pesticide/herbicide-free environment – is an earth-friendly mode of food production. Yet, fruits, vegetables and grains – regardless of farming method – contain adequate nutrition, which is important for good health.
Myth #9: The more calories you cut, the more weight you lose.
Truth: Restricting your calories too much can greatly decrease your metabolism and muscle mass. Eating a balanced diet with whole grains, fruits and vegetables, low fat dairy and lean protein sources can help you get the most out of the calories you eat.
Myth #10: “Cleanses” are a good way to detoxify your body and jump-start weight loss.
Truth: Our bodies are very efficient at detoxifying naturally, especially when we consume adequate vitamins, minerals, macronutrients, fiber, and fluid. Cleanses (colon cleanses) are short term and they are also an unhealthy way to lose weight. Because they have a laxative effect, weight lost is reflective of fluid loss. The cleansing approach deprives the body of essential nutrients and long term use can lead to fatigue, diarrhea, and the breakdown of metabolically active muscle mass.
Myth #11: Cardiovascular (cardio) activities provide more benefits than weight training.
Truth: While cardiovascular exercise promotes energy expenditure, strength training can help strengthen muscle tissue, which is more metabolically active than fat tissue. For optimal fitness, aim for a total of 30-60 minutes, 3-5 days a week of cardiovascular activity and 2-3 days a week of weight training.
Myth #12: You have to stop eating your favorite foods to lose weight.
Truth: A healthy diet allows for all foods in moderation. Maintaining a healthful eating plan and an active lifestyle can help with weight control and overall health. For healthy weight management, eat a balanced diet (include all food groups), consider moderation, listen to your hunger and fullness cues, and eat all foods without guilt.
Myth #13: Eating eggs will raise your cholesterol.
Truth: Thismyth began because egg yolks have the most concentrated amount of cholesterol of any food. However, there's not enough cholesterol in eggs to pose health risks if they are consumed in moderation. Studies suggest that eating one egg per day will not raise cholesterol levels and eggs are actually a great source of nutrients.
Myth #14: Vitamin supplements are necessary for everyone.
Truth: If you eat a variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy and protein and along with adequate calories, you most likely don’t need to consume additional supplements. If your diet is not adequate, a multi-vitamin might be beneficial. Additional supplements may be recommended for nutrient deficiencies or pregnant women.
Myth #15: Consuming extra protein is necessary to build muscle mass.
Truth: Contrary to claims of some protein supplement companies, consuming extra protein does nothing to bulk up muscle unless you are also doing significant weight training at the same time. Even then the increased requirement can easily come from food. A potential problem with supplements is that the body has to work overtime to get rid of excess protein, and can become distressed as a result.
Myth #16: All Fats are bad
Truth: It's a long-held nutrition myth that all fats are bad. But the fact is, we all need fat. Fats aid nutrient absorption and nerve transmission, and they help to maintain cell membrane integrity - to name just a few of their useful purposes. However, when consumed in excessive amounts, fats contribute to weight gain, heart disease and certain types of cancers.