The Hype and Myths Of Dieting


The myths and hype of dieting.

Diets and dieting are prone to hype, which can make separating truth from fiction difficult. How do you know which dieting claims are worth your consideration? Start by reading our series, “Real Help With Weight Loss” and then ask the the following questions:


(1) Are the claims being made too good to be true? Does the diet promise you’ll shed pounds quickly without a lot of work or without making any real changes to lifestyle? Does the diet claim to be a breakthrough for losing weight? Does the diet involve eating only one food or taking pills? Claims like these are a sign a diet is promising more than it can deliver. See how the diet’s claims stack up against information from reputable sources—that is from trustworthy groups and organizations who make it their business to research the facts.


Find out the facts.

Does the diet rely on pills? Are they really safe? Better check with your doctor to find out.

(2) What are the facts? Think about the claims being made. Are they backed up by research? What references are cited? Does the author or promoter rely on a single study or are multiple studies involved? There’s a lot of misinformation involving dieting. Take the time to check the facts, and don’t be fooled by single studies which suddenly bring “new information” to light. Evidence should be gathered using proven scientific methods, the results should be peer reviewed and be verified in other independent studies.


(3) What does your doctor recommend? With so many confusing claims being made, and with your health at risk, don’t guess whether a particular diet is safe you. Instead, work with a health professional to design a program that’s appropriate for your needs.


Setting The Record Straight: 8 Common Dieting Myths


Nuts are good for you they are high in unsaturated fats.

There are good and bad fats. Do you know which fats are best? Find out by clicking on the picture.

Myth 1: Low or no-fat dieting is best. Wrong. According to the Mayo Clinic about 20 to 35% of the food we eat should be healthy dietary fat. Fats are essential for providing energy for our bodies, plus they’re needed to repair tissue and to help our bodies absorb and process certain vitamins. Equally important: If we take away fat from foods, the foods taste less appealing. That’s why many so-called low-fat or fat-free foods are loaded down with added sugars—sugars that just add “empty calories” to our diets and pack on extra pounds.


Myth 2: The best way to lose weight is go on a crash diet. Wrong. The real issue with any diet is whether we can keep the weight off, which really comes down to choosing a healthier overall lifestyle. To successfully manage weight is therefore all about deciding to value health first and foremost. Unfortunately, starving our bodies of food not only burns fat, but it can also burns lean muscle mass and may leave us feeling weak and dizzy. Please check with your doctor before going on any diet.


This turkey dinner looks too good to pass up.

Wonder if that holiday dinner made you gain 10 pounds. It’s not as bad as you think.

Myth 3: We can blow our whole diet eating one super fat meal. Wrong. To gain a single pound we need to eat 3500 calories more than we burn off in a day. Thus, to gain 5 pounds from a single meal we’d need to eat 5 x 3500 or17500 extra calories! To put that in perspective a double patty Whopper from Burger King is about 917 calories. That means we’d have to eat about 19 double Whoppers in a single meal to consume that many extra calories. While body weight can vary up to several pounds a day, the liquids we drink and/or and the liquids contained in food account for most “instant weight gain” and are quickly processed out of our systems. Instead of getting depressed for falling off a diet, just get back on the plan and work a little harder to be active.



Myth 4: We’ll gain more weight eating late at night. Wrong. No matter the time of day, our bodies are busy handling basic functions like breathing, pumping blood and metabolizing food. Consider this: Calories In + Level Of Activity = Weight Gain Or Weight Loss. Eat more calories than we burn off in a day and we’ll gain weight. Eat less and we lose weight. What gets lost by most dieters is the fact we really can’t gain or lose any significant weight over the course of a few hours—remember we need to burn 3500 extra calories to lose a single pound. Gaining weight is therefore not about when we eat, but about managing our overall food intake and level of activity.


Eat quality food in reasonable quantities.

It’s really not when you eat that matters most. More important is eating reasonable quantities and focusing on eating foods like good vegetables, fruits, whole grains and healthier fats. This burger is made with a portabella mushroom. No saturated fat here.

Myth 5: Eating faster leads to weight gain and eating slower to weight loss. Wrong. While some studies suggest a link between eating speed and weight gain, they inevitably rely on the participants reporting their eating habits and whether they consider themselves slower or faster eaters. This makes the studies subjective and unreliable. And perhaps more important to the issue is the question of who is being tested? Healthy athletes? Unhealthy diabetics? All men or women? Overweight people? Thin people? People with slow or high metabolisms? The issue gets even murkier as we go to consider whether the people eat set portions, unlimited portions or whether we consider the type of food involved. If, for example, one person zips through a green salad and another slowly chews through a double patty cheeseburger who’s going to gain the most weight? It depends! Maybe the salad eater has the slowest metabolism on the planet and is never active. Maybe the burger eater is a high-metabolism teenage cross-country runner. Who we are makes all the difference. We can’t emphasize enough that weight management isn’t about eating one meal, eating at a certain speed, or eating only a certain type or variety of food, it’s about embracing a healthier overall lifestyle. Of course, none of this means we won’t enjoy our food more if we take the time to savor it.


Check with your doctor before going on any diet.

Most of us should be eating more fruits and vegetables, but eating only fruits and vegetables has its own risks.

Myth 6: Everyone should be eating an all vegetable diet. Wrong. For some people a vegan or vegetarian diet may be the best option, but it’s not a given. What matters is to know your specific nutritional needs and understand the risks of failing to meet them. To thrive, most of us need a balanced combination of fats, proteins, and carbohydrates. Fruits and vegetables are clearly central to this mix, yet a diet containing only certain fruits and vegetables can be lacking in specific vitamins, minerals or proteins and essential fats. When we you don’t get enough of these important nutrients we need to understand what fruits or vegetables we can eat to make up for the lack. Remember, it’s all about balance.


Myth 7: Skipping a meal is the fastest way to lose weight. Wrong. The fastest way to lose weight is to consume fewer calories than we burn off in a given day. Skipping a meal may appear to be the answer, but skipping meals often results in eating bigger meals to make up for the meals we missed. Plus, a skipped meal can rob us of needed nutrition or even burn lean muscle mass. Doctors and nutritionists agree. Don’t skip meals. Eat smaller meals and snacks throughout the day.


Strenous exercise can be good but there are certain risks.

Running and other strenuous exercise isn’t for everyone. Check with your doctor.

Myth 8: We can’t lose weight without doing strenuous exercise. Wrong! Depending on what we eat, we can lose weight sitting or even sleeping. The key is to consume fewer calories than we’re burning off at rest. However, it’s clear the more activity we undertake the easier it becomes to shed pounds. Strenuous exercise on the other hand will only be a good idea for certain people. When we suffer from high blood pressure, are out of shape, obese, or otherwise physically at risk, strenuous exercise can be extremely hazardous to our health. Before starting any exercise program be sure to talk to your doctor first.


Selecting the “best” diet plan really comes down to finding a way to lead a healthier  lifestyle.  That means wherever you are today, you’ll want to do more to eat a better-balanced diet, get good sleep, cut down on stress and get plenty of physical activity going forward. We recognize that many people struggle with dieting because it takes a long time to make the kind of changes necessary and achieve a desired weight goal. Try to remember that it took a long time to gain the weight so you’ll need sufficient time to lose it. Cutting 500 calories a day or increasing your overall activity to burn off 500 additional calories will net you about 1 pound of weight loss a week. Thus, if you’re 30 pounds overweight it could take 30 weeks or 7 1/2 months to reach your goal. Don’t give up, get real. Take all the steps you need to feel and look your best.


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