By Claire Georgiou, Reboot Naturopath, B.HSc ND
Unfortunately, there’s a lot of conflicting information about nutrition, some of it is backed with the latest research while others are old myths that won’t die! If you tell someone that you’re trying to lose weight, you will probably be inundated with tips, tricks and facts so here are 9 weight loss myths that you should ignore.
Myth #1: Weight loss is all about WILL power.
There are so many things at play when it comes to appetite control, cravings, stress responses, food addictions and hormone regulation. Insulin, ghrelin, leptin, reproductive hormones, cortisol and dopamine all play a role in controlling or stimulating our cravings and appetite. Poor lifestyle, junk food and unhealthy eating patterns will increase your cravings and appetite making it more likely that you continue to eat poorly thus sabotaging your attempts. Rebooting your way out of hormonal dysregulation can be the first step forward into a healthier happier lifestyle. Here’s more on the addictive nature of junk food and the benefits of a Reboot.
Myth #2: Breads and cereals support a healthy weight.
For years we have been told that a diet high in carbohydrates, with a recommended 6-8 serves of grains per day would help to keep us fit and trim. Breads, crackers, and breakfast cereals to name a few are almost always refined and contain many other unnecessary ingredients. These types of foods are almost always highly refined although they may make health claims that are often false. These types of processed foods don’t have a positive influence on our waist lines. Here are some great wholegrain ideas 3 Reasons to Make Your Own Breakfast Cereal, Berry Breakfast Quinoa, Simple Summer Quinoa Salad.
Myth #3: Eating small frequent meals stimulates the metabolism.
Eating small frequent meals can, for some, improve and reduce hunger and can be beneficial by reducing excessive eating later in the day but studies show it has more to do with the overall calorie consumption over the day rather than eating lots of meals. So this means it’s more about what suits and supports healthy eating patterns for YOU whether it’s 3-4 moderate sized meals or 5-6 smaller meals per day.
Myth #4: Eating fat makes you fat.
In the past the rationale to reduce fats for weight control was that fats contain approximately double the amount of calories per gram than carbohydrates or protein so therefore we must eat more carbohydrates and proteins. Good fats can actually help to metabolize stored fat, improve appetite, improve fullness & satisfaction after a meal and reduce harmful inflammation in our system. Increasing healthy fats in the diet will help to support the immune system, metabolism, hormonal health, mood, brain function and cardiovascular health. Learn more about why eating healthy fat is so good for your health.
Myth #5: Low fat and other health claims on packaged foods = healthy alternative.
Fat-free, sugar-free, less saturated fat, baked not fried, low sodium and low carb products are flying off the shelves. People mistakenly think that these foods can be eaten freely without consequence! The manufacturer’s often replace the fat or other ingredients with sugar, artificial sweeteners, salt, MSG, artificial flavours and other unhealthy additives. These highly processed foods create increased hunger, less satisfaction and consistent cravings.
Myth #6: It’s all about the calorie counting.
This is a common myth that people believe to be true with all the calorie counting devices and apps now available for people to count, count, count. This information can be counterproductive as calorie counting doesn’t include the quality of the food you are eating, it does not distinguish between nutrient dense or empty calories, it does not factor in how it will stimulate satiety and weight loss, it won’t include the way the food is metabolized and what hormonal pathways it inhibits or stimulates, it won’t factor in foods that require more energy to digest and the list continues, for more reasons why all calories are not created equal and counting calories or counting nutrients!
Myth #7: The more exercise you do the better the weight loss.
Excessive strenuous exercise can be counterproductive! Excessive and very strenuous exercise can increase the levels of cortisol and other stress hormones and this will affect the way your body stores fat. Healthy exercise such as brisk walking, comfortable jogging, bike riding, yoga, pilates, muscle building exercise and other physical activities are very beneficial for every reason under the sun including weight control but it’s important to understand you can never outrun a bad diet. Try our 20-Minute Do Anywhere Workout.
Myth #8: Artificial sweeteners will support weight loss.
Artificial sweeteners have been shown to increase body weight, abdominal circumference and fat stores. Studies have shown artificial sweeteners increase the appetite and cause the subject to consume more food with increased sweet cravings causing increased body weight. For more on artificial sweeteners.
Myth #9: Losing weight slowly is better for long-term success.
Studies indicate that it doesn’t matter if the weight is lost slowly or quickly, what matters is what people do after they have lost weight. Losing weight then falling back into old unhealthy habits will cause rebound weight whether you lost it quickly or slowly. One study, in Australia, showed that it didn’t matter whether participants were placed on a rapid weight loss program or a gradual weight loss program for long-term weight control, although more than 80% of those in the rapid weight loss group achieved their target weight loss, versus just 50% in the gradual program.