Fitness Wiki

Here are some diet myths. If you know of any more, add them to the bottom.

Skipping meals can help lose weight[]

People who think skipping meals means weight loss fail to recognize that our bodies do not operate this way. If we skip a meal, our body will think that we are in starvation mode and therefore slow down the metabolism to compensate. We then tend to overeat at the next meal. Often times, skipping a meal results in an increase in total caloric intake than if we just ate more frequently throughout the day. A better approach is to eat smaller frequent healthy meals and snacks to keep our blood sugar balanced.

Starches are fattening and should be limited when trying to lose weight[]

Many foods high in starch, like bread, rice, pasta, cereals, beans, fruits, and some vegetables (like potatoes and yams) are low in fat and calories. They become high in fat and calories when eaten in large portion sizes or when covered with high-fat toppings like butter, sour cream, or mayonnaise. Foods high in starch (also called complex carbohydrates) are an important source of energy for your body.

The more you cut calories, the more weight you’ll lose[]

Cut your calories too far—below 1,200 a day—and you’ll end up with a double whammy that quickly decreases your metabolism and muscle mass. To get the most out of the calories you do eat, choose whole foods such as produce, fresh meat and fish, and whole grains that are as close to their natural state as possible. They have a higher “nutrient density” than refined foods, because they pack more vitamins and minerals into fewer calories.

Carbohydrates make you fat[]

Carbohydrates do not make you fat. Calories make you fat. Often it’s the sugar and fat contained in carbohydrates that make you fat. Also a lot of carbohydrates are processed, so you don’t get the advantage of feeling full from fiber found in unprocessed carbs. For example, whole grain pasta is more filling — and makes you feel satisfied longer — than white pasta, though both have the same amount of calories. What will change the number of calories is the amount of sauce and butter you put on your pasta. What you want to do is eat carbs in moderation.

Sugar Causes Diabetes[]

If you have diabetes, you do need to watch your sugar and carbohydrate intake, with the help of your Registered Dietitian, to properly manage your blood sugar level. However, if you do not have diabetes, sugar intake will not cause diabetes. So far, a diet high in calories, being overweight and an inactive lifestyle are the main risk factors for Type 2 diabetes.

Calories eaten after 8PM turn to fat[]

This is an urban legend that is no more true than the notion that alligators are roaming the sewers of New York City. The fact of the matter is if you eat more calories than your body burns in a day, the excess calories will be stored as fat. Whether you consume them during 'Good Morning America' or 'Letterman' doesn't matter; there is no intrinsic connection between calories and the clock.

Avoid nuts as they are fattening[]

Yes, it's true that nuts are quite calorically dense; 15 cashews, for instance, deliver 180 kilocalories! On top of that, it is very tough not to overeat these tasty snacks. If you can restrain yourself from overeating them, nuts can be a part of a healthy diet. It's a nutrition myth that nuts should be avoided. In fact, nuts are high in monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats (the good fats) as well as plant sterols which have all been shown to lower LDL cholesterol. In 2003, the FDA approved a health claim for seven kinds of nuts stating that "scientific evidence suggests but does not prove that eating 1.5 ounces (45 grams) per day of most nuts as part of a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol may reduce the risk of heart disease." Instead of simply adding nuts to your diet, the best approach is to eat them in replacement of foods high in saturated fats.

Fruit Juice is better for dieters than Soda[]

Fruit juice (pure) certainly has a higher nutritional value with vitamins and mineral content than soda drinks. However, fruit juices, even pure, are high in a sugar called fructose. They are very similar calorie-wise to sodas. A glass of orange juice is equivalent to about four to five oranges - and that's alot of sugar. You are better to eat a single orange (or other piece of fruit) for the vitamin, mineral, fiber and other nutrient content, and drink more water instead.

Certain food groups should be eliminated[]

Many fad diets emphasize the elimination of certain food groups or eating primarily only one or two food groups. Your body needs a balanced diet that supplies you with the diverse nutrients that will keep you healthy. Your body needs water, vitamins, a little bit of protein, a little bit of fat, minerals, energy (carbohydrates), fiber, and oxygen. Eating a diet rich in fruits, veggies, grains, nuts, and seeds will help you rebuild your immune system, which will in turn help you to stay healthy.

"People inherit being overweight"[]

Scientists have been working hard to identify genes that have the potential to make us fat. And it does seem there may be a genetic link – but only in a small number of people. As a result, most experts agree that while genes may have a part to play, they still don’t explain the recent rapid increase in obesity that’s been seen in the Western world. They believe that while we might inherit ‘fat’ genes from our parents, we also inherit their bad habits such as a poor diet and lack of exercise – and it’s these poor lifestyle habits that have a more important part to play in weight gain.