MYTH: Low-Fat and Fat-Free Means Low Calorie Just because something is low in fat does not mean it's low in anything else. For example, a SnackPack fat-free chocolate pudding has 90 calories, with 13 grams of sugar as compared to the regular version with 14 grams of sugar and 120 calories. That's a not a big difference. In fact, many low-fat and fat-free foods are more processed with higher in calories, sugar and sodium counts than the “normal” versions. Plus, fats are essential nutrients and play a role in satiety -- that feeling of fullness. So read labels: Food manufacturers add sugars, carbs and sodium to compensate for the lack of fat.
MYTH: Carbohydrates Make You Fat Carbohydrates won’t make you fat. It’s what is in carbohydrate-rich foods -- like the sugar and fat in that doughnut -- that should be avoided to maintain a healthy weight. Processed carbs, like breakfast cereals, bagels, English muffins and bread lack the belly-filling fiber to keep you feeling full until your next meal. Simple carbs spike your blood sugar, which just make you crash and feel hungrier. For example, white bread will make you feel less full than whole grain bread, even though they have the same caloriesThe bottom line: Having high-fiber sources of carbohydrates means we feel fuller on fewer calories, and we eat less overall. And if you’re eating less, you’re consuming fewer calories.
MYTH: Certain Foods Can Burn Fat Faster Oh, if we could just eat our way to thinness. But the truth is that no food can burn body fat. There are grapefruit and cabbage diets that claim they can help melt fat, but the fact is that while they're low in calories, these foods don't replace the treadmill. It is true, however, that the calories from whole plant foods -- like nuts -- don’t seem to 'stick' as easily as calories from junk food, like cookies. And don’t believe the 'negative calorie' myth, either. Eating low-calorie foods -- like celery -- won't actually make your calorie count go down.
MYTH: Cut Daily Calories By Skipping One Meal Skipping a meal will just lead to extreme hunger later on, which often means overeating at your next meal. According to data from the Weight Loss Registry, one of the most powerful habits of successful weight maintainers is eating breakfast. Don’t like breakfast food? That’s okay; eat a salad or a wrap in the morning. Your body will thank you for it. Skipping meals slows your body’s metabolism because it's trying to store calories from other meals. And that can stall your weight-loss efforts. So maintain balance throughout the day -- don't get too full or too hungry. A recent study found that people who eat regularly throughout the day are more likely to keep the weight off.
MYTH: Avoid White Potatoes and Other Starches Foods that are high in starch such as beans, rice and pasta are actually an important way to get and store energy for the body. While white potatoes and corn get a bad rap, let it be known that you can maintain a healthy weight while eating these two foods in moderation. Potatoes are a rich source of vitamin C and several B complex vitamins, and corn is high in fiber and other nutrients. How you prepare them makes the difference between healthy and unhealthy. Adding a lot of butter or heaping on high-fat toppings, like cheese or sour cream, is what will pack on the pounds.
MYTH: Never Eat After 8:00 pm It doesn’t matter what time of day you eat -- calories can’t tell time! What matters is how many calories you’re consuming. So if you work out late at night, don’t worry about eating a meal afterwards. As long as it’s healthy, you’ll stay on track for weight loss. If you want a bedtime snack, consider first how many calories you’ve eaten during that day. Do you have some wiggle room? Then grab a snack like a banana topped with natural peanut butter.
Myth: Never Eat Dessert More good news: You can eat sweets, too! You can even eat them for dinner occasionally. Don’t make it a habit, but allowing yourself a treat here and there will subdue cravings and prevent you from indulging heavily later on. As long as you’re not eating a sundae every night, you’re a-okay. Researchers from Tel Aviv University found that having dessert for breakfast can actually help people lose weight, possibly because they don’t feel deprived throughout the day.
Myth: You Can Only Eat Three Meals a Day Some experts advise eating three big meals a day, while others say you should have six small ones when you're trying to lose weight. Keep in mind that when you eat isn't what's important -- you should focus on total calories. If you're having six small meals per day that keep you full, great. If eating three larger meals works better for you, do that. But if you're eating six large meals per day, then you should probably reevaluate your eating habits.
Myth: You Shouldn't Weigh Yourself Though you shouldn’t get on your scale every few hours, keeping track of the pounds you lose or gain is important. Research from the National Weight Control Registry shows that 75 percent of people who successfully maintain a healthy weight weigh themselves at least once per week. The way your clothes fit (a belt getting tighter, a dress feeling looser) will help gauge your weight loss, it's not enough to keep you on track. Weigh yourself at the same time of day for consistency -- even if you only lose a half pound, you are headed in the right direction.
Myth: Red Meat Is Bad for You Red meat can be good for you, if you're eating the right amount. The Scientific Advisory Commission on Nutrition says adults shouldn't eat more than 17 ounces of red meat a week, and no more than 2.5 ounces a day. In general, it's smart to cut back on red meat because its saturated fat could increase heart disease risk. Go for lean cuts such as bison, sirloin, venison or 97-percent lean ground beef in moderation. Red meat is an excellent source of protein, which takes longer to digest, keeping you fuller loner. But humans don't actually need red meat. If you enjoy it, value quality over quantity and try to find a local farm that raises organic, grass-fed cattle. Organic isn't processed or filled with additives, which can help with weight loss.