If truth be told most of us would like to be able to lose weight.
But there is so much misinformation and so many food myths out there that separating truth from fiction is very difficult.
Here we attempt to debunk many of the weight loss myths that abound.
Armed with the correct information will enable you to make correct food choices and not jeopardise your weight loss efforts.
It would be lovely if there was an easy way to get rid of fat but there are no magic foods that will dissolve or burn fat. Fat doesn’t just melt away. The only way to reduce fat is by steadily losing weight week by week.
After all it took years or months to gain this excess weight, it won’t just go away overnight. Nutritionists recommend losing about 1 kg per week, and while this may sound tedious it is the secret of long term weight loss.
Never skip meals, particularly breakfast. Breakfast kick-starts your metabolism and sets you up for the day.
By skipping meals you will simply eat more at other times of the day. It is far better to spread your food over the course of the day. Regular meals prevent those hunger pangs that often cause us to binge.
This is probably one of the biggest weight loss myths. Countless diets have been devised based on this myth. In fact carbohydrates are a necessary part of our diet and perform a necessary function. They provide energy to feed our brains and fuel our muscles.
In fact eating carbs leaves us feeling fuller and more satisfied which encourages us to eat less.
Bread and potatoes on their own are not fattening. It is the butter, peanut butter and sour cream that we add to them that piles on the pounds. Choose the healthier wholegrain or high-fibre foods such as brown rice and wholegrain breads.
This is another common weight loss myth. Fasting or starving yourself is not a long-term option. Why? Because starving yourself deprives your body of nutrients, which long term can lead to loss of muscle tissue, headaches, low energy, weakness, light-headedness, constipation and an increase in food cravings.
When you starve yourself your body goes into famine mode and slows down its metabolism, burning calories more slowly. The problem is once you resume eating the weight will return more quickly.
Fat is an essential nutrient needed for good health. Not all fats are bad, it depends on the type of fats we eat. We need mono and polyunsaturated fats for good health. It is the saturated fats and trans fats that are the culprits.
There have been various diets peddled which claim that we shouldn’t mix proteins with carbs, or eat our fruit separately.
These diets have no scientific basis. Many foods contain both proteins and carbs in the same food. Our bodies have evolved over the millennia to handle all types of food and contain all the necessary mechanisms to break down protein, carbs and fat at the same time.
Dairy products are needed for good health. But it is true that butter, cream and full-fat cream cheeses are high in saturated fat.
The solution? Substitute the low-fat varieties. When it comes to cheese opt for cottage cheese or ricotta.
Snacking between meals itself isn’t the culprit. It’s what you snack on. For instance heading straight for the cookie jar or the cake tin when you feel hungry will quickly add the calories. Ditch the doughnuts and potato crisps. Instead reach for a piece of fruit, a small yogurt, a handful of nuts, dried fruit, crackers or crisp bread or a smoothie.
In fact research has shown that eating smaller meals more often helps in weight loss. Eating smaller meals more often prevents hunger pangs and shrinks our stomach size. The stomach gets used to feeling full after a smaller portion instead of a large one.
It is impossible to lose fat from a single area. When you lose weight it is lost from all over your body. The only way to target a certain area is through exercise.
Drinking water won’t automatically help you lose weight. While water is essential for our good health it has no magic weight loss properties. But replacing those sweet, sugary drinks with water will reduce calories.
Also a drink of water before a meal will give you a feeling of fullness and reduce hanger pangs and so encourage you to eat less.