Have you been avoiding all fat since the 90s? Or living on cabbage soup for weeks to cleanse your system? Many people hoping to shed a few pounds hold on to outdated diet tips that could possibly be hurting, not helping, your weight loss. Let’s set the record straight by busting five common diet myths.
Myth#1: Snacks are bad.
Don’t believe it because: Eating smaller and more frequent meals is an easy way to halt hunger and make more nutritious choices. Fill up on lean protein snacks like nuts, eggs, hummus and edamame to curb your appetite and stay fuller longer.
Tip: Lots of these high protein snacks are also great for maintaining energy and focus throughout the day!
Myth #2: Eating fat makes you fat.
Don’t believe it because: It’s easy to get confused about good fats versus bad fats, but not all fats are created equal. Trans fats, which are found in many packaged desserts and snack foods, can increase cholesterol and up your risk for certain diseases, while good fats, like the kind in avocados and salmon, protect your heart and support your overall health. All things in moderation, but no need to lay off the good stuff.
Myth #3: Calories are all the same.
Don’t believe it because: One calorie can be totally different than another and your body responds to them differently depending on the food. For example, the calories from a fried cheeseburger aren’t going to keep you fueled like those in a grilled chicken breast. Try to focus on getting most of your calories from natural and unprocessed food instead of counting all of them equally.
Tip: Quality calories are nutrient dense, like spinach. The bad ones? Calories that don’t contain any nutrients (also known as “empty” calories), like those from potato chips.
Myth #4: Exercising on an empty stomach burns more calories.
Don’t believe it because: You burn the same amount of calories with or without food in your stomach. When you’re ready to hit the gym, load up on natural foods like bananas and mangoes beforehand. You’ll get an energy boost so you can make the most of your time in the gym. For an even tastier option, try an ounce of dark chocolate pre-workout. You’ll get the same caffeine fix as you would from half a cup of coffee.
Myth #5: Swear off naughty foods.
Don’t believe it because: Quitting something like cupcakes cold turkey just makes you want your treat more. If you’re looking to lose weight, try thinking of cutting back, not cutting out. So the next time you go out for lunch, don’t opt for the bacon wrap, fries and pop, but rather cut out a couple of the bad choices while still having some sort of indulgence to keep the cravings at bay.
Tip: If you’re in a group and you are craving something unhealthy, get everyone to share so you can have a taste without going overboard.
Photo credit: Burger Austin