Weight loss has become a huge industry, with one estimate placing it’s worth at an eye watering £220 billion. If you’re trying to lose weight, it can be tricky to navigate this sea of information, so we set out to find some common dieting myths you should avoid:
In theory, skipping breakfast should reduce your calorie intake, but it can be a bit of a false economy. This is because you’ll reduce the amount of energy you have in the morning, meaning you’re more likely to overeat later in the day. To avoid this trap, try to include a nutritious breakfast in your morning routine.
You may have been told that losing weight means depriving yourself of all the tasty foods you enjoy. This won’t work – you’ll eventually give into temptation and abandon your efforts. Instead, allow yourself a planned, strategic treat every now and again – you’ll be less likely to give up!
No eating past 8pm
A calorie is a calorie, no matter the time of day, so eating late at night won’t make you put on weight. This misconception was the subject of a 2014 study, which found that people who eat at night only put on more weight as they are consuming more calories than those who don’t. To avoid this, plan your daily meals to ensure you’re full after dinner, and you won’t overindulge!
Carbs are fattening
Gram for gram, carbohydrates have less than half the calories of fat. This myth may stem from the fact that carbohydrate rich foods are often paired with fattening foods, such as creamy sauces and cheese. The truth is that carbohydrates, particularly wholegrain versions, contain plenty of fibre, and are a crucial part of a balanced diet.
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Snacking isn’t the problem – it’s the type of snack. Snacking in-between meals is actually a great way of maintaining energy levels, and can help you to control your appetite – especially if you’re working out. The key is to avoid crisps and chocolate, and opt for healthier options, such as fruit, nuts and natural yogurt.
Low fat only
Beware of the low-fat labels on foods. UK regulations state that ‘light’ products have to contain 30 percent less fat or calories than the standard version, but does not mean the product is low fat or healthy. In fact, some ‘light’ products can contain more calories or fat than another brand’s standard version.
As for low-fat labels, those products must contain less than 3g of fat per 100g for food or 1.5g of fat per 100ml for drinks. The problem here is that it does not mean the product is healthy, as many low fat foods and drinks are actually full of sugar and high in calories. Always read the label!
Intense exercise regimes
Some weight loss schemes will tell you that you need a vigorous exercise regime in order to lose weight, but this isn’t the case. The NHS advises that adults should aim for 150 minutes of physical activity per week. This can be fast walking, cycling, swimming, or running. Losing weight is about making small changes that you can stick to, not drastically altering your lifestyle.