Dieting Myths

We read a lot of tips and theories about losing weight. Some are downright dangerous, others are questionable. Lately, however, I am starting to hearing some sensible advice, about listening to our body, making small lifestyle change; and against strict dieting or dieting products and quick fixes. But you still come across some old standing dieting myths.

Dieting myths usually come with a logical, and sometimes biological explanation. You cannot help but not nod your head and belief it. But most of them, only need to be put into context, to see that they do not hold water.

These are my favourite Diet Myths.

Diet Myth 1: Do sit-ups to lose tummy fat.

Exercising a muscle set does not mean you are using the fat cels just next to it

While training a particular muscle set is likely to make them look more shaped, and therefore give the impression of being slimmer; using a particular muscle set does not mean, that it will use the fat cells just next to it. The calories used, come from the bloodstream, and could come from your last meal, or from any fat deposits in your body.

Diet Myth 2: I do a lot of housework, or I am always rushing around, therefore I should be thin.

Doing housework does not raise your heart rate. It will use the calories in your blood flow, which is coming from your meals, but it will not use the calories in your fat cells, unless of course, you cut your food intake to such an extent, that your overall activity of the day, exceeds your calorie intake.

Diet Myth 3: Strength training will make me look bigger.

Strength training, if done properly will not make you look fatter. There is strength training to bulk muscles, and a different set of training to tone your muscles. Toned muscles are tighter, not bigger. Besides the calories used up during the training itself, toned muscles will use more calories than un-toned muscles, on a daily basis.

Diet Myth 4: Diet food is healthy.

Diet myth example - Rice cakes are low in calories but cannot be classified as healthy food

Some people are not even aware of the difference between ‘healthy’ and “low calorie” foods, use the words interchangeably. Low in calories does not mean healthy. A type food can be low in calories, and yet be high in cholesterol; contain ingredients that are harmful, such as nitrates in processed meats; or not contain the right nutrients.

Rice cakes are a famous example. They are relatively low in calories, but they are made from refined white rice and are low in nutrition value.

Diet Myth 5: Food eaten in the evening makes you fat.

We are made to believe, that whatever we eat in the evening, is more easily stored in fat cells than calories eaten during the day. Hand in hand with this, there is the believe that we should all eat breakfast in the morning; whether we wake up hungry or not.

What if our bodies knew, and told us, when and what to eat?

If we eat dinner when we are hungry, our body is sending us the message that it needs food, therefore, the calories are used, not stored. If we eat dinner, without being hungry, then yes, our body will store the extra calories. But that applies for any meal. Just make sure you eat when you are hungry and not “when you are supposed to”, and your body will always use the food rather than store it.

A study at the Dunn Nutrition Centre in Cambridge confirms this. A group of volunteers was given a large lunch and a light dinner for one test period, then a small lunch and a large dinner, during a second test period. The calories burned and stored were measured during both periods, and there was no difference in the amount of fat stored.

Diet Myth 6: Eating standing up, does not count.

More than a myth, this is more of a self-deception. Somehow, we do not count the food we eat at the fridge door, or whilst preparing a meal. Needless to say, this is not true.

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