There is so much false information out there these days that it can be very difficult to know what is actually bad for you and what is good for you. This is a problem because you could be avoiding foods or activities that you think are bad for you when they actually could be quite good for you. The reverse is even worse when you think you doing all the right things to be healthy and these things are actually hurting you.
Below lists the worst diet myths you need to stop believing:
1. “Endurance cardio is the best for fat loss”
There is no denying the fact that endurance cardio is muscle wasting and causes stress on the body. If you are trying to lose weight, the last thing you want to do is any activity that will make you lose muscle. This is because muscle is your metabolically active tissue, meaning the more muscle you have the more calories you are going to burn with activity and at rest. Endurance running also makes you hungrier which is why a lot of marathoners can actually gain weight when training!
Instead go for strength training which are muscle preserving and increase your metabolic rate.
2. “Eat less to burn fat”
Never take advice from someone who tells you that if you eat less you will burn fat. Unfortunately, our body does not work that simplistic. If you give your body less calories and less nutrients it needs, this is going to cause your body to slow down and preserve energy. When your body needs more calories it will also go after your metabolically active tissue, which is your muscle mass. This is why when dieters eat very low calories, most of the weight comes from muscle and not from fat. When you lose muscle you will burn less calories, and your metabolism slows even further.
If we changed this sentence to “eat less processed foods and carbohydrates” then the above would be more of a correct sentence, but just telling you to eat less of what you are already eating is not doing you any good. But eating less carbohydrates does not mean to eliminate them completely or way too low like some of the current fad diets tend to do. To preserve muscle and promote fat loss, eat fiber, protein, and fat at each meal. Carbohydrates should be eaten after exercise sessions, it will replenish glycogen storages in your muscles. If you do a low carb/carb cycling diet, it is recommended to do a re-feed every 2-3 days after low carbohydrates to replenish those storages.
3. “Eating fat will make you fat”
Eating fat does not make you fat. Fat keeps you full because it does not affect your blood sugar and takes a long time to digest. Fat is the building block of your skin and all hormones, and is an essential macronutrient meaning you cannot survive if you are not consuming some fat. This doesn’t necessarily mean you can go and eat blocks and blocks of cheese past the point of fullness, it means that adding fat to each meal will keep you more satisfied and full which will prevent you from overeating. Plus eating too much of any macronutrient can cause you to gain weight.
Eat fat at each meal to feel more full, satisfied, and to give your body the essential nutrients it needs for optimal functioning.
4. “A juice fast makes you lose fat and burn fat”
Just drinking juice for a couple days or few days is not going to make your body burn fat. The weight you lose is going to be a combination of water and muscle loss. Plus, when you go back to your normal diet again you might even end up gaining more weight compared to what you started with!
Note: Many individuals will say how amazing they feel after a juice detox. This is due to what the individuals have not been eating during the juice fast, it’s not because of the juice. If this is true for you, think about the foods you cut out during the fast and consider cutting them out on a regular basis.
Save your money and skip the juice detox. If you want a juice, drink a vegetable based juice.
5. “Exercise more and eat less to lose fat”
This goes along with the above, but many individuals believe this is true. This is a recipe for disaster for a couple of reasons. First of all, just telling you to exercise more and eat less of the same foods simply does not work. This is why diets always fail because they all try and make this simplification. Unfortunately, when you exercise more this can make you hungrier, which makes it hard to eat less and instead you may actually eat more without even realizing it. It also depends which type of exercise you do. As you learned above, endurance training is the least effective while intervals and strength training are way more effective and take less of your time. The second next scenario is that say you are able to exercise more and eat less (even though you are starving everyday) and you find that you aren’t seeing much change on the scale or in your clothes, and this is because your body will slow down its metabolic rate to conserve calories since it thinks you are starving. Then when you try to go back to eating regularly (which you eventually will because you are starving) not only are you going to gain the weight back, but you will likely gain back even more weight than you started with! This is because you’re metabolic rate has slowed and you lost your metabolically active tissue (aka muscle).
Exercise smarter by doing more strength training. Eat smarter by eating fiber, fat, and protein at each meal and eat until you are full.
Don’t starve yourself and instead eat more vegetables, protein, and fat, while cutting back on sugar and unhealthy carbohydrates. Make your exercise count by including strength training.