Some weight loss myths persist even though they've been proven wrong time and time again. We've included seven that you can stop worrying about.
- Lose belly fat by doing sit ups. Wrong. Exercise strengthens muscles and is good for you, but trying to “spot reduce” belly fat with sit ups just doesn't work. To get rid of belly fat you need to engage in cardiovascular or aerobic exercise. You’re going to have to burn calories throughout your body to reduce your midsection through exercise.
- Avoid all fat. Wrong. Yes, animal fat and other saturated fats have been linked to health issues like heart disease, however let’s not throw the baby out with the bathwater. Monounsaturated fats like olive oil, canola oil, avocados and nuts have been shown to help lower bad cholesterol levels and more.
- Snacking causes obesity. Wrong. Okay, if you’re grabbing chips and candy bars out of the office vending machine, then yes…this would be bad for you. If, however, you’re snacking smart you’re on the right path. Eating a healthy, low-calorie snack when needed can help keep you from over-indulging at mealtime. If you’re starving now, by the time you get to dinner you may be so hungry that you make poor choices or overeat. A high protein snack like low-fat cheese or nuts can also be just the energy pick-me-up you need to finish your day.
- All carbs are bad. Wrong. Don’t lump all carbohydrates into the same white bread loaf. Whole grains, brown rice, beans and veggies provide a host of nutrients and fiber, are low in calories and can help reduce the risks of some types of diseases. Plus, the body uses carbs as fuel during exercise to burn body fat. Try to avoid processed carbs, however such as those high in sugar and white flour.
- Eating (celery, lettuce, grapefruit) will burn fat. Wrong. Foods don’t burn fat. Basically, a calorie is a calorie is a calorie – sort of. (We’re not talking about “empty” calories like those in sodas or candy…those are just a waste of space.) There are just no specific foods that increase your metabolic rate.
- Going hungry is the only way to lose weight. Wrong. Crash diets just don’t work. While you may see some results, most people gain back any weight shortly thereafter. It’s just too hard to maintain that lifestyle. You’ll be tired and hungry and eventually give in to foods that are probably high in sugar and fat.
- Foods labeled “reduced fat” are always better. Wrong. Reduced fat foods don’t have to meet specific labeling criteria. While they may contain less fat that the full fat version, that doesn't necessarily make them healthy. Many are packed with extra sugar and may have unhealthy chemicals or additives to make them taste better. Plus, they may have more calories and fat than something truly healthy like a piece of fruit or cheese.