If you read my last post you will probably remember this infographic about ‘dieting’ myths. This is super important and so I thought it would be useful to do a longer and more informative post on this topic.
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For starters. ‘Diet’ is a problematic term when used the describe short term patterns of eating. A diet is the type of food you habitually eat, not food you eat (or don’t eat) on a temporary basis. I chose to use the word ‘diet’ in the above infographic for simplicity of understanding, however, one should be wary of the connotations associated with words in the industry. I’ll start with perhaps the most well known one and, in my opinion, the biggest myth that needs to be busted.
‘Eating fat makes you fat’. As you can see in the above infographic, this is certainly not the case. Fat is an important macronutrient that our bodies needs. Fat provides protection, insulation and regulation of female menstruation (amongst many other things!). It is true that per gram of fat, there is more energy than in carbohydrates or protein, but unless it is consumed in excess, it doesn’t make you gain weight. It is vital that you don’t avoid fat in your diet completely as it is a vital macronutrient. This is the same with carbohydrates AND proteins. Our bodies need them and they are all vital for different physiological functions. This links with another myth I have mentioned above, skipping meals makes you lose weight. When wanting a quick fix quick it can be tempting to simply cut foods out and hugely increase your calorie deficit. This is unsustainable and actually, any weight loss you experience, is likely to be loss of lean muscle rather than fat. Skipping meals can also slow down your metabolism and lead to poor food choices later on in the day.
‘Eating late causes weight gain’ is another myth I have mentioned above. Regardless of when you eat food, if the body’s glycogen stores are low it will be shuttled to the liver and muscles and stored, regardless of whether you eat it at 8 in the morning or 8 at night. The only way this would make you gain weight is if you are giving the body more calories than it need with no intention of burning them off.
I also mentioned the myth you can’t lose weight through weight training. Until starting my fitness journey, this was something I was a firm believer in. Fat only burns with oxygen and therefore cardio training is good for fat loss, however, weight training definitely comes with its benefits. Through increasing your levels of lean muscle, weight training accelerates your metabolism and therefore increases your daily energy expenditure.
There are loads more myths that I haven’t put in the above infographic but should definitely be mentioned.
- Low-fat means low calories. This is false and often used in marketing to make you pick up a product, believing that it’s lower in calories and better for weight loss. When fat is removed it is often replaced with things such as sugar and flour to improve the flavour and texture of foods. This can actually mean less fat but more calories.
- You should lose 20 pounds in 20 days. Losing 1-2 pounds per week is a far more efficient and more sustainable way of getting and keeping weight off. The majority of weight loss that comes from ‘quick fix’ diets is likely to be water and lean body mass.
These myths, along side many others, have built an industry but have the potential to be incredibly dangerous through promoting misleading and incorrect nutritional information. It is vital to remember, when considering changing your diet to lose or even gain weight, that it needs to be done is a safe and sensible way. It also needs to be enjoyable. You don’t want to start something which means totally restricting yourself. If you want to achieve something sustainable and enjoyable then you need to be realistic. Set yourself goals and write them down. Weight yourself regularly, monitor your progress and review your goals frequently.
If you would like more information on any of the above or want to share your diet myths then let me know in the comments below! Make sure you follow my blog so you don’t miss my next post (every Sunday) where we will have our first of three ‘Macro In The Spotlight’ series. Tweet me and let me know which you want to see first: carbohydrates, protein or fat. @JenkinsLeeJamie.
Lots of Love, Jamie x