It’s easy to fall for weight loss, nutrition myths with so many people today claiming to be an expert on losing weight. Whether it’s your neighbor who sells a “super food” protein shake or a friend who swears by giving up dairy products, misinformation abounds.
You might start to lose weight on a particular diet but many fad diets are hard to follow permanently. Many people get bored before too long and regain whatever weight they lost. In some cases, staying on a fad diet longterm can be bad for your health. It’s why nutrition experts and weight-loss specialists urge people to lose weight under medical supervision, especially if they have an underlying medical condition such as Type 2 diabetes.
To help people steer clear of weight loss and nutrition myths, federal health authorities from the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases have compiled a list of the most common misconceptions circulating society.
Myth: You will gain weight eating grain products such as bread, pasta and rice.
Fact: A grain product is any food made from wheat, rice, oats, cornmeal, barley, or another cereal grain. Grains are divided into two subgroups, whole grains and refined grains. Whole grains contain the entire grain kernel—the bran, germ, and endosperm. Examples include brown rice and whole-wheat bread, cereal, and pasta. Refined grains have been milled, a process that removes the bran and germ. This is done to give grains a finer texture and improve their shelf life, but it also removes dietary fiber, iron, and many B vitamins.
Most importantly, people who eat whole grains as part of a healthy diet may lower their chances of developing some chronic diseases. Government dietary guidelines advise making half your grains whole grains.
Myth: “Low-fat” or “fat-free” means there are few calories.
Fact: A serving of low-fat or fat-free food may be lower in calories than a serving of the full-fat product. But many processed low-fat or fat-free foods have just as many calories as the full-fat versions of the same foods—or even more calories. These foods may contain added flour, salt, starch, or sugar to improve flavor and texture after fat is removed. These items add calories.
Myth: Eating healthy food is more expensive than eating processed foods.
Fact: Eating better does not have to cost a lot of money. Canned foods and frozen foods provide as many nutrients as fresh foods – for less. Healthy options include low-salt canned veggies and fruit canned in its own juice or water-packed. Remember to rinse canned veggies to remove excess salt. Also, some canned seafood, like tuna, is easy to keep on the shelf, healthy, and low cost. Canned, dried, or frozen beans, lentils, and peas are also affordable and healthy sources of protein.
Myth: Skipping meals can help you lose weight.
Fact: Look out for this myth, it could leave you really hungry. At your next meal, you could eat more than you normally would. In particular, studies show a link between skipping breakfast and obesity. People who skip breakfast tend to be heavier than people who eat a healthy breakfast.
Myth: Going gluten-free will help you lose weight and eat healthier.
Fact: Gluten-free foods are not healthier if you don’t have celiac disease or are not sensitive to gluten. Gluten is a protein found in wheat, barley, and rye grains. A health care professional is likely to prescribe a gluten-free eating plan to treat people who have celiac disease or are sensitive to gluten.
If you don’t have these health problems but avoid gluten anyway, you may not get the vitamins, fiber, and minerals you need. A gluten-free diet is not a weight-loss diet and is not intended to help you lose weight.
Myth: Dairy products are fattening and unhealthy.
Fact: Dairy products are an important food group because they have protein your body needs to build muscles and help organs work well, and calcium to strengthen bones. Most dairy products, such as milk and some yogurts, have added vitamin D to help your body use calcium, since many Americans don’t get enough of these nutrients. Dairy products made from fat-free or low-fat milk have fewer calories than dairy products made from whole milk.
+ If you want to learn more about nutrition and heathy eating habits, work with the Registered Dietitians at Bon Secours Weight Loss Institute.