Seems like every time you turn on the TV, surf the web, or talk to friends, the world has a new-and-improved diet plan which assures you that you'll take off "10 pounds in 10 minutes!" (or some such nonsense).
As a nurse, I know that the answer to losing weight is a simple equation: eat less + exercise more = weight loss.
So let's go ahead and examine 8 popular diet myths -- then discover the truth.
Myth #1: Small, more frequent meals will improve your metabolism. Eat like you're an animal in the wild instead of doing the more substantial breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
Truth: Food doesn't affect metabolism very much; if you want to lose more weight, build up your muscles. This means at rest, you'll burn extra calories.
Myth #2: Alternating between meals of carbs and protein will help with weight loss, as each uses different enzymes for digestion, thereby furthering weight loss.
Truth: Our digestive tracts are smart -- they can handle digesting a number of food groups at once. Doing so will actually cause you to drop pounds.
Myth #3: Don't eat in the evening. Close your kitchens at 8 p.m. because the food you eat at night sits in your system while you sleep and turns into fat.
Truth: Calories don't have a clock -- the body uses its calories the same way all times of the day. The issue with night eaters is that they often OVER eat, which is why cutting out snacking at night can help lose the pounds.
Myth #4: Coffee helps you lose weight because it's a diuretic, so it will make you, you know, go to the bathroom. A lot. Kind of like a laxative.
Truth: I WISH! Coffee can help with suppression of appetite, but the amount of coffee you'd have to drink would be far greater than the couple of cups most people drink.
Myth #5: Milk helps you slim down -- the theory is that calcium helps the body break down fats more easily, leading to weight loss.
Truth: Milk doesn't have magical calorie-burning properties, though it IS good for you. When you're dieting, try low-fat versions of milk and milk products. The calcium DOES a body good.
Myth #6: Pasta packs on the pounds. All those carbs ... eesh.
Truth: It's not carbs that make you fat -- extra calories do, no matter what form they come in. Protein, veggies, and fruit can all pack on the pounds. Practice everything in moderation.
Myth #7: Diet programs are the best way to lose weight. You need professional help to really do it right!
Truth: Losing weight is about changing your eating habits and you can do that on your own. While prescriptive diets will help to lose weight in the short term, in the long run, someone who wants to lose weight and have it stay off needs to rethink their whole way of eating.
Myth #8: You have to DRASTICALLY cut your caloric intake. So stop eating any big meals and skip some meals entirely!
Truth: Most of us can't survive on extremely low-calorie diets indefinitely. Once again, they can help take off weight quickly, but this can lead to yo-yo dieting after a while, and those extra pounds you shed could come back!
What other diet myths can you think of?
Image via puuikibeach/Flickr