Don’t eat after 8 pm, stop eating rice, avoid bananas and potatoes, no tea and coffee! How many times you have been advised to make these changes in your diet by your friends and relatives when you said you wish to lose weight? Almost all the time! Right? And you end up following the advice without realizing that it may not do any good to you.
In reality, we are surrounded by many misconceptions when it comes to dieting and that’s the reason many dieters fail to achieve their goal even if they are highly motivated. Let’s look at 10 such weight loss diet myths and the impact they have on you.
Myth #1 Low fat = Low calorie
Low-fat diet simply doesn’t mean low-calorie diet and therefore it doesn’t give you the license to eat as much as you want. If you pile up your plate with low-fat farsan, you may end up eating more calories than if you had a one serving of chips. In order to make products low in fat, manufacturers add substituting ingredients like flour, sugar, starch, etc. to improve taste and this adds calories. Therefore the best way to know about how healthy your food product is check the nutritional label, and know how many calories, fat, sugar you are getting.
Myth #2 Say no to rice, potatoes and bananas
Learn to make smart choices and include these foods in your diet without letting them hamper your calorie count. For example, banana in the morning will not only provide you with a dose of potassium, fibre, vitamin C, etc. but will also provide you with energy which will help you keep going throughout the day.
Rice contains methionine which helps mobilise fat from the liver. Where you need to be careful is stop mindless eating and control portion size when it comes to eating rice based preparations.
Potatoes are loaded with nutrients too but we make it unhealthy by using faulty cooking treatments like deep frying (chips, cutlet, French fries, etc). If included sensibly in diet it can protect against cardiovascular disease and cancer due to high potassium and Vitamin B6.
Myth #3 Late night meals are fattening
Your weight is a result of what you eat throughout the day and not just at night. This might be true for people who keep skipping meals at day time and binge at night. The idea is keep a gap of at least an hour before hitting bed and eat something light as you don’t need too many calories in the night.
Myth #4 Avoid eating outside food while dieting
Most fast foods are unhealthy but not all, and if you choose your options carefully you can include them in your healthy diet. Tips you can follow:
- Avoid high-calorie toppings like cheese, butter, mayonnaise; instead you can go for salsa, garlic dip, etc.
- Pick fresh fruit juice or milkshake rather than aerated drinks.
- Choose salad based wraps and burgers.
- Ask for steamed, baked or grilled items rather than deep fried.
Myth #5 Eat less, weigh less
If you eat less or skip meals you will end up binging later on when you feel extremely hungry. And therefore you gain more weight and your efforts get wasted. Moreover, if you keep yourself on extremely low-calorie diet for longer period of time, your metabolism gets altered and restricting yourself from essential nutrients also poses great health threats.
Myth #6 Say no to snacking
While mindless snacking can gift you with several extra kilos, thoughtful snacking can help you reduce several kilos. People who have small, frequent meals with snacks are more likely to get better weight loss results. Choose snacks which are low in calorie and high in protein so that they can curb your hunger pangs in a healthy way.
Myth #7 Vegetarians are devoid of good protein sources
False, there are plenty options for vegans too. Include at least three servings of milk and milk products (one glass milk, one cup curd, 40g paneer), two servings of pulses especially soybean, one serving of nuts to meet your protein requirement.
Myth #8 Fast to nullify the feast
It’s an absurd idea to compensate your feast with fast. When you eat larger portions than required, your body stores the extra calories in the form of fat and when you skip meals there is an urgent need of energy by the body and that is served by breaking muscle tissue because breaking down fat for energy is a long process and it doesn’t come into circulation that easily. Therefore all your effort goes waste.
Myth #9 Eggs are unhealthy
When had for breakfast, eggs help limit your calorie intake all day. Eggs are a well-known rich source of protein along with several vitamins and minerals essential to your health like B2, B12, Vitamin A, E, iron, zinc and phosphorus. Boiling an egg is one of the healthiest ways you can consume it and is the perfect option for those watching their weight. You can include one egg in your daily diet without bothering about the cholesterol content as one egg will not do any harm.
Myth #10 Fruits are the best breakfast option
No doubt fruits are rich in many vitamins and minerals and carbohydrates. But cereal is a better option when it comes to refuelling your body after a long gap because it contains complex carbohydrate and protein and a fibre. Ideal breakfast should contain a serving of cereal, milk or milk product, and a fruit.
Indian dieting approach is surrounded by number of myths and gimmicks. Adopt an approach of eating a balanced diet, and keeping yourself active throughout the day for long term results.
Farzana Chauhan is a dietician helping clients make healthier food choices. Through her website www.allaboutdiets.in she has been able to successfully help people control lifestyle problems like obesity, PCOD/PCOS, thyroid, high cholesterol, type II diabetes, hypertension, etc. with the help of diet modification, counseling and exercise.