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Let’s Bust Some Dieting Myths – Part Two

In Let’s Bust Some Dieting Myths – Part One, we talked about the fact that, even though it isn’t quite as common as it was just a year or two ago, dieting myths are still being promoted almost everywhere you look.

The problem is made worse when highly-respected publications, like Good Housekeeping (GH), reinforce the myths, like they do in the title of this result from a search on Google.

Google headline for goodhouse

As we said in Part One, in just the 13 words in the title of the search result, Good Housekeeping manages to promote 3 dieting myths. So it pays to know what are the myths so that you can make more informed decisions about managing your weight and living a healthier lifestyle.

1. You Can Eat as Much Fruit as You Like

The diet myth regarding eating fruits

First, fruit is indeed natural and good for you. A diet (the ongoing kind, not the 7-day version) full of whole foods, including fruit, is healthy and nutritious.

But just because it’s good for you doesn’t mean you can eat as much fruit as you like. Fruit is popular with anyone who’s trying to manage their weight because it’s a great way to get a sugar fix from something that’s healthy. But that sugar, in the form of fructose, is just as unhealthy for you when it comes from fruit as when it comes from processed foods.

While fruit packs lots of fibre that helps slow down the digestion of its fructose, if you eat fruit constantly, at some point your body will get more sugar energy that it can burn, and you’ll start packing on the pounds.

Instead of reaching for fruit at every snack time or with every meal, try to substitute vegetables at least half of the time.

2. Calories are All the Same

Diet myth about calories

OK, you can argue that this is true, because it actually is true. But only by the strict definition of calorie as a unit of energy. When you use the definition of calorie that relates to weight, then saying they are all the same is as deceiving as saying you’ll permanently lose 20 pounds on the GH diet.

Here’s an example that shows why it’s a mistake to think a calorie is a calorie regardless of where it comes from.

  • A 355ml can of Coke has 140 calories
  • One cup of sliced carrots has about 50 calories
  • Therefore, eating three cups of sliced carrots is approximately the same for your weight as drinking a can of Coke.

Of course, that third point is completely wrong. The calorie count doesn’t take into account things like the fibre and nutrition that the carrots deliver.

3. You Should Always Choose ‘Low Fat’ & ‘Sugar-Free’ Food Options

Diet myths about choosing low fat and low sugar products

Yet another word definition that’s been warped by the weight-loss diet industry is ‘fat’. We’ve been conditioned to hate ‘fat’ and are encouraged to get rid of it at every opportunity.

But the truth is you need fat to live. A healthy diet should give you about 30% of your daily energy (calorie) intake from fat. That creates two potential problems when eating ‘fat-free’ processed foods. First, it could be less nutritious, second, it could have added sugar to enhance the flavour that was lost when the fat was removed.

The problem with ‘sugar-free’ is similar. While reducing your sugar intake is good, it’s what they replace it with to maintain the flavour that’s bad for you. Artificial sweeteners have been shown to not deliver the weight loss that we once thought, and they have also been linked to a number of health problems.

Sustained weight loss means focusing on healthy eating and nutrition on an ongoing basis. Instead of thinking ‘go on a diet’, when you want to lose weight, think ‘what transformation can I make to live a healthier lifestyle at a better weight?’ The nutritional consultants at your nearest Herbal One Centre are ready to help you make the transformation.


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