Weight Loss Myths

Posted by Luisa de Luca on


weight loss myths nutritional myths

Every six months to a year a new diet becomes all the rage. Thousands of followers work these diets faithfully, and after a few weeks, they give up.  Then someone else touts a great new diet, and the cycle begins again. Many, many fad diets have come and gone.

It’s a myth that you can lose a large number of pounds week after week, month after month.  After the first few weeks of dieting, the normal and healthy weight loss is about 1 ½ to 2 pounds a week, according to the NIH (National Institute of Health)1.  

Fad diets are not the best way to lose weight and keep it off. Many are hard to stay faithful to, so we tire of them and gain the weight back. Many of these fad diets can be harmful to our health. They may not provide the nutrients our body needs. In addition, losing more than 3 pounds a week after the first few weeks can cause gallstones, and being on a diet for a long time that is 800 calories a day can cause heart problems.

There are many myths out there about nutrition.  The fact is that in order to lose weight, you must eat take in less calories than you burn off.  Let’s take a look at a few of the common weight loss and nutritional myths out there and clarify with facts.




Myth: Grain products such as bread, pasta, and rice are fattening.  They should be avoided when trying to lose weight.

Fact: A grain product is any food made from wheat, rice, oats, cornmeal, barley, or another cereal grain. Grains are divided into two groups, whole grains and refined grains. Whole grains contain the entire grain kernel. The bran, the germ, and the endosperm must all be present to be a whole grain. Examples include brown rice and whole wheat bread, whole wheat cereal, and whole wheat 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. Therefore, whole grains are the healthiest1 choice.

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 at least half your grains whole grains.


Myth: Low fat or fat free means little or no calories.

Fact: A serving of low fat or fat free food MAY be lower in calories than in the full fat serving, but not necessarily. In order to be labeled low fat or fat free, food is processed to remove all or most of the fat.  Sadly, it’s the fat that carries most of the flavor.  In order to restore more flavor back into the food, sugar, or starch, or flour, or salt is added back in. This process adds more calories. We must be willing to read the food labels.  In addition, it’s important to note the serving size on the label.


Myth: If I skip meals, I will lose weight.

Fact: Skipping meals makes you hungrier so when you do eat your next meal1, you tend to over eat.  In addition, you are also more likely to snack until you get to the next meal. Studies show there is a link to skipping breakfast and obesity. People who skip breakfast tend to be heavier than those who eat breakfast, according to the Mayo Clinic2. Before lunch time arrives, you are so hungry that you head for the vending machines. Also, the prolonged fasting that occurs when you skip breakfast can increase your body’s insulin response, which in turn increases fat storage and weight gain.


Myth: Lifting Weights is not a good way to lose weight, because it will make you “bulk up.”

Fact: Strong muscles help in burning off fat. There is nothing counterproductive about weight lifting. Doing push ups and sit ups along with moderate weight lifting will work very well with weight loss programs. You can even choose to do heavier gardening or housework and such for your workout regime. Get involved in some sort of physical exercise that makes you work up a sweat and breath harder at least 2 to 3 times a week. You should engage in aerobic exercise from 150 to 300 minutes per week.


Myth: Physical Activities  Are Only Effective If Done For Long Periods of Time.

Fact: You can work in your 150 to 3001 minutes of aerobics at  10 minute intervals throughout the week. The point is to work up a sweat and be breathing hard. This is a goal that is pretty easy to accomplish.


Myth: Eating meat is bad for my health and makes weight loss more difficult.

Fact: Chicken, fish, pork, and red meat contain healthy nutrients like, iron, zinc, and protein.  It is true that they also contain some cholesterol and saturated fats, so eat portions on the small side. The meat on your plate should be about the size of a deck of cards.


Myth: Dairy products are unhealthy and are counterproductive to weight loss.

Fact: Fat free and low fat milk, yogurt, and cheese are lower in calories than whole milk dairy products and just as healthy. There is muscle building protein in dairy products as well as calcium to strengthen your bones. Most Americans don’t get enough calcium nor vitamin D in their diets. Eating dairy is an easy way to get more of these nutrients.


Health Myths Busted

The truth of the matter is that any diet or exercise program you begin you should research, consult with your doctor, and make the right decision for you. A lot of these myths are simply perpetuated because we don’t do our own research and believe what others tell us.



  1. http://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/health-topics/weight-control/myths/Pages/weight-loss-and-nutrition-myths.aspx
  2. http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/weight-loss/expert-answers/food-and-nutrition/faq-20058449

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