Alright now, you have long believed certain things that have often been repeated over and over again and now you have come to accept them as the infallible truths. But very often, this is simply a trick to turn a lie, by repeating it often, into an accepted truth. This trick is most seen in matters pertaining to weight loss. Myths, misconceptions, and mistruths, are used and make you believe certain things which can actually do more harm to your body, than good.
What is needed is an awareness of the truth behind the lie, as to what actually leads to weight loss, and can, still keep you looking healthy, fit and fine.
Here we bust some of the most common weight loss myths that have been doing the rounds, and sieve the grain from the chaff in its entirety:
Myth: Fat is bad for you.
Fact: This is the most commonly believed statement, which actually turns out to be a myth. The fact is that there are healthy and unhealthy Fats. Healthy fats are indeed, necessary for your body and help in maintaining good health. Says, Sweety Das, an expert Nutritionist practicing in Mumbai, “MUFA – Monounsaturated fatty acids and PUFA – Polyunsaturated fatty acids are considered to be good fatty acids that must be included in your diet, and these never lead to weight gain. However, the SFA - saturated fatty acids are the ones you need to avoid, as these are bad fats that can lead to weight gain. These bad fats are also, responsible for blocking your arteries and increasing your chances for heart attacks. Saturated fats are actually solid fats at room temperature, found mainly in coconut oil, palm oil, hydrogenated fats like vanaspati ghee, dalda.
Solution: It is advisable to opt for Good fats which are found in groundnut oil, rice bran oil, sesame oil, and to an extent mustard oil as all of these are rich in MUFA and PUFA. Nuts, including, walnuts and almonds which are rich in omega 3 fatty acids, must be consumed in at least three to four servings everyday as these are not fattening at all.
Myth: Skipping meals is a good way to lose weight.
Fact: This is completely untrue because by skipping meals, you actually disturb your body’s metabolic system. This is because, when you are in starvation mode, your hormones get imbalanced and the body tries to conserve the energy, rather than expending it. This means that your body will have excess calories, which will lead to weight gain rather than weight loss. Moreover, when you skip meals, the proteins in your body, are used for providing energy to the body, rather than repairing tissues, which is their core function. All the more, when on starvation mode, the body’s fat is also broken down and leads to the accumulation of ketones which are dangerous to the body. If you skip meals during the day, you are more likely to make up for those missing calories by snacking or eating more at the next meal. This leads to weight gain.
Solution: A healthier way to lose weight is to eat many small meals throughout the day that include a variety of nutritious, low-fat, and low-calorie foods.
Myth - As long as you exercise you can eat anything that you want.
Fact: This could not be further from the truth. What is important is the amount of calories you burn, which is an essential feature of weight loss. And your metabolism rate determines the number of calories you burn while at rest and while you exercise. If you eat more calories than you burn exercising, your body will accumulate these extra calories as fat regardless of the amount of exercise you do. However, for those people who have high metabolic rates, even if they eat high caloric foods, their body metabolises their calories faster, and hence, no matter how much they eat or what they eat, they rarely meet or exceed the amount of calories that they burn in one day. Therefore, their weight either remains stable or goes down.
Solution: Diet plays a major role, and it is when the right diet (read diet consisting of the right amount of calories) is combined with an effective exercise regimen, weight loss is sure to happen.
Myth: Low – fat means Low-calorie
Fact: 'Low-fat' or 'fat-free' doesn't necessarily mean low calorie or calorie-free. A low fat diet can have many other ingredients like, extra sugars and thickeners that are often added to boost flavour and texture, that can increase the number of calories, thereby leading to weight gain. For instance, low-fat ice creams and yogurt contain a lot of sugar, which leads to an increase in the number of calories.
Solution: It is mandatory to carefully read nutrition labels and check the calorie content of foods, especially cakes, biscuits, ice creams and ready meals. Foods labelled low-fat should contain no more than 3g fat per 100g. Watching the quantity is important. With low fat foods, look to see where else the calories might come from and at best, go for low fat and sugar free products.
Myth: High-protein/low-carbohydrate diets are a healthy way to lose weight.
Fact: High-protein/low-carbohydrate diets often lack key nutrients found in carbohydrate foods. Also, a diet that is low on carbohydrates, means that the energy coming from carbohydrates gets restricted, and proteins then are used for energy formation rather than tissue repair. And a high protein intake overworks your kidneys and can cause dehydration, headaches, and bad breath. All the more, a diet low on carbohydrates, means low on glucose levels, without which the brain cannot function. This in turn can lead to feelings of tiredness, nausea, etc. This type of diet may cause rapid weight loss, but most of what you lose is water weight and lean muscle mass, not fat. This is not a healthy way to lose weight! Many of these diets allow a lot of food high in fat which can increase a person's risk for heart disease and certain cancers.
Solution: For a long-term, sustained and healthy weight loss, follow a reduced-calorie diet that is well-balanced between carbohydrates, proteins, and fats.
Myth: Fad diets work for permanent weight loss.
Fact: This is absolutely false. Fad diets do lead to weight loss, but for a short term. These eating plans often promise to help you lose a lot of weight quickly, or tell you to cut certain foods out of your diet to lose weight, but sudden weight loss leads to health problems in the long term as you are depriving your body of essential nutrients. Hence, fad diets do not help in sustaining weight loss for long.
Solution: Weight loss should always be gradual, not sudden. Because in sudden weight loss, you tend to gain double the weight, you wish to lose. Develop a healthier lifestyle and control your weight and this way you will also reduce your chances of developing diseases.
Keep these facts in mind
- Calorie free--The product has less than 5 calories per serving.
- Low calorie--The product has 40 calories or less per serving.
- Reduced or fewer calories--The product has at least 25 percent fewer calories per serving than the non-reduced version.
- Always read Nutrition Labels.