Saturday, December 5, 2020

Diet Myths Busted: Let’s Measure Up The Facts


There are dozens of fad diets that people try to lose weight. The low-salt diet, heart-healthy diet or low-carb diets are some diets that doctors frequently recommend to patients. If you browse social media, you might find the blood type diet, which recommends foods based on your blood type. Those that have type O blood should eat protein, for instance, while those who have type A blood might be better off as vegetarians. There is also the Paleo diet, the South Beach diet, the Atkins diet and so many more. With so many diets, there are bound to be myths about losing weight. Do you still have those lingering fifty pounds from last year? Let us debunk these myths and get you back on track.

First, it is untrue that you should not eat after eight o’ clock at night. The theory behind this myth is that it is better to eat earlier in the day when we are more active. We are more likely to burn off calories so they do not get stored as fat. Your body uses calories the same way all throughout the day and night, however. If you must snack at night, be sure to grab a healthy snack such as string cheese, Greek yogurt or another healthy snack. If you cut out that late night popcorn or evening bowl of ice cream, you can lose up to a few pounds a year. It might be worth it to experiment with it; you will be excited to get into that smaller jean size.

Another myth we have all heard is this one: eating small, frequent meals boosts your metabolism. The theory is that is that you eat this way then your metabolism burns extra calories. However, while those foods with caffeine boosts metabolism, the effect is too low to help you lose a great amount of weight. What matters is how fast your body burns calories while your body is at rest—such at when you are working in your office cubicle or sleeping. In order to lose weight, focus on building up your muscles. A pound of fat-free tissue burns 14 calories a day, while a pound of fatty tissue burns 2-3 calories a day. It looks like it’s time to hit the gym.

Pasta makes you fat—or does it? Studies show that your body turns carbohydrates into sugars, which in turn, your body stores as fat. However, here is where’s most people get confused. Carbohydrates are not fat; they are considered an energy source for the body. (This is why people crave them after workouts.) These carbohydrates do not actually make you fat; it is the calories that do. It is fine to eat spaghetti, rotini and your favorite pasta—in moderation. Keep in mind that three cups of pasta can pack up to 600 calories without the sauce. This is usually the amount restaurants give their customers, while the recommended portion size is two to three ounces.

On another note, there is a myth that says coffee helps you lose weight. Some believe the caffeine in the coffee is a metabolism booster, but unfortunately, this is false. The coffee does squelch your appetite, however, but not enough to make a difference in weight loss. In turn, drinking too much coffee may cause you to develop symptoms such as the jitters, anxiety, an increase in heart rate or an increase in blood pressure. It is safe to enjoy up to two cups of coffee or tea a day, but anything extra—cream, sugar, cocoa powder—all these calories have to be counted.

Furthermore, many believe that milk can be helpful in losing weight. Oddly enough, this myth has been proven false. It is true that the calcium in the milk helps strengthen your bones. Some studies have proven that milk helps people lose weight, while other studies have shown no effect or people that drink milk end up eating more calories. The best advice is to stick to low-fat products that are much lower in calories. The recommended amount of calcium for adults is 1,000 grams or about 3 cups of milk, while those over 50 should have around 1,200 grams of calcium.

It is also a myth that eating protein and carbs at different meals will help you lose weight. Some believe that there are different digestion enzymes for protein and carbs, but this simply is not fact. Instead, let us look at the truth. Your digestive system can handle several food groups at once. Imagine if we had to pick apart our sub sandwich into proteins and carbs—who would do that? Nobody, I am sure of it. Studies show that it is protein and fiber that give you that ‘full’ feeling after a meal. These fiber-filling carbs are what give us energy to buzz around and get our tasks done.

In addition, it is a myth that you cut calories to lose weight. How many of you have gone to diet meetings and had this drilled into you? They want you to buy into the theory that if you eat less then you are going to weight less. If you are consistently at 1,200 calories a day, then this is possible. Other people are at 1,800-2,000 calories a day. It all depends on your weight and how active you are to be honest. Do your research on how much you should be eating. Most importantly, do not starve yourself. Let us use the formula below to help you with you with this final myth.

Finally, in order to find your number of calories, first find your activity level. If you almost never exercise, multiply your weight by 12; if you exercise one-three times a week, multiply your weight by 13.5; if you exercise three-five times per week multiply your weight by 15.5; if you exercise six-seven times per week, multiply your weight by 17; and if you exercise daily, multiply your weight by 19. Round the number off to the closest number. This is the number of calories you need to maintain your weight. If you want to lose weight, try cutting out 250 calories. Good luck with your weight loss. You are going to get to that smaller jean size!


  1. Louisa

    This is so useful to have all of these myths busted in one place, thank you. Having tried many of these in the past I have also found that they do not work! The only thing which has consistently helped me has been eat a bit less; move a bit more. If I swap my unhealthy snacks for more healthy ones – or in fact reduce my snacking then make sure that I exercise more I do begin to see results. Exercise can be anything including housework too so I don’t need to spend hours in the gym getting nowhere on a treadmill.

  2. Jenny

    I would like to add that not every two women are the same. Some will actually lose weight from drinking milk, some can lose weight from eating meat and carbs separately. As a whole, these can me considered myths if they don’t work for the majority, but that doesn’t mean everyone is canceled out.

  3. Melissa

    Great list of myths. There are sooo many out there when it comes to weight loss, even though weight loss is just simply the act of eating less calories than you burn. That’s it! Doesn’t matter what you eat or when you eat it, as long as the calories consumed are less than the amount you burn off. Too much money to be made off the myths, so they will surely never go away.

  4. Andrea S.

    I eat 3 meals and have 1-2 snacks throughout the day not because I think I burn more calories this way, but because otherwise I tend to eat too much in one sitting.

    Here is a small example for those who want to try eating smaller meals:

    -I usually have a light breakfast, perhaps some Greek yoghurt with a hardboiled egg, or a turkey breast sandwich with some veggies
    – for lunch is either a light soup or some grilled fish/chicken, with whatever salad I can put together
    – dinner is just as simple, cottage cheese with some nuts, an omelette or some grilled meat if I’m still hungry
    – as for snacks, I go for fruits, veggies, nuts, whole-wheat crackers, whatever I have handy.

  5. Crystal

    I’ve heard of different formulas before to find out how many calories you should be taking in, but everyone else seemed to find ways to make it so complicated. This one is simple to calculate and definitely something I’ll write down and keep in mind! Admittedly, I hate counting calories, but I know it’s a necessity.

Jennifer Olson
A mother of three, lover of children and keeping them (and us adults!) as healthy as can be. I have worked as a midwife and nurse for 12 years. Email:

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