Fact or Fiction: 5 Common Diet Misconceptions

Are diet misconceptions sabotaging your weight loss goals? Our intentions may be good, but still, we often make ‘not-so-healthy’ eating choices without even realizing it. Here is the truth behind five common myths to us help be more knowledgeable about our nutrition, and to help us stay on the path to success!

Myth #1: “Junk food” is forbidden. The truth is, a restrictive diet is extremely difficult to maintain long-term. Denying yourself your favorite “junk foods” will only make you crave them more, and in the end you may just abandon your healthy eating plan altogether out of frustration, and start binging on chips and cookies. Set yourself up for success by leaving some room in your diet for the foods you love. As long as you keep in mind your total caloric intake, and enjoy these foods in moderation, you will stay in control of your cravings and avoid discouragement.

Myth #2: If the label says low fat, fat-free, or natural, it must be good. Low-fat and fat-free foods tend to be heavily processed, with lots of extra sugar and other questionable ingredients added to make it taste better and to give it the right texture. Plus, if you think these treats are better for you, you may just eat more than you should! The same goes for “natural” foods. Don’t be fooled by this clever marketing tactic. The term “natural” is loosely defined by the government, so read the ingredients and nutrition labels first.

Myth #3: You should not eat at night. This rule is not the smartest one to follow, since everyone has different schedules. For example, you shouldn’t skip dinner because you get home from work late, and you shouldn’t deprive yourself a snack before bed if you ate an early dinner. If you find yourself hungry in the evening, it’s better to eat a light meal or snack than to go to bed hungry. You may not sleep well if your tummy is growling for eight hours straight, and you will definitely wake up ravenous the next day, which can only lead to trouble. Stick to snacks with lots of fiber and protein, that are easy to digest, like a bowl of cereal and milk, some air-popped popcorn with a sprinkling of Parmesan cheese, of some Greek yogurt and a few whole-grain crackers to hold you until morning.

Myth #4: Skipping meals is a good way to cut calories. Studies show people who skip breakfast tend to be heavier than people who don’t. Maybe because skipping meals can lead you to overeat later, and it’s harder to make healthy choices when you are are famished. Plus skipping meals can throw your blood sugar off balance, putting you at risk for hypoglycemia and even pre-diabetes. Eating sensibly throughout the day at regular intervals helps stabilize blood sugar and keeps your metabolism fired up.

Myth #5: You must drink eight glasses of water a day. It is important to stay hydrated, but there is no hard and fast rule. Listen to your body, and if you feel thirsty, hydrate. And remember that foods like fruits and vegetables also contribute to our overall fluid intake — the same goes for juice, tea, and even coffee.

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