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Published on October 22, 2013

Busted Dieting Myths

To eat carbs or not to eat carbs? To snack or not to snack? To avoid fat or not to avoid fat?

When it comes to dieting and losing weight, there are far too many questions.

With all of the “rules” for dieting, it becomes difficult to identify what is and isn’t true. I mean, how do you know for sure that eating whole grains will get rid of unwanted cellulite anyway?

To help shed some light on these common assumptions, let’s take a look at a various dieting myths:  

MYTH: Carbs are the enemy. For a dieter, bagels, bread, and pasta all fall on the Unapproved Foods List. However, the pasta itself isn’t the issue—it’s the amount you consume. Why do you think Italians are able to stay so thin? It all has to do with portion control. In America, we love to eat massive spaghetti dishes drowned in heavy sauces. However, you should be aiming for two to three ounces of uncooked pasta per person. And remember, the carb doesn’t have to be the main dish—for pasta, add fresh veggies and protein to bulk it up. Instead of just having a bagel for breakfast, aim for eggs, fresh fruit, and a slice of whole wheat or whole grain bread.  

MYTH: You won’t lose weight if you consume fat. While there is some truth to this, it’s all about the type of fat you eat. Since fat helps your body absorb vitamins and certain nutrients, you need to consume a moderate amount for a healthy diet. Stick to the healthy fats, such as monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, which are found in liquid oils, fish, and nuts. The fats you want to limit or completely cut out are saturated fats, which are found in beef and dairy products, as well as trans fats, which you’ll find in packaged and fried foods.

MYTH: No sweets or snacks allowed! If you have a sweet tooth, you know that avoiding cupcakes somehow makes you want them even more. But the docs give you the green light; you can have a small bite of dessert to satisfy your craving. Otherwise, you’ll go crazy when you eventually give in. The same principle applies to snacking as well. Stick to a few low-calorie snacks throughout the day, such as a yogurt or an apple with peanut butter, which will also help you avoid overeating when it’s mealtime.

MYTH: Diet foods are the way to go. Actually, not always. Why? Because most people figure they can eat more low-fat products to make up for the fact that it has less than the original. In fact, many end up consuming more of the diet product in one sitting, ultimately taking in a higher amount of fat and calories. To prevent this from happening, be sure to check nutrition labels for the calories per serving.

MYTH: You need to cut a ton of calories to lose weight. An analysis of studies on long term diets that averaged 1,200 calories a day found that most dieters regained the weight they lost within four to five years. It’s easy to lose weight for the short-term on a 1,200-calorie diet; however you should follow a diet that’s more suitable to your level of activity to see results for the long-term. Reducing your calorie count too much can even increase your risk for various health issues. Try counting calories by tracking what you eat in a food journal.

MYTH: Certain diets will help you eliminate cellulite. There is no one food or vitamin that can help you lose unwanted cellulite. Since cellulite is the result of fat cells stored under the skin, a healthy and balanced diet along with exercise is the best way to lose fat throughout your body.

MYTH: You should only eat when you’re hungry. The best way to lose weight is to eat throughout the day. By eating every four to five hours a day, you’ll also improve your health and be able to perform optimally during the day. Aim for three meals a day with light snacks in between.

MYTH: A diet is something that will end. Think of it more as a change in your approach to eating. To lose weight and keep it off, you need to consistently embrace healthy eating behaviors and exercise on a daily basis.

Nutritional Services

Crozer-Keystone Health System is committed to the special dietary needs of its patients and offers a wide range of nutrition programs-from nutrition programs that address the special needs of cancer patients and those with diabetes, as well as programs that address childhood obesity and adult weight-loss. Outpatient Nutritional Services are available a Crozer-Chester Medical Center. Diabetic nutritional counseling is also available at the Center for Diabetes at Springfield Hospital. To schedule an appointment, please call 1-800-CK-HEALTH (1-800-254-3258).

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