5 Popular Diet Myths
The most common diet mistakes you’re probably making—and why you need to fix them.
I've been getting a lot questions lately asking about diet, most of which are misconceptions. With so many opinions about what to eat, when to eat, and the endless list of dieting do’s and don’ts, it's no wonder so many people are confused. Though there are many diet misconceptions, a few in particular stand out for me. Here, we'll go over five of the most common ones and learn more about each of them in order to make healthier choices in our daily living.
Misconception #1: Fat burners and other supplements will help me lose weight, without diet and exercise. Supplements are not intended to replace a healthy diet and workout regimen. Supplement, meaning added to, is just that: a complement to your dieting and exercise efforts. Bottom line is, no a fat burner will help you shed pounds while you sit back and eat your chocolate cake; if only it where that easy! There is no “magic pill” that allows you to veg and achieve your dream physique without lifting a finger. When used in conjunction with a sound diet and exercise plan, supplements can certainly help you. But how much they help hinges on your hard work. I recommend supplementing with protein powders for a quick easy way to boost your protein intake. When selecting a protein powder I look for a sustained-release protein that contains critical amino acids such as glutamine, arginine, and BCAA’s. The one I use is MHP’s Probolic SR. And while I do appreciate fat burners, I also understand that they do not work alone. When using these products one must still maintain a balanced diet and healthy workout schedule. I like MHP’s Dopamite; this product helps control eating habits and enhances mood.
Misconception #2: Don’t eat after dinner. Well, let’s look at this closer. It all depends what you are eating after dinner. Many people fall victim to the nighttime munchies, usually reaching for things like chips, cookies, and processed foods. This type of eating after dinner can destroy your health goals and is a definite no-no. A shake combined with a healthy fat prior to bedtime will not hurt your diet—in fact, this can help you. Having a snack that’s high in protein (shake, cottage cheese, egg whites) and healthy fats (all natural peanut butter, or nuts) helps regulate blood sugar levels, which is important to maintaining lean muscle and burning fat. Remember: you are still burning calories while you sleep, so there’s nothing wrong with fueling your body prior to bedtime as long as it’s the right fuel.
Misconception #3: Skip breakfast to save calories. Oh, heck no! This is one I hear all the time. First off, if you fuel your body appropriately, you should be hungry when you wake up! Second, skipping breakfast often leads to afternoon binge eating. Remember the old staying, “Breakfast is the most important meal of the day”? There’s truth to that. Breakfast fuels your body for the day ahead, and should include protein and carbohydrates, possibly even fruit. Breakfast is a must to kick-start your metabolism for the day, and provide your body the energy needed for daily activity.
Misconception #4: Cardio training will help you burn fat in specific areas. No matter how much cardio you do, you cannot spot reduce. I know—too bad, right? Many of us would love to see our belly fat move to other areas, and I’m sure you know what I mean! The truth is, it doesn’t work like that. You can do cardio all you want but the fat will come off wherever it wants to, and most often our “trouble areas” are last to go. So incorporate strength training to help tone and build those areas you wish to change! Don’t be afraid to lift some weights and build some lean muscle!
Misconception #5: The “C” word is off-limits… those carbohydrates are evil! Most people view carbs as the enemy, and I’ll admit I fall victim to this one at times too. We cut carbs out in order to lose weight, but carbs provide the energy your body needs to fuel great workout sessions—it’s a catch 22. While it’s true that carbs in the simple form such as those in processed foods, cookies, cake, white breads, and chips, should be avoided; good carbs are a necessary component of a healthy diet.
So the next time you are confronted with some of these dieting misconceptions, take time to think about them. The more knowledge you gain, the better you are equipped to avoid dieting traps and fall victim to the common misconceptions.