We’ve all been there – your best friend gives you a tip on how she lost 5 pounds, you loved hearing it, so you try it. Then your workmate comes by and touts the next best fad in weight loss – again, you try it.
But none of them work and you still weigh the same as you were before you started, or worst yet, even more! So, before you take to the heart the next weight loss tip that comes by, here are 5 ‘popular’ weight-loss tips that friends and family continue to dish out but are completely myths. These myths are the things holding you from your weight loss goal. To sum up if a weight tip doesn’t involve making maintainable, healthier lifestyle choice, then it might as well be a myth.
1. Going gluten-free to avoid weight gain
While those with celiac disease require a gluten-free diet, the rest of us won’t find many weight loss benefits by avoiding the protein. Most processed gluten-free products just substitute sugars and fat for the gluten-containing ingredients. That often raises the calorie content and can actually cause weight gain.
If you plan to eliminate gluten by cutting down on processed foods to focus on lean protein, fruit and veggies, that’s another story. As for losing weight, it will only result if you decrease your calories below what you need to maintain your weight. And if you eat a piece of bread your head will not explode.
2. The grapefruit diet
The theory behind this weight-loss myth is that grapefruit is a “negative calorie food” meaning that it burns more calories to eat and digest the food than the food provides. Living on grapefruits can lead to nutrient deficiencies and slow your metabolism — and set you up to regain everything you lost and then some. If you don’t address what caused the weight gain in the first place, you will not succeed.
3. Food combinations that spark weight loss or gain
Food-combining diets are based on the premise that different foods digest at different rates and should be consumed in groups to heighten those factors. One principle is to avoid eating protein and carbs together. Run like the wind from a plan that says eat as much as you want as long as you don’t eat certain foods together. There is just no evidence this promotes weight loss.
4. Eliminating carbs
While we can glean some important insights when we know about different kinds of carbohydrates, experts in the post-Atkins era say it’s OK to enjoy them. The general thought is to avoid processed carbs that are often high in sugar and white flour, and instead consume whole grains. Some fruits and veggies also contain carbs that provide essential nutrients and fiber. If you are working out as a way to lose weight, that’s another reason to enjoy carbs, because they are used as fuel during exercise.
5. Constant grazing and snacking over big meals
Fitness guru Jillian Michaels says on her website that grazing all day cannot help people lose weight. Not only can grazing lead you to inaccurately monitor calorie intake, but it can leave you feeling unsatisfied.
By grazing around the clock, you’re preventing your body from burning fat. It also says that when you eat constantly, it releases insulin and puts the body into an absorptive phase so your insulin is storing sugar and preventing enzymes from releasing sugar to break down fat. The goal is for your body to be in “postabsorptive phase” where it uses your energy stores for sustenance, and burns more fat.