9 Healthy Diet Myths That Are Making You Gain Weight
There are so many diet fads out there, with supposed 'miracle' results. Whether it is a fitness influencer with a new 5-minute workout or being told that we should never eat a carb after 1 pm. However, these diet remedies may be doing us more harm than good. We have put together 9 diet myths that may be helping you put on the pounds rather than losing them.
DIET MYTH #1
Blending your fruit and veg is better than eating it!
The Real Advice: Eating your greens is better
When it comes to healthy diet myths, green juices are at the top of our list. Meanwhile, many celebrities advocate for a green smoothie and juice recipes, you should be aware that fruit juices are high in sugar. As the new hype suggests, blending vegetables saves the body energy as you are not asking it to the chew and digest the foods itself, thus giving yourself a quicker hit of nutrients. However, the natural sugars present in the ingredients – for example, those found in common juicing favourites such as carrots, beetroots and apples - hit your bloodstream quicker. As it hits your bloodstream quicker you will find yourself getting hungry just an hour after eating your smoothie which can quickly also lead to snacking. As an alternative, do not rely on these smoothies for your nutrients and ensure you are eating solid fruit and vegetables throughout the day. It is best to stick to one vegetable smoothie and add some protein such as raw nuts or plant-based protein powder.
DIET MYTH #2
Sugar-Free cereals are healthy
The Real Advice: Natural sugars can still contribute to weight gain
Although sugar-free cereals may seem high in quality they are often laden with dried fruits, which are filled with little nutrients and a high number of natural sugars. Research has found that eating foods that contain fructose, such as dried fruit can increase overeating as the brain associates them to hunger. When searching for a healthy cereal look at the sugar contents but also the nutrient breakdown. Oat flakes, mini-wheats or other single-grain cereals are usually the best.
DIET MYTH #3
Hummus and carrots are the perfect snack
The Real Advice: They may be higher in calories than you think
Although carrots and hummus may be less calorific than eating a packet of crisps, chickpeas are in fact laden with starch and fat. Most commercially produced houmous dips are filled with olive oil, with one tub containing over 700 calories. When picking a houmous, choose one which is high in water, low in sugar and only use one tablespoon.
DIET MYTH #4
Avoid carbs at night
The Real Advice: There is no time where you shouldn't eat carbs
There is no conclusive evidence to prove that eating carbs at night contributes to weight gain. There is however evidence to suggest that certain carbs eaten in the evening can help get you to sleep. Porridge oats cooked with skimmed milk just before bed is a great snack that is low in fat that helps the body fall asleep. In fact, a carb-rich meal at night can contribute to fueling the body's muscles for those who exercise in the morning. Try to eat wholegrain carbohydrates such as quinoa, brown rice and sweet potato.
DIET MYTH #5
Drink 8 glasses of water a day
The Real Advice: Instead of drinking your water, eat it
Since being a child we have always been told to drink 8 glasses of water a day. But eight glasses of water is actually 2 litres, which can not fit in our bodies as our stomachs are only the side of a fist. Drinking too much water can actually put undue strain on your kidneys, making your body excrete valuable nutrients through your urine. Instead of drinking high quantities of water, try to eat foods such as cucumbers, celery, watermelon and strawberries.
DIET MYTH #6
Your BMI is the most accurate weight measurement
The Real Advice: A waist to hip ratio is more accurate
Your body mass index is meant to be the perfect measurement for understanding the amount of fat in your body. However, the leading experts in fitness are now saying that it does not fully distinguish the difference between the amount of fat and the amount of muscle in your body and so can be inaccurate. An example being that muscle is heavier than fat and so a rugby player can be categorised as obese even if he only has 8 per cent body fat. Instead of being fixated on your BMI, women should have a waist measurement of 31.5 inches or lower. To calculate your waist to hip ratio, measure your hips, then your waist and divide the waist number by the hip.
DIET MYTH #7
Short intense workouts are always better
The Real Advice: You may be doing them wrong
HIIT training has become a mass craze over the world. With the promise to drop more than 3 dress sizes by only working out for as short as five minutes a day, it is easy to see why this is so popular. For a HITT workout to be that effective you would need to be pushing your body to its very limits, which unfortunately many of us are only pushing ourselves to about 60 per cent. One of the most effective ways you could lose weight is by doing a 30-minute circuit of five exercises around 3 times a week.
DIET MYTH #8
Running is always better for weight loss
The Real Advice: Running may lead to weight gain
When people run for a prolonged amount of time in an effort to lose weight they are actually losing muscle from their body rather than fat. Consequently, running generates stress hormones in the body because it is so stressful to the body and these – including cortisol and adrenalin – cause the body to store fat around the middle. If you enjoy running, try sprinting instead. Running hard for 100 metres then walking and repeating this for 6-7 minutes can be far more effective.
DIET MYTH #9
Eat five portions of fruit and veg a day
The Real Advice: Eight vegetables are far better
We have always been told to get our five portions of fruit and veg a day, yet only three in ten adults in the UK actually get this a day. Realistically you should be aiming for 8-9 portions, making only two fruit. If you’re opting for higher sugar fruits, have some nuts or seeds with them to slow down their effect on your blood sugar and keep you satisfied for longer.
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