8 big fat diet lies

By: Katherine Vankoughnet

Author: Canadian Living


8 big fat diet lies

By: Katherine Vankoughnet
Dieting is a billion-dollar industry, and one that succeeds on the failure of its consumers, so it's no wonder there are tons of bogus theories on what really works when it comes to weight loss. To help separate fact from fiction, we spoke to Susan Fyshe, a nutritionist and dietitian and owner of Healthy Lifestyle Nutrition Consulting. Below, she dispels some of the longest-standing dieting myths for good.

What is the most ridiculous diet lie you have ever heard? Share with other readers below in the comment section!

1. Carbohydrates make you fat
Though we do eat a lot of the processed, high-glycemic index carbs like those in cookies, cakes or waffles, there are plenty of good, healthy carbs that deserve to stay on our safe list – fresh fruits and whole grains, for instance, are a great source of fiber and vitamins. And while many people have weight-loss success by limiting their carb intake, they aren't necessarily taking an overall healthy approach to personal nutrition. "A lot of people on carb-free diets simply take the carbohydrates out and eat anything else they want," explains Fyshe. "They don't balance it out with lots of vegetables and eat a lot of unhealthy fats."

2. Skipping meals will help you lose weight
"Intuitively we want to do it because we think eating less will get us to our goals faster," says Fyshe. "But in the end, you always eat more because it makes you hungrier – it plays with your blood sugar and it negatively impacts your metabolism." Case in point: studies show that people who regularly skip breakfast will consume more calories later in the day, and often the less-nutritious kind.

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Think that the salads you eat are a healthy choice? Discover why you could be wrong on page 2.

3. Salads are always healthy
There is a preconceived notion that certain foods, like salads and cereals, are inherently healthy, which unfortunately couldn't be farther from the truth. "A beautiful green salad with lots of vegetables and a nice light vinaigrette is great, but often that's not the type of salad that people are eating," says Fyshe. Calories can easily sneak in through fatty dressings, chips and crutons, or cheeses. In the case of cereal, sugar is often the main culprit. Read labels and menu descriptions carefully when trying to make healthy choices.

4. Fats are bad
Once considered to be a dieter's worst enemy, fats are slowly shedding their sinful stigma. Moderate amounts of good monosaturated fats like olive oil, grapeseed oil, or those found in avocados and nuts have been proven to reduce the risk of heart disease. "Gram per gram, it all still has twice as many calories as protein or carbs, regardless of whether it's healthy or not, so you want to be careful where weight loss is concerned," explains Fyshe. "But we do need fats in our diet for health and they make food taste great."

5. Detox diets really work
If you're trying to get through a week solely subsisting on grapefruits or paprika water, chances are it isn't healthy or safe, and chances are you won't successfully keep off the weight you lose. "Detox diets aren't a good weight-loss tool because they put your body into a different mode, and it's just going to bounce back when it's finished," explains Fyshe.

A couple of days of detoxification or eating lightly can help reset your system before starting a weight-loss regime, but anything that borders on fasting should be avoided.

6. Meal replacement products keep you satisfied
Liquid lunches (no, not that kind) have long been a diet staple – pre-prepared shakes cut calories and keep you full until dinner. In truth, your body won't register those liquid calories as actual food, leaving you vulnerable to hunger attacks. "A meal replacement drink can serve a purpose on the run, but it is no replacement for healthy food," says Fyshe. If you rely on quick, no-fuss fuel, create your own smoothies at home loaded with fruit, dairy, protein and healthy oils for a more complete meal.

7. Sticking to "light" or "diet" products
"Generally speaking a light product is just light in calories, and not enough food, you're going to end up eating a lot more afterwards," Fyshe explains. Snacking on nutritious whole foods like beans, fruits and vegetables is infinitely more filling and very few calories, leaving room for moderate amounts of your favourite treats every once in a while, instead of switching to the "diet" version. Also, beware of "low fat" claims; the product could still very well be loaded with calories and sugar.

8. It's possible to lose weight without exercise or nutrition modification
When it comes to losing weight there is no quick fix; no pill, laser or restrictive elastic band will provide the same results that hard a healthier lifestyle will. "Magic happens when you combine a healthy diet with a good amount of exercise and activity," Fyshe says.

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8 big fat diet lies