About 66% of Americans feel like they need to lose weight. Because practically everyone wants to lose weight, rumors abound when it comes to weight loss and these myths and diet fads spread like a forest fire. You may have heard tons of advice on how to lose weight, but these are some diet myths you should seriously reconsider:
- “Eating small, frequent meals boosts your metabolism.”: False. While it makes sense that you will keep your “metabolism” working if you eat frequent meals, food intake has little to no effect on metabolism. Some foods, like coffee, may increase metabolism, but the boost is not nearly enough to help you lose weight. So how do you really increase your basal metabolic rate? Pick up the weights and start liftin’. Muscles burn calories at about five times the rate that fat does.
- “Give up beer and you’ll get rid of your belly.”: According to Live Science, in a 13 year study of 19,220 U.S. women, nondrinkers were more likely to become overweight than women who regularly sipped on beer, wine, or liquor. Beer doesn’t necessarily give you a gut, but this doesn’t mean you should go around chugging 40-ouncers. Everything in moderation!
- “Just drink more water and you’ll lose weight.”: While foods containing water, like soups and melons, can fill you up and help you eat less, drinking water alone doesn’t have the same effect. Though guzzling down water isn’t going to give you a strikingly slimmer figure in weeks, drinking a glass of water before a meal can help you better moderate your eating, according to studies done at Virginia Tech (although, oddly, this effect was only prominent in subjects over 35).
- “Don’t eat after 8 p.m.”: Guess what? Calories don’t have a watch and they can’t tell time. Your body digests calories the same way whether its 2:00 in the morning or 2:00 in the afternoon. The tendency, however, is to binge at night when the body is tired after the long day. Instead of snacking on ice cream and cookies, have a light snack that’s around 100 calories, like a piece of fruit.
- “Just cut your calories and you’ll lose weight.”: True, but not for long. A report published in American Psychologist found that within four to five years, the majority of dieters put on a 1,200 calories a day diet, regained the weight they had lost in the study. Don’t starve yourself, you’ll just end up gaining the weight back. Instead, change dietary habits in a sustainable way. Swap snacks for fruit and chocolate bars for a piece of dark chocolate. This will help you keep the weight off long term. Slow and steady wins the race.
All in all, stay inquisitive when you’re reading or listening to what people have to say about weight loss. It could turn out that it’s a whole lotta bologna.