We are a nation obsessed with diets and dieting. Every day weâ€™re bombarded by seemingly new, and most often confusing, information on what is the best way to shed those extra pounds.
There are fat-burning pills, exercise machines, low-fat-low-carb snacks, and diet tips galore: Donâ€™t eat carbs, stay away from desserts, donâ€™t skip breakfast, never nibble after 7 p.m., etc. New diet books are always hitting the bookstore shelves with the latest weight-loss advice, and celebrities feel compelled to share their diet successes. With all this conflicting information, itâ€™s difficult to find a diet that is right for you â€” and that will work for you!
Some common diet strategies truly do help you lose weight while others only offer false hope. Here are 5 popular weight-loss myths and the facts by Madelyn Fernstrom, a Today Show’s diet and nutrition editor:
1. Eating spicy foods promotes faster weight loss – MYTH!
Spicy food does not translate to bigger calorie burn no matter how much you may sweat while you are enjoying it. There is a tendency to eat slower when you dine on hot foods and the intense flavor may make you feel more satisfied so that you end up eating less, but don’t think that you are going to drop any additional weight by dousing your food with Tabasco sauce.
2. Eating dairy foods can promote weight loss – FACT!
Dairy foods mostly enhance the rate of weight loss IF you are already on a calorie controlled diet. You can’t magically add dairy to what you already eat and expect to lose weight, but you can replace some of the calories you eat with dairy foods. Dairy foods are typically more filling so you are curbing your appetite for longer stretches of time. Dairy is also an excellent source of calcium, vitamin D and protein.
3. Exercises boosts your metabolism for a few hours – MYTH!
The connection between exercise and sustained metabolic boost only occurs in extreme, controlled activity, for example in runners or pro athletes. Average exercisers do not have the “honeymoon effect” for hours afterwards. While intense exercise may make you hungrier than usual, just because you are exercising does not mean you need to fuel up.
4. Using smaller sized plates promotes weight loss – FACT!
A zillion studies and common sense tell us that if food is placed in front of us that we will eat it because it looks good, tastes good and it’s there. Using a smaller plate such as a salad size plate instead of a dinner size plate will always help with portion control, just so long as you don’t go back for second or third helpings.
5. Don’t eat after 7 p.m. for better weight loss – MYTH!
This is one of the biggest myths out there! You can’t eat by the clock. If you normally go to bed at midnight and you eat dinner at 6:00, you’re probably going to be hungry later in the evening, so eat according to your lifestyle while limiting your intake about two hours before going to bed. We burn calories 24 hours a day, so if you need a light snack before bedtime, have one.
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