9 of the most entrenched diet myths. BUSTED.

The classic ‘post dinner fridge raid’.

Diet myths. They’re what make us doubt everything we put in our mouths, and everything we put in our trolleys in the supermarket. They’re what make us paranoid about everything, from carbohydrates to fat to sugar. They’re what confuse us to the point that we’re not sure what we should be eating, and when we should be eating it.

But never fear – I’ve gathered up some of the most common diet myths and busted them open so you will never again have to suffer through the confusion. Here we go…

Just as an FYI, you should know that this post is sponsored by belVita. But all opinions expressed by the author are 100 per cent authentic and written in their own words.

1. Low-fat is where it’s at

Contrary to everything we’ve been told for years, low-fat diets aren’t the key to weight loss. Your body needs fat – it provides energy, repairs tissue and also transports various vitamins around the body. What’s important is that you get the right, unsaturated fats. So less deep-fried chippies and more avocados, nuts and olive oil.

2. Avoid the fridge after a certain hour

You know that whole don’t-eat-after-8pm-or-get-super-chubby myth? Fib! Studies suggest that calories consumed after a certain hour are not burned any differently to those consumed at a different hour. So it doesn’t matter when you eat – what matters is how much you eat through the whole day. 

Unfortunately, we do tend to overeat at night as we’re tired – and we also tend to reach for the unhealthier snacks to treat ourselves. So watch the portions of the ice-cream and you should be just fine.

Make sure you read the ingredients on everything you purchase. That fat-free milk might be FULL of sugar.

3. Go for the diet products on the shelf

Sadly and misleadingly, the diet prodz on the shelf aren’t necessarily the ones that are best for you.

Make sure you read the ingredients on everything you purchase – if something’s fat-free, it’s probably loaded with sugars and other mystery ingredients to retain the flavour. Similarly, if something’s sugar-free, it potentially has some very interesting things added to it in order to make it edible.

4. Carbs are the devil

Ah, how Atkins convinced us all. In actual fact, carbs are an important thing to incorporate into your diet, especially if you’re working out on a regular basis. Just go for the stuff that’s better for you – wholemeal bread/pasta, brown rice, wholegrains and sweet potatoes.

5. Dairy is also the devil

Nope! That wheel of cheese/glass of milk/pot of yogurt has lots of stuff in it that you need – think calcium, protein, zinc, etc.

It’s not as simple as just ‘stop eating’.

6. If you want to lose weight, just stop eating

Want to lose 10kgs before next weekend? Figure, you’ll do it just by giving up eating and consuming only water and the occassional bit of fruit, but only when absolutely necessary? 

It won’t work. That is all. Your body will go into starvation mode and cling onto every last calorie for dear life. Additionally, even if you do lose weight, you will put it all back on again in a ridiculously short amount of time. So not worth it.

7. Salads are the healthiest choice

I still remember discovering Caesar salads as a teenager and being ridiculously stoked about it. Bacon! Creamy dressing! Cheese! Croutons! All in a bowl! And HEALTHY because salads are the best possible thing you can order off a menu!

Imagine my dismay when I discovered that a Caesar can have just as many calories as, say, a burger and chips and a frozen Coke on the side. Same as many other salads which have creamy dressings or other added items with little to no nutritional value. 

If you’re going for a salad, go for lots of veggies, grilled chicken and ask for the dressing on the side so you can just add a little – not drown those lettuce leaves.

8. Organic food is much better for you

In my brain, organic has always = healthy. So I would merrily munch on organic popcorn or chips or cookies, thinking that I was doing my body a favour… notsomuch. 

Organic refers purely to how the food is produced, not its nutritional content. So simply slapping an organic label on a cookie does not deplete it of its calories. I know. Lame.

9. Eating small portions will boost your metabolism

There’s no real evidence as to how much food intake actually influences metabolism – all we know is that metabolism is mostly affected by body composition and size. Bigger muscles = more calories burned, usually. If you’re worried about your metabolism, try incorporating some weights into your workout routine and see what happens.

Just when you think you’ve heard it all, there are even more crazy diet ideas out there…

What diet myths have you fallen for in the past?

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