You’ve been working out regularly, cutting your calories and eating clean, and yet when you step on the scale you keep seeing the same number. You’re checking all the boxes for your diet — what is going wrong? Nothing is more frustrating than focusing all your effort on something and not seeing or feeling any of the results. Unfortunately, there is a lot of conflicting dietary advice out there that can confuse you and derail your progress.
One thing that every scientist, dietitian and trainer can agrees on: Your diet is the central component in weight loss. You can work out every day for an hour, but if you’re eating piles of junk food, you’ll never have the necessary calorie deficit to shed that extra weight. We’ve debunked some of the most common myths surrounding diet and weight loss to help make sure you’re on the right path and start seeing progress on the scale.
Myth: Fats Make You Fat
What They Say: Consuming fat is the quickest way to put on weight and adds fat to your body composition.
The Reality: While foods with higher calorie counts typically contain fat, it doesn’t mean that fats make you fat. In fact, your body actually needs fat to help absorb certain vitamins and phytonutrients.1 That being said, not all fats are created equal. You’ve probably heard the term “healthy fats” — this refers to monosaturated and polyunsaturated fats, two kinds of fats that do not raise your blood cholesterol levels and may even reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease.1 You can get these fats from food like nuts, olive oil, avocados, etc.
Myth: You Have to Eat a Lot of Protein to Build Your Muscles
What They Say: Lifting weights breaks down your muscles, so in order to rebuild them and get stronger, you should prioritise protein over carbs and fats.
The Reality: A diet where you can eat a lot of bacon and red meat sounds too good to be true — and it is. Protein-forward eating plans like paleo, Atkins and keto may help you drop the weight in the beginning, but over time, research has shown that you actually tend to gain weight on high-protein diets.2 Excess protein gets converted into sugar in the body, so all the carb cutting isn’t worth it. Generally, you want your calorie ratios to be somewhere around 35% protein, 40% carbohydrate and 25% fat. You can also customize your macronutrient intake by using a nutrition calculator.
Myth: You Should Drink Eight 8 ounce glasses of water per day
What They Say: Water is essential to weight loss, so make sure you drink the recommended 64 ounces of water every day.
The Reality: There is partial truth in this — water is crucial to staying hydrated, which can minimise bloat, especially when you’re exercising regularly. It’s a great habit to have to improve your health, but it’s not directly responsible for weight loss. Additionally, 64 ounces is a generic recommendation. Your water goal should be personalised to your body, not based on an arbitrary figure that actually doesn’t have any scientific backing. Here’s a more accurate rule of thumb to follow for a well-hydrated body: Drink one ounce of water for every kilogram you weigh. So, if you weigh 90 kilograms, you should drink 90 ounces of water daily. If you work out regularly or exercise outdoors when it’s hot out, increase that to 1.25x your body weight.
Myth: You Need to Do a Juice Cleanse to Flush out Your System
What They Say: A juice cleanse rids your body of all the toxins and is great for your health.
The Reality: Your body is a well-oiled machine — it has the ability to heal itself, regulate its temperature and generally maneuver around in the world. It also has a natural detox system in the kidneys, and lucky for us, we have two! Our kidneys filter our blood and remove waste from the food we consume.3 Their close friend, the liver, processes medications and other chemicals we ingest. Unless either of those organs are failing in that regard, there is no reason to seek alternative methods. Depending on how long you are on a cleanse, it can actually start to mimic starvation, and your body will work to keep weight on for survival, effectively cancelling out any weight loss you might be hoping for.3
1Solo, S. (n.d.). Busting 10 diet myths. Retrieved 14 February 2018, from https://www.realsimple.com/health/nutrition-diet/weight-loss/busting-10-diet-myths#myth-no-10-eating-fat-makes-you-fat
2Smith, D. L. (26 September 2017). 8 diet myths that keep you fat and frustrated. Retrieved 15 February 2018, from http://www.eatthis.com/8-diet-myths-that-keep-you-fat-frustrated/
3Brodwin, E. (2 January 2018). Detoxing is the health ‘resolution’ you should avoid this year. Retrieved 15 February 2018, from http://www.businessinsider.com/detox-health-effects-benefits-science-2017-1
The information in this article is provided for education and informational purposes only, without any express or implied warranty of any kind, including warranties of accuracy, completeness or fitness for any particular purpose. The information in this article is not intended to be and does not constitute financial or any other advice. The information in this article is general in nature and is not specific to you the user or anyone else.