The world of dieting is full of myths, hearsay and soundbites. We all have heard them many times over, but are they really true. Cutting out sugar completely from your diet, never to touch fat or alcohol again – these are things we hear all the time, but is it a good idea to stick to them strictly.
Implementing such harsh changes into your eating habits is more likely to become a failure, because almost everybody needs a little treat now and then. And there is nothing wrong with it, as long as it doesn’t happen every day.
What you eat?
The basic idea of any weight loss diet is to eat food that contains fewer calories than your body needs to maintain its current weight. In this way, our body turns to the accumulated fat as alternative source of energy since it doesn’t get it from food. But a diet also has to be tasty and nutritious, so that keeping it won’t be so hard. Simply excluding certain types of foods from your menu is not a solution, especially foods we like to eat, because sooner or later we will want them so badly that breaking the rules is almost certain.
People should also learn not to put their faith into meal replacements. These are combinations of low-fat and high-protein substances, but they cannot replace a proper diet. They are very low in calorie content, so the calorie intake would be drastically decreased. Cutting out calories of the long-term nutrition can lead to some serious health problems, because the internal organs and muscles need them to function properly.
Using meal replacements for a week or two as a shock treatment is fine, but relying on them for two months or so is asking for trouble and it’s strongly recommended no to get so far. The same goes for eating plans based on single-food diets, such as the cabbage soup diet, because they share the same idea.
Low-carb, High-protein diets – are they the solution?
A very popular idea in the weight-loss world is the low-carb, high-protein diet. This diet myth emerged from the Hollywood sliming industry. Almost all movie stars and singers are on some such diet. However this approach is not so good for long-term weight loss, because when on a diet low in carbohydrates and calories, our body is forced to use the existing carbs located in the liver and the muscles. Maintaining such a diet will result in losing weight mainly from water stored in the body, instead of fat, and also strains the internal organs.
And eating bread, potatoes and pasta is not something you should worry about. They are the leading sources of complex carbohydrates, which are actually good for you as they suppress hunger without brining too many calories. It is safely to eat moderate amounts of potatoes and bread, as long as they are properly prepared (fried potatoes are not low-fat food) and you don’t use butter or sauces, which are rich in fats. A high-carb, low-fat diet is better than banning bread and potatoes from your daily menu and also it is easier to stick to.
The importance of water
It is good to drink certain amounts of water daily because it keeps our body hydrated and fills our stomach. Water also facilitates the movement of undigested food to the exit point, thus keeping the intestines healthy. However drinking water alone does not make losing weight happen. Weigh loss is the process of burning the excess body fat and water cannot do that.
A diet should not be judged solely by how much weight is lost per week. Some people claim that a diet is effective when the weekly weight lost is two pounds and over. Frankly said, two pounds per week is too much weight to loose and it’s almost certain that it doesn’t come all from the excess body fat, but from lean muscle tissue as well.
Fat – “good” or “bad”?
According to another myth you have to stay away from fat, because it’s absolutely bad for you. Well quite on the contrary, our body needs some fat in order to get the important fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K circulating through the cardiovascular system. Moreover fat provides the essential fatty acids omega-3 and omega-6 which cannot be synthesized in the body. These fatty acids just have to present in your daily nutrition, because they are very important for your health. The recommended dose is that about 30% of the daily calorie allowance should come from fat.
And last of all, comes the idea that maintaining a diet is simply enough to lose weight and there’s no need of exercises in the plan. Considering that exercise is the most effective way of burning calories from the excess body fat, we should simply assume that sitting at your desk all day long is not going to do the trick.
Remember that a diet that consists of plenty of healthy food and plenty of exercise is much better than sitting in front of the TV and drinking cabbage soup every six hours. It’s faster, safer and less stressful to your body.