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6 diet ideas that really aren’t true

Think dairy products are fattening and food eaten late at night is bad for you? We asked a fitness expert to set the record straight.

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With so many diet fads doing the rounds – especially at this time of year – it’s difficult to know what to eat and what not to eat if you want to lose weight for your wedding.

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So we asked personal trainer and nutritional advisor Anthony Dwayne Murray to shed the light on a few diet myths.   

Myth 1: Food eaten late at night stops you losing weight

Fact: Many think eating in the evening means the body stores fat because it is not burned off with activity. In reality, it is not eating in the evening that stops you losing weight, it’s consuming too many calories throughout the day! As long as you eat less calories than you’re burning each day, you will lose weight, regardless of when you consume those calories. 

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Myth 2: Diets don’t work

Ultimately, if you take in fewer calories than you need, your body starts to use up its fat stores to get the extra calories it needs to keep functioning properly – resulting in weight loss over time.

The key is to follow a moderately restricted diet rather than an extreme diet that bans favourite foods. You don’t want a diet that has too many restrictions as you’ll be more likely to be hungry and give it up. 

Myth 3: Potatoes, bread, pasta and rice are fattening

Foods high in carbohydrates have had a rough time in the past few years thanks to the success of low-carb diets such as Atkins. But there’s no proof that healthy carb-rich foods are more likely to make us gain weight than any other food. Usually, the extra fat comes from the sauces, butter etc that accompany these foods.

Ultimately, it’s an excess of calories that makes us pile on the pounds – and it really doesn’t matter where those extra calories come from.

It IS a better option to go for high-fibre carbs, such as brown rice, wholemeal bread and pasta and jacket potatoes. 

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Myth 4: People inherit being overweight

Scientists have been working hard to identify genes that have the potential to make us fat. It seems there may be a genetic link – but in very a small number of people.

However, they don’t explain the recent rapid increase in obesity that’s been seen in the western world. They believe that while we might inherit ‘fat’ genes from our parents, we also inherit their bad habits such as a poor diet and lack of exercise. 

Myth 5: Dairy products are fattening and unhealthy

Dairy products are actually packed with essential nutrients that help to keep us healthy: calcium, protein, zinc and some B vitamins. Calcium is a mineral that helps to build strong, healthy bones, and the stronger your bones are, the lower your chances are of suffering the bone-thinning disease, osteoporosis, in later life.

Dairy doesn’t have to be fattening either, there are loads of low-fat products available such as skimmed or semi-skimmed milk, low-fat yoghurts and reduced-fat cheeses. Switching to these low-fat dairy products does not mean you will get less calcium. In fact, skimmed and semi-skimmed milks actually contain slightly more calcium than full-fat milk!

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Myth 6: Weight problems are often the result of an intolerance to wheat

With so much written about wheat-free diets, it’s easy to think an intolerance to wheat is to blame for those excess pounds. However, experts suggest that less than 0.1 percent of the population suffer from this condition.

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However, if you do cut out most junk foods with wheat, for example pizza, pasta and pastries, you will lower your calorie intake.