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10 weight loss myths & tips busted
Weight loss tips
Wednesday, 14 November 2007
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1. High protein diets are the most effective way to lose weight

Higher protein diets are no more effective at assisting weight loss than higher carbohydrate diets. Carbohydrate and Protein both have the same amount of energy (kilojoules/calories) per gram. It is your total energy intake that matters when losing weight. Consuming less kilojoules/calories than you expend will put your body in negative energy balance, which when maintained consistently will result is loss of fat stores.
When you start a high protein diet and restrict carbohydrate you might be getting rapid weight loss but it is most likely a decrease in your bodies water stores not body fat, this is because the body requires water to store carbohydrate.
If not chosen carefully a higher protein intake may also be higher in saturated fat and lower in dietary fibre and protective vitamins and minerals found in wholegrains. Low carbohydrate diets may also result in a feeling of lethargy, as you are cutting out a major energy source, many people find them difficult to sustain in the long term. The most effective way to lose weight is to decrease your kilojoule intake and increase your energy expenditure by being more active.

2. Carbohydrate eaten after 4pm is stored as fat

I often hear my clients say 'I have stopped eating pasta for dinner, it will make me fat'. There is no reason to fear carbs in the evening. Carbohydrates are actually the body's preferred energy source. Eating pasta - or any other type of food rich in carbohydrate (eg: bread, potato, rice, cereal, fruit, milk) - won't automatically make you fatter no matter what time of day. The serving size of carbohydrate and what you have with it is important (no more rich creamy sauces, butter or sour cream). Your body does not stop metabolising food at a certain time each night, although it does slow down whilst asleep. The reason people often lose weight when they cut out carbohydrate in the evening is they have reduced their total energy intake. Enjoy a small bowl of pasta with a side salad as long as your total energy intake is still within your energy requirements for the day.

3. Your body can't digest carbohydrate and protein in the same meal.

Not true. Digestion of these 2 nutrients is carried out by different enzymes secreted in the gastrointestinal tract, none of which is affected by the presence of the other enzymes. If this myth were true we would have a hard time digesting foods such as milk, yoghurt and bread, all which contain both carbohydrate and protein.

4. Skipping breakfast is a great way to lose weight

People who eat breakfast have been shown to have a healthier diet, lower in kilojoules and fat, higher in fibre, vitamin and minerals, than regular breakfast skippers. Not only does breakfast help with alertness and concentration it can also assist in preventing you grabbing an unhealthy snack when you get the munchies that certainly dont help weight loss.

5. All fat is bad

Fat has an important role in health, it is needed to transport fat-soluble vitamins and hormones round the body. There are some fats that are necessary in the diet because the body canít produce them (omega-3 and omega-6 fats). Mono and poly unsaturated are the healthy fats found in fish, oils, margarines, nuts, seeds, avocados and lean meats. Then there are the saturated fats that can increase your cholesterol and clog up your arteries, these fats are predominantly in fatty meat, chicken skin, butter, full fat dairy products, pastries, biscuits, cakes, takeaways, palm oil and coconut. One thing to remember though is that all fat can be fattening if consumed in large quantities. Fat is very energy dense so the amount and type you consume is important. Try to reduce the unhealthy saturated forms in your diet, rather than eliminate the healthy unsaturated forms such those from oils, nuts, seeds, avocadoes, fish and many margarines.
6. Restricting your intake is the best way to lose weight

Yes, but only partly true. You do need to have a lower energy (calorie) intake to lose weight but physical activity is equally important. Not just to burn up extra kilojoules but also to help with managing stress levels, improve bone density and cardiovascular health, and release those 'feel good endorphins'.
The best way to lose weight is to follow an calorie restricted plan, monitor your intake and watch portion sizes in combination with regular physical activity.

7. Exercising on an empty stomach is the only way to burn fat

Exercising on an empty stomach is not for everyone. It can lead to low blood sugar levels, dizziness, increased perception of effort and early fatigue. All this means you might not get the most out of your workout and can't put in the level of effort you would have if you had some carbohydrate on board, you then end up burning less energy (kilojoules/calories). It is however true that fat oxidation is enhanced during exercise after an overnight fast. So exercising before breakfast in the morning can improve fat oxidation during that exercise session. If you are doing a high intensity session and especially if it's greater than 60 minutes then a food source prior may be beneficial in prolonging the intensity of the session.

8. Sugar is fattening.

Not true. Sugar is no more likely to be turned into fat than any other carbohydrate. It's the total energy (kilojoules) rather than the sugar in energy dense foods that may contribute to new stores of body fat.

9. Frozen vegetables aren't as nutritious as fresh ones.

False. When vegetables are freshly picked their nutrient levels decrease during shipping and storage. Frozen veggies are picked ripe and immediately snap frozen so they retain most of their original nutrients. Nutrient loss then depends on how long you cook your veggies.

10. Physical activity needs be continuous to be beneficial.

Studies have shown that improvements in indicators of health such as blood pressure, blood cholesterol and body weight, can result from putting together shorter amounts of moderate-intensity activities totaling a minimum of 30 minutes on most days. This means you can do 3x10 minutes of exercise daily to benefit your health. Though for greater weight loss, longer duration and higher intensity activities will burn up more energy.

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