The Top 10 Myths About Dieting…

1. Snacking is bad

Nope, not true.

For sure, cramming half a dozen Snickers bars for elevensies is not going to do your waistline any favors, but having snacks that combine complex carbs and protein (say a couple of oatcakes and hummus), will help maintain a steady blood sugar levels and help stop you over eating at your next meal.

Sensible snacking is actually quite good.

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2. Ready-made low-fat meals are good for you…

Not necessarily so. Some low-fat products might well be lower in fat, but they’re not necessarily low in calories. It’s a case of attempting to subtract something that’s deemed to be bad for you with one hand and adding something unhealthy with the other.

Many products replace the fat they take out with lots of salt, sugar and thickeners to bulk and flavour it up. ‘Tis sad, but all that ‘food make-up’ they add to it to make it look and taste prettier contains calories.
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3. Coffee speeds up the metabolism…

Yes, coffee can rev up the metabolism, but it does that to such a small degree that blink and you’ll miss it. Chances are you’d be better off winning the next general election with one vote or bumping into a rainbow-coloured poltergeist poodle in a matchbox than losing any significant weight drinking a cup of coffee.

“Using a punching bag for 30 mins a day with a picture of Simon Cowell stuck to it also works a treat and does wonders for your physique”, yaps the poltergeist poodle before walking through the wall.
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4. Dieting doesn’t come cheap….
It can come cheap. Cheaper than a takeaway or pre-packaged meal. Let’s say you bought a box of chicken and chips for £1.99. Take the chicken: one drumstick, 4 chicken wings and some fries. Bargain. Yum.

The thing is you could probably buy a pack of raw chicken wings and potatoes from your local supermarket for a price close to that. And it would last longer as you’d probably get more wings to a pack, therefore saving you money. The only thing you’d have to exert is the energy to prepare the meal. The added benefit would be that you’d be in control of what went into it. You could casserole chicken and potatoes instead of frying them, saving you tons of calories than if you bought a takeaway.

You can apply the same principle to foods that are pre-packaged. Buying the ingredients yourself and preparing them from scratch is cheaper.
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5. I better stick to the salads when I go out…
You might have the best of intentions, but unfortunately, not every salad is worth its weight in gold. Don’t assume that that salad you’re tucking into is good for you as some have been jazzed up with dressings and are packed to the Hilton with calories and fat you never knew were there.

Not all are like that, so it’s best to ask what’s in it (don’t worry, it’s not impolite.

You have a right to know what’s going into your body). Alternatively, you could ask for a fresh one to be made for you without any dressing.
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6. Brown Sugar is better than White Sugar
The brown sugar you get at Sainsbury’s is actually white granulated sugar with added molasses.

Yup, brown sugar contains tiny quantities of minerals, but unless you eat a mountain of brown sugar every day (not advisable), the mineral content difference between brown sugar and white sugar is utterly insignificant.

The notion that brown
is better than White Sugar is a myth.
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7. Carbs make you fat, so go low-carb…
Sorry, but a low-carb diet isn’t the best diet out there since, erm, sliced bread (e.g., Atkins Diet, Carbohydrate Addicts Diet, South Beach Diet). Cutting down on carb intake to such levels might initially encourage some weight loss due to decreased water stores in the body, but it’s always a good idea to give your body the energy it needs instead of starving it of it.

There is no evidence to suggest that eating carbs – good carbs - in moderation - will make you put on weight. On the contrary, studies have shown that lowering your carbohydrate intake that drastically might actually do your body more harm than good. Effects could include hypoglycaemia, bone loss, exhaustion and mood swings. You really want all that drama?
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8. All fats are bad for you…

No. Not all of them. Don’t make your body plead for fats. Your body needs fats, but of the heavenly kind such as olive oil and flaxseed oil. Without it, your body’ll have little enthusiasm to repair tissues and ship essential vitamins around itself. Also, fats found in foods like fish, avocado and walnuts are so so so good for you, so good that you’ll have your body kissing you from the inside with gratitude ‘til you break out in giggles.
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9. You can eat as much healthy food as you want…
Not so. Portion control, regardless of how healthy you eat, is important. Albeit that going through 10 chocolate bars in one sitting is worse than going through 10 rice cakes in the same stretch, it’s still a hell of a lot of mouth-fill and can’t be healthy, low fat or not.

Eating healthy isn’t a license to eat as much as one wants. Portion control and calorie intake is still important, regardless.

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10. Drinking lots of water will help you lose weight…
The belief amongst some is that if you drink water, you’ll get that full feeling and therefore nip that hunger pang in the bud quicker than a Jackie Chan kick to your jaw.

Not so.

Your body is asking for food (i.e., calories, nutrients) and is not stupid. It very well knows the difference between water (no calories) and food (calories, yay!). Until it gets what it wants, it’ll continue to drum the latest Britney Spears tune against your stomach until you feed it.

Give your body food. Good food. Then it won’t complain (and stay well hydrated too!)