Look, everyone knows about the plethora of easy fixes out there when it comes to dieting and that’s why this post will be a little more than 400 words about 7 popular dieting myths you should avoid. On the flip side, there is also a plethora of diets out there that make you completely overhaul how you live your life. Hell, there are even a bunch that combine both elements.
But let’s get serious. And if you’re here you must be serious about being as healthy and fit as possible. It’s time to deviate from the norm and not do what the rest of the sheep are doing. According to a sport dietitian by the name of Marni Sumbal, R.D., “Athletes must understand—any diet that suggests eliminating certain foods (dairy, legumes, fruit, etc.) or food groups (carbohydrates or fat) in an effort to improve overall health for weight loss or body composition changes may increase the risk for low energy, slow recovery, fatigue, immune system depression, injury, mental focus, low motivation and hormonal disturbances.”
I’d listen to him, as he works with those who specialize in endurance training.
In case you need more convincing, Bonnie Taub-Dix explains that, “The word ‘diet’ actually means, ‘way of life,’ so unless you could live with your plan for the rest of your life, it’s not a plan that will keep you looking and feeling fit,” Taub-Dix is a registered dietitian nutritionist, owns the website BetterThanDieting.com and has even written a book called Read It Before You Eat It.
Lucky for you that you stumbled upon this article, as we’ve assembled an all-star cast to crush the plethora of weight loss myths and scams that float around the Internet. We questioned this all-star cast (which includes nutritionists and health experts) about weight loss techniques that they would never even consider using or prescribing to their clients.
Now is the time to really pay attention if you’re serious about getting in the best shape of your life. This is where you’ll be able to weed out all of the BS dieting methods sold on the Internet. Let’s get started:
1) Cut out Major Food Groups
According to Taub-Dix, “Many of the diets that boast impressive weight loss statistics result from ‘cutting out carbs’ or ‘ditching all fats,’ but in my experience, those diets are rarely, if ever, sustained for life.” An official personal trainer by the name of Obi Obadike concurs: “Our body needs an adequate amount of carbs, protein and fat in order to function properly, so I never recommend cutting one of those macronutrient groups out altogether.” Obi is also a specialist in nutrition and hosts his own fitness program called Workout with Obi.
These experts instead suggest a much less drastic and easier to manage method: “I know it may sound boring, but those two powerful words ‘eat less’ allows you to still eat a variety of foods that you love…it’s a diet you never have to go off of,” Taub-Dix states. Obi likes to center on finding the right replacements. You ought to conduct some of your own research and find the best available source of each of the major food groups. Obi explains, “For example, opt for brown rice instead of white, and go with a slice of avocado instead of cheese on a sandwich.”
2) Take a Low-Fat Approach
“Some time ago, the food industry thought it would be a good idea to blame high-fat diets for the spike in American obesity rates,” remarks a highly certified doctor of natural medicine by the name of Josh Axe. Of course, “we all took the bait and started filling our carts with low-fat cookies and 100-calorie packs of chips and pretzels,” adds Axe, who is also a clinical nutritionist. Turns out that processed foods that are low in fat have a buttload more sugar than their “unhealthier” counterparts because their manufacturers try to make them taste just as good so that people buy.
As everyone knows, fat is necessary for all of us. According to Jessica Cordin (certified dietitian, NYC wellness writer), “Though fat is denser in calories than protein and carbohydrates, a little goes a long way in helping you stay full longer and supports stable blood sugar and energy—important for powering through workouts, avoiding hangry meltdowns, promoting good hormone regulation, and preventing you from feeling deprived.”
Healthy foods that are rich in fats are key in your diet. Foods like avocado, extra virgin olive oil, coconut oil, salmon that was caught in the wild, chia, and flaxseeds. Colette Heimowitz (Vice President, Atkins Nutrition and Education) adds that, “they’ll help the absorption of important fat soluble vitamins like A, D and K.”
Make sure to watch your servings. Cording encourages you to, “Think a quarter of an avocado, a teaspoon of oil, a quarter-cup of nuts—and spread your intake out through the day to help you fit fat into your diet while still reaching your weight loss goals.”
3) Extreme Low-Calorie Diets
Sumbal states that, “Many athletes who participate in aesthetic or weight-bearing sports may feel extreme pressure from the media to ‘look’ like an athlete.” This pressure leads the athletes to doing stuff like cutting calories or even getting rid of the major food groups entirely. This can lead to a very unhealthy relationship with food. It’s common knowledge that most low-calorie diets are far too strenuous for a majority of people to keep up with in the long term without close doctor supervision. According to nutritional specialist JJ Virgin, these diets can lead to harmful effects such as deficiencies in various nutrients. Virgin is also the writer of JJ Virgin’s Super Impact Diet Cookbook.
4) Raw Vegan Diet
Virgin goes on to say that, “Unless you have a full-time chef and live in your own bubble with no kids or other responsibilities, a raw vegan diet is practically impossible to maintain, despite what the latest actor or actress would like you to believe.” By the way, if you aren’t sure what a raw vegan diet is, it bans all food made from animals, along with any food cooked at over 118 °F.
5) Juice Cleanse Craze
Juice cleanses have gotten a lot of buzz when being marketed as a way to reduce fat. Unfortunately, a good majority of those who “use” them actually misuse them. In all actuality, the largest bone to pick with these is that in grocery stores more often than not these juices are just “nothing more than overpriced sugar water, devoid of protein, healthy fats, fiber, and sufficient nutrients,” according to Virgin. All of your energy will be depleted in midst of the cleanse and you’ll most likely just gain all the weight back anyways after the cleansing is over. It’s pointless and a waste of time and money.
6) Steady-State Cardio Overload
It is extremely common knowledge that participating in physical activity every single day is the best thing you can do to lose nasty extra body fat. However, Axe states that, “What most people don’t know, however, is that logging hours at the gym every day doesn’t automatically translate into a slimmer physique.” It turns out that spending hours doing the typical cardio workout (which is a very common method that people use to burn calories) really makes your body keep the fat instead of getting rid of it. Crazy, right?
It doesn’t stop there, either. Doing these consistent, sustained, and long-distance cardio workouts a lot will actually make you hungry. How? These workouts have the potential to increase stress hormone levels, such as cortisol. According to Axe, the results of this include: your appetite being triggered, an increase in the amount of fat being stored, and increased difficulty and time needed to recover after a workout.
If you’re looking for an effective alternative (which you should be), interval training is just the thing for you. This kind of training combines short, high-intensity bouts of exercise (performed at roughly 85-100% max. heart rate) with very slow stages of recovery, rinse and repeat many times. A special metabolic reaction is triggered in the body as a result of these kinds of workouts. It is possible that you won’t shed a lot of fat in the midst of the actual workout, like if you weren’t performing at the high intensity mark mentioned earlier, but it’ll lead to effective calorie burning later on. This is because you’re firing up the engines of your metabolism, and this motor will keep running and burning calories for up to 1 or 2 days after the workout
7) Forbidding Favorite Foods
“When people put themselves on a diet, they often forbid themselves of the foods they love, but dieting is not the same as healthy eating, and this leads to a sense of deprivation, which can derail your healthy intentions,” explains Rebecca Scritchfield, who founded the Capitol Nutrition Group. Scritchfield’s qualifications also include being a registered dietitian/nutritionist and specialist in health fitness. It has been found that the key issue with eating little and working out a lot is that most of the weight lost is water, which can lead to severe health problems like dehydration. It’s not actual weight loss and it’ll do more to cause you gain weight in the future than it does to make you look good in the present. Why? Because the lack of eating and the water loss leads to your metabolism taking a huge hit. And naturally, your body goes into survival mode and tries to store any fat it can when you deprive it of food. Scritchfield warns that, “Over time this creates the effect of yo-yo weight cycling, which can take a toll on your emotional and physical well-being.”
There you have it, 7 common “dieting techniques” that are marketed out there for hundreds of dollars, just crushed by a group of actual experts. When you’re looking around for a really good dieting method, do extensive research. If you’re desperately looking for the miracle fix and willing to latch on to any trendy method, you’re going to ignorantly shovel away money and possibly see no results at all. Or even the results might be NEGATIVE. Read medical studies, consult with actual nutritionists on the Internet like Quora, webMD, etcetera.
Hell, you could even take what you’ve already learned from this article, do a bit more research on some of the nutrionists’ suggestions, and formulate your own healthy fat burning guide. Just make sure it actually works and doesn’t have any negative effects before marketing it your friends and later an online audience. Believe me, the last thing we need are more diet technique scams floating around. People are desperate for answers and will unfortunately pay a lot of money for grand claims that have little substance besides some paid testimonials from likely affiliates who make commission off of every sale.
To reiterate what I said in the beginning of this piece, be different. Don’t follow the herd of sheep into the fat abyss. Take control of your life and be able to identify when someone is BSing you. Pass this message on to your friends and family so that they all stop pouring their money into ill-researched oft-damaging diet method scams that just line the pocket of no good pieces of crap who don’t actually care about your health and wellness.
A site I may suggest to keep up with recent scams being funneled out into the interwebs is Diet Scam Watch. It is owned and operated by certified physician Stephen Barnett, MD and is an extension of his site Quackwatch. This site was founded in 1997 and its stated purpose is to expose “health-related frauds, myths, fads, fallacies, and misconduct,” and puts a special focus on “quackery-related information that is difficult or impossible to get elsewhere.” With quackery being defined by Dr. Barnett as, “anything involving over promotion in the field of health,” and Dr. Barnett goes on to say that, “This definition would include questionable ideas as well as questionable products and services, regardless of the sincerity of their promoters. In line with this definition, the word ‘fraud’ would be reserved only for situations in which deliberate deception is involved.”
Either way, the criticisms and suggestions put forth by all-star panel of nutritionists included in this piece and the watchdog site created by Dr. Barnett are all incredible sources of information that will greatly help those who are serious about looking and feeling their best. Does that sound like you?