8 Diet Myths Exposed
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Myth: If you're watching your weight, don't eat after eight
Does eating at night really cause your body to store more fat because it doesn't have the chance to burn it off through activity?
The short of it: Studies have shown that your body stores extra calories as fat no matter what time of the day you consume them. What’s important is how many calories you eat during the whole day and how many you burn off. Your calorie intake doesn’t change just because you eat after eight! And your body doesn’t store more fat because it’s night time.
The morsel of truth to this myth is that people who eat little or nothing during the day and then consume all their calories in the evening are often more overweight than those who eat regular meals spread throughout the day. That’s because regular meals help to control appetite and metabolism. Eating close to bedtime can also interfere with sleeping patterns.
Myth: Bananas, carrots, watermelon, and tomatoes are loaded with sugar
It’s been said that these foods should be avoided when you’re trying to lose weight because they are higher in sugar than other fruits and vegetables.
The short of it: Come on! You’d have to eat 8 cups of chopped carrot to get as much sugar as you get from just two glazed donuts. It’s really a question of relativity: Arnold Schwarzenegger probably feels tall until he stands next to Shaq O’Neal, and a banana is sugary until you put it next to a Mars Bar. Carrots and tomatoes may have 5-10 more calories per serve than broccoli, but compare them to a bag of corn chips or a handful of chocolate-coated peanuts and you’ll realise there’s nothing to worry about!
Myth: You should never eat chocolate if you're trying to lose weight
A Cherry Ripe bar has 250 calories and 13g of fat - surely that can't be good for your diet? If you're the type of person who thinks that the only way you can lose weight is by banishing all of your favourite chocolates, snacks and alcoholic drinks, you might be in for a surprise.
The short of it: Telling yourself that you can't have something is a sure way to make yourself really want it! And you can bet that if you give in, you don't just have one piece of chocolate, you end up bingeing.
A better approach is to allow yourself treats from time to time. Keep them as treats to be enjoyed occasionally, not everyday staples. Account for them in your daily calories and you can enjoy them without guilt and without gaining weight.
Doing a little extra exercise can also help you have more calories left for treats. For example, you could burn off 100 calories by taking a 30-minute walk, and enjoy a glass of your favourite wine with dinner.
However, if one taste makes you devour the rest without another thought, then your trigger foods are best left alone! Stick to treats that you can control.
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Last updated: February 1st, 2007
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