If you’ve ever asked someone for advice when losing weight, you might have gotten a lot of different advice. Some of the advice people give is just not true. For example, one of the most common diet myths is to avoid eating carbohydrates as they make you fat. That is not the case at all and we will be debunking some of the most popular diet myths today:
Carbohydrates are bad for you
When you’re trying to lose weight, a lot of people will suggest a low-carb diet. Although there exist many low-carb diets such as the Ketogenic diet, they are structured differently to ensure you still remain healthy. However, just a flat-out low-carb diet is absolutely rubbish and it doesn’t help in fat loss.
The main reason people say this is because of the fact that carbs increase the production of the hormone insulin, which promotes fat storage and slows down the fat burning process. The reason why fat burning is slowed down is that fats are no longer needed. Carbohydrates are the primary source of energy for the human body because they are digested the fastest.
Fats, on the other hand, are very slow-digesting. Therefore, it would make sense for the body to use carbs for fuel instead of fats to keep you energized. That is not a bad thing. In the end, if you maintain a caloric deficit, you will be burning more energy than you’ve eaten which will force your body to burn fat and hence, lose weight.
There is one aspect about carbs that may result in weight gain for many people. There are two types of carbohydrates, simple and complex. Simple carbs are fast digesting and they are a source for instant energy. They are often found in white rice, fruits, veggies and other foods such as pasta etc. Simple carbs can lead to weight gain because they are digested quickly, therefore, one starts to feel hungry again only a short time after eating which leads to overeating and hence, weight gain.
In order to tackle this, complex carbohydrates are highly recommended. They digest slower, and they give energy at regular intervals. Moreover, most complex carbohydrate sources are high in fiber so these foods also make you feel more ‘full’ for a longer time. The lesson here is: carbs are not bad for you and complex carbs are highly recommended.
You should avoid foods high in fat when losing weight
Yes, this statement is not entirely false as you do need to avoid many fatty foods. However, that doesn’t mean you avoid fat altogether. Many people suggest low-fat or no fat diets because usually, the high-fat foods are the main culprits of weight gain. That is not the fault of fat though, as most of these foods are high in calories. It’s more due to the mismanagement of your daily caloric intake.
Fats are essential for the body. They are responsible for energy, tissue repair and to transport vitamins A, D, E and K around the body. You need to get some healthy fats daily which you can find in foods like nuts, cottage cheese etc. The moral of the story is that fats aren’t bad for you. One should always be aware of their daily caloric needs, and the calories they eat daily. If that is not done, then even a low-fat diet may not help you.
Skipping breakfast leads to weight gain
Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. However, skipping it will not be the end of the world, and it will certainly not lead to weight gain. There is not much out there to back up this claim. One argument is that avoiding food for too long can slow down your metabolism. Since we stay without food for a long time, especially after skipping breakfast, that slows down the metabolism and leads to weight gain.
However, that is completely false. In fact, the opposite can happen. Intermittent fasting is a highly popular way of losing weight and many professionals even recommend it. The idea is that you don’t eat any food for 12-16 hours and then eat in the rest of the 8-12 hours to fulfill your daily caloric needs. Why this is so popular is that it has proven to be highly effective for fat loss.
Through intermittent fasting, your body stays without food for a long period of time, which means it needs to turn to other sources of energy i.e. fats. The intermittent fasting scheme has been known to improve the production of the growth hormone and even improve metabolism. Skipping breakfast means that you are indirectly doing intermittent fasting.
Given a healthy sleeping period of 8 hours, skipping breakfast and waiting a few hours for your first meal of the day is actually not bad. It can, in fact, help you lose weight faster provided you are exercising regularly and eating the right foods.
Cholesterol is bad for you
One of the main reasons why we eat egg-whites and not whole eggs is because the latter contains cholesterol. It’s supposed to be bad for you, right? That’s not entirely the case. Cholesterol is a fatty substance which is made mostly by the liver. It can be bad for us, yes, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t have its benefits.
We are highly familiar with the bad effects of cholesterol. However, there are two kinds, good cholesterol, and bad cholesterol. There are many reasons why unsaturated fat is better than saturated fat, one of them is associated with cholesterol. Foods high in saturated fat increase the levels of bad cholesterol in our body. The bad cholesterol is responsible for clogging our arteries which leads to heart disease.
However, good cholesterol, found in foods containing unsaturated fats has several health benefits. It’s not only used to make cells and vital hormones, it also helps in taking away the bad cholesterol away from the arteries and back to the liver. Therefore, we shouldn’t avoid cholesterol entirely and instead focus on healthy sources of fat such as olive oil, nuts, and seeds.
Carbs after 6 pm are bad for you
This is, by far the most popular diet myth you will ever hear. This theory uses a similar argument to the “carbs are bad for you” argument that carbs lead to higher levels of insulin which results in fat gain. Moreover, another argument is that your body is most sensitive to carbs during breakfast time. After that, the sensitivity decreases throughout the day. Therefore, the optimal time for eating carbs is before 6 pm.
However, this is absolutely rubbish. There is no magic switch inside our body that tells it to stop using carbs as fuel and start storing them as fat after a certain time. When losing weight, it’s calories in vs calories out. If you’re maintaining a caloric deficit and are eating the right foods, then there’s no reason why you shouldn’t be losing weight regardless of the time you eat them.
What’s important is what you eat, and how much you eat. At the end of the day, if your total food consumption lies within your daily caloric needs, you will not gain weight. In fact, it will be quite unhealthy for you to avoid carbs if you work out in the evening. Your body requires carbs after an intense workout to replenish depleted glycogen stores and to build muscle.
If you do not provide your body with the tools it needs to grow, then you will not see results. Therefore, stop believing the carbs after 6 myth, eat whatever time of the day as long as you are within your daily caloric requirement.