Discover some of the most ridiculous, yet very common, myths about fat loss. Does bread make you fat? Does skipping meals save calories?
There are so many fat loss myths out there and we’ve all heard of friends and family doing crazy stuff with their diets:
Living off nothing but shakes and smoothies.
Fasting for days on end.
Detoxing with cayenne pepper, lemon juice and honey …
It’s pretty clear that all of these are dangerous, potentially harmful, and, quite frankly, ridiculous.
But what about other common practices?
Those that on the surface maybe don’t seem quite as mad, yet when we look into them, are just as absurd as the above. When you think about it, there are actually quite a few, so let’s investigate the top 11 now.
1. Bread Makes You Fat
If there’s one food that’s received more flack in recent years than others, it’s bread.
It seems we love to demonise this humble baked good as the reason the nation is overweight.
Truth be told, the average person probably does eat a little too much bread. When you add up the 2 slices at breakfast, the 3 or 4 at lunch, and maybe the odd extra piece here and there, but it’s not the bread itself that contributes to excessive weight gain, rather the calories from the bread.
Depending on what type you buy, a slice will have 70 to 100 calories; so 8 slices a day could be a whopping 800 calories.
It might do you some good to switch your sandwich for a salad occasionally, or have Greek yoghurt instead of jam on toast at breakfast, but in isolation, bread will not make you fat.
2. You Have To Cut Dairy
The only people who need to cut out dairy are those with a lactose intolerance.
Like bread, dairy has been unfairly blamed for all manner of physique-wrecking crimes recently, yet most dairy foods are actually pretty nifty!
Low-fat dairy, such as the aforementioned Greek yoghurt, along with quark, low-fat cream cheese, milk, cottage cheese and even dairy-based protein powders such as whey are high in protein, low in carbs and low in fats.
They’re filling, satiating and packed full of useful nutrients.
3. Skipping Meals Saves Calories
Skipping a meal here and there may be a way to lower your calorie consumption. But be warned – skipping a meal now may make you hungrier and more prone to over-eating later in the day.
This is particularly the case at breakfast! Missing your first meal of the day could cause monster cravings to kick in come 11am and have you clawing at the vending machine, desperately foraging around for your last pound coin to get your hands on that oh-so-tempting Twix.
4. You Should Never Skip Meals
Not so much …
While many folk don’t fare well with skipping meals, you may actually find that eating at less frequent intervals helps with satiety.
Some people do great missing breakfast and not eating a first meal until around midday, or even foregoing the snacks and just having 3 bigger meals per day. There’s no truth in the idea that frequent eating speeds up your metabolism.
The most important factor is that you pick a meal frequency that suits your schedule, your lifestyle, and that keeps you on track with your diet.
5. No Carbs After 6
A long time ago, a myth emerged about some sort of fantastical fat storage fairy that somehow flies around the country, searching out people who’ve eaten carbs after 6pm, and magically turning these carbs into body fat.
It’s about as ridiculous as the idea that carbs are immediately converted to fat by your body if eaten after 6pm.
You may well not burn as many calories overnight as you do during the day, but it all comes down to what you eat in a 24-hour period.
Carbs alone don’t make you fat, and if you train hard and are active, you need carbs. Whether they come at 12pm, 6pm, or 2:27 in the morning is irrelevant.
[Related: How Many Carbs Should I Eat To Lose Fat]
6. Eating Too Few Calories Causes Weight Gain
Very low calorie diets may not be good for energy levels, aren’t sustainable and make you more likely to binge, but they won’t cause weight gain.
Your metabolism can drop a little, but not enough to make fat loss stop. Rather, it’s probably the case that you’re not tracking your intake correctly, or succumbing to cravings and having frequent cheat meals or treat days that take you over your required calorie intake.
Not losing fat? It’s definitely not because you’re note eating enough calories. Read this article for more: 4 Easy-To-Fix Reasons Why You’re Not Losing Weight.
7. Don’t Eat Carbs And Fats Together
The theory goes that carbs raise insulin, and when insulin is higher, your body more readily stores fat, therefore these shouldn’t be eaten together.
In reality, a meal that contains all three macronutrients (protein, carbs and fat) actually digests slower, and keeps you feeling fuller for longer, with no risk of fat storage.
8. You Need A Post-Workout Shake
The only people who really need to focus on workout nutrition are elite athletes and those training twice a day.
Even if you’re looking to build muscle mass, you can skip the post-workout shake, have a shower, drive home and eat a whole-food meal with plenty of protein and carbs 1 to 2 hours after finishing your session. Want more info about protein shakes? Check out this article: Protein Powder For Beginners.
9. Fat Burners Speed Up Weight Loss
Most fat-burning supplements do 2 things –
– Give you a caffeine boost.
– Mildly suppress your appetite.
You can do both of these far more cheaply by –
– Drinking the odd coffee.
– Eating more protein.
Drinking green tea could also fall under this category too. It isn’t any more ‘fat burning’ than a normal tea. Want more? Read this: Does Green Tea Help You Burn Fat.
10. Saturated Fat Should Be Avoided At All Cost
Saturated fat is not the heart attack-inducing villain the media often make it out to be.
It actually has some important roles, particularly in hormone production.
While you might not want to be slathering butter on your bacon, or cooking every meal in lard, some saturated fat from dairy, eggs, meat and coconut or palm oil will do you no harm.
[Related: Are Eggs Good Or Bad For You]
11. Fruit Is A ‘Free Food’
There’s no doubt that fruit is nutrient-dense, tasty and usually a lower-calorie alternative to processed sweet stuff, but that doesn’t mean you can eat it ad libitum with no ill-effects.
All fruit contains calories, and these calories work in the same way as any other.
Look to get fruit into your diet every day, but remember that it does contain calories. Avoiding fruit juice is a good idea too!
A handful of berries, a couple of kiwi fruit and an apple a day is fine … a whole fruit bowl every afternoon is not!
The Take Home
Usually, if someone tells you to either “always” or “never” do something, it’s likely they’re promoting a nutrition myth.
The simple truth is that in 99.9% of cases, no food is inherently good or bad, and there are no practices you NEED to do to lose body fat. It all comes down to having a balanced approach, controlling calorie intake and portion sizes and ensuring you’re happy with your progress.