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Articles Fitness Nutrition

4 Common Diet Misconceptions Debunked

Jul 28, 2014
I would like to start by saying as an experienced Nutritionist working in the field for over 15 years, I do not believe in "diets" nor do I ever recommend them to my clients. 

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Your "diet" should be your daily eating habits, not something that restricts calories and vital nutrients to make you lose weight.  OR, more likely, make you think you are losing weight.

With that being said, it is important to understand most people that go on a "diet" and lose weight, end up gaining back lost weight plus an additional 10-15% within the first year. This wreaks havoc on our bodies and overall, the efficiencies of our metabolism.

Let's look at some of the top "diet" misconceptions people have when trying to lose weight.

These misconceptions have negative effects on the body - both short term and long term.
  • Restriction of calories - "diets" that have you restrict calories are not maintainable.  Meaning, over time you cannot maintain such low calories making this approach very unrealistic.  When you start eating again, your weight goes up. Your body needs calories to function - this is called your resting metabolic rate.  These are the calories your body needs to stay alive.  Even if you don't do anything all day long, your body needs a certain amount of calories just to keep you alive.
  • Carbs are bad - carbohydrates are not bad for the body.  Just like anything else, an abundance of carbohydrates will lead to weight gain.  Carbohydrates provide the body with 4 calories per gram.  There are different types of carbohydrates - Simple carbohydrates, which are fast energy carbohydrates and Complex carbohydrates, usually higher in fiber and take longer to digest.  Both are necessary parts of a healthy "diet."
  • All fats are bad - fats are one of the 3 classes of nutrients that your body needs on a daily basis. Fat provides the body with 9 calories per gram and is therefore a more concentrated source of calories.  When choosing foods with "fat" in them, it is important to make healthy fat choices. You want to choose fats that are heart healthy and do not have negative health effects. Good fats you want to include in your daily "diet" include: olive oil, salmon, avocados, nuts and seeds, peanut butter-- just to name a few.
  • Water and/or fluid intake is essential for weight loss.  If you are drinking a lot of sodas or other types of liquids that are adding additional calories to your daily "diet," it is important to reduce and/or eliminate these. Sodas and other high calorie drinks (including smoothies, coffees with additives, etc) can add hundreds of what we call "dead" or "empty" calories to your daily intake.  These drinks do not give your body the necessary nutrients. You should aim to drink half your body weight in ounces - and water is the recommended beverage of choice.  However, if you are unable to drink that much water, any type of non-caloric fluids will suffice.
Good nutrition takes time.  If you want to make changes, take small "baby" steps every day to incorporate new changes into your eating habits and patterns. Over time, these small steps can reap huge rewards.

Angela Hattaway is a Nutritionist and Personal Trainer with over 15 years experience. She got her BS in Nutrition and Dietetics from Stephen F. Austin State University and she also has a Master's Degree in Business with an emphasis on Healthcare. Angela is experienced in working with both children and adults and loves working with clients to help them set realistic goals and expectations. She is passionate about nutrition and fitness and feels this comes through when she works with people. Angela loves giving clients the tools, motivation and encouragement they need to be successful throughout their lives. Visit her blog at blog.ultimatenutritionnfitness.com. She can be reached via email at at foodjunkie@nutritionnfitness.com.


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