MYTH - Carbohydrates are addictive.
An addiction involves physical withdrawal -- carbohydrates are not addictive. They do however, help your brain produce serotonin, a "feel good" chemical that enhances our mood. Many people crave carbohydrates when they feel stressed, which leads them to believe they are 'addicted'. It's natural to crave carbs in order to make yourself feel better. Healthy carbohydrates such as whole grains, fruits and vegetables, are an important part of our diet -- we need them. They provide antioxidants, energy, fiber and vitamins. It's the processed carbs -- the cakes, candy, cookies, white bread and white rice, that we want to avoid. They have little nutrient value other than calories -- empty calories.
MYTH -All salads are diet foods
A crunchy salad laden with fresh veggies and lean protein is an excellent way to enjoy a meal while loading up on fiber and important nutrients. But you can quickly negate all of those delicious benefits if you drown your salad with mayonnaise, vinaigrettes or condiments that are high in fat. The wrong dressing can double or triple the number of calories in a well intended salad. Replace oil- or mayonnaise-based toppings with lower fat or fat-free dressings made with ingredients such as mustard, yogurt or barbecue sauce. Remember that one fat gram has more than twice the calories of a gram of protein or carbohydrate.
MYTH -Cutting fat out of your diet is the key to weight loss.
While you should limit foods high in saturated fat, some fat is necessary to maintain a healthy body. A fat free diet is not the key to weight loss. While it's true that many people eat too many of the bad fats (resulting in weight gain), there are good fats that are required for optimal health. Healthy fats play an important role in helping our body use vitamins such as D, E, A and K. They're also important for healthy skin and hair. Healthy fat choices include olive oil, canola oil, avocado, flax seed and dry roasted nuts such as almonds. Moderation is key and the amount of healthy fats that you need is dependent on the total number of calories you require for weight loss.
MYTH - Skipping meals helps in losing weight.
Unfortunately, skipping meals interferes with losing weight. Your body needs a constant flow of energy and certain nutrients to increase your metabolism and burn fat. Ideally, you should strive to eat small meals and
snacks spread a few hours apart, so that you eat five or six times a day.
Here's why: your body has a built-in survival mechanism that stores and holds onto body fat for use in times of food shortage. If you make a habit of skipping meals or eating only a small amount of calories each day, your body thinks that you are experiencing a famine and your metabolism will slow down to conserve energy. This is exactly what happens with a very low calorie diet.
It is your metabolism that determines the rate at which your body burns calories. If you have fast metabolism, you will burn more calories. If you have slow metabolism, it is more difficult to burn calories - especially fat calories. To avoid this, don't skip meals. Regular meal and snack times will help to maintain the optimal metabolism for weight loss.
MYTH - Fat free foods are low in calories and good diet food choices.
Products labeled "fat free" are not always better choices for losing weight. They may be overly processed and/or high in calories, salt and/or sugar. They may also contain fat. Be sure to read labels carefully for ingredients and serving sizes. A perfect example is cooking oil spray. The labels on most cans of cooking oil spray say that one serving has 0 grams of fat which means fat-free. But wait a minute -- it's a can full of oil afterall. There have to be calories. Yes, there are -- and they're the most dense calories of all, fat calories.
A closer look tells you that the serving size for cooking oil spray is 1/3 or 1/5 second spray. Now it's very unlikely that anyone can manage to spray the oil for 1/5 of a second. I doubt it's humanly possible. But the manufacturer does not have to count the grams of fat in a serving size if they're only 0.25 grams which is roughly the amount of fat sprayed in a fraction of a second. Pressing the spray for a couple seconds can easily turn into a couple of grams of fat. Don't be fooled into thinking there are no fat calories here - there are.
Oil spray is still an excellent option because it allows you to control the amount of oil you use. Just be careful to use quick sprays. You can also buy a spray or mister bottle to fill with your own high quality oils to achieve the same benefit.
Another great example is fat-free margarine, which has 5 calories per tablespoon and just squeaks by with the fat-free claim, BUT ALL THE CALORIES are FAT CALORIES! From a behavioral standpoint, even if you use fat-free margarine, salad dressing, mayonnaise, etc at home, you're still feeding the habit of adding fat to your food. When you are away from home, you're much more likely to use full-fat versions because they're likely to be the only thing available. Using these products regularly may keep your taste buds accustomed to added fat.