Weight loss myths from expert dieticians Blog

Fact or Fad?

We’re proud to be a fad-free zone, with all of our programmes based 100% on the latest evidence-based research. It's so core to the way that we work that it's one of our company values.

As part of our obsession with a proven method, we're incredibly proud to only recruit HCPC-registered dietitians meaning our nutritional coaching is provided by the very best and that you can rest-assured knowing that every single nugget of information is grounded in science and coached by true experts.

But with so many untruths and myths around us every day, many of which are dressed up as fact, it can be really hard to pick work out what to believe. So our dietitians have prepared our handy guide to 10 common myths you can ignore from here on in!

Let us know any myths you'd like us to test by contacting us at factorfad@louiseparker.com and my expert dietitians and I will run the rule over them and share with everyone!

I hope you find this guide useful and if you're ready to ditch dieting and wave goodbye to fake news weight loss, check out my books or contact the team to find out how our programmes could help you.

Reshma

MYTH #1. It’s the snacks that are making me put on weight

Snacks help with maintaining energy levels, managing blood sugar levels and getting the combinations correct will aid a healthy balance. Sometimes avoiding the snacks can mean that you end up having a larger meal as you feel hungrier. It is important to think about the type and timing of the snack.

MYTH #2. Certain foods boost metabolism

There is very little evidence around this and it is important to realise that foods with these claims may be higher in caffeine and sugar. Metabolism can be affected by individual body size, age, genes and gender and cannot be altered by consuming certain food. Metabolism can also naturally change with age and muscle mass. So sadly, covering everything in chilli or drinking vast amounts of tea really won’t help. Also remember that being overweight doesn’t mean you have a slow metabolism.

Lydia

MYTH #3. I need to eat less / skip meals to lose weight

Many people are astounded that when we cut our calorie intake for an extended time period, the rate at which we burn calories is reduced, hampering weight loss. To manage this metabolic adjustment, it’s best to avoid really drastic calorie reduction. Of course, a moderate energy deficit is important for weight loss to occur, but more than a few hundred calories’ deficit each day encourages the body to preserve energy, hindering weight and fat loss. In addition, exercise plays an important role (particularly weight-bearing like push-ups, squats) to increase lean muscle mass. The greater this is, the more efficient our bodies are at burning calories as we have a high metabolic rate.

MYTH #4.
Superfoods help me lose weight

Adding one or two of the latest trendy foods to your diet will not magically cause weight loss or an increase in metabolism; no one food can do this! Sadly these foods also don’t have any magic powers to offset the impact of a poor diet. What matters is consistency, a good variety of nutritious foods from the various food groups and the right portion sizes. 100% less exciting than a ‘superfood’; 100% more effective for weight loss.

Nicola

MYTH #5. Eating fat leads to weight gain

Fat as a macronutrient contains more calories per gram (e.g. 9kcal/g of fat versus 4kcal/g of protein) however the consumption of fat will not directly result in weight gain unless the overall dietary intake results in energy surplus. Dietary fat is different to body fat. Body fat results from an excess of energy (calories) that has not been used as fuel and is therefore stored in the body for later use. Dietary fat is an important component of eating healthily (for fat soluble vitamins, to provide essential fatty acids, healthy cells and tissues etc.) however given its energy density, portion size is important (like with all food groups!) to ensure an overall energy deficit is maintained, if your goal is weight loss.

MYTH #6. There is a ‘best’ diet for weight loss

The premise that a specific ‘one size fits all’ is flawed when it comes to nutrition and eating for weight loss. The ‘best’ approach will vary from person to person based on likes and dislikes, sustainability, starting point and how enjoyable it is. It also needs to meet all of your health needs and, for weight loss, create an energy deficit of course.

I think this is why the LP Method works so well, as whilst there are some important principles (e.g. to promote an energy deficit, regulate appetite/prevent hunger, ensure a full compliment of vitamins and minerals, optimise muscular health etc.) every programme is tailored so you have the freedom to choose which foods and combinations you like, safe in the knowledge they tick all the boxes above.

Ariana

MYTH #7. You have to feel hungry to lose weight

Just because you need to be in a calorie deficit for weight loss doesn’t mean you have to stop eating, enjoying food and also increase your energy output. With the right quality of foods e.g. high fibre, higher protein to keep you satisfied for longer, and the right amount of higher calorie ‘healthy’ food options like nuts and seeds, coconut yogurt, olive oil, avocado etc you can enjoy the most delicious meals – and often eat more than you did before, and lose weight! Hunger doesn’t equal weight loss.

MYTH #8. You need to remove carbs to lose weight

All food groups (including carbs) play a vital role in providing a cocktail of vitamins and minerals needed by the body to function optimally – and to lose weight. Eliminating an entire group can put you at risk of developing deficiencies (which could cause more harm than good) and can actually slow or stop weight loss. Eliminating food groups is also not sustainable in the long-run - who wouldn’t want to enjoy a good ol’ pizza every now and again?!

MYTH #9. Losing weight is a linear process You always see a plateau during any weight loss journey and whilst it’s easy to get disheartened, decide what you’re doing has stopped working and give up, the key to successful weight loss is perseverence and maintaining consistency. The body naturally goes into preservation mode and halts fat burning processes, but this doesn’t mean you can’t outsmart it!

Also remember that your water weight fluctuates based on food choices every day and will vary depending on where a woman is in her cycle.

Daily weights/ even weekly for that matter may not tell the entire story! To look beyond the number is important e.g. how clothes fit, and how you feel energy-wise can be more significant.

Cassie

MYTH #10. Gluten-free = weight loss

Susie: “I have been reading all of these articles from bloggers lately talking about how they have lost weight going gluten free. I really want to lose weight and I have tried everything so I must give this a go!”

Monday at work: "Oh yum, there’s cake in the tea-room! Oh wait… it’s not gluten free I’ll have an apple instead"

Wednesday dinner with friends: “Hmm I’m not sure what on this menu is gluten free. Just to be safe I’ll grab the chicken salad”

Saturday night: “Everyone’s having pizza but it contains gluten so I guess I’ll have the fish with a side of greens”

Sunday food shopping: “Oh wow I really have to be careful here. Let me make sure I read all of the labels and make mindful choices. I will really have to take my time and consider what I’m buying.”

After 2 weeks Susie feels like a brand new woman! Since going gluten free she has been sleeping better, has more energy and feels less bloated. Susie has even lost some weight, clearly it works!

But were these results the outcome of cutting out gluten or a result of the following?

  • Eating more fruit and vegetables
  • Making mindful and conscious food choices
  • Cutting back on processed foods over the week
  • Choosing home-cooked meals over the takeaway

While it can appear that going gluten free helped Susie to lose weight and feel great; it had nothing to do with gluten at all and more to do with eating more fruit and veggies, less processed foods and being more mindful of her food choices.

If you want to feel great too, be mindful of your food choices, eat plentiful fruits and vegetables and enjoy a well balanced diet. There is no need to cut out gluten!**

**If you suffer from gluten intolerance or coeliac disease going gluten free is obviously recommended. If you are unsure, seek a registered dietitian for further investigation.

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