What we know is that eating better and staying consistent is flat out hard. For many of us, the working out part of getting in shape is the easier part.
Eating the right foods and staying consistent, well, that is the hard part of the equation.
Then add on the fact that there are so many diets, programs, and foods out there and it’s overwhelming to think about even how to even get started.
One of those things is debunking common nutrition myths that hold people back from reaching their goals.
Today, we’re covering the 9 biggest fat-loss nutrition myths and what to do instead.
Myth #1: Eating Healthy Automatically Results In Weight-Loss
Say you’re ready to lose weight. So the first thing you do is ditch the junk food in your house, create a grocery list, and head to the store. You shop for the healthiest foods you can find.
You grab fruits, vegetables, lean meats, healthy snacks, water, and more.
You start your new diet of healthy and clean eating.
Does this automatically result in weight-loss? No.
Why? Many of us miss one very important ingredient when it comes to weight-loss: the amount of those health foods we’re eating.
Yes, you can gain weight eating a very “healthy” diet, simply if you eat too much of those healthy foods.
And yes, you can lose weight eating unhealthy foods. (we do not recommend this though)
When it comes to weight-loss, you need to be in a calorie deficit. This means you need to be eating less calories than you burn.
To lose weight and improve your diet, focus on improving the health of your nutrition by including more whole, natural foods like fruits and vegetables, but do not forgot to pay attention to your portion sizes. Here tracking your food intake with an app like MyFitnessPal can help show how much food and calories you’re taking in each day.
Myth #2: Carbs Cause Weight Gain
If I were to ask you what type of food causes the most amount of weight gain, what would you choose?
Most of us would go with some type of carbohydrate like sugar, desserts, pasta, or bread.
Over the years, carbohydrates or carbs for short, have gotten a really bad wrap. They’ve become the villain of healthy nutrition and made out to be the cause of weight gain.
So, are carbs something you should avoid? Are they unhealthy? And are they the cause of weight gain?
The answer is no.
Carbs alone do not cause weight gain. That is a common misconception. What will cause weight gain is eating too many carbs (or any other food) causing a calorie surplus.
In other words, carbs don’t cause weight gain, eating too many calories does.
Yes, you can gain weight by eating too many “good” or “bad” foods.
The reality is, many of us love carbs. They taste great and provide energy for your day and workouts. So no, you don’t need to eliminate carbs to lose weight. You just need to be conscious of the amount you eat each day, along with the amount of other foods like protein and fat.
It’s about learning how to improve your diet to eat healthier yet still enjoy the foods you love (in moderation) so you don’t feel deprived and you can see long-term results.
Myth #3: You Can Out-Exercise A Bad Diet
You’ve probably heard some statistics like fat-loss success being 80% about your diet and 20% about your workouts.
Although these numbers may be a bit random and certainly dependent on the individual, they aren’t far off.
Think about it.
If you were to workout 2-4x/week, that’s typically 2-4 hours a week of work.
That’s only 14-28 hours per week out of the 168 hours out of the total week.
As you can see, these workouts make up a tiny percentage of your days, weeks and months and they only total a few hundred calories burned. That calorie burn can easily be negated with an extra snack or a large portion size at dinner.
Although your workouts greatly impact your mood, strength, balance, fitness, muscle tone, etc., the real magic happens during your time outside of the gym when it comes to reaching your goals.
It’s the foods we eat and in the proper amounts, that fuel our workouts and our fat-loss.
Myth #4: Eating Fat Makes You Fat
There is a popular belief that eating fat makes you fat.
In reality, eating too much of anything makes us overweight. Fat just happens to be the macronutrient who took the bullet.
Healthy fats (poly/monounsaturated), such as avocados, nuts, seeds, coconut, grass-fed butter and salmon are full of heart-healthy fats that are crucial for things like immune and cognitive function and nutrient absorption.
Fat is also important for energy, proper functioning of nerves, hormone production, disease protection, transporting fat soluble vitamins, improving body composition, and keeping you full between meals.
How much fat should you be eating?
Roughly 30% of your diet each day should come from fat. Start with 1-2 thumb size portions of healthy fats at each meal.
Myth #5: Eating Protein Makes You Bulky
One common question we receive is whether or not eating protein will make you “bulky.”
The short answer is no. In fact, eating enough protein will help you have the opposite effect.
Let’s get into it.
Protein and Muscle Gain:
Yes it’s true that protein will aid in muscle and strength improvements. As you workout and break down muscle, your body uses the available protein from your diet to repair, rebuild, and strengthen. Without enough protein, your body will actually pull protein from your existing muscle, decreasing strength, and not giving you that toned look and feel.
Protein and Fat-Loss:
Eating enough protein actually improves fat-loss. First, it keeps you full between meals, helping you prevent overeating. Second, the speed of your metabolism is largely dictated by how much muscle you have. If you want to speed up your metabolism to help burn more fat, make sure you’re eating enough protein and strength training.
Protein and Bone Strength:
Over half of women over the age of 50 will break a bone due to osteoporosis. Other research shows eating enough protein will help prevent osteoporosis by aiding in the strength of your bones by increasing calcium absorption, and decreasing hormones that break down bone.
How much protein should you eat?
Aim to eat at least .8 grams of protein per pound of your body-weight. To help reach this amount, make sure to include 1-2 palm-sized protein source in every meal or snack.
Myth #6: You Need A Sports Drink During Your Workouts
Sports drinks (Gatorade, Powerade, etc.) are often unnecessary for most people.
They are filled with added sugar and calories.
Sports drinks just add to total calories and if your goal is weight loss, they should probably be avoided. They especially should not be consumed if you are not exercising.
If your workout lasts roughly an hour, stick to water and avoid the extra calories and sugar.
Myth #7: Small Frequent Meals Boosts Your Metabolism
Do small, frequent meals boost your metabolism and help you lose weight compared to eating a few meals each day? No.
What matters most when it comes to weight-loss is the total amount of calories you consume each day.
It doesn’t matter if you have 2,000 calories a day broken up in to 6 small meals or 2,000 calories a day broken up into 2 larger meals. 2,000 calories is 2,000 calories and your body will react the same way to those calories.
In order to lose weight, you need to consume less calories than you burn each day. The amount of meals you eat doesn’t matter.
We do recommend spacing your meals out a bit into 3-4 meals per day. Going too long without eating can sometimes cause you to be so hungry that you overeat at your next meal.
Myth #8: Eating Late At Night Causes Weight Gain
Does late night eating cause weight gain?
The short answer is no. The long answer is, it could. Let’s discuss.
First, it’s important to understand that the time at which you eat your meals has ZERO effect on weight gain or weight loss.
Say for example you normally eat your last meal of the day at 6pm. You would not gain more weight if you missed your normal 6pm meal time and instead ate that same meal at 9 or 10pm.
What controls your weight loss, weight maintenance, or weight gain is the amount of calories you take in each day, not when you take those calories in.
So, when does late night snacking cause weight gain?
Late night snacking causes weight gain when it causes you to overeat and consume too many calories for the day.
This is where a lot of us get into trouble. We eat good during the day but then late night snacks push our calories into weight maintenance or weight gain mode.
Here are some late night snacking pro tips:
1. If you’re someone who tends to snack and overeat at night, putting a time at which you stop eating each day (example: 7pm) can be helpful to prevent weight gain.
2. Make sure to include enough protein in your dinner to keep you feeling full, longer.
3. Try tracking your food on a food tracker like My Fitness Pal to make sure you’re eating enough during the day to prevent a late-night binge.
Myth #9: All “Organic” and “Natural” Foods Are Healthy
Organic food is essentially a food that does not contain pesticides, chemical fertilizers, dyes, and industrial solvents.
Organic does not mean healthy, low calorie, low fat, or unprocessed. It does not mean the animals were grass-fed, treated well and free to roam the pasture.
Although some foods like meats, fruits, and vegetables that are organic may be a better and healthier option, seeing the label “Organic” or “Natural” does not make that food healthy.
For example, cookies that do not contain any additives, dyes, etc. may be USDA certified organic. They may be organic, but their main ingredient is still sugar. It is nothing more than a marketing strategy to get you to buy their products because they appear to be healthier.
At the end of the day, junk food is still junk food, “organic” or not.