Myth: Eating carbs will make you fat
Carbs get a bad wrap in the weight loss industry but the truth is, they are crucial for a healthy lifestyle and proper weight management. Carbohydrates are your primary source of fuel, as they provide essential vitamins, minerals and fibre and are stored in your muscles for exercise and general physical activity.
Eating far too many carbs is never a good idea, but neither is eliminating them completely. According to www.bodyscoop.com.au, without carbohydrates, "You are depriving yourself of an energy source – so fatigue will soon set in and you will not function correctly.
"This is one essential nutrient that's commonly misconceived as unhealthy. Many say that carbs in a diet predominately result in an increase in fats. But, don't take this as a gospel truth for not all carbohydrates are bad," they advise. "As with all foods, if you take in more calories from your carbohydrates then you burn, you will put on fat."
The trick is to lower your intake of simple carbs – including sugar, chocolate, potatoes and ice-cream – in favour of complex carbs that digest more slowly, such as brown breads, brown or wholegrain pasta and rice, fruits and vegetables.
Myth: Calorie counting is a waste of time
With so many different weight loss strategies out there, it’s easy to get confused – especially when people appear to have varying levels of success with each different diet!
The low-carb, high-protein diet, for instance, has been proven successful for those who are able to stick with it. But this diet involves a high calorie intake in the form of chicken, fish, eggs and red meat, eaten at least three times a day.
If you want to follow a simple formula for losing weight, then keep this in mind: managing input and output of calories is vital. If you burn 2,000 calories per day, then you need to eat 1,500 calories. It’s all a math equation: online calorie counters can help you stay on top of it.
Myth: Monitor what you’re eating, not how much you’re eating
Ever been to a buffet? One plate is never enough, even though you’re usually satiated after a single serve – so it’s no wonder that research confirms that the bigger the meal in front of you, the more you'll eat.
Nutritionist Catherine Saxelby says the trend to super-sized serves has been increasing steadily since the early 1990s, in line with the rate of obesity, so if you want to lose weight, you need to monitor how much is on your plate as closely as what you’re eating.
“Everyone enjoys a treat, but it's got to be modest,” she adds. “One or two squares of chocolate every now and then is fine. A whole block or a couple of rows every day is not.”
Myth: Eating fat, makes you fat
While it’s true that a high-fat diet loaded with burgers, chips, chocolates and creamy pastas will do your health no favours, it’s not just the fat content of your food that can cause the scales the jump.
“Soft drinks, juices, flavoured mineral waters, fruit-based drinks and sports drinks are a major source of sugar, according to CSIRO, who analysed the Australian diet for sugar intake,” confirms Saxelby. “Collectively, these drinks supply 30 per cent of the added sugar adults consume.”
A modest sugar intake for a lightly active female is around 11 level teaspoons of sugar (44 grams) per day. As a guide, a 375 ml can of soft drink contains around 10 teaspoons of sugar and 650 kJ. “Just one can take you close to the suggested maximum for a woman for the day,” Saxelby says. If you’re eating more than this amount per day, she recommends you seriously consider curbing your sugar cravings in order to lose weight.