Simple • Balanced • Nutrition

Weight Loss Myths

Snacking helps to boost metabolism

It is true that the body burns extra calories metabolizing meals but eating too frequently can lead to an excessive intake of calories overall. Aim for at least 2-3 hours in between meals and snacks to allow the hormones that control your appetite to return to normal levels.

Weight loss is a matter of calories in vs. calories out​

While this is somewhat true, weight loss is affected by several variables including macronutrient intake, e.g. how much carbohydrate, fat, and protein you eat, how much exercise you do, your genetics as well as hormones.​

Weight loss will be slow and steady

Weight loss is a process, which means that sometimes it will be quick and other times it may slow down. Aim for general trends with your weight as opposed to becoming obsessed with what is happening on the scales.

You should lose at least 1-2kg a week

The less weight you have to lose, the harder it may be. On average weight losses of ½ -1kg a week are reasonable, but this can be slightly less or slightly more depending on your starting weight.

If I eat fewer calories, I will lose weight quicker

The body requires a certain number of calories each day to perform basic functions such as breathing. If you eat too few calories, the metabolism will be lowered overtime to compensate for this lack of calories. As such, the less you eat, the slower weight loss may become. Generally, adults need at least 1000-1400 calories each day. While there are some 500 and 800 calorie diets available, these should only be followed for short periods, with the support of an Accredited Practicing Dietitian

Fat weighs more than muscle so it is ok to not see changes on the scales

Yes, fat indeed weighs more than muscle but if you have the correct calorie balance, you should also be seeing gradual reductions on the scale as well as in body measurements.

Common Nutritional Myths

Skim milk has more sugar than full cream milk

It is often argued that skim milk is more processed than full cream milk, and that skim milk contains more sugar, which is not the case. The truth is that public health recommendations to swap full cream dairy to low-fat varieties came from the observation that Australians were consuming too much-saturated fat, and as dairy and meat are two of the largest sources of saturated fat in the diet, it made sense to recommend skim milk. For those who have heart disease, low or reduced-fat milk is the best choice but if your weight is under control and you have no history of heart disease, full cream milk can be enjoyed in moderation.

Fruit is high in sugar so should be avoided.

While fruit does contain the sugar fructose, it also contains plenty of fibre and key nutrients and many thousands of years consumption would tell us that a couple of pieces of fruit a day adds relatively small amounts of natural sugars to the diet. Fruit based snacks, juices and dried fruit are more concentrated sources of sugar and as such may be overconsumed so be mindful of portions and remember that when it comes to fruit, fresh whole fruit is always the best option nutritionally.

You should never cook with olive oil

No, in fact, the antioxidants in olive oil help protect the oil from oxidising when it is heated. Yes, you will get the best results from olive oil when it is used in dressings or for roasting or baking but it does not turn carcinogenic when it is heated as commonly believed.

Coconut oil the best choice of oil because it is burnt not stored?

While coconut oil does contain a high proportion of medium-chain fats which are primarily metabolised through the liver, it is still fat and fat contains a lot of calories relative to carbs and protein. So if you swap a small amount of oil for coconut oil, yes you are more likely to use this fat as energy BUT if you use lashings of oil, and more than you usually would because it is ‘coconut’ oil, you still have to burn all these extra calories coming from fat and the fat you are consuming is still mostly saturated.

Nut milk are better for you than dairy milk

Nut based milk is generally only a good choice nutritionally if you cannot tolerate dairy milk or prefer not to drink it. The key nutrients we get from milk are protein and calcium and it is important to remember that almond milk contains literally none of either of these. So if a non-dairy milk is your choice, make sure you choose one that contains added calcium.

Potatoes should be avoided

The poor old potato; a food staple for thousands of years is packed full of B group vitamins and fibre; and yet with a relatively high glycemic index, it was banned from many a weight-loss diet. If you consider that a single potato contains just 20g of total carbohydrates; less than ½ a cup of rice or pasta, a simple baked potato (of reasonable size and not made into chips) is a great choice nutritionally. 

Eggs increase cholesterol

Possibly the most commonly held nutrition belief, that eggs, as they contain cholesterol in turn increase blood cholesterol levels. Not true. Rather it is our dietary fat balance, calorie intake along with individual genetics that will determine if you have high cholesterol. The good news is that you can enjoy an egg or two as part of a nutritious diet daily without cause for cholesterol concern.

Lettuce and celery have negative calories

While salad vegetables including cucumber, lettuce and celery contain very few calories per serve, there is no such thing as foods that burn more fat simply because you eat them. This is not to say that they are not a good choice as you could eat as much of these water-rich salad vegetables as you like with no risk of weight gain.

Raw vegetables are better than cooked ones

This really depends on the type as some nutrients become more concentrated and bioavailable when they are cooked. For example, the beta carotene content of carrots increases when carrots are cooked as does the lycopene content of tomatoes. On the other hand, leafy green vegetables can have some of their key nutrients destroyed when exposed to high temperatures so these are best consumed raw or lightly cooked.

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