5 common weight-loss myths busted


July 11, 2015

Are you sabotaging your weight-loss efforts by relying on these five food myths? Vanderbilt dietitians debunk common nutrition assumptions with these 5 common weight-loss myths


Myth 1: Grain products such as bread, pasta and rice are fattening. I should avoid them when trying to lose weight.

Fact: Grain products can be part of a healthy diet when you choose the right kind. Eat whole-grain versions of these foods, such as whole-grain bread, brown rice, oats, barley and cereals. Make at least half your grains whole grains.

Look at the ingredients list on the nutrition label. If the first ingredient is “whole grain” or “whole wheat” then it is a good option. However, if the label says “refined wheat flour,” leave it on the shelf. Whole grains contain the whole grain kernel, which includes the fiber that is helpful in boosting good cholesterol and controlling blood sugar and blood pressure. Refined grains strip away this important fiber. Many products made with refined grains, such as cookies, cakes, biscuits and muffins, are also high in fat.


Myth 2: If you are trying to lose weight, you can never eat fast food.

Fact: Most foods at these restaurants are high in calories and fat, but over the years many chains have made an effort to include lower-calorie options. Heading to Newk’s for a work lunch? Opt for a half-sandwich with spicy mustard and salad instead of a mayo-slathered full sandwich and chips.


Myth 3: Skipping meals is a good way to lose weight.

Fact: Some studies have shown that people who skip meals, especially breakfast, tend to be more overweight than people who eat three balanced meals a day. If you skip meals, you are likely to be more hungry later, which lends itself to overeating.


Myth 4: Eating late in the evening will make you overweight.

Fact: A calorie is a calorie no matter what time it is consumed. However, consider the foods you are mostly likely to eat late at night. The foods that we have been trying to avoid eating all day end up being the ones we give in to at night — you know, the chips, buttery popcorn, ice cream, and other salty and sweet foods. If you are hungry late at night, choose a healthier option such as a piece of fruit, a small cup of yogurt, whole-grain crackers with low-fat cheese, or light popcorn.


Myth 5: Fad diets will help me lose weight quickly.

Fact: Fad diets are exactly what they imply — a fad. Due to severe restriction and repetitive eating, it’s unrealistic to expect to stick with them for a long time. It’s also not healthy for our bodies to lose weight too quickly. Safe weight loss is considered to be a half-pound to 2 pounds per week.


Schedule an appointment with Vanderbilt’s Center for Medical Weight Loss for expert guidance regarding these strategies and more.