At any time, 10 million people in Britain – about a sixth of the population – are dieting.
Weight Watchers alone has about 500,000 members. Yet ideas on how to lose
weight seem to change almost every week. “Don’t eat at night”, “Only eat
proteins with proteins” and “Cut out carbohydrates” are just three suggestions that
have been doing the rounds. But which of these theories make sense, and which
are simply nonsense? Here, ANN RILEY explodes 25 of the biggest slimming
myths and explains where you have been going wrong.
1. ALWAYS use olive oil – it has fewer calories than other oils.
OILS, regardless of type, are fats. Fats contain more calories than any other food
source – about 150 calories per tablespoon – and are therefore the most “fattening”.
However, olive oil does contain a high proportion of monounsaturated fat, which
most experts feel is better for our health.
2. BUTTER has more calories than oils.
Wrong again. Because butter contains water and some protein, it actually has
fewer -184 calories per 25 grams, compared to oils at 225 per 25 grams.
3. CUTTING out carbohydrates is the best way to lose weight.
LEAVING out carbohydrates in your diet can be a disaster. Bread, potatoes,
pasta, and rice are all healthy foods that form an important part of our diet.
Leaving them out can simply make us want more of them, as well as more protein
and fat. As a result, we simply over-eat. Health-wise, a low-carbohydrate diet can
also mean a low fiber diet – and that can cause constipation and may increase
your risk of bowel cancer.
4. A HIGH-PROTEIN diet is the healthy option.
NO, it’s the complete opposite. Too much protein can have a long-term detrimental
effect on the kidneys and blood pressure. It’s also been linked to
osteoporosis and can cause problems for your liver.
5. OK, then, how about a “high- fat-only” diet?
A WASTE of time. You need a balance – half of what you eat should be a carbohydrate, even when you’re slimming.
6. WHITE bread or brown bread?
Given the choice, most slimmers think white is more likely to leave an expanding
waistline, yet both actually have about the same number of calories. There’s
an average of 80 calories per slice of white; 75 calories per slice of brown.
Where white bread scores over brown is in its calcium content. Brown bread
is a better source of fiber, though.
7. EATING delayed at night makes you fat.
The rules are simple: if you eat more than you expend through activity, you’ll put
on weight. Soeating at any time of the day or night and not using up
that energy will mean a gain in pounds.
8. YOU have to be “on a diet” to lose weight.
The best way to lose weight is when you don’t seem to be dieting at all.
Women who think about dieting tend to become obsessed about food, and although
they may lose weight in the short term, long-term they often pile on the lost pounds
and more.Think about eating healthily when losing weight – aim to eat three
meals a day plus snacks.As a guide, men should try to eat between 1,500 and
1,750 calories a day and women 1,250 to 1,500 calories a day when on a diet.
9. WEIGHT gain is always down to your genes.
AS scientists research this area, there seems to be more evidence linking a
possible inherited tendency to put on weight.Studies on twins have revealed that at
least 60 percent of body fat distribution may be determined by our genes.
However, it’s thought that only 25 percent of obese people can blame genes for
their fatness. And even if you do have a genetic disposition to putting on weight, you can still do something about it.