Myths and misperceptions about weight loss

Myths and misperceptions about weight loss
Friday, Aug 26, 2011
By Anna Jacob, Ng Hooi Lin

Every journey takes preparation for success. Take a quick rain check on your knowledge about weight loss. Evaluate what you have gathered against good science with the help of your physician or nutritionist. With the right know-how, you are more likely to get to your goal with fewer hindrances. Here are some pointers from Anna Jacob and Ng Hooi Lin from their book, 'Fit not Fat', published by Marshall Cavendish. The following is an excerpt from the book.

I need a 'special diet' to succeed

Many vouch for the 'new-diet' printed off the Internet or championed by a friend's friend. Here is a sampler of some diet fads.

Carb free

This one has had its time in the sun. Somehow carbs are easy to hate. Keeping carb intake below 100 g per day, triggers breakdown of fat and protein to create 'ketones'—an alternate fuel that keeps the brain powered. The body washes out these toxic molecules as fast as it can, dehydrating the body and lightening the scales quite dramatically. But once carbs and water are replaced in the diet, the scales will trend up.

Soup diet

Soups are generally low in calories unless laced with fat and cream (think seafood gumbo or cream of asparagus soup). Filling up on low calorie cabbage soup or spinach soup or celery soup displaces solid from the diet and leads to weight loss. Sustaining this soupy foods diet over time is hard and fraught with the risk of developing nutritional deficiencies.

Juice diet

Harmless as this seems, fruit juices are quite energy-dense or caloric. Over consumption of fruit juices can lead to weight gain and not weight loss. Like the soup diet, apart from malnutrition, the side effects include boredom and many trips to the loo.

High protein

Before you salivate about the large steaks you can eat without any guilt, know that the term is relative.

New studies have shown that low calorie diets that are marginally higher in protein than regular diets, are satiating and likely to cause weight loss more effectively than higher carb diets. But extremely high protein diets, anchored in animal proteins like meat, poultry, eggs and more, tend to be high in saturated fat and cholesterol, all of which work together to block up arteries.

So, before you seek the thrills and spills of another new diet, know that a well-balanced diet made up of grains, proteins, dairy, fruit and vegetables is the best foundation even for a lower calorie diet.

15 common health and fitness myths debunked

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(Photos: Various sources)

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