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Bad Weight Loss Advice

When it comes to health and weight loss, there is an abundance of diets, health tips, superfoods, and more circulating out there. The truth is not every diet or health regimen works for everyone, and sometimes it takes time to figure out which works for you. Although friends, family, or coworkers swear by certain things, they may not work for you or even be good for your body.

While you figure out what works best for you, these are some old and bad dieting tips you should NOT listen to:

× Eat less and burn more calories if you want to lose weight.
If weight loss was as simple as basic math, it would be less of a struggle for us. The truth is, your weight is determined by a variety of factors aside from the calories you consume and burn. Age, gender, ethnicity, activity level and genetics all play a role in your natural metabolism (just think about that one friend who can eat massive amounts of junk food without gaining a pound).

In fact, calorie-cutting can do more harm than good. Restricting calories for weight loss actually slows down metabolism, so much so that you would have to further reduce calories to an extremely low level just to maintain weight loss. For example, if you cut your calorie intake down to 1,500 calories a day to lose weight, in order to maintain that weight loss over time, you would need to reduce your intake to 1,000 calories per day to compensate for your slowed metabolism.

Rather than looking at quantity, you should focus on quality. You may still monitor your calories, however, you should pay more attention to the sources and include foods rich in fiber, protein, and healthy fats to get more nutrition. Rather than eating empty calories, you will feel fuller longer, satisfy cravings, and prevent blood sugar spikes which may contribute to fat storage.

× Fat is fattening.
The belief that eating fat makes you fat has long since existed and kick-started a demand for fat-free foods. Unfortunately, the fat that was removed in these foods was often replaced with processed sugar and salt. We now know that the right fat is essential for helping your body absorb vitamins and minerals, promoting heart health, and contributing to satiety and weight management. The problem is that not all fat is created equal, therefore you want to limit your intake of saturated fat and trans fat, both of which are associated with health problems including heart disease and weight gain.

A previous study found that women who consumed the most high-fat dairy products actually lowered their risk of obesity, while another study showed that women who consumed the highest amounts of full-fat dairy had a 46% lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

Instead of completely cutting out fat from your diet, try to incorporate a wide range of fats. For a diverse fatty acid profile, choose polyunsaturated fats and monounsaturated fats as they promote heart health. Some smart fat sources include pistachios, salmon, flax, sunflower seeds, avocado, and extra-virgin olive oil.

× Don’t eat eggs because they raise cholesterol.
Eggs got a bad reputation from their high cholesterol content and the notion that foods high in dietary cholesterol were the root cause of high blood cholesterol. It is now widely known that trans fats have a far greater impact on raising bad cholesterol than eggs do. As an inexpensive, nutrient-dense, convenient source of protein, B vitamins, vitamin D, and a variety of antioxidants, feel free to enjoy whole eggs in moderation and cooked to your liking.

× Never eat after 8 p.m.
The time at which you eat does not make as much of an impact as you think. Rather, what you choose to eat makes a much bigger impact. Why do people still believe this then? It likely stems from the types of foods you tend to choose the later in the night. Your midnight cravings are more likely to be chips and ice cream than fruits and vegetables. You may also notice cravings at night because you are under eating during the day.

Rather than abiding by time restrictions and rules, make it a point to sit down and enjoy a satisfying breakfast, lunch, and dinner, plus healthy snacks as needed throughout the day. If you still feel hungry after dinner, try a healthy snack that includes fiber, protein, or healthy fat (e.g. air-popped popcorn mixed with nuts and other nutritious add-ins, protein oatmeal cups).

× Eating breakfast kick-starts your metabolism.
It was always drilled into our minds that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Those that pushed this also believed that breakfast is vital to kick-start your metabolism for the day. However, new research shows that eating or not eating breakfast has no real impact on resting metabolism.

This does not mean that you should skip breakfast, it simply means that breakfast is no more or less important than lunch or dinner. Sitting down and mindfully eating a balanced meal will help to keep your brain and body fueled. Other research shows that eating breakfast may promote weight management, not because it boosts metabolism, but because it helps to prevent overeating later in the day.

Your breakfast choice makes a difference, too. Instead of reaching for that donut or croissant, aim for a mix of protein, fiber-rich carbohydrates, and fat to give you energy and keep you satiated until lunch.

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