Experts really hope you’ll never fall for these bogus (but commonly believed) diet and weight loss tips.
Diet advice to avoid
Knowledge is power, especially when it comes to your diet. Although many nutritionists happily share their best healthy eating secrets, some people still believe bad dieting advice from others. We asked experts to share the worst diet and nutrition advice they’ve heard—and what to do instead.
“Load up on supplements to burn fat”
You might need certain vitamin and mineral supplements if you’re not getting them in your diet, but they won’t magically help you lose weight. “Once a patient asked me if taking excessive amounts of vitamin E would burn fat, based on information she found on the Internet,” says registered dietitian Shannon Giese, clinical dietitian at University of Kansas Hospital. But there’s no scientific evidence behind the claim. Worse, taking unnecessary vitamins could have negative impacts on your health or be dangerous if taken with other medications. Talk to your doctor about which supplements (if any) may be appropriate for you.
“The fewer calories, the better”
Actually, the fewer you consume, the more likely you are to overeat later. “I had one patient, a nurse, who thought a very low-calorie diet was a good idea for losing weight,” says Samantha Heller, senior clinical nutritionist at NYU Langone Medical Center and author of The Only Cleanse. “She came into my office and told me she couldn’t climb up a flight of stairs. Other people have passed out in gyms because they thought they couldn’t eat any carbohydrates.” Fasting can put you in a mental fog and causes your body to go into starvation mode, with your metabolism adjusting accordingly to conserve energy. Also, weight lost during extremely calorie-restricted diets is usually a combination of muscles, fluid, and fat—but if you overeat later out of starvation, the pounds regained are just fat.
“Eliminate carbs! Or fat!”
Balance, balance, balance—it’s what nutritionists stress most. “When you eliminate either fats or carbohydrates, you’re probably eating way too much of what’s left over,” says registered dietitian Kristin Kirkpatrick, manager of wellness nutrition services at the Cleveland Clinic Wellness Institute. “If you’re on a very low-fat diet, you’ll probably eat way too many carbohydrates. This can stimulate insulin, which is a fat-storing hormone, and make it difficult to lose weight.” If you cut out all carbs, you may overeat other food groups, feel sluggish, or become constipated. “You can modify an entire food group, but you can’t take it away,” adds Kirkpatrick. For example: Instead of cutting carbs out completely, have one carbohydrate at each meal that is a whole grain (like a corn tortilla or whole-grain bread). Rather than cutting out fat, opt for low-fat dairies and lean meats.