Top 10 Worst Diet Tricks Nutritionists Have Ever Heard, And You Could Be DOING One of Them

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“A daily tablespoon of coconut oil helps shed pounds”

Save it for cooking, or one of these beauty uses for coconut oil. “People eat tablespoons of coconut oil, thinking it’s a miracle cure for disease or weight loss,” says Heller. “Not only is there no science to support that, but coconut oil is saturated fat. As far as we know, it has very similar effects of other saturated fats like lard.” One tablespoon of coconut oil has 12 grams of saturated fat (the American Heart Association recommends limiting saturated fat to no more than 13 grams per day) and 117 calories. Coconut oil does have antioxidants, which may help reduce the risk of disease, but you’re better off getting antioxidants from vegetables, fruits, and whole grains.

“Detox to lose weight fast”

Your body cleanses itself 24 hours a day. “There is no current scientific evidence that suggests juicing, special herbal blends, or other ‘detoxes’ cleanse the body of anything,” says Heller. If you want to get back on track after, say, an indulgent vacation, keep a food diary. “It sounds simple, but it makes us more mindful so we don’t keep up the ‘fun’ eating we experienced on vacation,” adds Heller.

“Use an app to balance exercise with diet”

You broke a sweat at the gym—congrats! But that doesn’t mean you can feast with abandon, even if your smartphone says you can. Apps that calculate how many calories you can consume based on your physical activity may cause you to overeat. “Apps can sometimes report more calories than you actually burned, and people will say, ‘Yes, I exercised today so now I can have whatever I want,’” says Kirkpatrick. “I tell clients not to track exercise on apps. When people stop tracking the exercise, they start losing weight.”

“Eat six small meals a day”

This may not be a bad idea, based on your lifestyle and your doctor’s recommendations. Small meals throughout the day are sometimes recommended to help keep blood sugar and hunger levels stable. However, one Canadian study in the British Journal of Nutrition found that splitting a low-calorie diet into six meals rather than three had no effect on weight loss, and related research shows eating six meals a day may actually make you want to eat more. One big reason: What defines ‘small’ varies from person to person. “Sometimes when you give this advice to people, and don’t go through what’s defined as small, it can quickly turn into bad advice,” says Kirkpatrick.

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