We all know a few hard-and-fast rules when it comes to eating right and staying in shape: Eat lots of fruits and veggies. Cut back on red meat, fast food, and sodas. Exercise regularly. But you may be surprised to learn that many of the so-called “facts” you swear by aren’t true at all! Here, Dr. Oz busts the top 4 dieting myths.
Dieting Myth 1: Eating Fat Makes You Fat
The name says it all: Fat makes you fat, right? Wrong! Eating a small amount of fat actually helps you feel fuller faster as it triggers satiety (or fullness) signals, causing you to eat less overall. Not only that, eating the right fats aids in the absorption of healthy vitamins. Seek out the polyunsaturated fats you’ll find in liquid oils, like canola and safflower oil. Unlike saturated fats, they won’t raise bad blood cholesterol levels and may even reduce the risk of a heart attack. To get your healthy fat fix, also look for omega-3 oils from fish, krill, seafood, algae, flaxseeds and/or walnuts, and olive oil, which is a source of both monounsaturated fats and omega-3s.
Dieting Myth 2: You Burn Fat Faster by Exercising on an Empty Stomach
Starving yourself before you exercise isn’t only ineffective, it may be harmful. A report published this year concluded that your body burns roughly the same amount of fat regardless of whether you eat before a workout, but you’re likely to lose strength-building muscles by exercising on an empty stomach. Not only that, without food to fuel your workout, exercise intensity and overall calorie burn are reduced. On the other hand, when you exercise with some food in your stomach, you’re burning fat instead of muscle, leaving you with more energy and a higher calorie burn. Be sure to eat 30 minutes before exercise, preferably a liquid-like yogurt or a protein shake so your body can make nutrients readily available for your workout.
Dieting Myth 3: It’s Harder for Women to Lose Weight
Men may appear to lose weight faster than women at first, over the long run things balance out. Men tend to have more muscle mass and undergo fewer hormonal changes, which allows for an easier burn-off of those first few pounds. Research shows, however, that, over time, weight loss evens out between the sexes so long as you stick to a healthy diet and exercise routine. Remember, healthy results don’t matter over a week or even a month – they really add up and matter over the years.
Dieting Myth 4: All Calories Are Created Equally
A calorie does not automatically equal a calorie! Some calories are more filling, leaving you feeling full faster so your appetite is gone in a flash. Other calories are less filling, keeping your appetite going and going and going. You want to seek out the first type of calories, so be sure to replace the less-filling saturated fats that you’ll find in butter and fatty meats with the more-filling, polyunsaturated fats found in sources like avocados and nuts. You’ll get the rich, delicious flavors you crave without packing on unwanted pounds.