3 Diet Myths Debunked

If you haven’t already, it’s time to ditch these myths for healthier, happier weight loss!

Healthy Food

April is quickly making way for May, and summer is right around the corner.  If weight loss is your goal right now, you’ve probably been seeing and hearing a long list of MUSTS to get healthy and lose weight, especially when it comes to your diet.  Unfortunately, with the overwhelming amount of information out there, it can be hard to distinguish fact from fiction.  In a guest blog on ShopWell, Heather Mason, MS, RDN, of Nutty Nutrition recently shared some of the biggest nutrition myths she hears.  If you haven’t already, it’s time to ditch these myths for healthier, happier weight loss!

Myth: Eating after 8 P.M. will make you gain weight.

Truth: It doesn’t matter what time of day you eat. When it comes to losing weight, what matters most is the total amount of calories consumed versus the total amount of calories burned. If you eat more calories than you burn, you will gain weight; regardless of when those calories were consumed. Your body is constantly burning calories (even when you sleep), so food eaten late at night will not “stick” any more than food eaten in the morning.

However, many people do tend to overeat at night, whether it be from boredom or stress. If you find that you are a “night eater,” it may be a good idea to set a limit of not eating past a certain hour so you do not exceed your overall calorie requirement. Next time you want to grab an evening treat ask yourself, am I truly hungry or am I just bored?

MythBrown sugar is healthier for you than white sugar.

Truth: The brown sugar sold at grocery stores is actually white granulated sugar with added molasses. Brown sugar contains the same amount of calories and sugar as white sugar. Similarly, there are no real health benefits of using maple syrup or honey instead of white sugar. Honey is useful for soothing a sore throat, but that’s another topic. Brown sugar, pure maple syrup, and honey do contain trace amounts of minerals. Unless you are downing a whole cup of maple syrup or honey (which I don’t recommend), the minerals are insignificant.

By the Numbers

1 cup white granulated sugar = 773 calories, 200 grams sugar
1 cup packed brown sugar = 836 calories, 213 grams sugar
1 cup pure maple syrup = 819 calories, 214 grams sugar
1 cup honey = 1031 calories, 278 grams sugar

As you can see, the calories and sugar content of the first three products are similar. Honey exceeds white sugar by over 200 calories. Honey is a bit sweeter than white sugar so it is possible to use a smaller amount of honey and obtain the same sweetness.

Myth: Avoid carbohydrates (carbs) to lose weight.

Truth: Cutting out carbs will help you lose weight initially because you will be losing water weight. When reducing carbs, your body will burn glycogen as opposed to glucose. Glycogen (the storage form of glucose) contains a lot of water, and for the first couple of weeks, you may see a big drop in your weight due to the water loss. If you continue to lose weight, it is only because you are reducing your overall calorie intake, not because there is anything magical about cutting carbohydrates.

If it works, then why not do it? Carbohydrates are important for a balanced diet, and they are a good source of fiber. Additionally, they are your main energy source when exercising. Carbohydrates are found in grains, fruits, vegetables, and milk products, all of which provide essentials vitamins and minerals. Eating smaller portions of carbohydrates is okay, but eliminating them from your diet can lead to nutrient deficiencies. According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, a balanced diet should contain 50-60% of calories from carbohydrates, 25-30% of calories from fat, and 15-20% of calories from protein. If you have diabetes, I would recommend going as low as 30-40% of total calories from carbohydrates.