diet myths debunked by science

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Eight common diet myths debunked by science

We are debunking popular dieting trends and myths and separating fact from fiction.

diet myths debunked by science

Image via Pexels

There are a lot of diet myths and diet trends that circulate the internet and social media.

This fitspo says one thing, another instagram model says the opposite. All while trying to sell you Fit Tea.

We looked to science to give us some answers about the biggest diet lies out there.

Always start your day with breakfast

Eating breakfast isn’t necessary to help promote weight loss. 

The saying goes “Breakfast is the most important meal of the day” but no single meal is more important than the others.

With the onset of popular diets like intermittent fasting, we have seen that successful weight loss isn’t dependant on meal timing. With if the first meal of the day usually eaten around midday and it continues later into the day than usual?

The most important factor is calorie intake, not the meal or the timing – so skip breakfast or eat it. The choice is yours. 

Diet, breakfast, eggs
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You should not eat a big meal late at night

Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a queen and dinner like a pauper.

Adelle Davis 

Building on the previous diet myth relating to breakfast. The second most popular “dieting rule” is that you should not eat a big meal late in the afternoon. 

It is especially detrimental to your dieting goals if that meal contains any carbs. 

Researchers conducted a study where they compared eating earlier in the day to eating later in the day. The study showed there was no difference in weight loss, but the late eaters lost more fat. The conclusion? The same as above – timing doesn’t matter, calorie intake does. 

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It is better to eat smaller meals throughout the day

The theory behind this diet myth is that by eating smaller meals or snacks throughout the day you will keep your metabolism firing.

The theory of grazing to fuel your metabolic fire became popular when we learnt that eating helped burn calories, therefore the reasoning was that eating frequently would help burn more calories. 

There may be some benefits to eating more frequently such as staving off hunger and preventing binge eating but when it comes to weight loss there are no benefits of eating smaller meals over eating bigger meals. 

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The problem with carbs

Banting, Atkins, keto and paleo are some of the diets that demonise carbohydrates. 

The thing is most people tend to demonise all carbohydrates sources without realising that all carbs are created differently. And this is the problem with this diet myth.

Mainstream diets consist of processed carbs like bread, pasta, cereals and rice. 

Instead of eliminating all carbohydrates, you should aim to reduce these simple carbs and include more complex carbs from fruits and vegetables.

Egg yolks are bad for you because they are high in cholesterol 

We are often advised to eat whites over the whole egg due to the cholesterol found in the yolk.

Which in turn leads to heart disease. 

But studies have shown that eggs raise the “good” cholesterol and don’t raise the risk of heart disease. 

Whole eggs are among the most nutritious foods on the planet and almost all the nutrients are found in the yolks.

Cholesterol acts as an antioxidant against dangerous free radicals within the blood and is also necessary for the production of several hormones, some of which help fight against heart disease. 

High protein diets cause kidney damage

High protein diets have been blamed for kidney stones, gallstones and for raising the risk of kidney failure. 

There has been no research that links a high protein diet to developing a kidney problem in healthy persons. 

But studies that have been done have found that they are safe and in some instances have lowered blood pressure and helped fight type two diabetes. These were two of the main risk factors for kidney failure.

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Low-fat foods help aid weight loss

Low fat does not mean low calorie, and as we have explained, calorie intake is the leading factor in weight loss. 

Manufacturers will usually add more sugar to a fat-free product to improve the taste once the fat has been removed. By replacing the fat with other ingredients, calorie load can be increased and you may end up eating more than you initially intended to.

A good tip is to always read the labels of products.

Pre-packaged, low-fat foods are often high in sugar and preservatives. These are not good for our health.

But natural fats found in nuts, seeds, fish and avocados are crucial for our wellbeing.