Written by Jade McKee (Clean Health Online Master Coach)
The beauty of the internet today is that you have so much information at your fingertips. If you want to find out about the latest diet trend, it’s only a click away. HOWEVER, this does have a downside! There is so much misinformation out there and it can be hard to separate the facts from the myths. So we’ve decided to make it easier for you!
Here are 5 common diet myths that we’ve compiled & BUSTED!
1. MYTH: “Carbs will make you fat”
FACT: Eating in a calorie surplus can lead to an increase in body fat.
While carbs have been given a bad reputation for this, they really aren’t to blame. Before looking at a single macronutrient group to blame for the extra weight you might have put on – you first need to step back and look at your TOTAL caloric intake. If an individual is eating too much of ANY food group, resulting in a surplus of calories, they are likely to gain weight.
Studies that have compared diets equated for protein and calorie intake have shown that the ratio of carbs to fats in a diet does not affect the amount of weight that is lost (1,2,3). What this tells us is that if your client is hitting their protein target and their calorie goal each day, and if they PREFER to eat a higher ratio of carbs to fats, this is not going to cause them to gain fat!
2. MYTH: “You will gain weight if you eat before bed”
FACT: You will gain weight if you eat in a surplus!
Again, this ultimately comes down to caloric intake over the day. If your client is eating in a calorie SURPLUS, this could be the reason they are gaining weight.
Nutrient timing ie. WHEN meals are consumed during the day, has been shown not to be as important as the TOTAL amount of calories consumed when it comes to manipulating body weight. Before bed can be a time that triggers people to snack – often on high-calorie, sugary ‘treats’ like chocolate, cookies, or ice cream. If these are treats that weren’t accounted for in a client’s caloric intake for the day – this is where they can contribute to weight gain!
3. MYTH: “There are ‘good foods’ and ‘bad foods”
FACT: Moderation is key!
Approaching nutrition with a ‘good food’ and ‘bad food’ mindset can lead to a negative relationship being formed with food. It has the potential to lead to disordered eating, with restriction of particular foods, or food-groups, from a diet. This can lead to anxiety around some food choices, and the potential for bingeing behaviours to occur.
Foods that might generally be considered as ‘bad’, or ‘treats’ tend to be quite calorie dense, and lacking in micronutrients. For example chocolate, pizza, cookies, and ice cream, to name a few. Instead of the all or nothing mindset, this is where flexible dieting can play a role.
Flexible dieting is NOT an excuse to limit micronutrient-dense food, and fit as many sugary sweets as possible. It is a way though to make sure that your client is hitting their daily protein, fibre, and calorie targets, and still be able to incorporate some of these ‘treat’ foods into their daily life. This can help to promote a more positive relationship with food, removing the labels that can cause stress and anxiety.
4. MYTH: “I’ll lose weight if I eat ‘low fat’ food”
FACT: ‘Low fat’ does not equal ‘low calorie’
This is a great example of why it’s important to educate your clients on the CONTENT of what they are eating. If they don’t know how to read food labels, that’s a great place to start! Advertising companies can do a fantastic job when it comes to selling products that they want people to believe are super healthy, and will help in losing weight. By looking a little deeper though, these products can be equal in calories to their ‘full fat’ version, thanks to their higher carb content. This is where portion control once again comes into play. Eating in a surplus of a calorie goal, no matter the macronutrient group, will promote weight gain!
5. MYTH: “You NEED to use supplements when dieting to get results”
FACT: Supplements should only be used to supplement a diet, they are NOT a necessity!
There are many supplements on the market today, promoting that they will help with everything from muscle gain to losing fat. Ultimately, the first step you should be taking BEFORE promoting supplements to your client, is making sure that their current nutrition is on point.
Are they able to hit their daily macro targets and their calorie goal? If they DO struggle to hit their protein target, a protein supplement MIGHT be a useful option to help them. Creatine Monohydrate is another supplement that has been studied in depth, and has been shown to help improve performance (4). It is important to keep in mind though – supplements are never a necessity when it comes to getting results!
These are just a few of the common diet myths out there today. If you aren’t sure about claims being made, dig deep and do a little research… You might be surprised by what you find!
Want to learn more about which nutrition systems work best and when to apply them, along with separating fact from fiction when it comes to fads?
- Hall KD, Guo J. Obesity Energetics: Body Weight Regulation and the Effects of Diet Composition. Gastroenterology. (2017) Retrieved 25th September 2020 from https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28193517/
- Johnston BC, et al. Comparison of weight loss among named diet programs in overweight and obese adults: a meta-analysis. JAMA. (2014) Retrieved 25th September 2020 from https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25182101/
- Bueno NB, et al. Very-low-carbohydrate ketogenic diet v. low-fat diet for long-term weight loss: a meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials. Br J Nutr. (2013) Retrieved 25th September 2020 from https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23651522/
- Chilibeck, P. D., et al. Effect of creatine supplementation during resistance training on lean tissue mass and muscular strength in older adults: a meta-analysis. Open access journal of sports medicine, (2017) Retrieved 25th September 2020 from https://doi.org/10.2147/OAJSM.S123529
- Baker, P. & Norton, L. (2019) Fat Loss Forever. Biolayne.Dr Layne Norton. The Science of Nutrition. Clean Health Fitness Institute. Accessed 19th August 2020.
- Hull, M. (2020) The Top 20 Nutrition Myths of 2020. Sourced from https://examine.com/nutrition/awful-nutrition-myths/#summary11. Retrieved 25th September 2020.Performance Nutrition Coaching Certification Level 1. Clean Health Fitness Institute 2020.