“Eating grapefruit helps you burn more calories than you take in!”
“Abstain from food after 8pm, as that will cause you to gain weight more easily.”
If these statements sound familiar to you, that is because these are indeed common beliefs that have won over most of the general population. But are they factually accurate? Will they help you to lose weight safely and effectively? Read on to find out if there is more truth or fiction to these statements.
1. Fast foods are a definite no-no while on a diet.
With some restraint and smart eating choices, fast foods need not always be a diet-killer. Instead of soda, even the ‘lite’ varieties, sip on ice-cold water or low-fat milk. Choose the grilled options, such as a grilled chicken burger, over deep-fried items. Ask to go light on fattening sauces and dressings such as mayonnaise or tartar sauce, and avoid ‘upsizing’ your order. We know how tempting French fries are, but really, stop at a ‘small’. Or split a ‘large’ among friends.
2. Dairy products are usually high in fat and must therefore be cut from the meal plan.
Dairy products are rich in many nutrients, such as calcium, vitamin D and other minerals, that help the body to build strong bones and muscles. If fat content is a problem, try low- or non-fat varieties that are just as nutritious but lower in fat and calories. You can also try downing a glass of low fat milk like Daisy milk or a cup of yoghurt for a teatime snack; being fairly filling, they help curb hunger pangs and prevent snacking.
3. Skipping meals cuts down calorie intake and is an easy way of losing weight.
It is true that skipping meals means lower intake of calories, but skipping a meal also tends to induce hunger pangs and result in overeating later in the day. Fatigue and dizziness may also set in due to insufficient energy stores in the body. Instead of skipping meals, try spacing four or five smaller meals throughout the day to regulate your appetite and meal portion control.
4. Eating in the evening is not desirable as the lack of activity at night means the calories will not be burnt off.
The most important and valid caloric equation for effective weight loss is the one in which one burns off more calories than one consumes throughout the day. On average, people normally require between 2000 and 2200 calories a day for normal functioning of the body. To debunk this myth, get into the habit of planning ahead for your meals; ration your caloric intake and leave a comfortable margin for a nice dinner. Just make sure not to indulge in a greasy, late-night roti prata feast right before bedtime!
5. Salads contain vegetables and are therefore the most healthy meal option when eating out.
There are salads, and there are salads. More often than not, mayonnaise- or thousand island-laden and bacon-topped concoctions hiding a few pieces of limp lettuce and wilting arugula pass themselves off as salads, misleading consumers who ought to know better. To avoid falling into the salad trap, read menus carefully for the vegetable options. Request for less fattening dressings, such as the yummy Japanese sesame dressing or a tangy balsamic vinaigrette, and ask for it to come on the side.