3 Common Fat Loss Myths Regarding Nutrition

By Tanya Burton

Myth #1 – Sugar is Evil

With obesity on the rise, there’s been a lot of finger-pointing going on. Right now, it’s sugar that seems to be front and center. Demonizing sugar is easy. Study after study shows that the higher the sugar intake of a population, the greater the percentage of diet-related health issues such as diabetes, heart disease, and cancer. Additionally, sugar seems to be the main ingredient in all of the foods that make us fat. Ice cream, cookies, cake, soda…those things are loaded with sugar!

The problem, though, is in assuming that ALL types and quantities of sugar are bad.

Those studies that show high sugar intakes leading to health issues? It’s a correlation, which doesn’t mean sugar directly CAUSES those issues… Just because those populations are eating a lot of sugar doesn’t mean that sugar is all to blame. Populations that eat a lot of sugar ALSO tend to eat too many calories, eat more processed foods, eat very few fruits and veggies, and are mostly or entirely sedentary.

The Bottom Line: Sugar is only a problem in excessive amounts (which leads to too many calories) or when you’re eating too many highly processed junk foods. If you are consuming few enough calories to be in a calorie deficit and eating plenty of micronutrient-dense foods, sugar will not negatively affect your fat loss.

Myth #2 – You Have To Eat Small Meals Throughout The Day

You may have heard that eating smaller and more frequent meals throughout the day keeps your metabolism revving so that your body burns fat instead of storing it.This idea makes sense in theory – if you are eating small bits of food throughout the day, then you’d imagine your body would always be using the calories for energy. Likewise, it seems that one big meal would result in excess calories being stored as fat. However, this isn’t the case…There’s no scientific proof that smaller and more frequent meals are better for burning fat than larger and less frequent ones.

In fact, one study set out to see if there was a difference in weight loss between dieters that consumed the same number of total calories, but different frequencies of meals. The meals per day ranged anywhere from 17 meals to one large meal.They found that there was no difference in weight loss between the groups.This means that you could eat 17 meals or 1 meal per day and as long as the calories match, you’ll lose the same amount of weight.

The Bottom Line: The number of meals you eat per day is irrelevant for losing weight. The only thing that matters is your total calorie intake at the end of the day. In my experience, I’ve observed that most of my clients do best with 2-5 meals per day.

Myth #3 – You Need To Cut Carbs

A surprisingly high number of people I’ve interacted with think that carbs are evil and cause weight gain. Yes, too many carbs will lead to weight gain, but not for the reason most people think. Similar to sugar, it’s the excess calories that come from eating too many carbs that result in extra fat. Carbs are also similar to sugar in that many foods high in carbohydrates are foods people tend to overeat. Things like bread, pasta, chips, and cookies are all high in carbs and fat and typically low in fiber and protein – both of which help fill you up. Think about how much easier it would be to overeat cookies and cake as opposed to high-fiber vegetables (i.e. broccoli) or high-protein foods (i.e. chicken breast).

When people lose weight from cutting carbs, one or all of these things tend to happen:

They naturally consume fewer calories

They end up eating more protein (which increases fullness)

They include more vegetables in their diet (which increases their fiber and micronutrient intake)

They stop overeating and snacking (since most convenient snack foods are high in fiberless carbs)

The Bottom Line: Carb cutting works because it leads to fewer total calories, more protein, more veggies, and less snacking. Instead of cutting out carbs, you’d get the same benefits from simply reducing your calories and eating more protein, fiber, and micronutrient-rich foods.

Learn more about Tanya and her company The Diet Doc Sedalia here.

Have a great Tuesday!

-Coach T