8 Popular Diet and Exercise Myths Debunked

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If I could earn a dollar every time I heard the same diet and exercise myths, I would be a millionaire. I do not know who keeps up these crippling diet and exercise myths, but please give it a rest. Have you heard of these before? Here are the top 8 popular diet and exercise myths to leave behind.

Carbs Make You Fat

Truth: Anything you consume beyond what your body needs will be converted to fat. Pay attention to carbohydrate quality.

Carbohydrates are a macronutrient that your body needs to function. In fact, your body prefers carbs as its main source of fuel. For example, your brain uses glucose for energy. Carbohydrates break down to glucose, which is why your body prefers them first for energy. When your diet is too low in carbohydrates, your brain functioning may be impaired. It may lead to a lack of focus and a feeling of brain fog.

In addition, the type of carb plays a factor. There are high-sugar carbs and those that contain quality sources of carbohydrates like whole grains. Simple carbohydrates that are high in sugar content are more associated with obesity and chronic disease than more complex carbohydrates. The simpler carbs may raise your blood sugar more rapidly than the complex ones. The more excess sugar in your blood, the more likely it will be stored as fat.

Fasted Cardio is better for fat loss.

Truth: There is no proof that fasted cardio is better for fat loss. It may even make it harder.

I used to follow this tip, so I get it. The way it’s explained makes sense in theory, but in practice, it’s not correct. The idea is that when we fast overnight, we deplete our carbohydrate stores, therefore teaching our body to use fat instead of carbs as fuel.

A study by the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition found no significant difference between fasted and fed aerobic exercise. The overall weight loss factor was associated with a calorie deficit and not fasting before cardio.

There are a few things that happen when exercising on an empty stomach. For starters, exercising on an empty stomach can increase your cortisol levels. We know that cortisol is a stress hormone and is counterproductive for fat loss. In addition, exercising in a fasted state may increase muscle tissue breakdown. If you’re trying to maintain muscle mass while losing fat, you’re making it harder for yourself.

Skipping Meals Will Help Me Lose Weight

Truth: Skipping meals may inhibit weight loss

Studies show that people who skip meals tend to have issues with weight loss. In this case, we discuss skipping meals as an effort to reduce your calories long-term, not intermittent fasting.  A very low-calorie diet may show results in the short term but can be detrimental in the long term. Leading to a reduction in your metabolism, increased feelings of hunger, and lack of fullness. Then when you eat the usual amount of food, it can promote weight gain because of the reduced metabolic rate. Finally, skipping meals may promote cravings causing you to eat more undesirable foods than you would have by sticking to a normal food intake.

Crunches will get rid of belly fat.

Truth: There is no way to spot train for fat loss. 

Although crunches help increase core strength, fat loss is due to a comprehensive diet and exercise program. We cannot choose where we will lose fat, but we can control the amount of fat we have by including a well-rounded program. Exercise programs should be comprised of a variety of cardiovascular and strength training workouts to reduce overall fat. Your diet and gut health plays a major role in how much belly fat you carry in the abdomen.

Fats are bad for you.

Truth: Fats are an essential nutrient your body needs for basic bodily functions.

Eating fats can help you feel full and eat less. They also help you absorb vitamins, and have healthy skin and hair. It is important to identify the difference between good fats and bad fats. Monounsaturated and Polyunsaturated fats are the type of fats your body needs. Specifically, polyunsaturated fats consist of Omega-3 and 6 fats. Omega-6 fatty acids are essential to consume because our body does not make them on its own.

Both of these fats together have health benefits, including weight loss and heart health support. Fats are very calorie-dense and should make up about 30% of your daily intake (this may vary depending on activity level or dietary needs). Anything in excess is going to cause weight gain.

Lifting heavy weights makes women bulky.

Truth: Women do not contain enough testosterone to get “bulky”

Weight training can only enhance your body composition and help you burn more calories. To increase the amount of muscle, it takes daily training and a lot of food. Some may use supplementation to enhance their muscle mass, and unless you’re training for a bodybuilding competition, you will not see that level of bulkiness.

In addition, weight training helps produce more human growth hormones in women, which helps break down fat and reduce the effects of aging on the body. I say that alone is a great argument to begin weight training.

Eating Before Bed Makes You Gain Weight

Truth: Your body does not know what time it is; it’s about overall intake.

You might associate eating late with weight gain because you tend to eat more than usual, especially after a night out. Experts suggest that eating before bed is associated with an extra meal leading to excess calories. Other studies also found that late-night eaters tended to eat more, which could be associated with an unbalanced nutrient intake throughout the day. Overall, it’s about the quantity and quality of food eaten before bed, not the time.

All Skinny People Are Healthy

Truth: The outward appearance of thinness does not tell the whole picture inside of the body

Although obesity increases your risk for chronic conditions like diabetes and heart disease, people who appear skinny do not get out Scott-free. The medical term TOFI means thin on the outside, fat on the inside, or “skinny fat.” Many of these individuals have a genetic predisposition to store fat differently, specifically around the internal organs (visceral fat). This is dangerous because it can interrupt the body’s internal communication system telling the body to store fat inside the liver and pancreas. This leads to type 2 diabetes and heart disease. Overall, you still need to practice healthy habits regardless if you appear to be naturally skinny or not.

What are some diet and exercise myths you hear? Leave me a comment!

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