I feel compelled to write this as with the explosion of Twitter and Instagram and celebrity endorsed products and ‘tips’ I feel a lot of young women are being completely misled into believing that many popular diet tips, foods or products can work, when there is no proof at all and often proof that the products scientifically could never work and the tips are dangerous! Hopefully, this post will bust some myths and save you time, money and your health.
Myth 1 – Detox Teas
I was recently contacted by one of these companies to review their tea. I know tea cannot remove toxins from your body as there are a lot of articles from doctors discrediting any detox diet claims. I decided to email them back and ask them “It would be nice to know how the product actually removes toxins, and what toxins are being removed and where from? I couldn’t find the details on the website or facebook page.” they came back with the reply “the morning tea works to give you a boost throughout the day, while the night tea works to naturally purify the body. As the teas contain all natural ingredients, it depends on how your body reacts to our tea (: Also, toxins can be released through sweat or flushing.”.
You absolutely cannot sweat out toxins. Toxins are removed from your body by your liver, intestines and kidneys, you can google it if you don’t believe me! The morning tea contained some natural diuretic ingredients (like a water tablet such as aqua ban) to help you rid your body of excess water which can cause you to be bloated so where they say ‘flushing’ I am presuming she is saying you pee out the toxins by flushing the toxins out by drinking the tea, but you’d have the same effect drinking a cup of hot water. Or cold water!
The evening tea contained some mild laxative effect herbs and yes you remove toxins from your body by going to ..number 2! But just because you go more often doesn’t mean that more toxins are coming out. So basically you might look a bit thinner as you are going to the toilet a lot more. But that’s it. No removal of toxins other than the ones your body naturally removes every day anyway. If you want the diuretic and laxative effect teas just buy them for a few pounds from Holland and Barrett or the supermarket, no need to spend £20+ on this 28 day cleanse package. Read more about ‘detoxing’ here http://www.senseaboutscience.org/pages/debunking-detox.html
Myth 2 – Don’t Eat At Night
No food after 7pm/8pm etc. Do you think that slice of cake knows what time it is? Does your liver care? Of course not. I don’t eat late at night in case I get indigestion or have poor sleep, but it won’t make you any thinner or fatter whatever time you eat. Your body will digest your food exactly the same, whatever time of day it is.
Myth 3 – Eating Small Meals Often Boosts Your Metabolism
Not enough to make any actual difference. It’s a good idea as it keeps you full and not hungry, when you are super hungry you are more likely to snack on junk food. But it doesn’t boost your metabolism by more than a small amount. You can increase it however by increasing your muscle mass in your body, which will help your basal metabolic rate increase (BMR). Do some exercise that includes weights to boost your metabolism.
Myth 4 – Cutting Carbs
Cutting out entire food groups such as carbs can help you lose weight. But it’s not carbs or fat themselves that make you fat, it’s the extra calories from any type of food making you fatter. I’ve been lured in by the ‘cutting carbs’ theory before, and that was a real mistake and it made me tired and I felt miserable I wish someone had told me at the time I was being an idiot. I think that increasing your protein and vegetables is definitely a good thing, you digest protein slower than carbs so it makes you feel fuller for longer and vegetables often have very low calories so you can eat a big bowl of them and have eaten fewer calories than a tiny bowl of pasta.
Cutting out major food groups also means cutting out the nutrients they provide, this can cause you real problems in later life, for example, the years of Gwyneth Paltrow’s ridiculous dieting may well have caused her harm, she now has osteopenia (can lead to osteoporosis). Be careful with your body! Give it lots of lovely nutrients and nourish it, you only get one! Check your portion size, and give your body a full spectrum of whole foods so you get all of the nutrients you need to fuel your body.
Myth 5 – Not Combining Food
Eating different types of food separately at different meals helps you lose weight. Not really! It actually helps you to combine foods. Your intestines can digest different food types at the same time, and for example eating protein and carbs together can help you digest the protein easier, as the carbs contain fibre which helps digestion. It also keeps you feeling full for longer, meaning you snack less. Winning!
Myth 6 – Slashing Calories
Severe calorie cutting. Of course, if you slash your calorie consumption from 2000 calories a day to 1000 then you will lose weight. But your body is very efficient, it will think you are in a starvation situation and start making the most of every calorie available to it, so you need fewer calories to survive (thanks, body), this means if you then went back to your 2000 calorie ways after a few months, you would put on a shedload of weight as your body is now used to surviving on much much less. Learning – reduce calories sensibly, slower and sustainable weightloss = good. Fast crash dieting = bad.
Myth 7 – Meal Replacement Shakes
Smoothies and shakes help you lose weight? Well yes and no. It doesn’t matter what brand you
look at or if you make the shakes yourself at home, no smoothie or shake has magical weight loss ingredients or abilities to transfer or remove fat or calories. They modify your behaviour and implement some portion control. Of course, if you replace your two fat laden snacks a day with a smoothie or shake that is low in calories then you are consuming fewer calories in a day and probably gaining more nutrients, so they work in that way. It would work the same way if you replaced any calorie-laden meal with a healthy meal or drink.
Myth 8 – Diet Pills
Please avoid these unless prescribed by a doctor. Yes some of them (I don’t know which ones personally) might make you lose weight, but at what cost?
Different ones work in different ways, some work as some sort of equivalent to speed to give you lots of energy, some contain appetite suppressants , some contain herbal stimulants. A lot have been linked to a range of health problems from bladder and stomach issues to heart attacks. Just because something says it is herbal doesn’t mean it’s safe. So as much as you might desperately want to lose weight, it’s best to be safe, ask the doctor if there is anything they can prescribe but if they say no, don’t be buying dodgy pills from the internet, being thin isn’t very helpful if you’re dead.
Myth 9 – No Food is Bad
Eat all foods in moderation, no food should be thought of as ‘bad food’ (animal issues aside). Not quite. A burger can be made from lean steak mince, or it can be one of the fast food ones that bears little resemblance to meat and contains lots of preservatives. A potato can either be a nice baked jacket potato or a bag of crisps fried in oil. Try to find healthier ways to enjoy the foods you love, and remember that even if you’re eating healthy foods you still need to remember portion control.
Myth 10 – Low Fat Food is Better
Going for low fat or low calorie labelled foods is dangerous without looking at the rest of the ingredients! These foods might contain less fat or calories overall but they often increase the salt, sugar, sweeteners or chemical additives to compensate. Foods that contain extra salt can cause bloating and sometimes there’s the ‘well if it’s low fat I can have a bit more’ way your brain works, so you end up eating double anyway. Try to stick to normal versions of foods and just eat a more modest portion.
These are just my own personal views, everything I have stated as a fact I have checked medical articles to ensure that what I am saying agrees with what Doctors or Scientists say. If you disagree with other things I have said then that’s fine, everyone is welcome to their own beliefs.