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Trim it right: Debunking seven common weight loss myths
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Trim it right: Debunking seven common weight loss myths

A wholesome balanced diet and 30-minutes exercise routine daily should do the trick for most people
Photo by Anantha Subramanyam K / Happiest Health

When it comes to weight loss tips, often the myths and misconceptions outweigh the actual evidence-based strategies. Experts suggest that people could gain weight due to multiple reasons ranging from metabolic complications to unhealthy diet and sedentary lifestyle.

So to lose weight, one has to address their specific issue along with a healthy diet and exercise routine. “Those with high blood sugar levels are advised to consume more vegetables and proteins in their diet and less carbohydrates. Adopting a balanced diet rather than just consuming one or two meals a day is important,” says Dr Subrata Das, senior consultant, internal medicine and diabetology, Sakra World Hospital, Bengaluru.

Healthy weight loss is a gradual process that can be achieved through consistent exercise, a balanced diet and good sleep. However, weight loss is surrounded by a lot of myths and misconceptions that people tend to follow to get rapid weight loss. Happiest Health spoke to experts to debunk some common weight loss myths.

Seven common weight loss myths

Myth 1: Skipping meals will help lose weight

Fact:  Dr Das points out that it is always better to adopt a healthy balanced diet instead of choosing unsustainable diet plans.

You should avoid skipping meals and intermittent fasting, which is unsustainable.” For healthy weight loss, he recommends 30 to 40 minutes of brisk walking or regular exercise.

Bangalore-based nutritionist Ashika M K says, “When you skip meals, your hunger pangs increase along with ghrelin (hunger hormone). Hence, you end up eating more in the next meal which eventually leads to weight gain.” She suggests having small, frequent meals or some light snacks such as dry fruits and nuts rather than skipping meals.

“Skipping meals can slow down your metabolism,” says Bengaluru-based nutritionist Palak Punamiya.

Myth 2: Drinking water will help you lose weight

Fact: Staying hydrated throughout the day is important and the ideal amount would be 2.5 to 3 litres of water a day says Ashika. However, drinking too much water is also not good for health.

Having one glass of water before a meal will suppress your appetite and reduce portion intake. 

Myth 3: Exercise or diet, either of this is enough

Fact: Any exercise or cardio will work 20 percent and the other 80 percent is based on your diet, says Ashika. When exercising, our body requires protein to repair tissues that are damaged. Without an adequate protein intake, the body will break down muscle to meet its energy needs, resulting in weight loss as the body’s overall muscle mass decreases.

Punamiya recommends both exercise and a balanced diet should be followed parallelly for healthy weight loss.

Myth 4: Eating salads every day will lead to weight loss

Fact: According to Punamiya, eating just salad is not a healthy way to lose weight as it makes you lose out on getting the proper nutrients required. She suggests having a balanced diet with an adequate amount of proteins and healthy fats that include eggs, dairy or lean meat.

Myth 5:  Fats make you fat

Fact: Incorporating healthy fats is a vital part of ensuring a healthy and balanced diet. Punamiya says one should make sure to include healthy fats such as avocados, nuts and olive oil, these healthy fats not only help in weight management but are also good for reducing adverse internal conditions like inflammation.

Myth 6: Carbohydrates should be completely avoided

Fact: Punamiya recommends moderation rather than complete elimination of carbs. She says, opt for complex carbohydrates like oats, quinoa, and brown rice over refined ones and be mindful of how much you eat. Complex carbs are a good source of fiber, essential vitamins and minerals.

Myth 7: Calorie restriction helps you lose weight faster

Fact: “Low-calorie diet doesn’t fulfill your nutrient requirements and may lead to nutritional deficiencies”, says Punamiya. Though a drastic calorie-restrict diet may lead to rapid weight gain, it’s not a healthy approach she adds.

Eating a healthy and balanced diet with the right number of calories is the key to healthy weight loss.

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