Many myths exist regarding weight loss – News – The Columbus Dispatch

With all the nutrition and weight-loss fads and tips out there, it can be difficult to figure out what actually works. A few central Ohio dietitians weigh in to help you separate fact from fiction: 


1. To lose weight, you need to create a calorie deficit. This is best done through a combination of slightly decreasing calories and increasing activity.

2. Food records like My Fitness Pal or Lose It are good tools to help you see how much you are eating and when.

3. Eating too little during the day can sabotage weight loss efforts by creating unmanageable increased hunger at night.

4. “Fad diets” are not the answer to achieving weight loss. If the diet calls for severely restricting calories or eliminating entire food groups, it’s likely a fad diet. Though popular, these diets are often bad for your overall health.

5. The simple saying “everything in moderation” still holds true. A diverse diet comprised of a variety of choices from each food group that still allows you to indulge on occasion is best equipped to satisfy your needs nutritionally and psychologically.

6. “Fitness Trackers” that measure calories burned, such as ones by Fitbit and Garmin, are not for everyone. Most research shows that the visible benefits of these devices for weight loss are limited and can even be counterproductive. If you use a tracker, try to avoid mentally exchanging calories burned through exercise for additional calories you consume.


1. Eating fat makes us fat. Our bodies need some fat to burn fat. Focus on adding healthier fats such as avocados, nuts and seeds and olive oil into your diet.

2. You should not eat after early evening. Eating a snack after dinner and before bed is fine as long as it isn’t half a gallon of ice cream or half a bag of potato chips. Try to eat a small snack that is around 100 to 200 calories and includes some protein. Greek yogurt, crackers and cheese, peanut butter or a banana are a few good choices. If you’re eating ice cream or another higher-calorie snack, pay attention to the portion, eat slowly and be sure to enjoy it.

3. Vegetarian diets are always the healthiest. The elimination of meat does not prevent you from choosing unhealthy meat-free foods and can add some challenges to meeting all of your nutritional needs. However, if someone is well informed and motivated, a healthy vegetarian diet can be achieved.

4. Poultry is always healthier than red meat. Though on average poultry tends to be leaner than red meat, this is not always the case. When looking at ground meats, always compare the lean-to-fat ratio between products. It’s also important to be conscious of how the food is prepared and if additional fat is added through this process.

5. Carbohydrates should be avoided. Carbohydrates contain calories (as do fat, protein and alcohol) and consuming carbs in excess might hinder weight loss. However, carbs are the body’s primary source of energy, especially for the brain. The bigger issue lies in the fact that carb sources vary greatly in their nutritional value. Try to reflect on the sources of carbohydrate in your diet.

6. “Cleanses” are a healthy way to remove toxins from the body and lose weight. Your liver and kidneys are responsible for cleansing the body. Cleanses are only a temporary fix when it comes to weight loss, and pounds will quickly return when the cleanse is over.

 7. Low-fat options are always healthier. Although low-fat foods can sometimes be a healthier option, they are often higher in sugar and carbohydrates. It is better to consume higher-fat foods in moderation.

Sources: Brandon Petrovich, clinical dietitian at Mount Carmel St. Ann’s hospital; Brittany Smith, registered dietitian at the OhioHealth McConnell Heart Health Center; Liz Weinandy, registered dietitian at Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center.

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Many myths exist regarding weight loss – News – The Columbus Dispatch

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