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  King Edward’s Medical Centre
  King Edward’s Road, Barking,
Essex IG11 7TB
Telephone: 020-8594-2988
Fax: 020-8594-2184

Ten popular dieting myths

1. Skipping breakfast is a good way to lose weight

Skipping breakfast will make you feel tired and hungry during the morning and encourage you to reach for high-fat, high-calorie snacks. In fact, people who eat breakfast are more likely to maintain a healthy weight that those who don't.

2. The stricter the diet the more successful it will be

If you eat nothing but grapefruits or oranges all day long for a week you will, of course, lose weight. But fad diets that drastically cut calories will quickly become boring and won't be effective in the long run. It's not necessary to starve to lose weight. Making small changes that you can stick is the key to long-term success. Morning and encourage you to reach for high-fat, high-calorie snacks. In fact, people who eat breakfast are more likely to maintain a healthy weight that those who don't.

3. You have to give up your favourite foods

Depriving yourself of all the foods you enjoy won't work. You'll eventually give into temptation and abandon your efforts. There is no harm in allowing yourself a treat now and again.

4. Eating at night makes you gain weight

It doesn't matter when you eat if you are eating too much – a calorie is a calorie at any time of the day! It is healthier for your digestive system not to eat a heavy meal before you go to bed but a later dinner will not make you any fatter than an earlier one.

5. It is possible to spot reduce, or to lose fat in one part of your body

As unfair as it may seem, we can't pick and choose where we gain or lose weight from. When the body loses fat, it is lost throughout the body. Focusing on one area of the body when exercising may develop better muscle tone in that area but it will not remove more fat.

6. Certain foods, such as grapefruits or celery, can burn fat

No foods can actually help you to burn fat. Some foods with caffeine may speed up your metabolism slightly for a short time but they won't cause significant weight loss.

7. Carbohydrates-rich foods such as bread and pasta, are fattening

It's calories that count and gram for gram carbohydrate has less than half the calories of fat. But carbohydrate-rich foods can be fattening because of the fillings and toppings commonly added to them – such as creamy sauces on pasta and butter or cheese on baked potatoes.

Some carbohydrate foods, especially wholegrain versions, are packed full of fibre which can keep hunger at bay. For example, wholegrain pasta is more filling than white pasta and will keep you satisfied for longer.

8. You shouldn't snack between meals

Eating healthy snacks between meals can actually help you to control your appetite and keep your blood sugar level steady. Fruits and vegetables are a great choice.

9. Low fat means low calorie

Replacing fat with other ingredients can still result in a product with a high calorie content. Don't be fooled – check the label. Quantity is also important – you won't cut back on calories if you eat twice as much of a low fat product as a full fat one!

10. You have to exercise intensively to burn fat

Even low intensity exercise will burn fat. Walking, gardening or doing housework will help you to burn calories and lose weight.

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