25 Food Myths That Cause Weight Gain

It is no secret that right here at Eat This, Not That!, we spend numerous time unmasking well being imposters. And the reality is, the superpowers of kale, like the risks of the Bermuda Triangle, have been extremely exaggerated. Positive, it is good for you, however the rating of kale as our biggest inexperienced is only one of many word-of-mouth myths that drive our dietary decision-making, usually within the incorrect path. A lot of what we imagine about meals is admittedly simply rumour, a sport of dietary phone handed down from science journals to newspapers to tv to your aunt to your mother after which to you, with entrepreneurs in between.

Effectively, we went forward and tracked down the reality. Learn to separate truth from fiction and also you would possibly lastly shed the habits which might be silently sabotaging your weight reduction efforts.

Listed below are 25 meals myths that may very well be doing you extra hurt. And after you uncover these, take a look at the 15 Underrated Weight Loss Ideas That Truly Work.

bunch of lacinato kale on wooden board
Vezzani Images/Shutterstock

A 2014 study at William Paterson University ranked fruit and veggies by their nutrient density, based mostly on their ranges of 17 completely different vitamins which have been linked to improved cardiovascular well being. Not surprisingly, the highest 16 had been all leafy greens, which pack probably the most diet per calorie. (Coming in at #17 was crimson bell peppers.) However kale did not even make the highest 10. Actually, easy spinach and even Romaine lettuce beat the alleged supergreen, as did parsley and chives. Even stuff you usually throw away—the greens atop beets—pack extra diet.


Sugar is the grasp of disguise, in accordance with analysis in Zero Sugar Diet. Maltodextrin, brown rice syrup, dextrose, sucrose—it is bought extra alter egos than the Avengers. But it surely’s most well-known costume is Excessive Fructose Corn Syrup. Whether or not HFCS is worse than plain ol’ desk sugar has lengthy been a contentious challenge. Here is what you should know: In a 2014 evaluate of 5 research evaluating the consequences of sugar and HFCS, there was no distinction present in adjustments in blood glucose ranges, lipid ranges, or urge for food between desk sugar consumption and HFCS consumption. In different phrases, your physique cannot inform one from the opposite—they’re each simply sugar. HFCS’s actual sin is that it is tremendous low-cost, and consequently, it is added to all the things from cereal to ketchup to salad dressing. Is it a good suggestion to attenuate the HFCS in your weight loss program? Completely. It is best to chop out all pointless sugars.

RELATED: 25 Widespread Fruits—Ranked by Sugar Content material 


On a regular basis desk salt comes from a mine and accommodates roughly 2,300 milligrams of sodium per teaspoon. Sea salt comes from evaporated seawater, and it additionally accommodates roughly 2,300 milligrams of sodium. That makes them, properly, roughly equivalent. Advocates level to the truth that sea salt additionally accommodates different compounds like magnesium and iron, however in fact, these minerals exist in hint quantities. To acquire a significant dose, you’d have to absorb extraordinarily excessive and doubtlessly harmful ranges of sodium. What’s extra, conventional desk salt is frequently fortified with iodine, which performs an necessary function in regulating the hormones in your physique. Sea salt, then again, offers you nearly zero iodine. The underside line is that this: If switching from desk salt to sea salt causes you to eat even one further granule, then you definately’ve simply utterly snuffed out no matter elusive well being boon you hope to obtain. Plus you have wasted a couple of bucks.

RELATED: 25 Meals Excessive in Sodium You Ought to Beware

Energy drinks

Vitality drinks like Crimson Bull, Monster, and Full Throttle try to spice up your power with a cache of B nutritional vitamins, natural extracts, and amino acids. However what your physique’s going to recollect most (particularly round your waistline) is the sugar in these concoctions; a 16-ounce can delivers as a lot as 280 energy of pure sugar, which is about 80 energy greater than you’d discover in a 16-ounce cup of Pepsi. What’s extra, a University of Maryland study discovered power drinks to be 11 p.c extra corrosive to your enamel than common soda. So this is the key that power drink corporations don’t need you to know: The one confirmed, vital power increase comes from caffeine. If you need an power increase, save your self the sugar spike and drink a cup of espresso. (A cup of black joe: 5 energy. Make this swap as soon as a day and lose practically 29 kilos this 12 months!)

RELATED: 101 Unhealthiest Habits on the Planet


The obesity-research group is turning into more and more conscious that the substitute sweeteners utilized in weight loss program soda result in hard-to-control meals urges later within the day. Attempt weaning your self off by switching to carbonated water and flavoring with lemon, cucumber, and recent herbs.

A examine within the American Journal of Public Well being discovered that extra overweight adults drink weight loss program soda than healthy-weight adults and that, among the many chubby and overweight adults studied, those that drank weight loss program soda ate extra energy than those that consumed sweetened/common soda. Researchers have additionally linked common weight loss program soda consumption with decreased response to synthetic sweeteners and a decreased hyperlink between candy tastes and power worth, that means their our bodies could develop to disassociate sweetness with satiety cues, making it simpler to overeat and, subsequently, achieve weight.


Positive, some yogurts include useful micro organism that may ship reinforcements to your intestine whenever you want them. Lactobacillus acidophilus is the micro organism you need to search for, with yogurts that say “reside energetic cultures.” However most yogurts are so excessive in sugar that they do extra to advertise unhealthy intestine micro organism than anything. (Unhealthy micro organism feed on sugar in your stomach the identical means they do round your enamel.)

RELATED: The Finest & Worst Yogurts on the Cabinets—Ranked!

Female shopper checking food labelling in supermarket

Because it applies to meals advertising, the time period “low fats” is synonymous with “loaded with salt and low-cost carbohydrates.” As an illustration, have a look at Smucker’s Decreased Fats Peanut Butter. To exchange the fats it skimmed out, Smucker’s added a fast-digesting carbohydrate known as maltodextrin. That is not going that can assist you shed some pounds. A 2008 examine within the New England Journal of Drugs discovered that over a 2-year span, individuals on low-carb diets misplaced 62 p.c extra physique weight than these attempting to chop fats. (Plus, the fats in peanut butter is heart-healthy monounsaturated fats—you would be higher off consuming extra of it, not much less!)


The FDA’s pointers enable corporations to assert 0 grams of trans fats—even broadcast it on the entrance of their packages—so long as the meals in query accommodates not more than 0.5 grams of trans fats per serving. However this is the deal: As a consequence of an inextricable hyperlink to coronary heart illness, the World Well being Group advises individuals to maintain trans fats consumption as little as potential, maxing out at about 1 gram per 2,000 energy consumed. In case your cabinet’s filled with meals with nearly half a gram per serving, you is likely to be blowing previous that quantity each single day. The American Journal of Well being Promotion just lately printed an article urging the FDA to rethink its lax laws, however till that occurs, it is best to keep away from all meals with “partially hydrogenated oil” (that means, trans fat) on their elements statements. Trans fats is lurking in locations you won’t anticipate, too.

The FDA makes no critical effort to regulate the usage of the phrase “pure” on diet labels. Living proof: 7UP boasts that it is made with “100% Pure Flavors” when, in reality, the soda is sweetened with a decidedly un-natural dose of excessive fructose corn syrup. “Corn” is pure, however “excessive fructose corn syrup” is produced utilizing a centrifuge and a sequence of chemical reactions. And the “pure benefit” Put up Raisin Bran, which bathes its raisins in each sugar and corn syrup. The worst half is, you are doubtless paying a premium worth for frequent junk meals.

RELATED: The easy guide to cutting back on sugar is finally here.


Egg yolks include dietary ldl cholesterol; this a lot is true. However analysis has confirmed that dietary ldl cholesterol has nearly nothing to do with serum ldl cholesterol, the stuff in your blood. Wake Forest College researchers reviewed greater than 30 egg research and located no hyperlink between egg consumption and coronary heart illness, and a examine in Saint Louis discovered that consuming eggs for breakfast might lower your calorie consumption for the rest of the day.

RELATED: The Finest & Worst Methods to Prepare dinner Eggs—Ranked!


Sadly, a half-hour trot on the treadmill is not going that can assist you shed some pounds for those who reward your self by downing just a few slices of cake and an order of French fries. The underside line: It is close to inconceivable to out-exercise a nasty weight loss program until you propose to spend half your day within the fitness center. You could work out and eat good to see outcomes.


With out the right gasoline, you will not be capable to work out for as lengthy or onerous as you should if you wish to see a distinction in your physique. What’s worse, fasted exercises could cause low blood sugar and lightheadedness, which will be harmful whenever you’re breaking a sweat. Plus, whenever you’re operating on fumes, you are going to be ravenous after your exercise. Meaning you may be extra apt to make poor weight loss program choices—like downing a whole pizza—after you get house.

paleo meat array

It is no shocker that Paleo is among the most-Googled diets in recent times. Bacon and steak for weight reduction? Sure, please! However the Paleo weight loss program is certainly too good to be true. Though protein-rich diets assist kilos fly off initially, consuming a low-carb, high-protein weight loss program can truly trigger weight achieve within the long-term, say Spanish researchers. Actually, their examine findings revealed that those that comply with high-protein diets have a 90 p.c higher threat of gaining greater than 10 p.c of their physique weight over time than those that do not go heavy on the meat. To reap the weight-loss advantages of the Paleo weight loss program—with out paying for it later—nix the processed junk and oils because the weight loss program suggests, however hold the protein in verify. Absorb greater than the beneficial quantity and the surplus will doubtless be saved as health-harming fats.

RELATED: The Distinction Between Paleo and Keto

valentines day cupcakes

Consuming 300 energy of rooster is just not the identical as consuming 300 energy of cake. The physique makes use of and shops energy in another way relying on the vitamins every meals is comprised of. Corn and beans, for instance, include one thing known as resistant starch, a kind of carb that’s actually onerous to digest. In flip, the physique is not in a position to soak up as most of the energy or as a lot of the glucose—a nutrient that is saved as fats if it isn’t burned off. It is a related story with lean-protein sources like turkey, rooster, and fish. Along with boosting satiety, protein additionally has a excessive thermogenic impact in comparison with fat and carbs. In flip, your physique burns off a good share of the meat’s energy throughout the digesting course of, and post-meal calorie burn spikes by as a lot as 35 p.c! Your favourite cookies cannot make that very same declare. Actually, for the reason that majority of candy treats’ energy come from sugar, getting too a lot of your energy from desserts can go away you hungry, fats, and–you guessed it–annoyed.

Consuming too many energy all through the day, not nighttime munching, causes weight achieve. Actually, “consuming the precise sort of bedtime snack truly boosts metabolism and aids weight reduction—not the other!” explains Cassie Bjork, RD, LD of Healthy Simple Life. “When you do not eat earlier than mattress, blood sugar ranges dip so you do not sleep as properly. In flip, you crave extra sugar- and carb-laden meals the subsequent day. If this occurs usually sufficient, it could actually trigger weight achieve. On the flip aspect, consuming the precise snack will help hold blood sugars steady so the fat-burning hormone glucagon can do its job.” So what must you be consuming? “I recommend pairing a pure carb with a wholesome fats.” Apple slices and almond butter, berries with heavy cream, and carrots with guacamole all match the invoice.


Avocados, oatmeal, nuts, and their creamy, scrumptious butters are certainly wholesome, however low in energy they aren’t. Positive, you are higher off consuming 200 energy of oatmeal than 200 energy of sugar-spiked cookies made with the grain, however that does not offer you free rein to eat as a lot of the stuff as you need. The underside line: Nutritious or not, portion dimension counts with each meals. In the event you discover that you’ve bother sticking to affordable portion sizes for a number of the extra caloric wholesome meals in your weight loss program, search for portion-controlled packages. Shopping for mini sizes in lieu of larger tubs of meals helps hold energy in verify and teaches you what a correct serving seems like.

Though packaged protein merchandise will be part of an all-around nutritious diet, they don’t seem to be any higher than a sit-down meal comprised of comparable vitamins. Nevertheless, relying on which bars and shakes you decide up, you might truly be placing your well being in danger. Many standard merchandise are stuffed with bloat-causing components like carrageenan and whey along with caramel coloring, which has been proven to trigger most cancers in people. A lot of the pumped-up meals additionally use synthetic sweeteners in lieu of sugar, which might enhance cravings for candy treats and trigger weight achieve over time. Our recommendation: If you wish to embrace bars and shakes in your weight loss program, go for one in every of our Finest Vitamin Bars for Weight Loss and whip up your individual protein shakes at house utilizing recent fruits, veggies, milk or water, and a low-sugar vegan protein powder. Additionally, be certain you are substituting your shake or bar for a snack or a meal—not consuming them along with your common weight loss program. This will trigger weight achieve, not loss.

RELATED: We Tasted 9 Protein Powders & This Was the Finest 

Whereas chugging water and operating to and from the toilet go hand in hand, chugging water and weight reduction don’t. “Consuming water doesn’t assure weight reduction—particularly for those who’re nonetheless consuming an unhealthy, high-calorie weight loss program,” says Lisa Moskovitz, R.D., founding father of Manhattan-based non-public follow, The NY Nutrition Group. However that does not imply it is best to cease operating to the water cooler. “Staying hydrated all through the day is a good behavior to take care of for good well being, it is simply not the one change you may must make for everlasting weight reduction,” Moskovitz provides.


“Nuts have gotten a nasty repute for his or her complete fats content material, however diet science means that the standard—not amount—of fats is what’s most necessary to our well being,” says Jackie Newgent, RDN, and creator of The All-Pure Diabetes Cookbook.

“Actually, the FDA just lately introduced they’re reevaluating the time period ‘wholesome’ because it applies to meals with good-for-you fat, like pistachios,” Newgent continues. “What’s extra, meals like in-shell pistachios could aid you idiot your self into feeling full as a result of the leftover shells could present a visible cue for parts, doubtlessly serving to to curb consumption.”

Whereas beer consumption would not have a tendency to assist shrink your waist, a beer stomach is not essentially brought on by beer; it is extra doubtless brought on by consuming too many empty energy.

“Though, for those who take pleasure in guzzling six-packs regularly, then you definately do must rethink your beer-drinking habits,” cautions Newgent.

A bowl of tomato soup and a grilled cheese sandwich on a chilly winter’s day. A giant spoonful of mac and cheese whenever you’re down in your luck. Consolation meals simply makes you are feeling higher, would not it?

Truly, it would not. In a 2014 study in the journal Health Psychology, aptly titled “The Myth of Comfort Food,” researchers confirmed individuals miserable movies to “induce a damaging impact.” Then they gave them both consolation meals, meals that weren’t thought of consolation meals, or no meals in any respect. Outcome: The themes bought over their dangerous moods in equal time, no matter whether or not or not they ate. Is feeling dangerous excuse for consuming dangerous? Seems, it isn’t.

smooth creamy peanut butter in jar

In its greatest kind, peanut butter truly is a well being meals. That is as a result of peanuts are filled with monounsaturated fat, the heart-healthy fats that truly helps you shed some pounds. Here is what the elements of a wholesome jar of peanut butter ought to learn:


However most peanut butter would not appear like that. Most peanut butters are extremely processed and loaded with sugars and trans-fatty oils, and include much less of the wholesome monounsaturated fat that you just actually want. “Peanut butter unfold” is even worse. The phrase “unfold” signifies that it is no less than 10 p.c components. Search for “pure” peanut butter and do not be fooled by any low-fat guarantees.

sliced bread with milk

Wait a minute—is not “multi-grain” one of many largest buzzwords in diet? And have not we been skilled to select the wheat bread over the white at each flip? Sure, however sadly these labels are about as credible as your native congressman’s marketing campaign guarantees. “Wheat bread” is usually white bread with caramel or molasses added to make it look darkish and wholesome. “Multi-grain” simply signifies that completely different sorts of junky refined grains could have been used. At all times search for the phrases “one hundred pc entire wheat” or “one hundred pc entire grain” on the package deal.


These skinny little wraps are so flimsy, so delicate, so fusion-cuisine pleasant. How can they not be higher than the typical lump of bread? Effectively, contemplate Subway’s wrap, for one. It packs 310 energy—earlier than you even add the primary whiff of meat or sauce. The reason being that, to ensure that the tortilla to wrap round like that, it wants added fats, usually within the type of soybean oil and hydrogenated oils. (Actually, when ordering Mexican meals, you are often higher off with a tough taco than a delicate, for a similar purpose.)


As soon as the proud spud stud of the American dinner plate, potatoes have been downgraded in recent times to a standing not seen for the reason that Irish blight. However in contrast to the commentators on cable information, the frequent taters in your kitchen even have one thing price chewing on. A USDA examine of potatoes discovered ranges of phytochemicals comparable to flavonoids and kukoamines that rival the quantities present in broccoli, spinach, and Brussels sprouts. Kukoamines? You have not heard of them as a result of they had been beforehand believed to exist solely in Chinese language medicinal crops, however they’ve been proven to decrease blood stress by lowering free-radical harm and irritation.

Learn extra:

60+ Wholesome Fish Recipes for Weight Loss

70+ Wholesome Rooster Recipes That Are Simple to Make

43 Excessive Fiber Meals to Embrace in Your Food regimen

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