Common Diet Myths And How Not To Fall For Them

Aug 06, 2022

Common diet myths and how not to fall for them

(Photo by Mikhail Nilov)

Here are some ideas that have been around so long, and repeated so often, that we accept them as truths. But are they? What should you look for in the research when you are weighing your diet options? 

We'll also give some examples of ways to use the things that you have control over to set yourself up for success. And supplemental support that you may not associate with diets. 

What we hear most about diets

"A calorie is a calorie."

Most diet programs and diet products take advantage of common knowledge. They often rely on the fact that we believe things like, a calorie is a calorie, regardless of where it comes from. A calorie is a measurement of the amount of stored energy in a food. 

When you only count calories, it ignores the macronutrients and micronutrients in your food. 100 calories from a banana has vitamins, dietary fiber, and potassium. 100 calories from a soda is from sugars and not much else. They contain the same amount of stored energy, yes. But how they add to your health is the big difference.

Our bodies treat calories that come with vitamins, minerals, and other micronutrients differently. How we metabolize and store calories from different sources (such as fats, sugars, or proteins) is different as well.[193]

"All you have to do is work out and you can eat whatever you want." 

The story goes, that we just need to burn more calories than we take in. Again, this can be misleading. It fails to take into account where the calories we eat are coming from. When you combine the "a calorie is a calorie" mentality with this idea, you can end up with a distorted view. 

Have you ever looked at your favorite unhealthy food and calculated how long you would have to spend working out to "pay" for it? You should never punish yourself for eating. It's an unhealthy and unsustainable way to think about weight management. Why would you want to turn any joy that you get from food into guilt?

"Have you tried that new diet food? It doesn't have _____"

Look closely at "diet" foods like shakes, sodas, bars or snacks. They will often prominently display the ingredient that is left out. Sugar-free or fat-free items usually replace one absent item with the other. Sugar-free diet foods are often high in fat, fat-free diet foods are likely to be high in sugar. 

"Diet" products are even more highly processed than regular packaged foods. This makes them pricey in addition to being questionably good for you. Most healthy foods don't come individually wrapped (with the exception of some fruits and vegetables) or in boxes.

The best way to change your diet

SMART goals, incremental change, and patience with yourself. Making changes to your diet is just like any other habit, it takes time and energy until it doesn't. Keep reminding yourself that you can do it, and be nice to yourself if you slip up.

Are you taking on the challenge of changing your diet? You will probably want to learn as much as you can about your options. To understand the lifestyle choices that can influence your diet read our blog: Why is Dieting So Hard. For advice on which diet might work for you, check out Picking the Best Diet For You.

Continue Your Journey