Special Report

28 Weight Loss Myths That Pack on Pounds

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21. Detoxing is a good way to lose weight

When you use some detoxification method you found online (there is no evidence any of these “cleanse” your body or work), the weight loss effect is only temporary, and people usually lose just water weight. Many detoxing diets basically consist of consuming just some juices and herbal supplements. Most adults need about 2,000 calories a day. But the body is a complex machine and it needs vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients to stay healthy so it doesn’t go into famine mode, which may eventually lead to weight gain, according to Brown.

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22. Low- or non-fat is healthier

When you see low- or non-fat on the label, it sounds appealing. Fat is usually a “bad” word and nobody wants to consume a lot of it. Many companies process their products to remove the fat, but the problem is that much of the flavor is lost, too — so they make the products taste better by adding artificial sweeteners or sugar. Flour and other thickeners, which can add calories, are often added as well. Read the labels. If you see a lot of sugar and additives, put the product down and walk away. It’s more about the kind of fat you consume rather than limiting it, Hirhsberg noted. The American Heart Association recommends about 30% of a daily diet to consist of healthy monounsaturated fats such as olive oil, nuts, or fish.

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23. All processed foods are terrible for you

The term “processed foods” usually has a negative connotation. Many people are confusing it with “things added to your food that you can’t pronounce,” Brown said. Bread, cheese, milk, frozen fruits and vegetables, cooked meat — they are all processed foods. Read the ingredients label.

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24. You have to stop eating carbs

Have you ever tried a low-carb diet and noticed you’re moody and in a general state of brain fog? There’s a perfectly logical explanation for that. “Carbs are the only fuel the brain will accept,” Hirshberg said. Unlike muscle, for example, the brain cannot use fat for energy. A 2008 study found that women on a low-carb diet suffered from impaired reaction time and worse memory — both of which were restored to normal levels once carbs were reintroduced into their diet. Limiting carbs may help certain people with health conditions such as diabetes, Hirshberg said.

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25. Skinny means healthy

People can be healthy at all sizes, and unhealthy at all sizes, Hirshberg noted. While being overweight may increase the risk of certain conditions, being thin doesn’t come danger-free. You may fit in your skinny jeans, but you can still have high cholesterol levels, high blood sugar, or high blood pressure. You can develop diabetes, too. “People have always been of different shapes and sizes,” Hirshberg said. “It’s just us magically deciding one day that one shape is better than the other.”

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