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Dieting Doesn’t Work: Myths

Dieting doesn’t work so we’ve compiled a list of Myths & Reality to compare. Many people who diet eventually learn that dieting is reminiscent of trying to fight a fire breathing dragon.  Okay, maybe not for everyone, but some learn the frustrating truth that initially cutting calories tends to in fact lead to weight gain. Like our early ancestors, our bodies put on weight following what they perceive to be a famine. When you diet frequently, your body eventually learns and adapts to the erratic eating schedule and protects itself by holding onto weight.

Here are a few myths that are untrue:

  • Coffee facilitates weight loss
  • Low-carb and fat-free diets are healthier than regular diets
  • Eating at night will make you gain weight.

There is a myriad of “facts” surrounding dieting. How many of them are actually true?  Here are some more myths along with the realities.

Dieting Doesn’t Work: Myth #1

Coffee can help you lose weight. The theory is that the caffeine in coffee acts as an appetite suppressant and a metabolism booster.


Coffee may temporarily squelch your appetite, but drinking a couple of cups a day won’t have enough of an effect to help you lose weight. Besides, pouring too much coffee into your system may lead to anxiety, sleeplessness, and an increase in heart rate and blood pressure.

Dieting Doesn’t Work: Myth #2

Going on a diet is the best way to lose weight. The theory is that switching to a prescriptive plan temporarily is the smartest way to drop pounds.


In the short-term, you do lose weight on any plan that results in your eating fewer calories. Temporary changes don’t lead to permanent losses. A diet won’t work if you think of it as doing a different thing for a while and then you’re going to stop doing it. Stop fooling yourself. If you have a new way of eating and think, I’m going to eat like this forever, that’s the way to lose weight and keep it off. Don’t diet, change the way you eat.

Dieting Doesn’t Work: Myth #3

Eating after 8 p.m. causes weight gain.


Weight loss or gain has nothing to do with the time of day you are eating. Rather, people tend to choose less healthy snacks when they are tired, like at night.


Dieting Doesn’t Work: Myth #4

Skipping meals will help you lose weight quicker.


Skipping meals makes you prone to overeating at the next meal because you are overly hungry.

Dieting Doesn’t Work: Myth #5

Eating low-fat or fat-free foods helps with weight loss.


Fat is a crucial element of a healthy diet. It plays an important role in metabolic function, it is a key source of energy, and it is crucial for brain functioning, blood clotting, managing inflammation, and many other anatomical processes. Low-fat and fat-free foods are made by incorporating sugars, chemicals, and thickeners to make up for what is lost by removing fat.

Dieting Doesn’t Work: Myth #6

You should avoid gluten because gluten isn’t fully digestible and can also raise insulin levels.


There is no scientific evidence that gluten causes health problems or that avoiding it promotes weight loss. In fact, eliminating gluten from your diet can cause vitamin and mineral deficiencies. Switch to whole grain products and fiber-rich foods to help with sugar spikes and your body will be happier.

Dieting Doesn’t Work: Myth #7

Eating small, frequent meals boosts your metabolism. If you keep adding small amounts of food to your fire (the fire being your metabolism), you will keep it going strong and burn more calories overall.


Food intake has a negligible effect on metabolism. Some foods, including those with caffeine, may slightly and temporarily increase metabolism, but the effect is too small to help you lose weight. What most affects your basal metabolic rate (BMR), the rate at which your body burns calories at rest, is body composition and size. More muscles and bigger bodies generally burn more calories overall.

Dieting Doesn’t Work: Myth #8

Exercise is the key to weight loss.


Exercise is fantastic and essential for health, it needs to be accompanied by a good, healthy diet for weight loss to be achieved. Exercise can also serve to increase your appetite, and so it’s important that you’re mindful of this, and refuel properly after a workout.

Don’t get overly excited now, exercise doesn’t give you a free pass to eat whatever you like, and the calories you burn only play a small part in your weight loss efforts compared to the food you eat. It does, however, have a myriad of other health benefits, so regular exercise alongside eating a balanced diet is a great lifestyle choice.

Instead of the dieting myths, let’s focus on reality:

  1. Do away with dieting. Change the way you eat.
  2. Eliminate the scientifically proven foods that we all know aren’t healthy for our bodies. These include things like, processed foods, refined oils, and added sugar. Cutting these out of your diet is the best first and lasting step.
  3. Eat slowly, chew your food well. Digestion starts in your mouth, not in your stomach.
  4. Become aware of your hunger and satiety cues, and allow these to tell you when to begin and to stop eating.
  5. Eliminate all categories and judgments such as “good” and “bad” when it comes to food. Instead, look for whole nutritious foods rather than processed foods with additives. Food is meant to be a positive and nourishing experience, not a constant battle. Think of the time you will save not fighting it all the time!
  6. Choose food that is pleasing and nutritious and allow yourself to savor it.
  7. Don’t punish yourself for going overboard occasionally – forgive and keep working on it.
  8. Keep some of your favorite treats, but schedule and plan on when and how much you will have these items…and then have them. No guilt whatsoever.
  9. Build up your muscles. A pound of fat-free tissue burns about 14 calories a day, while a pound of fat burns just two to three calories. And while that difference may not sound like a lot, it will certainly help over time. Remember, too, that when you lose pounds, part of that weight is muscle.
  10. Start using the word diet to be the healthy way you now eat, stop making it about sacrifice and restrictions. Remember, dieting doesn’t work, not like that.

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