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10 Weight-Loss Myths Debunked

by Abby

Myth 1: Carbs spell trouble for dieters. Fact: Carbohydrates are actually an important source of energy. Even so, that doesn't mean there's nothing to learn from low-carb diets. Carbs are not all created equal, and to help you Drop 5, you want to limit processed carbs such as white bread and croissants. Instead, enjoy beans and whole grains, such as brown rice and whole-wheat bread.

Myth 2: Frozen fruits and vegetables are less nutritious than fresh ones. Fact: That's true only if you live on a farm. Produce picked at the peak of ripeness does have more vitamins and minerals, but nutrient levels drop during shipping and storage. And they sink even further if you add the days that the produce lingers in your crisper. Frozen veggies and fruit, on the other hand, are usually picked ripe and immediately flash frozen, so they retain most of their nutrients. For calorie control, be sure to select frozen produce without added sugar, syrup, sauce, or cheese.

Myth 3: The cholesterol in eggs is bad for you. Fact: One large egg has 213 milligrams cholesterol, and health experts suggest limiting dietary cholesterol to 300 milligrams a day or less (200 milligrams a day if you have heart disease, diabetes, or high LDL "bad" cholesterol). However, dietary cholesterol's effect on blood cholesterol is still a mystery, and studies suggest that saturated fat and trans fat may have a much bigger impact.

Myth 4: Skipping breakfast will help you lose weight. Fact: Skipping meals can lead to weight gain. A recent British study that tracked 6,764 people found that breakfast skippers gained twice as much weight over the course of four years as breakfast eaters. Another research group analyzed government data on 4,200 adults. They found that women who ate breakfast tended to eat fewer calories over the course of the day.

Myth 5: Eating the day's foods in certain combinations will help you slim down. Fact: Seventy years ago, Good Housekeeping Research Institute experts declared this fad nonsense, and we say the same thing today. Almost all foods are combinations of protein, fat, and carbohydrates. In whole milk, for instance, about 20 percent of the calories are from protein, 50 percent from fat, and 30 percent from carbohydrates.

Myth 6: Your genes determine your metabolism and body weight. Fact: Only 25 percent of your body weight is determined by your genes - the rest is the result of your behavior. At any time in life, you can drastically change your body weight by combining low-calorie eating and exercise. And you can increase your metabolism at any age by performing strength and resistance exercises.

Myth 7: You can spot-reduce to lose weight. Fact: On the contrary, the way to achieve sleeker legs or a flatter stomach, if that's where you're carrying your body fat, is to increase your lean muscle tissue throughout your body. By working all your muscles, you increase your metabolism. Up your metabolism and watch your eating, and you'll start looking the way you want to.

Myth 8: Early morning is the the best time to exercise? Fact: "The best time to exercise is anytime you can do it. You get the same payoffs and burn essentially the same number of calories whenever you work out.

Myth 9: Your body won't burn fat unless you exercise for more than 20 minutes. Fact: You burn fat around the clock, whether you're exercising or not. For the biggest calorie burn, exercise as hard as you comfortably can (you should still be able to carry on a conversation) for as long as you can.

Myth 10: It's best to starve yourself before an event. Fact: This plan will backfire because you'll use the "I haven't eaten all day" excuse to stuff yourself when you arrive. Instead, save calories for a party by cutting back slightly at each meal for several days beforehand. Then, make the best use of your calorie allotment. For extra weight-loss insurance, increase your activity a few days before and after a big event.