If you’ve ever tried to lose weight through a special diet, you’ve probably heard about every possible approach under the sun, from low-carb to gluten-free to vegan and pretty much everything in between. Along the way, you’ve probably picked up tons of tips for losing weight and eating healthy, right? You may be surprised to find out that some of those tips may not be helping you lose weight, and some might even be either keeping the pounds on or adding additional inches around your waistline.
Gluten-Free Doesn’t Mean Calorie-Free
Gluten-free is one of the hot nutrition and diet trends going right now, with many people claiming they are sensitive to gluten products. While celiac disease is a very real condition where people affected can’t tolerate wheat products, it’s much rarer than most people think. That’s not to say you may not feel some side effects if you overdo breads and simple carbohydrates or processed grains, but few people have to avoid wheat products altogether.
However, for those that either need to be on a gluten-free diet or choose to because they feel better by cutting out gluten products, a food marked gluten-free does not mean it’s calorie-free or even low calorie. Livestrong cautions that gluten-free foods are actually often much higher in calories, fat, sugar, and sodium.
One of the most common mistakes among people trying to lose weight is thinking that if they give up something they perceive as unhealthy or high-calorie — even if it really is unhealthy and/or high calorie — that’s a license to eat whatever they want. Unfortunately, that approach won’t work if you want to cut calories and lose weight. And that is the only way to to get results, by creating a caloric deficit less than what your body metabolism requires for its daily activities.
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If I’m Eating Organic And Natural Foods I Must Be Eating Healthy
This is kind of the same principal as the gluten-free misconception that if you’re following a particular diet or investing in organic foods, you must be eating healthy and can stop caring about calorie counts, sugar, and processed foods. No matter how organic your bleached white flour bread is, that is not good for you.
Many people trying to be healthier and lose weight fall into a trap of thinking that if a food is natural, it’s good for you and doesn’t need to have quantities limited. This mistake applies particularly to alternative sweeteners for sugar. Small amounts of local honey are fine, and can even boost your immune system if you get it locally, but some people have taken the “it’s natural” approach too far with sugar alternatives such as agave or turbinado sugar.
Even sugar substitutes that haven’t been deemed to have carcinogenic properties like aspartame should be used as little as possible because they create sugar cravings. There are a number of sugar substitutes on the market that can mimic a little sweetness without going overboard.
Fat-Free Diets Are Healthiest For Weight Loss?
There are multiple problems with this theory. First, many fat-free foods are processed foods aimed at the market for people wanting to lose weight and loaded with chemicals and fillers, according to the Conscious Cook. Also, food manufacturers often use this term in a deceptive way because while the product may be fat-free, it’s probably loaded with sugar and calories.
Your body needs fat to act as the “oil” in your engine keeping things running smoothly. Plus many vitamins are “fat-soluble,” meaning that your body can only absorb them when they’re combined with some fat, like an olive oil dressing on your salad.
Fat is what makes you feel full longer after a meal and makes foods taste better. That’s not a license to overindulge, but trying to cut fat out of your diet altogether is not healthy and will make you want to eat more.
You know you’ve heard it before, but there are no real “shortcuts” to adopting a healthy diet and fitness routine to help lose weight. Finding healthy foods you love and can live with forever is a key, so be careful about what advice you follow. Always check with your doctor before starting any kind of exercise routine or making major dietary changes if you have any chronic health conditions.
[Featured Image by iStock]