Facts and fiction
A lot of what is said about losing weight is simply not true.
Here's the real truth about some of those weight-loss myths:
Starving myself will help me lose weight
Crash diets probably won’t work and, in fact, can sometimes lead to longer term weight gain. The main problem is that it’s too hard to maintain. You’ll be low on energy, causing cravings for high-fat and high-sugar foods. When you finally give in and eat, you will often eat more calories than you need, causing weight gain.
Loads of exercise is the only way to lose weight
Nope. Weight loss involves making small changes that you can stick to for a long time. That means building regular exercise into your routine, rather than going flat-out for a few weeks. Try and do at least 30 minutes of moderate intensity physical activity at least five days a week to achieve a healthy weight.
Slimming pills are good for long-term weight loss
Afraid not. Slimming pills alone will not help you keep the weight off and should only be prescribed by a doctor.
Healthy foods are really expensive
Not really. You'll probably pay more for a high-fat, high-salt ready meal than you would if you had bought fresh ingredients and made it yourself.
Foods that say ‘low fat’ or ‘reduced fat’ on the packet are always healthy
Not always. These labels can be misleading – reduced-fat snacks should contain less fat than full-fat versions, but that doesn't automatically make them a healthy choice. They could still contain a lot more fat than, say, a portion of fruit. Low-fat foods can also contain lots of sugar.
Margarine has less fat than butter
Margarine is usually lower in saturated fat than butter, but is more likely to contain hydrogenated fats. Hydrogenated fats, also called trans fats, may be more harmful than saturated fats. To lose weight, and for a healthy heart, cut down on both saturated and hydrogenated fats.
Carbohydrates make you put on weight
Eaten in the right amounts, carbohydrates will not make you put on weight. Eat wholegrain and wholemeal carbohydrates such as brown rice and wholemeal bread, and don't fry starchy foods.
Cutting out all snacks will help you lose weight
It’s the type of snack that’s the problem. Many people need a snack in between meals to maintain energy levels, especially if they are active. If so, choose fruit or vegetables instead of crisps, chocolate and other snacks high in salt, sugar or fat.
Drinking water helps you lose weight
Water keeps you hydrated and might help you snack less, but doesn’t help you lose weight in itself. Sometimes thirst can be mistaken for hunger, and if you're thirsty you might eat more snacks. Drink around two litres of fluid a day.
Skipping meals is a good way to lose weight
No it isn’t. To lose weight and keep it off, you have cut down the calories and/ or burn more off through exercise. Skipping meals causes tiredness and poor nutrition, and you’re more likely to snack on unhealthy foods.