5 Big, Fat Diet Myths--Busted!

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5 Big, Fat Diet Myths--Busted!

There are a lot of misconceptions out there about food and dieting, and we're here to clear the air! Here are the straight facts on eating for weight loss--no deprivation required.

Diet Myth #1: You Have to Eat Less to Lose Weight

No way! We say NO growling bellies, NO deprivation, and NO puny portions. We fill up our plates with healthy food, so the eyes and the stomach are satisfied. The more satisfied you feel after a meal, the less you'll eat later. Boost satiety by eating water-rich foods, filling fiber, and plenty of healthy fats, while staying within your calorie range.

Diet Myth #2: Plain Veggies Are Better for You

If you're opting for fat-free dressings because you think it's better for you, think again. Small amounts of healthy fats are an important part of the satisfaction of a salad. Plus, your body can't make use of certain vitamins and antioxidants (beta-carotene, vitamin D, and vitamin E in particular) without a bit of fat to help process them. Ditch the fat-free stuff and dip your fork into a dressing made with olive oil for heightened meal satisfaction and nutrient absorption!

Diet Myth #3: Low-Fat and Low-Salt Meals Are Flavorless

There are plenty of tricks you can use to impart flavor with almost zero calories and very little sodium. When you’re watching fat and calories, herbs, spices, and certain condiments are your new best friends. They add flavor and pizzazz to your cooking with little to no calories and fat. Do take care in your choice of premade spice blends and condiments, however, as many of the versions you get in the supermarket are full of salt—a big no-no when you’re watching your sodium levels or you have high blood pressure.

Diet Myth #4: Fat-Free Foods Are the Best Choice

When you remove the fat from foods that naturally contain them, you have to replace the fat with some other ingredients (often sugar or salt). Instead of choosing the fat-free version of your favorite cheese, which will lack the satisfyingly rich mouth feel of the original, choose the reduced-fat version. It will retain some of that richness with less fat and fewer calories.

Diet Myth #5: Baking and Steaming Are the Only 'Healthy' Cooking Methods

No way! There are lots of healthy ways to prepare food to make it both nutritious and flavorful. Grilling, sauteeing, sweating and broiling are just a few of the other fun options for preparing delicious food that will support your weight loss. Give them a go to add some variety to your diet!

Hungry for More?

Want additional tips for preparing healthy meals, plus over 150 delicious recipes for weight loss? Get cooking with ''The SparkPeople Cookbook: Love Your Food, Lose the Weight''--now in paperback!

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Member Comments on this Slideshow

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2/7/2013 9:34:26 PM

NLF2014's SparkPage
I whole heartedly agree with this article. If you buy the fat free, light, and no sugar added, take a look at those chemicals on the ingredients list. NOT something I want my family eating.I used to think this was a healthy option but not anymore. I'm trying to buy food with out all those horrible chemicals such as..msg, high fructose corn syrup, etc. But this as close to make as possible and don't follow fad diets and destructive weight loss programs that are full of a bunch of baloney.


2/7/2013 7:28:07 PM

USFGIRL11's SparkPage
I most definitely agree with eating fat-free foods is not very healthy, and if you look at the nutrition label, most of the time the real stuff is only 5 calories more....I used to buy reduced-fat Mayo and I can't stand it! When I want a tuna sandwich, I want REAL Mayo!! So I spoon it out with a measuring spoon and most of the time, I only need 1 serving to make my tuna. :) It makes me happier too!


2/7/2013 6:11:05 PM

TUBLADY's SparkPage
In the beginning i tried many fat free and low or reduced fat foods. Not any more. I prefer to eat real foods. Not altered in any way. My body responds better too. I eat everything in moderation. I plan the fats, sugars, and what little carbs I eat that are starchy. But most of my carbs come from fruit and veggies. I don't follow the idea that you have to have starch grains, potatoes, pasta with meals. I workout, lift weights, jog, and I don't need to load up on carbs. I do eat protein with each meal. I also eat smaller meals, 5,6 times a day.
There are so many eating plans that people swear by. I say eat what ever you feel comfortable with. And healthy success and fit life for all.


2/7/2013 5:52:47 PM

I bought a bottle of the fat-free cesar salad dressing from La Madeleine's because I was so impressed with it when I had it in the restuarant - but it didn't taste the same at home (not sure if this is because there's preservatives added to the bottled stuff or because what I had in the restuarant WASN'T actually the fat free version of the dressing, which is what I ordered). Anyway, next time I think I'll remember what was said here about certain vitamins needing a little fat to help process them and either buy the full fat version or make my own.


2/7/2013 2:26:25 PM

good message


2/7/2013 1:56:06 PM

DFREITAG4's SparkPage
I'll try to use low-fat in some products like milk or yogurt, but low fat cheese is horrible and I find low -fat salad dressing are horrible too. I'd prefer to find alternatives and just limit the amount.


2/7/2013 12:06:35 PM

ROBBIEY's SparkPage
It is a matter of eating a variety of good things and bad things but in moderation is my thoughts on the subject.


2/7/2013 10:50:52 AM

Interesting comments.... As far as saturated fat, I use coconut oil for that and eat a lot of eggs - at least one a day. Found that with cutting out bread carbs that I dropped my cholesterol 100 points. And adding them back in when I lost focus, added back 50 points :(. Yes, if you read the ingredients of "fat free" vs "regular" the list is scary..... one such item is "cream cheese" Check it out and you won't ever by "fat free" again. Eating enough veggie and fruit carbs does not put you in a ketotic state, but will fill you up.... Yes, this article is much better than some on here because it does not recommend fat free! I also use a special Udo's oil that has Omega 3, 6, 9, 12 in it.... the great stuff that is healthy! Check out his web site... "Fats the Heal and Fats that Kill" Great information!


1/30/2013 2:19:22 PM

ZOEWEI's SparkPage
Thanks for allowing me too not feel guilty when I mix olive oil and Balsamic vinegar to my salads for flavour. Now I know I am even helping get the nutrition from them!


1/30/2013 5:31:41 AM

MADZI88's SparkPage
Even our Weight Watchers leader told us that fat free mayonnaise and fat free sour cream were awful-tasting and she never uses them. Simply use the reduced or full fat versions and allow for them in your eating plan.
I never eat refined starches anymore. I don't like the taste and prefer whole grains.


1/30/2013 12:55:02 AM

KUTEY5041's SparkPage
I learned some things in this article. Instead of going for fat free in some items I use (that end up tasting awful) I now know that I can used the reduced fat versions. I know mayonaise and cheese are 2 that come to me right away.


1/29/2013 9:08:52 PM

Well if saturated fat should be limited, then how do you explain the fact I'm losing weight without exercise and that I feel better and more energetic than ever? Saturated fat has long been demonized, when in fact it is the healthiest type of fat for us. My way of eating probably has me at around 40 - 60% fat, with a good chunk of it being saturated fat.

You don't need carbohydrates... that is also a myth. What little glucose your body needs can be provided by converting protein to glucose. Once you're fully keto-adapted, you're body will be burning fat for fuel. Your brain functions much better on ketones. Alzheimer's is starting to be referred to as type 3 diabetes... the brain cells become insulin resistant from having chronically high blood sugar from eating a diet based on carbohydrates.

If you keep replenishing your glucose stores by eating more and more carbs, you're body will never use fat as a primary fuel source. Pushing your insulin levels up put you in fat storage mode rather than fat burning mode. The only carbs I get are those from vegetables and the small amount of fruit I eat. (Mostly berries). Most of my body's energy comes from fat rather than sugar (carbs).


1/29/2013 11:51:00 AM

Yeah! I love this article! My main fat comes from eating eggs (yolks and all!!!), a little olive or flax seed oil for salad dressings, and real cheese once in a while. Full fat versions to garnish plate-loads of fresh veggies. Of course I monitor the amounts of fat and make sure not to get carried away. Thank goodness for my nutrition tracker.


1/29/2013 10:27:34 AM

JLLLEW00's SparkPage
I believe this is right on - the article is stating that it's good to eat the full fat version of something instead of the fat free. Also, there is only so much sodium the body should have - yes, it is needed, but you don't need more than 1500-2000mg/day. Yes, fat is good for you, but saturated fat should be limited. The unsaturated fats are the ones that will benefit both brain function and nutrient absorption. Carbohydrates are also good for you and needed by the body. They aren't the enemy. If you do any weight lifting and/or cardio, your body needs the carbohydrates for fuel, otherwise, your body goes to your muscles for fuel...when you're trying to build lean mass, why on earth would you want to burn that same lean mass as your energy source.

These are myth busters - I believe they have been read incorrectly.


1/29/2013 9:46:34 AM


I'm glad to see that you're somewhat on the right path... however you perpetuate more myths than you bust with this.

Salt is not bad for you. You NEED salt. It is a building block for stomach acid... if you don't make enough stomach acid, you get reflux. As for the blood pressure myth, it might make a difference of 3 points... not enough to cut your salt intake.

Fat is GOOD for you... and by that I mean saturated fat. It is a very satiating macronutrient. Not only does it NOT cause heart disease as we've heard for so many years, it promotes healthier cholesterol levels. You will stay fuller longer and therefore eat less overall... not because you're forcing yourself to eat less, but because you find you aren't hungry. I use coconut oil daily to get more saturated fat in my diet.

Carbohydrates are what you really need to avoid if you're looking to lose weight.

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