As a registered dietitian, I often run across statements about weight or athletic performance that simply aren't true. It's hard to be a consumer these days. We are all subjected to false advertising and misinformed articles related to food.
Almost every week, I come across the following four myths.
Myth 1: Eating less will help you lose weight
I am still shocked when I hear how little certain clients eat to support weight loss—often less than 1,000 calories a day. Yes, you have to be mindful of portion size and not overeat, but under-eating can often be way worse. When you do not properly fuel your body, you are at risk for slowing down your metabolism to unhealthy levels. In addition, you may be more likely to overeat later in the day or on the weekends, since you might feel deprived. A registered dietician can help you figure out realistic micronutrient and calorie goals.
Myth 2: Protein is all you need for post-workout recovery
Protein is 100 percent necessary post-workout; however, it's also important to get carbohydrates. Protein and carbohydrates work together to support muscle formation and replenish energy stores. Without carbohydrate intake following your workout, your body will lack the insulin production that helps drive protein into your muscles.
Myth 3: Gluten-free is healthy for everyone
No research supports a gluten-free diet for weight loss. You should eliminate gluten only under a doctor's recommendation—after you've been diagnosed with celiac disease or gluten sensitivities. Thanks to media hype and celebrity trends, I see a lot of people trying to go gluten-free to support weight loss, only to increase their consumption of processed and packaged goods. If you are looking to clean up your diet, try to limit sugar and refined carbohydrates, and always eat whole, real food.
Myth 4: Eating late at night will make you gain weight
Late-night eating gets a bad rap because many people tend to park themselves in front of the nearest screen and mindlessly eat sweets or snacks right before bed.
But it can actually be helpful to have a small snack at night, especially if it has been three or four hours since dinner. A snack can help stabilize blood sugars, aid muscle recovery, and help you achieve your total caloric intake for the day. Don't be afraid to eat at night—but be aware of what and how much you're eating.
Learn more about nutrient timing here.
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