By Dorota Trupp, Nutritionist
1. Eating artificial sweeteners will make you lose weight
Many people think that if you swap sugar for an artificial sweetener, your energy intake will be reduced, and this will aid in weight loss. But that’s not what the scientific evidence shows.
A study on rats at Purdue University in Indiana found that artificial sweeteners impaired the rats’ ‘sweetness’ recognition and their control of calorie intake, causing them to eat more and get fatter. In fact, many pig farmers feed artificial sweeteners to their animals in order to encourage faster weight gain. Despite the fact that artificial sweeteners don’t contain any sugar, when they enter the mouth, the tongue still tastes a sweet flavour and sends a message to the brain telling it that insulin will be needed to help absorb the anticipated (though non-existent) dose of glucose. What happens then? Well, you may not have gotten the glucose, but you now have an excess of insulin in your bloodstream. You need to eat something to balance this spike in insulin, so your hunger increases accordingly. So much for your weight loss!
Also keep in mind that there are different types of artificial sweeteners – synthetic and natural. Both will cause you to gain weight, but the synthetic sweeteners will predispose you to cancer and many other nasty diseases.
Replacing real sugar with an artificial version is not a good weight-loss strategy: you should simply stay off any sugar, real or artificial. It’s like when you try to give up smoking by using nicotine patches. You think you’re getting off the cigarettes, but you’re really only prolonging your addiction.
2. Avoiding carbohydrates is good for weight loss.
Although an initial cut in carbohydrate consumption is a fabulous short-term weight loss strategy, that has quick weight loss results, it doesn’t equal long-term weight loss success.
What we find is that people often gain weight very quickly after returning to their ‘normal’ diet. The reason for this is that they don’t understand what type of carbohydrate is good or bad for them. They find it extremely hard to live carb-free for an extended period and they soon slip back into their old problematic eating habits. In my practice, I have always achieved great weight loss results by leaving carbohydrates in peoples’ diets, but I have made sure my patients’ know which carbs are good and those that they should avoid. Well-prepared whole grains and fresh fruits are always a part of my patients’ weight loss diet and those that follow this, lose weight steadily without experiencing a ‘yo-yo’ effect. Refined carbohydrates and sugars were out for as long as they wanted to stay slim.
3. Avoiding fats is good for weight loss
This is a widespread myth. The avoidance of fat will not aid your weight loss, and it may actually make you sick.
First of all, when you don’t consume enough fat, it is likely that you will compensate for the energy loss by eating more carbohydrates. Secondly, by cutting out fat, you limit your intake of the fat-soluble vitamins that are essential for sustaining good health. As a practising nutritionist, rather than eliminating fat, I’ve taught my patients about the types of fat that will actually aid weight loss and those that should be avoided. The consumption of omega-3 fatty acids and saturated animal and plant-sourced fats should be maintained, but the intake of omega-6 and trans fatty acids should be significantly reduced.
4. Detoxification diets aren’t helpful
Detoxification diets are ALWAYS a great way of starting any weight-loss initiative. Fat cells store excess amounts of toxins, so when you give your body enough support to detoxify itself, it will always shed fat cells in the process – which results in weight loss. Regular detox will also help you stay healthy and maintain your weight in the years to come. A rejuvenated liver, for instance, will better deal with the fat loss caused by any reduction in calories.
As a nutrition practitioner, I’ve found that long-term weight loss is most successful when there is ongoing support of patient detoxification.
5. There is one weight loss diet that works for everyone
People’s metabolic processes vary. Although a natural diet composed of unprocessed foods is the backbone of any successful attempt to lose weight, it takes much more to fulfil the different nutrition needs of different human beings.
Some people will be more vegetarian-oriented, others will be more protein-oriented, and others will want a mixture of veggie and animal-sourced protein. Adjusting your diet to support your own unique nutritional typing is the key to a successful weight-loss strategy.