5 Bad Dieting Tips To Ignore

by in Diets & Weight Loss, April 10, 2012
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Weigh the crazy dieting advice you receive very carefully.

Trying to shed pounds for bathing suit season? Be careful how you go about losing the weight. There’s so much nutrition misinformation out there—don’t get sucked into thinking you’ve found the magic way. Although there are many dieting faux pas out there, here are 5 common misconceptions I often hear.

#1: Avoid All Fruit
Fruit is nature’s candy and contains a form of sugar called fructose. Before you shun all sugar,  it’s important to understand the source. Oftentimes, folks confuse natural sugar found in fruit with added sugar found in cookies, candy and sugary drinks.

Fruit contains about 60 calories per serving and a ton of vitamins, minerals, fiber and special plant chemicals that help fight disease. The sources of added sugar (like sodas, chocolate bars) typically contain hundreds of calories and not many nutrients. Of course, you need to balance out fruit with other foods, but any healthy diet plan should include several servings of fruit each day.

#2: Avoid All Dairy
Dairy is another food group often banned from diets because folks claim it’s tough to digest. If you’re lactose intolerant, then the statement is true. However, for individuals without milk issues, lactose (the form of sugar found in milk) is pretty easy to digest. Dairy products contain 14 key nutrients including protein, calcium, potassium, vitamin A, magnesium and several B-vitamins. Milk is also one of the best sources of vitamin D—a vitamin that many folks don’t get enough of.

 #3: Go Sugar and Fat-Free
If you think dieting means sabotaging flavor, you’re sorely mistaken. Typically foods that are manufactured to be free of sugar and fat are tasteless. Even worse, they are often misconceived to be calorie free, which is often not the case. This can lead to a false sense of eating less than you actually are.

Many fat-free versions of cookies and chips also contain olestra— a fat substitute that can cause severe diarrhea, dehydration and loss of vitamins A, D, E, and K.

#4: More Is Better
One of the most common examples is green tea. Studies show that green tea can help speed up your metabolism…slightly. This doesn’t mean you should drink bottomless cups of green tea. More can be harmful, especially since green tea contains caffeine and certain compounds that leach iron and calcium from your body. If you want to reap the benefits, drink 1 to 2 cups of green tea per day.

#5: The “One Food” Diet
Do you think one food will help melt away fat forever? Whether you’re talking about cabbage, chocolate, cookies, grapefruit or anything else, relying on one food to lose those love-handles isn’t healthy or effective in the long run. First, these diets typically eliminate most other food groups. This means that you’re not getting all the important vitamins and minerals your body needs. Second, you’re not learning how to really eat healthfully, once the weight loss part is over you’ll be frustrated with the rebound weight gain.

TELL US: What bad dieting tip have you gotten?

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Toby Amidor, MS, RD, CDN, is a registered dietitian and consultant who specializes in food safety and culinary nutrition. See Toby’s full bio »

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Comments (1,302)

  1. Amy says:

    I don't have a lot of time to cook, so I get a lot of my whole fruits and veggies with my Vitamix in the form of smoothies. Raw frozen handfuls of grapes, berries, a chunk of pineapple, a few spears of asparagus, spinach leaves, blend it all up, and if you need any sweetening with all the wonderful fruit use some honey. My boyfriend and I rarely go out, and rarely buy prepared foods. I still have weight issues, and shouldn't with the amount I eat, what I eat, and how much exercise I get. My old doc kept telling me I was eating more than I thought, which was pretty much the same as calling me a liar, and was completely uninterested in helping me find the source of my problem. I have a new doctor, so here's hoping we figure this thing out because it sure sucks to do everything right and still gain weight.

  2. Nancy says:

    @Amy…have your Doc check your insulin. I am like you…drink green smoothies, eat whole foods, no processed, plenty of exercise and still can't lose. Come to find out it's insulin resistance. Hope this helps!

  3. john says:

    Has anyone tried the south beach diet ?

    • Annie says:

      I haven't tried the south beach diet but I have tried ediets! That worked for me. It has great food and plenty of it. I had to go from the reg. ediet to the diabetic ediet. I lost over 50lbs with it. It does cost some but I found it well worth it. Good luck on finding the right change of lifestyle that fits you.

    • @kinzington says:

      Don't diet. Change your lifestyle and eating habits. Seriously. Man, what is it with people who think dieting will actually help them?!?

  4. kennethnjoy says:

    Want to lose weight? I'm the queen of dieting. I'm 41 and have been dieting my adult life. One thing I read somewhere that really helped me is (if you gain weight easily you will always need to go back to you lose weight plan). Sounds simple but it is so true. No weight loss is forever. One way that has really helped me lose weight and keep it off is. Exchange supper for breakfast. I eat more for breakfast and less for supper. If you snack you can snack on fat free pretzels and air popped popcorn. I've found that when I make popcorn I spray it lightly with fat free non stick baking spray that way when you add a powder butter (which doesn't have many calories but lots of taste) and salt it sticks to the popcorn making it yummy. Don't deprive yourself of anything just cut down!!!

    • kitsl says:

      My friend told me in terms of portion sizes, eat breakfast like a queen, lunch like a commoner, dinner like a homeless person.

  5. [...] 5 Bad Dieting Tips to Ignore [...]

  6. Sarah Putnam says:

    The biggest lie I've heard: "Cut out the the fat in your diet and you will burn your own body fat." Reply if you have something to say about that.

    • @kinzington says:

      It's not a lie, but it IS a half-truth or a generalization. Certain fats are bad. Just like certain sugars, sodium, calories, carbs, etc, etc, etc…. are bad. You remove the bad ones from your diet, and you'll be in better shape.
      If you just generalize and say: "Carbs are bad!" well, then that's not the WHOLE truth. But it is somewhat true. Basically, blanket statements like that are stupid, and they're a great selling point for people who sell "healthy products."

  7. JJ Flizanes says:

    Most people should avoid dairy-. Leafy greens, vegetables, some nuts and seeds are excellent non-dairy calcium sources- and rice milk is usually fortified with calcium. Sesame seeds, fennel seeds, blackstrap molasses, corn tortillas, almonds, brown sugar, quinoa, oranges and orange juice are also excellent sources of dietary calcium. Some herbs and spices also contain calcium such as basil, dill, thyme, oregano, cinnamon, rosemary, cloves and garlic. In fact, basil, dill, thyme, oregano, cinnamon, rosemary and blackstrap molasses have a better nutritional density for calcium than all dairy products. Even if you eat your dairy, most people are not getting enough Vit D anyway. A good Vit D supplement will get you the 5,000-10,000 IU's you may need.

  8. SuburbanPrairie says:

    The very BEST thing a doctor ever said to me regarding food is this:

    Before you eat *anything*, ask yourself, "Is this FUEL for my body?" If the answer is yes, eat some of it; not all of it. If the answer is no, don't eat it, or have just a bite to satisfy a craving. After either option, walk away from it and do something else.

    It's not easy advice to follow, but it's darn good advice!

  9. Nam Doc says:

    Most will say it can't be done, but in my early 60's, after losing my job, I ended up working at a home improvement store. It was hard physical work and the days I wore a pedometer I walked between 7 and 8 miles every day. Most days I lifted several thousand pounds of tile and many bags of mortar. After about 3 months of this my metabolism went through the roof. I lost about ten pounds in a month and more after that. I'm 5'10" and I was down to 162 pounds. I started eating about twice the volume of food trying to get my weight back up. I have been eating very healthy since my heart attack at the age of 49. My wife and I do not eat beef at all, but eat a lot of fish, poultry and some lean pork. We avoid processed foods and make almost everything from scratch. Our meals are mostly veggies and we eat fresh fruit at least once a day. Now that I'm retired, I still have a hard time keeping my weight up.

  10. STAYINSHAPE says:

    GREAT ADVICE…
    I WAS A BIT "OVERWEIGHT"…
    AT AGE 18 I WAS 211 LBS…
    BUT I SINCE ALTERED MY "FAST FOOD EATING HABITS…
    THREE TIMES A DAY…
    AND REPLACED THAT WITH A HEALTHY, DAILY EXERCISE ROUTINE EVERY SINGLE DAY…
    NOW IM SEMI-"UNDERWEIGHT" AT 150LBS…

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