Obesity is a global issue and an epidemic that healthcare professionals and institutions like the World Health Organization (WHO) have been warning against for decades now. The WHO states that obesity has tripled worldwide since 1975. In 2016, 39% of adults at and above the age of 18 years were overweight and 13% were obese. The fact that obesity is highly preventable is well known and one of the methods to accomplish the end of obesity is through a healthy, balanced diet.
Information about proper nutrition and a healthy diet is now more easily available than ever before. But often, the need to lose weight and get in shape in a hurry leads people to adopt dieting practices born out of misconceptions that can do more harm than good. We talked to Akanksha Mishra, a nutrition and wellness expert associated with myUpchar, regarding some such popular myths, and she helped us separate them for facts.
Myth 1: Cutting back on carbohydrates completely is the fastest way to lose weight.
Fact: Current research shows that BMIs are significantly lower for men and women on a high-carbohydrate diet. The highest BMIs are noted for those on a low-carbohydrate diet.
So cutting carbs is not the fastest way to reach your weight loss goals.
Carbohydrates are the main energy source in your diet, but to aid weight loss you can try to avoid simple carbohydrates such as white sugar, white bread, white rice, all-purpose flour and replace with complex carbohydrates such as whole grain (whole wheat bread, brown rice, whole wheat chapati), millets (sorghum, pearl millet, quinoa, finger millet), fruits and vegetables. Complex carbohydrates have a good amount of fibre which is a helpful nutrient that keeps you feeling full for long periods of time and is good for weight loss as well.
Myth 2: Drinking warm water can speed up weight loss.
Fact: Normal room temperature water is good for weight loss. Just try to drink 8-10 glasses of water to avoid water retention in the body and to stay hydrated. Try to split your water intake throughout the day. If you are having one glass of water before your major meal, that will suppress your appetite.
Warm water is good if you have a throat or lung-related infection. But their benefits with regard to only weight loss are debatable. In fact, we have also seen that those who drink warm water all day long tend to develop gastrointestinal issues. So it could even be counterproductive if done in excess.
Myth 3: If a label says “low-fat” or “non-fat”, it’s a healthy option for your diet.
Fact: There are a lot of other unhealthy and hidden things in packaged products apart from fats, such as monosodium glutamate (MSG), simple sugar (carbohydrates), high amounts of sodium, etc. So It is not mandatory that low-fat or non-fat products are always good for health. Don’t just go by the labels, check the nutritional content table on packaged foods to actually understand what’s gone into this product.
Myth 4: You cannot be overweight and healthy.
Fact: Yes, you can totally be overweight and healthy. BMI or weight is not a good measure of a healthy body. BMI or body weight don’t distinguish between muscle and fat, and thus, can be skewed, especially because muscle weighs more than fat. So, a very muscular person could be categorized as overweight or obese as per their BMI when, in fact, they might be very healthy.
Myth 5: Fat and sugar are never good parts of a diet.
Fact: If you are talking about trans-fat and saturated fat then, yes, they definitely will not be a part of a good diet. However, your body needs good fat such as polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) like omega-3 and omega-6, and monounsaturated fatty acid (MUFA) for different types of bodily functions.
But when it comes to sugar, it’s a different matter. Sugar has simple carbohydrates and empty calories, so replace it with other substitutes such as jaggery or coconut sugar.
For more information, read our article on 15 tried and tested tips to lose weight.
Health articles on News18 are written by myUpchar.com, India’s first and biggest resource for verified medical information. At myUpchar, researchers and journalists work with doctors to bring you information on all things health.