Dieting Myths

 By Mizpah Matus B.Hlth.Sc(Hons)

Background

Calories don’t count, carbs are bad for you and dieting is a waste of time because you will just gain the weight back anyway. Nancy L. Snyderman, medical doctor and journalist, attempts to clear up these common dieting myths along with many others in her book, Diet Myths That Keep Us Fat.

Dieting Myths Basics

The author devotes a chapter to each of the following ten dieting myths that she believes are contributing to the increase in obesity in our society:

  1. Your Weight Is Your Fault
  2. Your Body Shape Doesn’t Matter
  3. Calories Don’t Count
  4. Carbs Are Bad for You
  5. Carbs Are Good for You
  6. Diet Drugs Are a Magic Bullet
  7. Dieting Is All You Need to Lose Weight
  8. Supplements Will Make You Thin and Healthy
  9. Low-Fat Diets Are a Waste of Time
  10. You Can’t Keep Weight Off

She examines and dispels each of these ten diet myths and explains how they are interfering with our ability to lose fat and maintain our ideal weight. Each chapter also includes a number of “truths” – supported by scientific research – that provide a greater understanding of the subjects being explored.

One of the major dieting myths that Snyderman attempts to debunk is the concept that calories don’t count. She recommends that dieters monitor their calorie intake to increase the chance of successful weight loss and includes a meal plan that provides 1200-1500 calories a day.

Snyderman suggests you follow her nutritious meal plan six days a week and then take Saturday or Sunday to enjoy your favorite foods in moderation with a “treat meal”. On dieting days you will eat three meals and two snacks that can be selected according to your preference from a list provided in the book.

Recommended Foods

Whole-wheat bread, high fiber cereal, brown rice, fat-free yogurt, low fat cottage cheese, eggs, peanut butter, soy milk, turkey, chicken, salmon, beef, legumes, hummus, fruit, vegetables, low fat salad dressing, avocado, dark chocolate.

Sample Dieting Myths Meal Plan

Breakfast

½ whole grain bagel
1 tablespoon reduced-fat cream cheese
2 ounces lox
½ cup orange juice

Lunch

4 ounce hamburger
1 whole-wheat hamburger bun
Sliced onion, tomato and lettuce
1-2 cups tossed mixed salad
2 tablespoons reduced-fat dressing

Afternoon Snack

½ cup reduced fat cottage cheese
1 peach

Dinner

4 ounces baked chicken thighs
1 cup steamed vegetables
1-2 cups tossed mixed salad
2 tablespoons reduced-fat dressing

Dessert

1 square dark chocolate

Exercise Recommendations

Dieters are encouraged to do at least 30 minutes of exercise, five days a week. Snyderman highlights the health benefits of physical activity but does not include a specific exercise routine in the book.

Costs and Expenses

Diet Myths That Keep Us Fat: And the 101 Truths That Will Help You Shed the Pounds Permanently retails at $15.

Pros

  • Challenges common dieting myths and replaces them with practical advice based on science.
  • Encourages the intake of a wide variety of healthy foods.
  • Does not require calorie counting.
  • Includes a 7-day meal plan as well as thirty ideas for breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks.
  • Being able to enjoy one treat meal a week makes it easier to stick with long-term dieting.

Cons

  • Meal plans are too low in calories for physically active dieters.
  • Requires measurement of portion sizes.
  • Encourages the intake of fish, such as tuna, which is high in mercury.
  • Meal plan appears to be too low in essential fatty acids.
  • Does not include an exercise plan.

Conclusions

In this book about dieting myths, Snyderman identifies many common diet myths and replaces them with 101 “truths”, supported by scientific research and practical understanding. The basic premise is that restricting calorie intake is of most importance for losing weight and a meal plan is included that will help dieters to achieve this goal.

Diet Myths can be ordered online by clicking here.

 By Mizpah Matus B.Hlth.Sc(Hons)
Last Reviewed: February 16, 2011. Disclaimer

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