Nutrition Articles

6 Diet Rules Meant to be Broken

Out with the Old, in with the New

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New rule: Move more and exercise moderately.
Try to achieve an active lifestyle by adding more physical activity to your days. Not all of this activity needs to be planned exercise (although you should exercise 3-6 times per week for 30-60 minutes per session to help burn additional calories and enhance your health). Small things that get you moving more—taking the stairs, walking to a co-worker's desk instead of emailing, or playing an active video game instead of watching TV—add to your daily calorie burn and help you lose weight. There is no need to resort to exercise extremes; you only need to burn about 200-600 calories per day (not thousands) through actual exercise, in combination with your SparkDiet guidelines, to safely lose weight.

Old rule: Skip meals to lose weight faster.
Many people believe that skipping meals like breakfast will help them eat fewer calories and therefore speed up weight loss. In theory, this idea seems to make sense, but skipping meals to save calories backfires more often than not. When you go several hours without food, you will be ravenous by the time your next meal comes along and this will make you more likely to throw your eating plans out the window and consume anything within reach. In addition to this, eating too infrequently may slow down your metabolism, sending your body into conservation (or "starvation") mode because it thinks calories are scarce.

New rule: Eat sensible portions at regular intervals throughout the day.
Try to keep your body's metabolism running as efficiently as possible by fueling it at regular intervals. Try eating small, balanced meals every 3 to 4 hours to properly nourish yourself and encourage weight loss, or at the very least, eat three meals (including breakfast) and a couple healthful snacks to curb hunger and keep your metabolic fire stoked.

Old rule: Eating low-carb is the way to win at weight loss.
Over the past several years, low-carb diet fads have given carbohydrates a bad rap, but this reputation is unfounded. Carbohydates are an important fuel source for your body and they are necessary for safe, steady weight loss, too. Your body needs carbohydrates to efficiently burn fat, so skimping on the carbs could actually hurt your weight loss efforts and be detrimental to your health.

New rule: Cut back on processed carbs and choose whole foods instead.
It is true that some carbs (whole grains, vegetables, legumes, etc) are better for you than others (white bread, sugary cereals, and sweets) are. Rather than omitting carbs from your diet plan, be more selective. Choose more whole grains and unprocessed foods like brown rice, quinoa, whole-grain bread, and oats and limit your intake of unhealthy carbs that sneak into your diet via processed foods, sweets, caloric beverages and refined flours.
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Member Comments

  • For me, as a struggling binge eater, the evening cut-off time has nothing to do with fear of gaining or indigestion, it's more a personal reminder to stop eating mindlessly before bedtime, plus I like the feeling of an empty stomach in the mornings. - 7/17/2014 6:43:15 PM
  • This article is one of the reasons I need SparkPeople the most. I knew these myths many years ago and truly believed in living a balanced life (in all things). I also believed that if I listened to my body - it would tell me what it needed - then I started to listen to the myths. Just thinking about the "don't eat after 7PM". I was lactose intolerent as a child and when I stayed at Grandma's she always would have a bedtime snack, small piece of fruit or celery with peanut butter - great nights sleep were guaranteed. At home it was ice cream - I was always up roaming the house alone as a child. I have problems sleeping most of my adult life and have tried for numerous years to follow the rules like don't eat after 7pm. Recently I have been having a snack about hour before going to sleep. And guess what I have had a solid night's sleep everynight for 10 days -but 1. - 4/7/2014 7:40:22 AM
  • I'm pleased to see the advice about not eating after 7pm is dismissed by SP. I have sleep problems, but contrary to advice have found that when I sometimes eat a bowl of cereal or a banana not long before going to bed I have a better night's sleep. I don't do this every night, just when I've had a string of nights with bad dreams and wakefulness. - 10/26/2013 2:41:56 AM
  • I just eat smaller portion, drink plenty of water , exercise, 5 fruits and 5 veggies. It works for me. - 6/9/2013 10:35:07 AM
  • So much silliness still around about what to eat & when. Since Whole Grains are the second oldest food group known to man, Meat was first, how can anyone say we can't eat them?? Whole grains led to Civilization. Anyway, I get the meaning of the article - MODERATION & PORTION CONTROL people - you can eat anything you like & lose weight if you use moderation & portion control. And complex carbohydrates - whole grains, veggies & fruits as close to original as possible are VERY important to a healthy body!! - 1/20/2013 10:28:30 PM
  • SPARKLEMEUP2
    This is so true--I went from 276 to 165 by deleating all carbs from my diet--except a few crackers with meals--then of course I went back to 195--where I'm starting over again now..including the carbs I should have never taken from my diet--I did binge-big time..live and learn. - 1/13/2013 1:27:48 PM
  • Reading all these comments reminds me what is wrong with "dieting" in the first place. There is SO much contradictory stuff out there it could drive a person mad! Carbs are good, no carbs are bad. Fat is good, fat is bad. Only get your fat from animals, only from plants. There is NO winning. Its no wonder people just give up and keep doing what they've always been doing.

    I have to agree with the people who say moderation in all things. And it just so happens to be what my religion believes. If we truly followed this one thing, we'd all be a lot happier. Not too little food, not too much. You can have your favorite food-just moderate yourself. Exercise? Same thing there. Do a moderate amount-dont just sit on the couch thinking about doing it and don't kill yourself by doing three hours a day.

    Okay, Im through ranting...... - 1/13/2013 2:14:37 AM
  • http://scdlifesty
    le.com/2012/0
    3/the-gluten-
    free-lie-why-
    most-celiacs-
    are-slowly-dying/
    Interesting article about the danger behind Gluten Free Dieting - 1/11/2013 2:54:36 PM
  • I cant wait tell the no gluten fad is out of our society. One of the biggest myths around. Yes there are people who should not eat Gluten, those with an intolerance. BUT gluten DOESNOT make you gain weight. WHOLE GRAIN foods are very good for you and everything is good in moderation. Cut out the white flour, white pasta and white rice and switch to whole grains and you will see a difference. - 1/11/2013 2:46:18 PM
  • We don't need grains in our diet, that is outdated information pushed on us by Big Food. Becky Hand is behind the times; how many times do people have to remind SP of that? - 1/11/2013 2:20:08 PM
  • Great article, I would share it but I do not belong to any other social networking sites. - 1/11/2013 11:39:48 AM
  • CANUCKSFAN2
    The point of eating your favourite foods in moderation is to allow people to eat the foods they love without having to cut them out completely. Just because you can cut out those sort of foods completely doesn't mean that everybody else can, financially or otherwise. - 1/11/2013 10:54:55 AM
  • I'm so glad to see some real-world comments here, particularly about the need for sugar and starch in one's diet - there IS no need for sugar and starch in one's diet.

    Veggies and fruits are clearly good for you, whether they have a few carbs or not. Legumes and tubers are less good, but still have some value. Grains are not good for most people, particularly modern hybridized wheat strains. They are essentially empty calories, and are moderately addicting to boot.

    "Whole grains" are like filtered cigarettes. You're just kidding yourself that they're any healthier than their refined versions. Removing wheat from your diet results in almost immediate improvements in health for most people. - 1/11/2013 9:18:34 AM
  • The article was interesting and informative. What followed with the comments is exactly why I have fought tooth and nail to be "on a diet". Confusion reins it seems. Do this, don't do that. NEVER eat this, oh you must have some of that to balance your diet. It's almost impossible to know that what I'm eating or not eating is good for me. I guess the best thing to do is eat in moderation everything I like and watch the calories and exercise regularly.....and leave off reading what other people think is best. - 1/11/2013 8:32:15 AM
  • I like the idea of not mindlessly in the evening - 1/11/2013 5:17:15 AM

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