For many who are trying to lose weight, or just eat healthier, there are common misperceptions about food and eating habits that are more fiction than fact. Beware of these four popular beliefs.

Remove carbs, lose weight

Diets that restrict carbohydrates (such as Paleo and Keto) are popular because they’re based on the idea that you can lose weight by removing, or drastically reducing, carbs.  

Instead, weight loss is about removing sources of calories, not specifically carbs. If you take away any food with a lot of calories and don’t replace those calories with something else, you’re going to see a decrease in weight.

There’s nothing inherently wrong with carbs. The problem is we tend to overconsume them because they’re easy to get and we can easily eat more than we need. If we go out to eat, high-carb foods such as pasta, rice and bread are almost always in front of us. Fruits and root vegetables are also sources of carbs. We tend to crave those types of food because they’re comforting. Alcoholic drinks such as wine also contain a lot of sugar and carbs.

It helps to understand sugar content. Fruits have sugar, but some have more. Grapes, pineapples, mangos, melons and watermelon have a lot, bananas and papayas have less, and berries and citrus fruit have the least. It’s important to consider these when you’re trying to reduce calories consumed.

Kicking carbs to the curb, including those that provide nutrients such as fruit and vegetables, is also likely not sustainable. If you love bread and pasta, you’re more likely to pick them back up down the road. What good is a quick drop in weight if four weeks later you can’t handle your diet anymore?

The key to achieving your weight-loss goal is being able to maintain your plan in a balanced, healthy way.

Fat makes you fat

People automatically connect fat on a body with eating more fat in food. It’s a shame they share the same name because the fat in food doesn’t automatically make you fat. In fact, fat in food can be healthy. We need it for a number of reasons.

  • Fat is satiating and helps us feel full. That’s important to help us manage how much we eat.
  • Fat is essential for hormone production, which is critical for our neurological and other bodily functions and the health of our skin, nails and hair.

The key is balance, focusing on good fats and moderating how much we consume as part of our regular meals.


Skipping breakfast

When you were a little kid, did your parents tell you that you shouldn't skip breakfast? They said it sets you up to have more energy during the day. There’s also an assumption that without breakfast, we will overcompensate later in the day.

The truth is that some people just aren’t hungry after they wake up. Of course, if your workout plan is hitting the gym early in the day, you need some food to prepare your body for exertion.

Studies also reveal that eating breakfast doesn’t boost your metabolism for the rest of the day.

It’s best just to listen to your body’s cues. Eat when you feel hungry. And don’t wait until you’re famished, just hungry. There’s a difference. 


Eating late at night can lead to some weight gain

It’s not the time you eat that’s crucial; it’s what you eat.

If you overdo it on junk food while watching TV at night, that’s obviously not healthy. If you’re having a big meal and going to bed soon afterwards, the only issue is digestion. The time you eating doesn’t lead to weight gain.

If your overall daily calorie intake allows you to maintain your current weight because it’s matching your expenditure throughout the day, it won’t matter when those calories are coming in. The same applies if you’re trying to reduce your weight and your total calorie consumption for the day is at a lower level.

We’re constantly bombarded with messages from the diet industry about how we should eat, but the bottom line is there’s no one-size-fits-all nutrition plan. Ultimately, it comes down to understanding your own body and how it thrives best while taking into account your lifestyle and preferences.