In the quest to lose weight, there are assumptions made about nutrition that are more fiction than fact. Beware of these four popular beliefs.

Remove carbs, remove weight

Diets that restrict carbohydrates (such as Paleo and Keto) are popular because of the claim that you need to remove carbs to lose weight.

But 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 easy to eat a lot of. 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 comfort foods. 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. Choose wisely.

Kicking carbs to the curb, including those that provide nutrients such as fruit and vegetables, is also likely not sustainable. What good is a quick drop in weight if four weeks later you can’t handle your diet anymore, so you eat all those carbs again and gain that weight back?

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 make a correlation between fat on a body and 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 isn’t unhealthy and we need it for a number of reasons.

• Fat is satiating and helps us feel full. That’s important to avoid overeating.

• Fat is essential for hormone production, which is critical for our sanity, bodily functions and the quality of our skin, nails and hair. 

The key is balance, focusing on good fats and making sure we don’t have too much of a good thing.

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 and, without it, you’d overeat later in the day and gain weight.

The truth is that some people just aren’t hungry after they wake up. Why force yourself to eat when you don’t want to? 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. Don’t eat until you feel hungry. Not starving, but hungry. There’s a difference.  

Eating late at night makes you gain weight

This is another blanket statement that shouldn’t be accepted at face value. It’s not the time you eat that’s crucial; it’s what you eat.

If you snack 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 afterward, that’s detrimental to digestion rather than a cause of 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 dramatically when those calories are coming in. The same applies if you’re trying to lose 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 unique body and how it thrives best while taking into account your lifestyle and preferences.