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3 Diet Myths

Jan 11, 2011

Myth #1: Diet soda is better for you

Reality: It may lead to even greater weight gain

Just because diet soda is low in calories doesn’t mean it can’t lead to weight gain. It may have only 5 or fewer calories per serving, but emerging research suggests that consuming sugary-tasting beverages—even if they’re artificially sweetened—may lead to a high preference for sweetness overall. That means sweeter (and more caloric) cereal, bread, dessert—everything. In fact, new research found that people who drink diet soda on a daily basis have an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome.

Put the Truth to Work for You: These days, the world of food is full of nasty surprises like this one, and knowledge is power. Check out Eat This, Not That! 2011 and Cook This, Not That! for the best food, nutrition and health secrets, and avoid shocking waistline expanders with our slideshow of 20 Salads Worse Than a Whopper.

Myth #2: Skipping meals helps you lose weight

Reality: Skipping meals, especially breakfast, can make you fat

Not eating can mess with your body's ability to control your appetite. And it also destroys willpower, which is just as damaging. If you skip breakfast or a healthy snack, your brain doesn't have the energy to say no to the inevitable chowfest. The consequences can be heavy: In a 2005 study, breakfast eaters were 30 percent less likely to be overweight or obese.

Put the Truth to Work for You: The perfect breakfast? Eggs, bacon, and toast. It's a nice balance of all the nutritional building blocks—protein, fiber, carbs—that will jumpstart your day. The worst? Waffles or pancakes with syrup. All those carbs and sugars are likely to put you into a food coma by 10 a.m.

Myth #3: You should eat three times a day

Reality: Three meals and two or three snacks is ideal

Most diet plans portray snacking as a failure. But by snacking on the right foods at strategic times, you'll keep your energy levels stoked all day. Spreading six smaller meals across your day operates on the simple principle of satisfaction: Frequent meals tame the slavering beast of hunger.

Put the Truth to Work for You: Make sure each mini meal blends protein and fiber-rich complex carbohydrates, which will sustain the feeling of fullness. Check out our super-handy list of the best snacks for weight loss.

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