10 New Weight Loss Myths and Facts

Even though we all know that the best way to stay healthy and physically fit is to eat well-rounded, nutritionally sound meals and exercise for at least 20 minutes a day, it's human nature to seek out better, "cutting-edge," get-thin-quick fads and glom onto them like they're gospel. Don't eat after 8 p.m.? You got it. Wash down an acai berry with fish oil? Sign me up.

But what if those new fangled discoveries and quick fixes were steeped in misinformation and could actually be making you gain weight or harm your health? Oh, no thank you very much.


Related: 10 Ways to Lose 5 Pounds by This Weekend


In an effort to clear the air and get back to solid basics, we decided to tackle the most prevalent weight loss "facts" out there and reveal them as the myths they are. See the 10 biggest weight loss myths and facts now.


ONE: EATING AFTER 8 PM IS A DIET DON'T

Myth or Fact: Myth
It's not when you eat, it's what (and how much) you eat. The reason some diets suggest you close the kitchen after enjoying the early-bird special is that people have a tendency to overeat at night, especially if they have skipped a meal during the day. "If you are finding yourself bingeing at night, chances are you are not eating anywhere near enough good calories during the day," says fitness and lifestyle consultant, Ashley Borden. Want to know what you can eat after 8? Click here.


TWO: A CALORIE IS A CALORIE IS A CALORIE

Myth or Fact: Myth
You gain weight when you consume more calories than your body burns. And yet, not all calories are the same. It's really the good carb/bad carb distinction. "Bad carbohydrates (refined simple sugars) are rapidly digested and absorbed into the bloodstream," celebrity nutritionist Paula Simpson explains. "If there is a high concentration of blood sugars (hyperglycemia), then [the excess sugars] can be stored as fat." The fiber in good carbohydrates helps slow down the rate of digestion, controlling blood sugar levels, which results in a longer window of time during which the body can burn the calories from those good carbohydrates before the excess is stored as fat. What are the good carbohydrates? Click here to find out.


THREE: DRINKING BROTH-BASED SOUPS BEFORE YOU EAT CAN HELP YOU FEEL MORE FULL AND, THUS, EAT LESS

Myth or Fact: Fact
A study conducted at Penn State University demonstrated that eating foods with a high water content increases one's sense of fullness. Interestingly, drinking water on its own has not been shown to have the same impact. Evidently, water is emptied out of your stomach more quickly than water incorporated into foods you eat, so it doesn't trigger any of the body cues that tell your brain you are full.



FOUR: IF YOU ARE ON A DIET YOU SHOULD AVOID RED MEAT AT ALL COSTS

Myth or Fact: Myth
You don't have to swear off red meat. Red meat, in moderation, is a great source of protein and iron. Which kind of red meats should you order? Click here.






FIVE: ALL GRAMS ARE CREATED EQUAL

Myth or Fact: Myth
Remember the old riddle: What weighs more -- 100 lbs of brick or 100 lbs of feathers? They, of course, weigh the same, but the size of the feather pile would be much bigger than the stack of bricks. That analogy kind of helps when you think of grams of food: a gram of protein has four calories; a gram of carbohydrates also has four calories; but a gram of fat has nine calories. The difference in calories per gram is the reason why one food may have way more calories than an identical serving size of another. It's also the reason for the proliferation of low-fat and fat-free products. Limiting the number of grams of fat you consume each day makes it easier to stay in your caloric budget (and your skinny jeans).


SIX: OVER-THE-COUNTER WEIGHT LOSS PRODUCTS THAT ARE LABELED "NATURAL" OR "HERBAL" ARE SAFE AND EFFECTIVE

Myth or Fact: Myth
This was a gimme, right? Ephedra ring any bells? Just because you can buy something in a health food store doesn't mean it's healthy. Unless and until a product's claims have been evaluated by the FDA, you should be skeptical. And, in any event, it's worth consulting a physician before taking any drugs. Not all diet pills are unsafe. See which ones help block fat absorption and are FDA-approved here.




SEVEN: YOUR BODY HAS A BIOLOGICALLY PRE-DETERMINED SET WEIGHT AND ALL ATTEMPTS TO CHANGE IT WILL FAIL

Myth or fact: Myth
Blaming your grandparents for the yo-yo-ing you see on the scale isn't going to fly. "While our genetic heritage does play a role in our body composition," Simpson explains, "we can still have control … by leading an active lifestyle and eating well." And if you're pre-disposed to be skinny (lucky bee-och -- er -- duck?), you still ought to be eating right and exercising -- for your health. The key to losing weight after you've hit a plateau: click here.


EIGHT: IF YOU'RE NOT SWEATING WHILE WORKING OUT, YOU'RE NOT WORKING HARD ENOUGH

Myth or fact: Myth
There is zero correlation between perspiration and weight loss. The only thing sweat signifies is that the body is working to cool itself off. Everyone sweats differently. And, anyway, it is not clear that working out for a shorter period at a higher intensity is better than working out for a longer duration at a lower intensity. In terms of weight loss, what works best for your lifestyle and your schedule is what is going to work best -- because you'll stick with it. Your muscles will continue to burn calories after both aerobic and anaerobic exercise.




NINE: YOU SHOULD WAIT UNTIL YOU ARE HUNGRY TO EAT

Myth or fact: Myth
People who skip meals or eat erratically have a tendency to overeat to make up for the food they missed. And eating too few calories actually triggers your body to hold on to fat and burn fewer calories. "Hunger is a great indication that your metabolism is turned on," says Borden. "If your metabolism is turned on, you should feel hunger every three to four hours." Bottom line: Being hungry is a good sign, it means that your body's working the way it's supposed to, to burn off calories and keep running smoothly. On the other hand, starving yourself to the point where your body thinks it needs to conserve calories for the long haul is both unhealthy and works against your weight loss goal. So don't be afraid to eat when you're hungry -- just make wise choices.


TEN: THERE IS NO MIRACLE FAT-BURNING FOOD

Myth or fact: Fact
Not mustard, not grapefruit, not green tea, not celery. No food is going to do the work for you. While there are foods that might temporarily speed up your metabolism, it won't be in any sustained way that will impact weight loss. Simpson points out that "much of the data to support these claims stem from nutraceutical research or studies [where] people ingested very large quantities of the particular food or natural health supplements for an extended period of time." And don't try replicating those studies at home. Simpson warns that consuming large quantities of certain foods may offset the body's balance to digest, absorb or neutralize byproducts or toxins in the body. "For example, even though grapefruit has some benefits, it may also affect the way the body absorbs, processes and eliminates certain prescription drugs."


More from TotalBeauty.com:
11 Easy Ways to Burn More and Consume Less Calories
7 Arm Exercises for Immediate Results

10 Fast Food Options That Are Good for Your Skin