Common weight loss myths dispelled by doctor
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There is a plethora of diet and weight loss tips and tricks online, and some of them might not even be true. Dr Sameer Sanghvi, a GP and the clinical technology lead at Lloyds Pharmacy Online Doctor, has shared the most common weight loss myths he often hears patients talk about. Dr Sanghvi wanted to dispel these myths as they could be preventing people from reaching their weight loss goals.
Crash diets should be avoided in 2023, according to Dr Sanghvi. He said: “Around this time of year, lots of people turn their attention to their weight loss goals.
“The New Year offers a great opportunity to make healthy eating and getting active your priority. Losing weight can reduce your risk of all sorts of health conditions, from asthma to heart disease and from cancer to osteoarthritis.
“I don’t promote any kind of crash diet as these tend to slow down your metabolism, impacting your ability to lose weight.
“Similarly, I wouldn’t encourage banning entire food groups. This can lead to deficiencies in vital vitamins and minerals.
“In my experience, losing weight takes time and dedication. Aim to lose no more than 1kg a week. I always tell patients to focus on making a few realistic changes to their diets and activity routines.”
One myth Sr Sanghvi often hears is that coconut oil is the healthiest cooking oil. This is not true.
The doctor said: “Coconut oil is often used by lifestyle influencers and is touted as a superfood alternative to other cooking oils but coconut oil actually has 20 percent more calories than butter.
“In addition to this, coconut oil also contains around 65 percent more saturated fat than butter – the same amount as beef dripping. This type of fat is linked to bad cholesterol and therefore can contribute to issues like heart disease and strokes.
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“Like butter, coconut oil is fine to eat in moderation. But please understand it’s certainly not a weight management aid.”
Many slimmers think they should eat foods with lower fat or reduced fat in order to lose weight, but Dr Sanghvi said this is not necessarily the correct approach to weight loss.
He revealed: “There is no legal requirement that stipulates how little fat should be contained in foods labelled ‘low fat’ or ‘reduced fat’.
“Food brands can use this label simply because the product contains at least 30 percent less fat than the full-fat version. The ‘low fat’ version may still therefore constitute a high-fat food.
“On top of this, many low fat foods often contain high levels of sugar. Eating high amounts of sugar is going to, of course, work against your weight loss efforts as it’s high in calories but has little nutritional value.”
Another common myth, according to Dr Sanghvi, is the belief that some foods can speed up one’s metabolism.
He said: “Green tea, apple cider vinegar and chilli are just some of the foods said to increase your metabolism by helping the body to burn more calories and aid weight loss. But there is little scientific evidence to support this.
“On top of that, many of the products said to boost your metabolism are high in sugar and caffeine.”
Many slimmers kick start their weight loss journey by cutting carbohydrates from their diet.
However, Dr Sanghvi advised against this – there are some high-carb foods that can help you to shed the pounds because they make you feel fuller for longer.
The doctor explained: “This is one of those blanket dieting rules that just isn’t accurate. Eating too many carbohydrates can, of course, be unhealthy and contribute to weight gain.
“But don’t forget that berries, lentils, beans and many other high fibre foods that are packed with nutrients are also high in carbohydrates. Lentils, for example, are a great food to eat if you’re trying to lose weight as they keep you feeling full.”
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