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Myth busters: 5 diet 'tips' that simply aren't true

Belfast trainer and nutritionist Alan Waterman is determined to end the numerous myths surrounding health and fitness.

By Alan Waterman

When it comes to trying to improve your health, lose weight or build muscle, it's hard to know who to listen to - there is endless amounts of information available to those who want it.

The problem is that the diet and fitness industry is filled with poor, outdated and conflicting advice- it's no wonder that people feel so easily confused as to how to go about achieving their goals.

So, with so much bad information out there, what are we really meant to believe?

Here's 5 of the most common diet myths that we all most likely know, and the real truth behind them...

1. For weight loss, stop eating carbs after 6pm

This one has been around for years, with the logic being that you won't burn carbs as fuel during those less active hours.

Truth is, your body is constantly burning fuel, so those carbs will still be burnt for energy regardless of the time of day- they won't automatically be stored as bodyfat as soon as the clock strikes 6pm!

2. Weight-training makes you 'bulky'

Many women are put off weightlifting for fear of it making them look a little 'manly'.

In truth, weightlifting actually does wonders for improving body shape and composition.

Lifting weights while still eating too many calories can increase bodyfat levels, which may add bulk, but lifting weights while eating a reduced calorie diet will help to reveal a leaner, improved shape as bodyfat levels drop.

3. To lose weight, you have to cut out junk food

Of course, you would imagine that healthier food choices need to be made to lose weight... That means no takeaways or treats, right? Wrong!

Even though these foods are higher in calories, in moderated quantities, they are absolutely fine to include within a balanced diet to achieve the weight loss you want.

This is often a better solution for sustainable weight loss, as you will find you can adhere better to a diet where you don't have to completely cut out all your favourite foods.

4. 'X' 'Y' or 'Z' is the best way to lose weight

There's countless products, methods and diets which promise immediate weight loss, but the only way to successfully lose weight is by burning off more calories than you consume.

Weight-loss comes from addressing the body's energy balance and creating a calorie 'deficit' -  this can be done by reducing your intake of food, increasing activity levels, or a mixture of both.

5. Eating 6-8 small meals a day is best for weight loss

At the risk of sounding like a broken record, I'll keep this short - it's total daily calorie intake which will determine weight loss or weight gain across a 24 hour period, not when those calories are eaten.

So, regardless of whether you're eating 2, 4, 6 or 8 meals a day,  if you're eating a suitable number of calories, you'll successfully lose weight (who has time to eat 8 meals a day anyway??)

Want to know more? Make sure to check out next week's article, where I'll tackle 5 more of the most common diet myths...

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