Are these popular diet mantras fact or fiction?

Advocate Health News

Dieting advice comes from all directions —on social media, in books, from celebrities and even our family and friends. It can be difficult to hear at times, especially because so many “tips” don’t actually ring true.

Melodi Peters, a registered dietitian at Advocate Good Shepherd Hospital in Barrington, Ill., weighs in on some popular myths.


Myth #1 – Drinking smoothies will help you lose weight.


“Most smoothies are primarily fruit and vegetables, which are loaded with carbohydrates,” warns Peters. “The liquid smoothie leaves your stomach quickly, creating a spike in blood sugar. The insulin response following a smoothie can leave you feeling tired and hungry. My advice is to eat your fruit and vegetables. Never drink them.”


Myth #2 – Eating at night makes you fat.


Does it really matter what time of day you eat? There is no proof that late-night meals cause you to put on weight. However, we do know that consuming too many calories causes weight gain, and many night eaters do tend to overeat. Try to stick to earlier mealtimes.


Myth #3 – Athletes need a ton of extra protein.


If you are training for the Chicago Marathon or are an athlete of any kind, keep this in mind: Most diets provide plenty of protein, even for athletes. The real secret to boosting athletic strength and muscle is to get enough calories and focus on intense training.


Myth #4 – Coffee is bad for you.


Drinking two to three cups of coffee a day can be a safe part of a healthy diet. In fact, research suggests coffee may help reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes, gallstones, Parkinson’s disease and even some cancers. But for dieters trying to lose weight, avoid coffee condiments, such as cream, sugar and other flavored syrups.

Myth #5 – You should eliminate fat from your diet.

Your body needs fats as well as protein and carbohydrates. Good-for-you fats found in foods like nuts, avocado, olives and low-fat dairy give you energy, help rebuild cells and produce needed hormones. The fats to limit or avoid are saturated and trans fats found in foods like butter, high-fat dairy, red meat and many processed foods.