5 Pieces of Diet Advice You're Better Off Skipping

When the New Year comes and weight loss promises made, diet advice soon follows – and lots of it. Wade through the sea of dieting advice by ignoring these 5 suggestions.
Related To:
89150352

89150352

Fork

Photo by: Sandra Mösinger

Sandra Mösinger

When the New Year arrives and the weight loss promises are made, the diet advice soon follows -- and lots of it. But you're better off ignoring these five "helpful" suggestions.

#1: To lose weight, load up on protein

Protein is one of the three macronutrients that are essential to help you lose weight, but don't count out fat and carbohydrates. Protein, fats and carbs all provide important nutrients to help keep your body healthy. Subsisting on (or avoiding) any one of them can throw your body off track.

Instead: Taking in fewer overall calories while providing your body with the nourishment it needs is the key to successful weight loss. Balance meals with a combo of lean protein, whole grains, fruit, vegetables, low-fat dairy and healthy fat.

#2: Avoid sweets and junk food at all costs

Dieting shouldn't be about feeling deprived or as though you're missing out. Besides, as hard as you try, your favorite junk foods (hello, chocolate!) will always end up calling your name.

Instead: Work in very small amounts of your favorite food so you can enjoy them on occasion, such as 1 ounce of dark chocolate after dinner or a small handful of salty potato chips with your sandwich.

#3: Agave is the best substitute for sugar

Agave, molasses, honey, and maple syrup are all sweeteners that can be used in your repertoire, and they all offer small amounts of nutrients too. But sugar is sugar, no matter what the source.

Instead: Whatever source of sugar you choose, consume sparingly.

#4: To lose weight quickly, eat as few calories as possible

Starving yourself may be easier than trying to balance out foods and nutrients, but it's definitely not a healthy way to lose weight. According to the National Institutes of Health, the lowest amount of calories a person should consume is 1,200 calories per day. Fewer than that is dangerous.

Instead: For healthy weight loss, eat a minimum of 1,200 calories per day. A safe rate of weight loss is about 1 to 2 pounds per week, which is also the best rate if you want to keep the weight off in the long run.

#5: Avoid all fruits since they are high in sugar

Fruit does contain natural sugar, called fructose, but it also provides a tremendous amount of fiber, vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients that you just can't get in a pill. (Plus, fruit is delicious!)

Instead: Weigh the pros and cons of any food before dismissing it. Fruit contains many beneficial nutrients you shouldn't miss out on.  Added sugar, found in many processed foods and baked goods, is what you want to minimize.

Toby Amidor, MS, RD, CDN, is a registered dietitian and consultant who specializes in food safety and culinary nutrition. See Toby's full bio »

Keep Reading

Next Up

5 Bad Dieting Tips To Ignore

Don't eat fruit, avoid dairy . . . some dieting tips are just bad. Find out 5 of the most common misconceptions so you can tune them out.

5 Surprisingly Sugary Foods

It may not surprise anyone that a 20-ounce bottle of soda can contain anywhere from 15 to 22 teaspoons of sugar per serving, but sugar is also lurking in less obvious places.

5 Ways to Curb Sugar Cravings

Trying to reach for healthy snacks but the sugary treats are calling you? Use these strategies to help douse that sugar-fueled fire.

Searching for a Sugar Substitute? Five Alternatives to Classic Sugar

Alternative sweeteners lend a different flavor to foods and can have a few health benefits, too.

Nutrition News: FDA Sets Sugar Cap, Pros Offer Pantry Tips, Junk Food Gets an Out

Junk food alone isn’t driving the obesity epidemic, one study indicates. The FDA recommends a sugar limit, and nutrition pros offer pantry tips.

Sweet Alternatives to Sugar

Looking for a creative replacement for processed table sugar? These four natural sweeteners can bring new flavors and different levels of sweetness to your favorite recipes.

Low-Fat Foods: Good or Bad?

Low fat is out and healthy fat is in. Does that mean the era of low fat cookies is over? Not necessarily. Find out which fats are now recommended and how low fat foods can fit into a healthy diet.

Nutrition News: Chipotle Unseats Subway, FDA Added-Sugar Label Rules and Soybean Oil Health Effects

Subway cedes top “healthy” chain spot to Chipotle; FDA to require added-sugar info on labels; and a study says soybean oil may be making us fat and diabetic.

Reading List: Trouble For Meat Lovers, Weight Loss Apps and Take Back Your Lunch Break

In this week’s nutrition news: Slashing sugar helps make you healthier, enjoying lunch away from your desk and does the “5 second” rule for germs really exist?

How to Cut the Sugar from Summer Drinks

We consume over three times the daily recommended amount of added sugar each day, and sugary beverages are one of the main contributors to this sugar overload.