These Popular Diet Tricks Aren't Always Good For You
Dieting is hard.
Sure, it might be the most obvious statement since Trump's declared the health care system to be complicated, but it doesn't make it any less true.
It's hard enough to keep yourself motivated and on track when it comes to dieting, but what's even more difficult is separating fact from fiction when you're looking up the best health tips out there.
According to nutritionist Rhiannon Lambert, several of the most common diet tricks people use turn out to be pretty detrimental to their efforts to lose weight, and even their overall health.
Here are some of the most popular dieting habits out there, and the real scoop on what they're actually doing to your body:
According to FitDay, skipping a meal can result in decreased energy levels, lowered nutrition and even serve as a gateway to other poor dietary habits.
Plus, our parents weren't lying to us when they said breakfast is the most important meal of the day.
Skipping that first meal has been linked to weight gain, according to a study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology in 2003.
Guzzling sports drinks before and after a workout
Despite the popularity of sports drinks like Gatorade and Powerade, these beverages actually tend to put more calories into the body than what was just burned off during the workout, MailOnline reports.
These types of drinks should be saved for endurance exercises like running a marathon, rather than a quick trip to the gym.
As a rule of thumb, CamelBak has a great calculator for your hydration needs, which are dependent on things like your gender, age, weight, activity level, etc.
Thinking calories are everything
So many people believe calorie counting is the cornerstone of any effective diet.
While they're definitely important to monitor, calories aren't the end all, be all to a healthy lifestyle.
Two foods can easily have a similar or even equivalent calorie count, but it doesn't mean they provide the same type of nutrients for your body.
Plus, as Olumia Life points out, the psychological aspect of counting calories can be really detrimental.
If you look at your diet as a number of calories you can't ever go over, then you tend to (falsely) think of all foods, even the junkier ones, as fine, as long as they don't push you over the limit.
Exclusively eating fat-free foods
Foods labeled "fat-free" obviously sound like a good idea on the surface, but a closer look at the nutrition label will likely reveal the unfortunate truth about them.
In order to make up for the lack of fat (which usually also means lack of taste), food manufacturers will often compensate by adding more sugar, salt and other artificial ingredients to improve the flavor.
Cutting out red meat
Red meat is one of those frustrating foods the experts can't seem to agree on.
It's good for you, it's bad for you — which is it, exactly?!
According to an article in Authority Nutrition, it's important to distinguish between different types of red meat. Grass-fed and organic meat, for instance, is very different from factory-farmed, processed meat.
Overall, a consensus seems to suggest as long as you're eating unprocessed red meat and avoiding any burnt or charred pieces, you're probably in the clear.
Getting your nutrients from supplements
Supplements are great, but most experts seem to agree these should never replace actual food.
No matter how many benefits a supplement claims to offer, it will never replace a healthy lifestyle, which should include real meals, regular exercise and good sleeping patterns.
Citations: 3 Reasons Skipping Meals Is Unhealthy (FitDay), Can Skipping Breakfast Cause You to Gain Weight? (LIVESTRONG.COM), The diet mistakes we're ALL making that are ruining our weight loss chances - including drinking sports drinks after the gym and cutting out SUGAR (MailOnline), HYDRATION CALCULATOR (CamelBak), How important is calorie-counting? (Olumia Life), Is Red Meat Bad For You, or Good? An Objective Look (Authority Nutrition)