Top Seven Worst Diet Tips

July 22, 2014   45 Comments

If you make the mistake of telling a stranger that you wrote a book about losing weight, you will want to pull your hair out.

Top Seven Worst Diet Tips

Fortunately, I have a lot of hair.

People can’t wait to tell me their solution to the weight loss problem. First, they ask me what I advocate (eating more fruits and vegetables, changing habits, exercising) and then they launch into their latest and greatest solution.

I always nod appreciatively, but I wonder if they would do the same to a person who wrote a book on aerodynamics or another scientific pursuit. My approach in the book is evidence based – meaning there are scientific studies that show if you increase the amount of fruits and vegetables you eat while decreasing the amounts of meat and processed foods – you will lose weight and keep it off.

The basic concept is that you remain satiated because the volume of food that you eat remains the same, while the amount of calories you eat decreases (and you lose weight). There is an added benefit of getting more nutrients because you are eating fruits and vegetables.

Diet tips that are not evidence based make up most diet tips you will find in magazines, TV, and on links that state “Lose 10 pounds in five days!”.

Here are seven diet tips that people keep giving me:

1. Don’t eat fruit, it makes you fat. Cookies make you fat - fruit is filled with fiber, water, and nutrients. No one ever got fat eating too much fruit (well, no one that I know).

2. Fat-Free and Sugar-Free are good food choices. Most fat-free or sugar-free foods are full of artificial ingredients to make them taste like sugar and fat. A much better choice has less sugar and fat naturally.

3. Go Vegan (not as a lifestyle choice but as a way to lose weight). Beef and other meats are nutritious and can be healthy when not eaten in large quantities with condiments such as bacon, cheddar cheese, and onion rings. Try decreasing your meat consumption before you take the radical step of ending it.

4. Cut out all your carbs. A friend of mine gleefully told me that all I had to do was cut out carbs to lose 20 pounds. She did look slimmer until about 6 months later when she had put it back on (I didn’t say a word). I think we could all use some carb cutting when it comes to cookies, white bread, and large quantities of white rice BUT whole grains, beans, and fruits are good carbs. Our bodies NEED carbs. Do tell the restaurant that you don’t want the bread basket.

5. Give up all added sugar. Yeah, that will work FOR ABOUT FIVE MINUTES when you decide that a life without chocolate is not worth living. ‘Nuff said.

6. Go Gluten-Free. Gluten is not making you fat. But that breadbasket is not helping. See cut out all carbs above.

7. Do cleanses, detoxes, or juice fasts. These will help you lose weight in the short term because you have stopped eating, but you will be mighty grumpy. Your body actually detoxes on its own using your digestive system, kidneys, and liver. No need to “cleanse” to lose weight.

Please share your worst tips!

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Amen, well said!

Very well said!

"Life without chocolate is not worth living". You speak the truth woman!!

Common sense - so refreshing! Thank you Snack girl!

Agree with every one of your points above!

I will add I find it incredibly sad and depressing that women I know in their 50s have been counting calories of every bite they put into their mouths since they were teenagers. Talk about taking the joy out of eating. Yes, science-based, but also no way to live, IMO.

Preach it!!!!!!!

I lost 50 pounds 20 years ago and work everyday at keeping it off exactly the way you describe. It can be done.

Well said but #5 should be # 1 LOL! That and no sugar in my morning tea will turn me into the grump in #7 easy.

Very refreshing to read. I did a boot camp and the trainers running it, pushed a low carb diet with limited fruit and high protein with lean cuts of meat. It worked to lose while doing. But not enjoyable for a lifetime.

Worst diet tip I ever received is to cut out all alcohol. I lost 30 pounds on WW, including alcohol consumption in my points. Might I have lost faster without it? Maybe, but not happily. :)

Preach....Amen! So many people are doing #7 to lose weight. If you "eat right" the majority of the time the weight will come off and your body will always be prepared to cleanse need for the temporary jump start.

The absolute worst advice I get, and way too often, is someone suggesting some miracle supplement.

Well said! The best diet is no diet. We've got to learn to eat in a healthy way that is sustainable for life!

Great advice! I lost 95 lbs. on WW, have kept it off for 2 years, so far. WW promotes healthy eating, making fruits and veggies my best food friend, but not my ONLY food friend. When I crave a less healthy food, I wait. If my craving continues for more than a couple of days, I go ahead and eat it, in a controlled amount, counting the points carefully. The craving is

gone, I'm still in control,

all is well! I will never quit WW, as this is my magic 4th time, but the first time I have been completely committed!

Ugh I am so over the low carb,gluten free,& "cleansing" trends. Now I do believe celiac disease,Crohn's & legitimate wheat & gluten allergies exist,but they are the only people that need to avoid it.There are those who eat gluten free who are overweight so that is something to keep in mind before resorting to it to lose weight.As for these "cleanses" it is rediculous to think that one can just live on juices & liquids & no solids for even a few days. I don't understand why anyone would think they would benefit from that. I would bite someone's head off by the end of the first day.I was really surprised,though when my sister-in-law(who is a pharmacist & has a Phd.medical degree)said she did it & even reccommended it!She says she felt better & lost weight so I guess to each their own!I just try to stay active & eat somewhat well(not without an occasional indulgence!)

And Kris I agree with you on the alcohol! So long as it isn't excessive it should be fine.But I guess it is best to cut back on it to lose weight bacause of the empty calories,but even when losing weight we deserve a treat every now and then!

I agree with all that you said, but I would also add cooking more at home/ eating out less as a part of my weight loss success. This fits into the part where you said to eat less processed food, but I needed this part spelled out separately for me.

Great advice - doing WW has helped me lose and keep it off. WW may not be trendy or the latest "new news" like fat is good then fat is bad, carbs are evil, carbs are OK - but WW works if you work it and it is easier to live with long term - I think the way you lose weight has to be the same way you can live long term to keep it off - otherwise hello weight gain.

@Jill - Very good point. Yes, cooking at home (with fruits, vegetables, lean meats, whole grains) makes a HUGE difference in calorie consumption. That is why I include easy recipes in my book - so that people will be encouraged to cook.

Being active. I went to Hong Kong for 3 weeks, stuffed my face for 3 weeks with delicious food. I thought for sure I'd gain at least 10lbs while I was traveling. But I was very active everyday, sightseeing, shopping, I was go-go-go non-stop. Plus I had a 20lbs baby in a carrier most of the time (she didn't like the stroller). I came home weighing 5 lbs less!! I was shocked.

In addition to that, I think eating less food is the key. When I'm home with 3 kids, I eat proper healthy meals because I eat what they eat. But I can't snack, especially junky snacks, because they want to eat what I eat. That means I spent most of my day either not eating, or eating healthy food. Overall, I do eat less. My indulgences only happens at night after the kids are in bed and all my chores are done. Eating crappy late night food is not healthy, but my weight keeps dropping and I know it's because I eat less (overall) and I eat healthier (overall).

Thanks for the info and I agree a life without chocolate is not worth living!

Great post! Thanks snackgirl!! :)

Here's a bad diet tip: Weight Watchers products. Those prepackaged boxes of disgusting deception are full of artificial crap and full of refined sugars and nastiness. The point of losing weight is cutting out the mini cakes, not trying to find a loophole around avoiding them by buying a box with "weight watchers" branded on the side because you can't control yourself enough to cater to your sweet tooth alternatively. This lifestyle of eating sweets of this caliber is what caused you to gain weight in the first place; if you genuinely can't control yourself at least swap that bull for heart-healthy dark chocolate. No wonder you complain you can't lose weight and then blame it on "genetics", even though your own mother is at least 30 pounds lighter than you. /rant

The other side of it is exercise. You can lose weight from diet alone, but it's slow, and you're not building anything new in the place of the fat - which means it's harder to keep it off.

And many people are resistant to exercise in any form (I'm not including people who, for whatever reason, cannot be as active here), because it's hard. But anything that's worth it is hard.

Absolutely, all true. Hate hearing about detox, and just buy our stuff to do it!!!

One of my favorite health-related quotes is from a scientist: "Show me someone that got diabetes from eating too many strawberries and I'll eat my hat."

In response to Brandy's words above: Crohn's Disease actually does not have any food sensitivities or known food triggers. That's a common misconception (my husband has the disease).

I absolutely agree with everything you said. I see so many people (including myself in the past) who severely restrict what they eat in order to lose weight. Then they go back to their "pre dieting" way if eating and gain the weight back. The key IS learning how to eat healthily for life. Thanks for putting this out there.

I don't like gluten free unless you are allergic to wheat or if you just like the taste of the product. I love Mary's gone crackers. I don't mind going vegan and even doing 2 weeks to rest my body, but to take all of that and make it my lifestyle choice, nope not for me, but I don't hate on anyone that chooses to all I know is that it's not for me.

This is so refreshing!! I feel like I am surrounded by vegans and gluten free fanatics!! I do WW and I love e'er it!! Sensible eating is always best!

Thanks for a great article - I have been on a diet for 2 months now that started with eliminating processed sugar for the first 2 weeks. Now I LOVE chocolate so I still drank my morning cup of Hot chocolate, but otherwise did manage to eliminate all processed sugar. Surprise - my arthritis pain went away.

I don't advocate this diet for everyone, but I have found that if the choice is between a chocolate treat and not hurting I have chosen to not hurt. Pain can be a wonderful motivator. I have documented my journey on my website if you are interested in learning more.

great advice. especially good to get "permission" to eat more fruits, since all dieticians i know, except veggies, prohibit more than 3 fruits a day.

Posted earlier but couldn't resist when I saw this article on Yahoo.…

Love your attitude and philosophy. (and your book!) Your common sense approach really makes sense to me and is the way I strive to go about life.

Fantastic article. The worst diet tip is restricted diet for a while and then coming back to your bad nutrition habit. We should change our eating habits for our whole life

love the info- the tip I hate to be given is "never eat after 7pm" most days I dont start eating till then and if i went without my night time snack I'd never sleep! I have done quite a bit of reading up on that subject and have found that even though your body slows it still eats up those calories and as i am not a breakfast person my body will use that food up anyway.

Just a word about gluten. 1 in 105 people are gluten sensitive or have celiac disease which is an autoimmune disease. 83% of people have not been diagnosed or are misdiagnosed. Gluten can destroy the villi in the small intestine and thus prevents one from absorbing vital nutrients that protect against other diseases like diabetes, osteoporosis, arthritis, and cancer.…

The National Foundation for Celiac Awareness can inform you of symptoms and there is a test the doctor can perform to diagnose this disease.

I have done ALL of these things in order to lose weight, and I must say that I lost weight! THEN...I GAINED it ALL back! I was never able to sustain any of this long term. The only thing that has worked and is working for me IS eating whole foods mostly with the occasional processed goodie when I just can't seem to stop the cravings. Great article...extremely helpful!

I failed on diets. Before too long they began to feel like punishment. For the last 6 years I have been eating healthily with a few treats, even chocolate or ice cream, each week which keeps me roughly on 1600 calories a day. I have lost 70lbs. I am never, ever going to diet again but will keep my healthy life style up for the rest of my life.

You know vegan is a lot more intense than simply not eating meat, right..? I assume you do. I stopped eating animal meat (still eat fish) and have lost 30 lbs since October almost entirely from that change. Reducing or cutting out meat IS a great idea for health and weight loss as long as you're replacing it with good protein sources like beans, greens, and mushrooms. Animal meat really isn't "healthy" past a few nutrient benefits, IMO outweighed by the negatives.

glad to FINALLY see these myths addressed! Especially the ZERO carbs and the going totally fat free!!!

Also..they say that not eating after 6pm is also a's WHAT you eat!

Yeah, most weight loss advice is alot of bunk, totally agree with adopting a whole foods healthy lifestyle forever. I've believed meat to be unhealthy for years but it took me years to finally kick meat altogether [not fish or dairy] and I couldn't feel healthier! Now I feel like I'm living to match my beliefs too. Along my ''eating for health'' journey, I've acquired a taste for natural unprocessed sweetners, honey, maple syrup, coconut palm sugar, stevia leaf extract, and haven't bought [or missed] white sugar for over 2 years! I feel very proud to make baked goods using bananas, honey, dried fruit, etc. for sweetening. I wish I had done all this years ago; my 2 adult kids blazed the trail!

Like Emma, in just 3 months, my son lost 20lbs just from eliminating meat.

Regarding chocolate, OMG I love it, in moderation, luckily good quality organic is so expensive, it keeps me from over-indulging. Hey, a girl's gotta have her chocolate, right?

Thanks for the correction Leah!

I did one of those no added sugar programs. It was an 8 week challenge - no sugar, no alcohol, no caffeine...

I lost 15lbs in those 8 weeks (my husband lost 20), and we both felt great! And I ate lots of chocolate! We had chocolate pudding, brownies, and chocolate minty drops.

You don't give up the chocolate, you give up what sweetens it. We used things like bananas, dates and apple butter instead of the refined sugar.

Here! Here!

I am so fed up of RE explaining the very obvious facts about weight loss & diet to people who've suddenly discovered 'the cure'!

A dietitian told me the best advice "Eat in a way that is sustainable for the rest of your life." Ie. ANYTHING faddy is going to lose you the weight then you will put it all back on & more when you stop doing it!!

It's SO obvious!

Eat delicious healthy food & you won't feel deprived. You'll feel full, fit & healthy :-)

I have been going to WW for years and am currently about 6#s over my goal.....for 2 years! Kind of feel I have climbed up my 'set point' and go up and down from where I am now. Very frustrating. But, I continue to eat healthily and count especially my extras. Simply Filling or really eating cleanly and healthily is the most logical. Real food, not fake. I got off all fake sweeteners and now use about 1/3 t to sweeten my drinks, if at all instead of a pack of sweetener, they started tasting worse and worse, so went cold turkey.

What does bother me about WW is their emphasis still on nonfat dairy and the fake sweeteners, at least in the meetings, dairy still confuses me and I switch from 1%_2% milk and yogurt. I also use low fat or sometimes light vanilla soy milk in combo with milk, sort of as a creamer to give that vanilla taste.

Went to a chiropractor this week and his weight thing is a 'cleanse' with a drink, fruits and veggies for ten days, then add in real protein.....then see how other foods affect you. Not for me! Cannot give up everything like that and do not think that carbs, dairy, meat are all so evil.

All in moderation.


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