Worst Diet Tips

July 14, 2019   25 Comments

These worst diet tips are from all sorts of people who talk to me about losing weight. If you listen you will want to pull your hair out.

Worst Diet Tips

Fortunately, I have a lot of hair.

I find myself in conversations with strangers about diet all the time. Why? They ask me what I do - and I tell them that I write about healthy eating and losing weight.

People can’t wait to tell me their definition of healthy eating and how they have lost weight. Many are exceedingly passionate about their personal findings and have no interest in hearing what I think.

It is almost like we are talking about faith except with religion, people are more aware that others may disagree. I have yet to encounter many people that want to passionately convince me that my faith is the wrong one.

I always nod appreciatively because I have been taught to be polite in the face of ideas that run counter to mine. If the stranger would listen, he/she would learn that I advocate for eating more fruits and vegetables, lean meats and whole grains, changing bad habits, and exercising.

My approach 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.

But, these strangers don’t want to hear my solutions because they have it solved with the DIET THAT CHANGED THEIR LIFE.

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. 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.

5. Give up all added sugar. I am a serious advocate for limiting added sugar - see No Sugar Challenge. All added sugar? I don’t think you need to give it all up to lose weight. It just seems so sad not to share birthday cake with your friends for the rest of your life.


6. Go Gluten-Free. Gluten is not making you fat. Processed carbohydrates such as white bread are not helping but switching to a gluten-free brownie is not the solution. I think that people lose weight when they go gluten-free because they cut back on processed foods (pizza, pasta, cookies…) - this can be a great approach but it isn’t because of the gluten in these foods that you lose weight.

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!

Other posts you might like:

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No Sugar Challenge

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First 20 Comments: ( See all 25 )

Great post Lisa! Wonderful logical advice that if we would all follow more, we'd feel & look so much better!

I love it! When will everyone stop sacrificing their HEALTH in order to be model slim? And temporarily at that! It takes a lot of dedication and a lot of LIFESTYLE changes to modify your eating habits and make changes that last. Fad diets are just that - fleeting, faddish and temporary fixes for longterm problems. Everyone is always looking for a fast way to fix a lifetime of poor choices - I was one of them...and now that I'm getting older I'm facing the consequences of some of those poor choices. Moderation in all things is a better approach - even with exercise - try to do something every day - walk every chance you get - yes park that car way out on the edge of the parking lots and walk for 3 minutes to get to the store - leave a little food on your plate (no children who are hungry in another part of the world won't be any worse off because you've chosen not to stuff yourself) Try to chose the very best food (quality wise) that you can. If it's cheap or free, it's probably not very good for you (ie; value meals, etc.) If someone is giving it away at work then it's probably not the high priced organic, clean grass fed, that you should probably chose and you won't be any worse off for not eating it...drink plenty of water every day...just the basics..nothing fancy there..and viola you'll find the scale dropping - no it won't be big numbers in short times, but it'll be gradual and slowly over time you'll feel better and your clothes will fit better. No, you might not be model thin but your health won't suffer either as you gradually chose health over thinness and all the other issues that go with it. Thanks for sharing Lisa!

The worst tip I hear involves the “cheat day”. Rather than a healthy diet with balance that becomes a lifestyle, the “cheat day” is a day off from the healthy and eating and anything goes. It seems less like making lifestyle choices and more like counting the days until that day. There seems to be little or no balance.

Followed you for a very long time. Almost 70 now and I attribute you for helping me through and at a good weight - thank you Lisa. Hope you never quit. We need you

Great post. Love all your tips and advise.

I wanted to let you know that I've been reading your weekly posts for a few years now and really find them helpful and interesting. This one is particularly good! The "all you need to do...." approach to dieting is, of course, not at all useful. Thanks for your research and sharing. Your commitment is admirable.

Sound advice, keep up the good work.

Similar to #7, another bid of bad advice is Drink a large glass of water, maybe you are just thirsty. When my stomach is feeling on the empty side, I know I need to eat a snack or small meal. Water gives you hydration not satisfaction. Eating something nutritious with that large glass of water gives your body something it needs to cure the hungry feeling.

My daughter is a registered dietitian and she gets the same thing!! Seriously! She says to cut down on processed foods, make healthy choices and don’t eliminate any food group!! Your body needs all of them!! Great read. Thanks

I have been Banting for over six years. Not only have I lost weight, 35 kg, but I have kept it off. I have learned that for ME carbs are a no-no.. that means no sugar, no cake NO fruit except berries etc. It was difficult for three weeks until I saw the results. I feel better than ever. I get all my necessary carbs through the vegetables that I eat, and am never hungry due to the amount of fat I eat. A year ago my doctor suggested I cut out all dairy as well and it made me feel so much better. It’s amazing how one CAN adapt. My health is better than its ever been. I will say though, this is what works for ME...! It’s not a one-stop guide for everyone. Also I’m doing this under my physician’s guidance so I know I’m not depriving myself of needed nutrients.

I totally agree with Susan but with one caveat: Years & years ago I read somewhere that drinking a glass of (cold) water before a big meal (like on a holiday, out to eat at a sit-down restaurant, etc.) would ‘trick’ one’s body into feeling fuller so as to not overeat...not sure if it’s ‘scientific’ but I have remembered and practiced it decades later, and I have to say, it’s a good starter to a big meal for me—-plus there are the added personal benefits that 1) when I might be having a couple glasses of wine -empty but enjoyable extra calories- on an empty stomach pre-meal as part of the celebration, now I am having one glass of water and then enjoying my one glass of wine twice as much :) and 2) I am one of those people who have a hard time hydrating enough when I am not at home all day where it’s easier, so this also ensures that I drink a big glass of ice-cold if there’s a bar I can have slices of lemon or orange in it which feels ‘fancier’ somehow...Generally speaking, so I don’t feel completely ‘deprived’, I also have always tried to not have more than one item during these special meals which would be considered really really ‘bad for you’, OR, similarly, if I want to pay true attention to portion size (which we all know is very hard to do when eating out!), I sort of make deals with myself, as in remembering that a humongous salad, even with lots of olive oil, will generate many more good feelings later than a humongous bowl of creamed spinach. Ditto for a humongous bowl of berries, dipped into a small amount of delicious real whipped cream being better than a humongous chocolate mousse. As always, thank you Snack Girl for your wonderful and REALISTIC blog :)

Great post! Just what I needed to hear today! I often go back and forth trying to decide which eating “style” I should follow to lose weight. Ultimately I am usually just left confused and I don’t make any changes. So I lose no weight. Your advice and approach is right on point. Now I just need to drown out all the other diet “advice” and get to work creating better eating habits!

I so agree Lisa! I have always been an advocate of diet and exercise as opposed to fad diets etc. I recently had a conversation with my son who unfortunately gains weight very easily for some reason (he has a thyroid issue so I attribute it to that) and he was saying that it was so hard to keep his weight where it should be. I told him it was because he can't eat like crap 75% of the time and then eat well and expect to see results. That's why it's called a lifestyle not a diet!

Hopefully one day he will see the light!

I have a friend who has recently lost over 20 lbs. in about 3 months. She is only eating one meal per day and drinking water and maybe a coffee. But when she eats, it is only in that 1 sitting with no structure. Basically, whatever she wants. Is this smart in the long-run? I know she's loving the results and her ultimate goal is to get off her medications. I personally feel that this is not the best choice because she's depriving herself of nutrients. I followed WW for years and still do the plan loosely. I don't want to kill her vibe, but I don't want her to be disappointed if she does not get off the meds. Any suggestions for politely telling her this might not be the best way to lose the weight. Thanks.

Intermittent fasting: great way to trigger eating disorder (or reawaken a dormant one).

Great article...encouraging! I have been struggling with my weight since I was a child. I can’t tell you how much teasing, bullying and humiliation there was throughout the years. Still today at 68 years old, a doctor recently referred to me as a “chubby girl.” But I continue the battle and and I’m taking it off slowly with the help of God and Weight Watchers. The worst advice I got as a child and young, married adult: “if you would only eat carrots and celery and do sit-ups, you will lose weight.” Can you imagine telling an 8-year-old to do this? Or a young, married woman or anyone for that matter!

Thank you!

This is one of the best common sense articles about weight loss that I have ever read. The diets out there these days are like cults.

@Vikki - your friend sounds like she may need this approach right now. I never get involved when things are working even if they are not sustainable. She is on a journey and hopefully she will find moderation.

Thank you for your question!

This was a great article. I really enjoyed it & agree with all the helpful hints! Look forward to your emails!

You know you can't believe everything you read. And still, you haven't eaten an egg yolk since the nineties, and you can't touch a French fry without being saddled with guilt. Oh, and don't even get us started on the whole don't-eat-after-8-p.m.-or-else mentality. Let's set the record straight once and for all by calling out these 25 worst diet tips and offering up smart food rules to follow instead.

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