A FITNESS trainer has revealed five popular diet myths that are damaging to mental health.
And he says ditching them and sticking to a more simple plan will help you lose weight the right way.
Graeme Tomlinson, AKA The Fitness Chef, has become renowned for encouraging people to bring weight loss back to the basics.
The best-selling author of Lose Weight Without Losing Your Mind told his one million Instagram followers to stop letting diet culture “dictate your life”.
“Losing fat and improving health can be much simpler but only if you make your mind your ally, not your enemy,” he wrote.
Here are the key diet rules Graeme warns you to be wary of…
Diet drinks cause cancer
Scientific studies have often put a dark cloud on diet “zero sugar” drinks, claiming they are linked to obesity, disease and even cancer.
Graeme said: “The body of evidence shows that artificial sweeteners (the most researched ingredients in history) are safe for humans to consume.
“Also, they do not make us gain body fat because they contain zero calories.”
Sugary drinks, on the other hand, should be limited. This includes fizzy drinks, squash and fruit juices.
One can of coke can contain more than a whole day’s worth of recommended sugar (30g), which isn’t great for weight or teeth, so it’s best to avoid chugging it daily.
Carbs make you fat
Graeme said there is “no need to feel guilty” about eating carbohydrates – which includes pasta, rice, bread, potatoes and many vegetables.
Carbs are often vilified in diets.
The truth is, they are no worse than protein or fat – the other key nutrients in the diet – and we need carbs for energy.
Graeme said: “Carbs do not make us gain body fat because when calories and protein are equated there is no difference in body fat, according to the body of research.”
Carbs should make up about a third of your plate when you have a meal, the NHS says.
Intermittent fasting improves health
Intermittent fasting has become a popular way to lose weight.
Generally, the rules are to eat only in a window of eight to ten hours per day and have nothing but water or black tea or black coffee the rest of the time.
Because your meals are closer together, you’re less likely to get hungry during the eating window and overeat.
There are also claims from early research that intermittent fasting can improve heart and brain health and prevent diabetes.
A popular way to fast is to eat from noon to 8pm – but Graeme said there is “no need to skip breakfast” if you’re looking to improve health.
He said: “Intermittent fasting may be a useful way to reduce calorie intake for issues related to body fat reduction.
“But the purported health benefits (autophagy) can also be achieved to the same degree with regular caloric restriction. This is what the evidence says.”
Autophagy is the body’s way of cleaning out damaged cells in order to regenerate newer, healthier cells, and is linked to longer lifespan, according to Healthline.
Foods are either good or bad
When we embark on a weight loss mission, it’s easy to get stuck into looking at foods as “good” (vegetables, fruit and anything cooked from scratch) and “bad” (chocolate, cakes, crisps, the list goes on…)
Graeme reassured his followers: “You can thrive without banning your favourite foods.
“Having a nutritious diet is important. But so is your mental health.”
Banning “bad” foods takes away joy in your diet. It may work short-term, but long-term, you’re more likely to binge eat when the going gets tough.
Graeme’s philosophy is to have a little of what you like when you feel like it. Don’t feel guilty – just move on.
Your size = your worth
Lastly, Graeme said: “Your weight or size will never define your worth to the world. How can it?
“It may be of statistical significance for health related outcomes, but never a measure of the talents you possess or the value you can give.
“Your weight is the least interesting thing about you.”