Straight talk destroys myths of losing weight

The many myths about weight loss that still pervade our culture do little to help the millions of Americans who are overweight. We'll try to clear up some of the confusion with some straight talk about weight control.

Myth: Starches are fattening and should be limited when trying to lose weight.

Truth: Potatoes, rice, pasta, bread, beans and starchy vegetables are rich in complex carbohydrates, an important source of energy for your body. These foods only become high in fat and calories when you eat them in large amounts, or when they're made with high fat sauces and toppings (e.g. cream sauces, sour cream, butter and the like). Two good tips for weight loss with these foods are to try to avoid high-fat toppings, and choose starchy foods that are also high in fiber, like whole grains, sweet potatoes, beans and peas.

Myth: Eating after 8 p.m. causes weight gain.

Truth: Time of day doesn't matter as much as how much you eat over the whole day and how active you've been. No matter what time you eat your meals, your body will store extra calories as fat. So, for example, if you want to have a snack at bedtime, you should think first about how many calories you've eaten that day. Try not to snack while you're distracted, that is, while watching TV or on the phone, so you're more aware of what and how much you are eating.

Myth: You can lose weight while eating anything you want.

Truth: Well, yes and no. While it is possible to eat any kind of food you want and still lose weight, you still need to limit the number of calories you get from those foods, typically by eating smaller amounts. When trying to lose weight, you CAN eat your favorite foods as long as you pay attention to the total amount of food that you eat. In order to lose weight, you need to use up more calories than you take in through food.

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