With almost half the adult population trying to lose weight - it’s time to bust some diet myths that just won’t go away. Here’s eight we’ve been asked about lately.
1. Celery has “negative” calories
In practical terms it’s just one or two kilojoules. The only thing with “negative calories” is cold water. That’s because it needs to warm up to body temperature before it can be absorbed. That “heating” uses up some kilojoules. Water itself contains no kilojoules, so the overall effect is “negative”.
2. Not eating after 7pm speeds up weight loss
More important than the time of day you eat, is what you eat and how much you eat. Your total kilojoule intake, plus the physical activity performed over a whole day determines whether you gain, lose, or maintain weight. No matter when you eat, if you take in more kilojoules than you need, your body will store the excess as fat.
A recent review found altering meal frequency, where you eat your whole days food as either one, two or three meals per day, makes almost no difference to body weight.
Some short term studies have found that eating MOST of your kilojoules late in the day could make blood sugar control worse, but longer term trials are needed to check this. An advantage of closing down the kitchen early is that less total food gets eaten, especially less junk food and less alcohol.
3. Drinking water before meals makes you lose more weight
This one could work for some. A recent randomised controlled trial in adults with obesity assigned half to drink 500ml of plain water 30 mins before breakfast, lunch and dinner, while the other half had to visualise their stomach being full 30 minutes before meals.