Want to drop a few kilos or maintain a steady weight this year? You have to do more than watch your diet! Make sure you steer clear of the biggest diet mistakes that can hinder your progress or, worse, damage your health…
1. Banning Entire Food Groups
Carbs are bad for you. Fats make you gain weight… With so many misleading, contradictory mixed messages out there, it’s hard to know what to believe when opting for a diet plan. While, in theory, it seems to make sense that cutting out entire food groups would further slash calories, ultimately leading to weight loss — it’s not necessarily healthy.
According to Circle Dietitian, Kris Ng: “Food groups are defined based on their nutrient properties, where one can’t replace one another. For example, any global dietary guidelines recommendations are based on the five different food groups: grains, fruits, vegetables, meat and alternatives, and dairy.
“Each food group contains various nutrients like carbohydrates, fibre, vitamins and minerals, antioxidants, folate, protein, calcium, and magnesium etc. Cutting out entire food groups can deprive the body of these essential nutrients it needs to function optimally. So, while you may lose weight initially as you’re cutting calories, you’ll ultimately end up putting weight back on when you reintroduce them into your diet or develop deficiencies if you don’t.”
2. Skipping Meals
This might seem like a logical quick fix, but skipping meals on a regular basis confuses your metabolism and could lead to more weight gain in the long term, says Ng. He adds that skipping meals can lower your metabolism rate due to a lack of nutrients.
“Think of the body like your phone,” he says. “We need enough battery to keep it going — and when we have a low battery, we go into ‘power-saving mode (i.e. our metabolism slows down), where we turn off non-essential apps (i.e. body functions). While we can keep on going, we burn fewer calories. That’s why skipping a meal is like missing an opportunity to charge our phones. In short, consume high nutrient-dense food that sustains a high metabolism rate ultimately resulting in weight loss.
3. Not Eating in Moderation
We always hear the phrase: ‘Everything in moderation”, but fail to implement it in our daily lives. Moderation is defined as “the avoidance of excess or extremes,” and in terms of our diets, it usually refers to overeating where we fail to note our portion size. Even the most nutritious food may derail your diet plans if you eat too much of it.
“Some of us have very low appetite control — I am one of them,” says Ng. “We eat like goldfish, not understanding when our bodies really need food. Our stomach stretching sends signals to the brain telling it that we are full. But when we fail to eat in moderation — and find ourselves overeating, we are inadvertently training our stomachs to stretch to accommodate more food. This can ultimately lead to weight gain.”
He adds, “An effective way to learn to eat in moderation is to eat more mindfully. Take more time to chew your food. Besides that, have a glass of water before your meals and consciously eating slower will help you eat more moderately.”
4. Falling for Diet Detox Scams
After drinking and eating too much over the silly season, it’s easy to want to get back on track by embarking on a vigorous detox regimen. But what most of us don’t realise is that our body doesn’t need help cleansing itself.
Our kidneys, liver, intestines, skin and lungs excrete waste and are detoxifying us as we speak. We don’t need to deprive it of essential nutrients in a bid to sweat out a so-called build-up of toxins.
Instead, stay away from fad ‘detox’ products, pills, potions, powders and teas, and instead, include things like greens, lean meats and other nutrient-rich foods into your diets.
Ng explains, “Detoxification happens naturally in our liver in two phases. Phase I is similar to the process of throwing our waste/ toxins into a trash can, and phase II is when we empty that bin (i.e. we excrete the toxins out of our body). We can speed up the natural detoxification process by including cruciferous vegetables such as kale, broccoli, cauliflower into our diet, as they work as effective toxin eliminators.”
5. Eating Too Much After a Workout
Nothing burns calories better than a workout — however, most of us don’t realise that abs are actually made in the kitchen. “Weight loss is 20 percent exercise and 80 percent diet,” says Ng. “A nutritious, post-workout meal is important for effective recovery and muscle building. However, our body can only use approximately 20–25 grams of protein in a meal. That means excessive protein, carbohydrates and fat get stored in our body as fat.” Eating too much protein is one of the biggest diet mistakes out there!
Therefore, giving yourself license to overindulge on unhealthy, processed foods after a workout because you believe you ‘earned it’ may be reversing all your hard work. However, on the flip side, if you find yourself famished after a workout, you probably aren’t getting enough pre-exercise nutrition.
Don’t fall for diet fads this year! Discover your optimal diet based on your genes at www.circleDNA.com
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