3 Fat-Loss Myths Debunked

Is it ok to eat after 8 p.m.? Are 20 minutes of exercise enough? Is it more expensive to eat healthy? Find out the truth about these questionable fat loss beliefs.

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Fat Loss Myth: It’s expensive to eat healthfully.


The real deal: A recent study from the University of Washington concluded that to reach nutritional standards set in the USDA Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2010, Americans would have to pay, on average, hundreds of extra dollars per year. But Pablo Monsivais, the study’s lead author, explains that despite these findings, “It is possible to eat well on a lower budget.” Even though potassium was pegged as the most expensive nutrient (adding $380 per year), he notes there are many affordable options such as bananas, potatoes, milk, low-sodium tomato juice and unsweetened dried fruit. Your best bet is changing types of food you are currently eating – not add to – to reach these guidelines in a cost-effective way.

Fat Loss Myth: Twenty minutes of exercise is all I need.


The real deal: So you’ve reached your goal: congrats! But are your thrice weekly, twenty-minute treadmill jaunts the best way to keep the weight off? A 2010 study in The Journal of the American Medical Association found that more exercise may actually be better for lasting fat loss. In fact, their research showed that 60 minutes of moderate-intensity activity each day was best to prevent long-term weight gain in normal-weight women. The good news: you can still jog or use the elliptical for your regular 20- to 40-mintue sessions, but add daily flexibility or weight-training routines to increase the odds of hitting your fat-loss finish line.

Fat Loss Myth: You shouldn’t eat after 8 p.m.


The real deal: People often tout this lie as one of the “Top Five Diet Rules To Follow,” but it’s really not that straight forward. This myth likely came into effect because the calories that people consume at night tend to be higher-fat snack foods, and cutting these foods out is an easy way to trim calories. But if you get home, hungry as a bear, and haven’t eaten anything since noon (a big clean-eating no-no, by the way!), go for it: research has shown that nighttime calories are no more likely to contribute to weight gain than the calories you eat throughout the day.