Top five weight-loss myths

If you’ve decided to try and live more healthily, there’s a good chance you also want to lose weight this year. Whether you want to lose a few pounds or a few stone, having an all-round healthily lifestyle is the best way to start.

But these days there’s so much information available on being healthy and losing weight – and losing it quickly – it’s easy to get misled, especially where eating and exercising are concerned.

“With increased awareness among the general public regarding obesity, many people are looking to adopt healthier lifestyles,” says Dr James Brown, lecturer in biology and biomedical science at Aston University’s School of Life and Health Sciences.

“But despite our best intentions, it’s all to easy to set about this in the wrong way.”

To help you make sense of what works and what doesn’t, Dr Brown has busted five of the most common weight-loss myths:

Myth #1 In order to lose weight, I simply need to increase the amount of exercise that I do.

Dr Brown says: Exercise on its own is unlikely to have a significant impact on weight loss. The most successful regime for losing weight should combine exercise and dieting. Dieting alone is the next best approach, followed by a focus on exercise to sustain weight loss.

Myth #2 Carbohydrates are bad and, in order to become healthier, I need to cut them out of my diet completely.

Dr Brown says: Taken as part of a healthy diet, carbohydrates are not at all bad. In fact, many of the healthiest foods, such as fruits and vegetables, are rich in carbs. It is the processed and added sugars in some types of carbs – white bread, for example – that are most damaging and should be avoided.

Myth #3 Low-fat foods are my best option for a healthy diet.

Dr Brown says: This often isn’t the case because many processed low-fat foods, such as yoghurt, are actually high in sugar to ensure they are palatable. If people opt for low-fat foods, they should ensure they come without additives.

Myth #4 My child may be overweight now, but this is likely to be puppy fat and I am sure he or she will lose this extra weight in later life.

Dr Brown says: Being overweight as a child is closely associated with obesity in later life. Parents should monitor their children’s weight, and ensure they have the right diet and exercise routine to prevent them from becoming obese.

Myth #5 The only way I can truly lose weight and avoid obesity is to invest in a gym membership and make sure I work out twice a week.

Dr Brown says: There are alternative, potentially more effective ways to do this, such as exercise ‘snacking’. This involves multiple bouts of exercise for short periods during the day, such as 10 minutes after breakfast, lunch and dinner – a method that has be shown to control blood sugar better than a single, continuous workout.

Your local Careway pharmacist can also offer you lots of advice about healthy eating, losing weight and exercising. Find your nearest Careway pharmacy by using our Pharmacy Finder.