4 Female Dieting Myths

The fitness and health industry is absolutely saturated with misinformation regarding female fat loss. Women are fed an abundance of misinformation from the media, 'nutritionists' with zero credentials, and underqualified personal trainers.

We are told to eat cereal for breakfast and even several times a day, cut out protein, don't eat carbs after 3pm, don't eat carbs at night, fat will make you fat, replace all meals with shakes, and the list goes on. Leaving women more confused than ever when it comes to fat loss and leading them to a cycle of yo-yo dieting, chronic calorie restriction, excessive cardio, craving, binging and weight regain.

In this post, I have outlined the four biggest myths surrounding female fat loss that you need to know!   

Myth #1 - Cereal is the Healthiest Breakfast Option

Cereal is a processed food product that has been marketed as a healthy breakfast option for women for decades. Arguably, some breakfast cereals are better than others however as a whole breakfast cereal as a meal, is nutritionally void.

Cereal contains almost zero protein and is commonly very high in sugar and high GI carbohydrates, giving you an initial burst of energy but will soon after having you feeling hungry and tired (midday crash?). This hunger is going to have you leaning towards those high carb and high sugary snacks, or a mid-morning coffee. Creating a perfect hormonal environment for fat gain.

Replacing several meals a day with cereal or shakes means you are missing out on a variety of important vitamins and minerals attained from other foods. Not only are you missing out on vital micronutrients needed for energy production and fat loss you are also missing protein and fat. Both are important macronutrients needed for hormone production, immune system function, detoxification, and overall health. Poor health is a poor environment for sustained fat loss. 

Eating a calorie deficit of anything will make you lose weight. Therefore, all diets will work for a period of time. If you ate a chocolate chip cookies 3 times a day and nothing else you would lose weight (not fat but weight). However, these results will be short term and the long-term ramifications on your hormonal and metabolic pathways will result in weight regain, and a vast array of health issues (poor sleep, low sex drive, cravings, binging, poor gut health, joint issues). Again, this is not a good environment to lose body fat.

Myth #2 - You can't eat carbs after 3 pm

Carbohydrates are often seen as the enemy when it comes to weight loss. Several diets have made millions of tricking women and men alike into reducing carbs to dangerously low levels as a temporary weight loss solution.

Cutting out carbohydrates so early in the day can have a detrimental effect on your brain and body. Your brain's preferred source of fuel is glucose which is obtained through consumption of carbohydrates, without glucose your concentration can weaken, and you may start to feel drowsy, tired, and fatigued. These feelings create the perfect hormonal environment for craving sugary and high carb snacks.

Carbohydrates are not the enemy. Selecting the correct carbohydrates and consuming them at the right time throughout the day will help you lose weight. Low GI carbs such as whole grains, oats, rice, quinoa , and sweet potatoes will keep you fuller for longer, help you recover from training, and allow for a tapered energy release throughout the day. 

There is no benefit to cutting carbohydrates completely after 3 pm or altogether from your diet. Several studies have looked at carbohydrate timing on fat loss and found no difference in fat loss rates consuming carbs in the morning or evening.

Myth #3 - Protein Will Make Me ‘Bulky’

Protein should be a vital component in your diet. Protein is commonly associated with maintaining, building, and repairing muscle tissue. However, this is just one of the roles of protein in the body and only occurs after all other systems are taken care of.

The reality is every cell in your body requires protein to function. Protein is comprised of amino acids needed for health, including the healthy growth of your hair and nails, as well as bone health, hormone production, immune system, liver and detoxification, antibody production, and many more processes. Once all these processes have been taken care of with adequate protein consumption then the body will look after the muscle tissue.

The myth that protein will make you gain too much muscle is a very farfetched one. Women do not have the hormonal profile to gain undesirable muscle tone and get the ‘huge’ look. This requires a hard and regular training regime, eating in a surplus of calories, and a strict supplement schedule. Female bodybuilders train for years and years to attain the look they have. It does not happen overnight and doesn’t happen merely by eating a high protein diet, so don’t be fooled it is not that easy.

Myth #4 - Eating Fat Makes You Fat

Cutting out or reducing your fat intake will not encourage or accelerate weight loss. Both mono- and polyunsaturated fats (healthy fats) serve a basis for hormonal production, aid in lowering cholesterol levels, and reduce your risk of heart disease and diabetes.  

Consumption of healthy fat promotes fat burning within the system. Often, we consume trans fats contained within baked and processed goods from store shelves. These fats are literally useless for our body and as such; we can’t use them for any effective purpose. These types of fats often put us in a surplus of calories and therefore can encourage fat gain.

In contrast, eating healthy fat also promotes proper hormonal function and a healthy metabolism; this means that you’ll burn fat faster. Healthy fat is also extremely important for the production and control of female sex hormones (testosterone and oestrogen) which play a role in providing energy, libido, muscle mass, and a healthy menstrual cycle. An imbalance of these hormones can cause mood swings, reduced sex drive, irritability, PMS, depression, and anxiety. A study in men found if dietary fats are too low for too long, decreases in testosterone production occur.

Onwards and upwards

Now that you’ve had a chance to thoroughly read through these common myths and see the truth behind them all; you’d be forgiven for feeling a little annoyed at yourself if you’ve ever bought into any of them. One of the most important take-aways from this article is that all macronutrients are important, and each of them plays a unique role in body composition.

One of the main reasons why so many dieting myths have become so widespread; people are incredibly gullible when it comes to weight loss methods and those who preach their beliefs can be very overpowering. Now that you know the truth, you’re armed with the power of knowledge and can hopefully help others to avoid these common pitfalls too.


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