GP busts common weight-loss myths - including avoiding carbs

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GP Sameer Sanghvi has busted some weight-loss myths so you don
GP Sameer Sanghvi has busted some weight-loss myths so you don't get sidetracked. (Image: Getty Images/iStockphoto/Lloydspharmacy)

As the new year creaks into gear and we haul our heavily-indulged bodies over the starting line, our attention inevitably falls onto how we can be fitter and healthier.

And while the internet can provide a lot of helpful information on losing weight, it can also harbour a heck of a lot of falsehoods, too.

In an effort to separate fact from fiction, GP at LloydsPharmacy Online Dr Sameer Sanghvi has helpfully busted four myths that are so off-beam they could easily derail your weight loss goals.

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He says: “Around this time of year, lots of people turn their attention to their goals. The New Year offers a great opportunity to make healthy eating and getting active your priority. Losing weight can reduce your risk of all sorts of health conditions, from asthma to heart disease and from cancer to osteoarthritis.

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Dr Sanghvi stresses he does not promote any kind of crash diet 'as these tend to slow down your metabolism, impacting your ability to lose weight'.

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Similarly, he wouldn’t encourage banning entire food groups, as this can lead to deficiencies in vital vitamins and minerals.

“In my experience, losing weight takes time and dedication. Aim to lose no more than 1kg a week. I always tell patients to focus on making a few realistic changes to their diets and activity routines,” he says.

Myth #1 - 'Coconut oil is the healthiest cooking oil'

“Coconut oil is often used by lifestyle influencers and is touted as a superfood alternative to other cooking oils but coconut oil actually has 20 per cent more calories than butter.

“In addition to this, coconut oil also contains around 65 per cent more saturated fat than butter - the same amount as beef dripping. This type of fat is linked to bad cholesterol and therefore can contribute to issues like heart disease and strokes.

“Like butter, coconut oil is fine to eat in moderation. But please understand it’s certainly not a weight management aid.”

Myth #2 - ‘Low fat’ or ‘reduced fat’ is the answer

“There is no legal requirement that stipulates how little fat should be contained in foods labelled ‘low fat’ or ‘reduced fat’.

Food brands can use this label simply because the product contains at least 30 per cent less fat than the full-fat version. The ‘low fat’ version may still therefore constitute a high-fat food.

“On top of this, many low fat foods often contain high levels of sugar. Eating high amounts of sugar is going to, of course, work against your weight loss efforts as it’s high in calories but has little nutritional value.”

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Myth #3 - Some foods can speed up your metabolism

“Green tea, apple cider vinegar and chilli are just some of the foods said to increase your metabolism by helping the body to burn more calories and aid weight loss. But there is little scientific evidence to support this.

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“On top of that, many of the products said to boost your metabolism are high in sugar and caffeine.”

Myth #4 - Carbs are bad

“This is one of those blanket dieting rules that just isn’t accurate. Eating too many carbohydrates can, of course, be unhealthy and contribute to weight gain.

“But don’t forget that berries, lentils, beans and many other high fibre foods that are packed with nutrients are also high in carbohydrates. Lentils, for example, are a great food to eat if you’re trying to lose weight as they keep you feeling full.”

For more health and lifestyle advice, visit LloydsPharmacy Online Doctor’s hub

Paul Speed

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15.07.2024, 17:44 • Investigation