Dispelling Common Food Myths

By author photo Jenny Craig Team


Today nutrition and weight loss information is everywhere; we’re bombarded with it in newspapers, magazines, on the TV, social media and radio. It seems like everyone is their own food and nutrition expert, and with so much information out there, how can you really tell fact from fiction? At Jenny, we’re here to help, our expert team of dietitians have busted some common food and weight loss myths to make sure you’re getting the right information!

Myth: I shouldn’t eat any fat.

The reality: Healthy fats (unsaturated fats) are an important part of a healthy diet and are needed for many important roles in the body – including transporting nutrients around the body, making hormones and reducing our risk of disease. Fat can also help to make us feel fuller for longer after and between meals.

When it comes to weight loss, kilojoules are the bottom line. Yes it’s true that fat provides around double the number of kilojoules compared to carbohydrate or protein; but if you eat more kilojoules than your body uses, you’ll put on weight regardless of whether those kilojoules are coming from fat, carbohydrate or protein.

If you’re wanting to lose weight, foods containing healthy (unsaturated) fats like oily fish, avocado, nuts and seeds can still be enjoyed as part of a healthy diet, but, like with any other types of foods, it is important to watch your portion sizes as the kilojoules can add up quickly! You may want to also choose reduced fat and lean varieties of foods (like dairy and meat), as a way to reduce the number of kilojoules and saturated (unhealthy) fat you’re eating. But be sure to check the label as some reduced-fat or fat-free foods have added sugar to maintain their flavour, which increases the kilojoules.

Myth: Certain foods can help burn fat.

The reality: Unfortunately, there are no foods that have a significant effect on how your body burns fat. The best way to burn fat is through good old-fashioned diet and exercise. Eating a healthy diet, along with a good exercise regime that includes both cardio and resistance activities.

Myth: Cutting out carbohydrates is the best way to lose weight.

The reality: Initially when you follow a low carbohydrate diet you may lose weight quickly because your body is losing mostly water. This is because the body is breaking down glycogen stores (carbohydrate stores) and water is stored with glycogen, so when this breaks down you lose a lot of water from your body.

Carbohydrates are the body’s preferred energy source and in the long term these types of diets can be difficult to follow and it can sometimes mean that you’re cutting out whole food groups from your diet. Research also shows that low carbohydrate diets are no more effective than higher carbohydrate diets for weight loss.^

Myth: I can only lose weight if I eat less than 4500 kilojoules per day.

The reality: The correct kilojoule restriction for weight loss can be very individual and depends on a number of factors such as gender, age, weight and activity level. Consuming too few kilojoules can actually have the opposite effect and can potentially impact your metabolism. Our bodies are very good at adjusting in order to survive. By not consuming enough kilojoules, your body may then tend to conserve more of the kilojoules you eat, making it more difficult for you to lose weight.

If you’re looking to lose weight and are unsure about how to alter your diet, it’s best to consult your doctor or dietitian. At Jenny Craig we offer menus based on different kilojoule levels and we assess every person individually to ensure that you’re achieving the right balance of kilojoules to meet your weight loss needs.

^ (Dietitians Association Australia 2012)

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