When it comes to weight loss, it's often true that what you think you know can hurt you.
They're called diet myths -- and they're the cause of weight loss failure for many of us.
Today, with the help of NBC Chief Medical Editor Nancy Snyderman, we're going to bust 10 of the most prevalent diet myths so you can drop those pesky extra pounds once and for all!
Last year, Dr. Snyderman discussed weight loss fallacies in her best-selling book, Diet Myths That Keep Us Fat (Crown). So Nancy, what are the "truisms" that just aren't true?
"Most of us have been following certain 'rules' for losing weight all our lives," Dr. Snyderman says. "These rules come and go. We are fascinated by them; we follow them. We throw out everything we're doing and embrace the latest rule.
"If it doesn't work, we blame ourselves for messing up. The truth is that these rules are largely 'myths,' misinformation that is often considered to be true."
Weight control is not about willpower, and it's more than just what you put in your mouth (or don't). Obesity and being overweight are problems of many causes.
It has been proven that body shape can be an indicator of an increased risk of serious diseases. Fat around the waist, for example, has been linked to not only a greater risk of heart disease, diabetes and stroke, but also hypertension, breathing problems, disability, some cancers and higher mortality rates overall.
The "magic formula" to weight loss isn't about gimmicky diets. It's about calories in, calories out. A recent Harvard study proved it once and for all.
Carbs are not the enemy. They are the sugars, starches and fibers found in our food. Carbs are also the primary source of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and phtyochemicals.
For those of us with celiac disease and a reaction to gluten, certain carbs are not just bad, but they can also be life-threatening. Just as there are good fats and bad fats, there are good carbs and bad carbs.
Developing a safe, effective diet pill remains the Holy Grail in obesity treatment. Scores of diet pills have come and gone, raking in billions of dollars for pharmaceutical companies. Unfortunately, we are no closer to having that magic pill than we were 30 years ago.
It is a myth that we can diet our way to slimness without ever lifting a finger or leg or even a dumbbell -- a myth on par with "lose weight while you sleep" or "all-natural fat magnet zaps fat" and other claims that are about as credible as a note from the tooth fairy.
Americans spend $22 billion a year on supplements. People believe supplements can replace not only food but also medicine. I do not mean to be a killjoy but more negative science on supplements is crossing my desk than ever before.
This is a huge myth that has been gathering steam for decades. There is too much evidence that reducing your fat intake, particularly from certain types of "bad fats," will indeed lower your risk of heart disease, stroke, cancer and other diseases.
To keep off weight -- and stay healthy -- you need to boost your fruit, veggie and complex carbohydrate intake and consume no more than 20 to 30 percent of your calories from fat. Portion control is critical too.
Snyderman notes, "Many of us have been fed bad information about diet, nutrition, and weight loss. Bad information means bad choices, and bad choices mean bad results - or no results. You can't get in shape and stay healthy unless you know the truth."
No truer words have ever been spoken Nancy!