When it comes to weight loss advice, establish fact from fiction.
Diet and lifestyle information is more easily available than ever before. In fact, more than 40% of people report that social media influences their health behaviors, reports the CDC. Although online information can be a source for good, self-proclaimed “experts” are taking over social media with bad advice and it could be hurting your health.
Don’t believe everything you read.
A Study presented earlier this year at the European Congress on Obesity in Glasgow, UK revealed that weight-loss information from top social media influencers was largely flawed. Researchers scored blogs using several criteria to rate credibility. Only 1 of the 9 blogs was found to provide credible information from a qualified nutrition expert. Of the misinformed blogs, some even provided recipes or meal plans that would likely lead to weight gain, not loss.
You may be doing more harm than good.
Following crash diets to get that quick-fix is a harmful cycle of restriction, weight loss, bingeing, and weight gain. Short-term, you might lose some water weight. Long-term, crash diets can lead to food obsessions, eating disorders, and impaired metabolism, leaving you less healthy (and maybe even heavier) than you were to begin.
Don’t be fooled
Watch out for these telltale signs of bad nutrition advice:
1. It sounds too good to be true
One exotic ingredient or simple trick is not enough to reach your weight goals. Healthy, sustainable weight loss takes work and is the result of many lifestyle changes over time.
2. The diet is overly restrictive
By eliminating entire food groups, you also eliminate important sources of nutrients your body needs. Unless you have a diagnosed allergy or intolerance, it is best to eat a balance and variety of healthy foods like whole grains, vegetables, fruits, beans, lean protein, nuts and seeds.
3. Promises for a quick fix
Rapid weight changes are usually due to water weight and are short-lived.
4. You need to buy something
Save your money! Aside from a healthy grocery list and a pair of walking shoes, you already have everything you need to lose weight, and keep it off!
5. Mistrusts health experts
Steer clear of sites that claim to have uncovered the “secret” to weight loss. Nutrition experts devote their careers to making the world a healthier place, not the other way around.
Slow and steady wins the race.
The truth is, there is no magic pill for weight loss. The best way to get results is the old-fashioned way. In a nutshell: more of the good stuff, less of the bad stuff, watch portions, get enough sleep, drink water, move more.
Changes take time and must be sustainable long-term. To channel the movie, Sandlot, healthy habits should last FOR-EV-ER.
Find an Expert
For reliable resources, look for information written by qualified experts like registered dietitians, or from reputable sites like eatright.org, or choosemyplate.gov.