The Harmful Food Myth That Won't Actually Help You Achieve Your Body Goals

When it comes to achieving body goals, it usually involves proper nutrition. "Exercise alone is not going to help you in the long run," says dietitian Natacha Borrajo from Baptist Health Primary Care. "It might be a good habit to create, but then you need to start incorporating good eating habits if you're ever going to maintain a healthy weight." Although maintaining a healthy weight is great for your health, when trying to shed some pounds, it's tempting to make it happen overnight. That's why many resort to the most buzzworthy diet options to help themselves fit into their favorite tight dresses as fast as possible without regard to their health.

However, going on a diet is not solely about cutting back on tasty foods to keep some weight off and reduce your body size. It is a commitment that takes patience and understanding of your body's system since it can be tricky to find the diet that works for you in the long run. Some may even inflict damage on your health while still struggling to achieve your goal weight. With that being said, check out this harmful food myth that does little to help you achieve your body goals.

Restriction does not equal success

If you want to lose weight effectively and sustainably, you should forget that eating with restrictions is the key to success. "Restriction invariably makes us want to do the very thing we are trying to restrict: It focuses attention on scarcity, which makes the body thinks it needs more of that food. Restriction also causes hunger, which is just not sustainable," weight loss expert Dr. Adrienne Youdim tells The Everygirl. Instead of delaying gratification and suppressing appetite, eat more weight-loss-friendly foods to get full before cravings for sugary snacks hit.

For example, incorporating more greens into your meals can be helpful for weight loss. After all, they are low in calories and high in fiber, which helps you feel full fast and satiated for longer. Therefore, the next time you feel pangs of hunger, do not try to distract yourself by drinking sparkling water or taking a nap. Instead, choose to accommodate your appetite and whip up some roasted Brussels sprouts, beef with broccoli, or honey-garlic cauliflower. Not only do they pack a nutritional and flavorful punch, but they promote a sense of fullness without the added pressure of weight gain. Midday pick-me-ups, like edamame with cottage cheese and coconut chips, may also keep your stomach satisfied between meals without gaining weight.

Foods and drinks that leave you hungry

While trying to lose weight, do not be fooled by those low-fat or zero-calorie labels in the foreground. You don't have to count out fats from your diet completely. In fact, many low-fat or fat-free foods can leave you with more food cravings and potentially increase weight gain. For instance, low-fat yogurts contain artificial sweeteners that increase your blood sugar while leaving you feeling hungry after eating, per WebMD. On the other hand, fats can make us feel satiated for longer and prevent us from overeating. "Fat is an energy provider," says dietitian Mindy Haar (via Healthline). "Fats are the last to leave the digestive tract and thus provide satiety." In a 2013 study in the Scandinavian Journal of Primary Health Care, middle-aged men who regularly consumed high-fat dairy products had a much lower chance of developing central obesity over a 12-year period than those who consumed a low intake of dairy fat. 

Professor Dr. Frank Hu of Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health says that you're unlikely to gain weight as long as you don't consume more than 20 grams of saturated fat per day. Also, staying away from diet coke is a good idea when you're on a diet since they're infused with aspartame — a type of artificial sweetener, says The Coca-Cola Company. Artificial sweeteners such as aspartame can lead to increased appetite and potential weight gain, explains a 2010 study published in The Yale Journal of Biology and Medicine.