Eating after 6 p.m. leads to weight gain
While late-night eating has been linked to weight gain, putting a cut-off time on eating doesn’t ensure diet success. In reality, putting restrictions on when you cannot eat doesn’t align with modern lifestyles, as many people don’t get home from work early enough to follow time restrictions, explains Susan Kraus, clinical dietitian at Hackensack University Medical Center in New Jersey. “The problem lies in what and how much you eat,” says Kraus. “After a tough day at work, people tend to reward themselves with food or they may have not eaten well during the day and feel they have to make up for it.” The best strategy for eating at the end of the day is to plan ahead and be aware of how much you are eating in the evening. Having a healthy snack later in the day can help curb your appetite and prevent overeating at dinner, while eating small, nutrient-rich meals rather than large mixed meals before bed has been shown to be beneficial, helping with morning metabolism and satiety.
Fat-free and low-fat foods are better for weight loss than those that have fat
Many people look at the word fat-free on the label and think that it means fewer calories, says Grace Derocha, a registered dietitian at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan. “But often fat-free foods have more calories.” When you take the fat out of any processed food item, because of food science, you usually have to fill it with other ingredients, and those other ingredients are usually sugar, sugar alcohols, sugar substitutes, or sodium, she explains. It’s important to read the labels and look for healthier choices at the supermarket. While the American Heart Association recommends limiting saturated fat intake to no more than five to six percent of total calories (that’s about 11 to 13 grams of fat per day based on a 2,000 calorie-a-day diet), cutting the fat by eating low-fat foods with high-sugar content has been shown to cause weight gain, liver damage, and brain inflammation. You also need to be aware of foods labeled “sugar free,” says Derocha. “Sugar-free foods are not necessarily carbohydrate free.”