Three Diet Myths Debunked By a Pasadena Dietitian

Saturday, July 2, 2016 | 1:52 am

As a culture, we are obsessed with diets but we all know that this focus on food can lead to unhealthy lifestyles. Luckily, we consulted with a local dietician to get the scoop on healthy eating and diets that won’t ruin your life.

Dietician Michaela Ballmann debunks three of the most common diet myths that she’s tired of hearing.

1. “Eat less and exercise more to lose weight.”

A lot of people, especially women, are already eating so few calories that it is hard to reduce their calories further and also expect them to have energy to do an hour of exercise a day.

“I try to get people to actually eat more to heal their metabolisms and at least to eat a larger volume or quantity of food,” she said.

2. “There are good and bad foods.”

Most diets distinguish themselves by the types of foods they label as good or bad, allowed or not allowed. Some diets say carbs are bad, or sugar is toxic. Others say you have to eliminate all oil and fat.

“This type of black and white labeling of foods is not only unhealthy but it’s also wrong! Carbohydrates are not bad — vegetables, fruit, and whole grains are predominantly carbohydrate. It’s just that this is a food that people in general tend to overeat. So, just eat fewer carbohydrates, but no need to demonize foods or tell lies about them,” she added.

3. “All you need is more willpower”.

Diets are designed to fail – I just wrote a blog post on how diets make you fat. There are several cycles that occur which leads into the all too common yo-yo dieting cycle. She describes how too few Calories leads to being hungry, which leads to food cravings, which encourages binging and weight gain. Afterward, people typically call it quits, which leads to feelings of guilt, shame, being “out of control” and a failure. They try to “getting serious this time”, recommit and usually end up trying a different diet, which leads to the same cycle (or a different but equally damaging cycle).

Ballmann explains that one big influence on willpower is blood sugar or glucose available to the brain. I’m sure that anyone who has gone on a low-carbohydrate or a low-calorie diet has experienced that lack of energy or brain fog. It’s very easy to understand how not having enough calories or energy would deplete your willpower.

So fix the diet, don’t waste your energy trying to muster up willpower.

Instead of falling into the trap of yo-yo dieting, it’s much healthier to take baby steps. For more help with nutrition and meal planning, visit Michaela Ballmann at or call (626) 552-9355.

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