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Myths Busted: 5 'Healthy' Eating Fads That Don't Work

Diets nowadays are like fashion trends. When we say "diet", we should be referring to maintaining a healthy eating routine with whole, nutritious foods, but somehow this has been distorted into fads that promise quick fixes for your weight woes. Partially attributed to celebrity hype, diet fads have caused more of a bandwagon effect than the early days of the Atkins craze. Before you drop your dollars on some convoluted teatox or juice cleanse, here are some myths we've busted when it comes to crash dieting.

"DON'T EAT AFTER 8 P.M. YOUR BODY BURNS LESS CALORIES AND STORES MORE FAT."

Not only does this seem to cause heaps of problems for your social life, it seems downright bizarre that your metabolism seems to have an innate clock that checks out after a certain timing and calls quits on fat burning. Calories don't know the time. Just be sure to ingest healthier snacks, especially when you haven't worked out that day. The next time you hit the play button on Netflix, hunker down with a healthy, high-protein snack like edamame instead of potato chips (more healthy snack ideas here!) or have a casein protein shake before bedtime to keep your body synthesising protein to muscle, even when asleep. Lush Protein Micellar Casein ($58) is a good one to try. Plus point: it's chocolate-flavoured.

"EAT SMALL, FREQUENT MEALS TO GET YOUR METABOLISM LEVELS UP."

This tip seems to come up often in most purportedly healthy diet routines. The idea is if you eat more meals with smaller time windows in between, your metabolism will increase and burn more calories throughout the day. It's completely false. As long as you are not starving yourself daily, the difference in metabolic activity is insignificant. While maintaining an exercise regimen boosts your basal metabolic rate, it is due to the increase in lean muscle mass, and has little to do with eating small, frequent meals. Introduce weight-lifting into your exercise routine, as 2.2kgs of lean muscle mass burns 31.1 calories, having more lean muscle means you'd be burning more calories on the move. You can supplement with healthier snacks throughout the day, but make sure your three staple meals are filled with wholesome food to really provide your body with the nutrients it needs.

"JUICE CLEANSES AND TEATOXES ARE AMAZING WAYS TO LOSE WEIGHT AND TONE UP!"

This one deserves a big "nope". Many drinks marketed as "skinny teas" are actually riddled with laxatives and caffeine, which could pose potential damage to your digestive system when used long-term. If borderline starvation and hitting the toilet frequently is a method of weight loss, there needs to be some serious re-evaluation. Juice cleanses, on the other hand, promise detoxification and cell hydration, which is nothing but excessive marketing with little scientific evidence in its favour. Not only are the juices ridiculously expensive, you don't actually need them to assist your body's natural detox factories — the liver and kidney. All it takes to prevent toxins from damaging your health is to maintain a healthy diet, and abstain from toxins like alcohol, or consume them in moderation. Taking Vitamin B, like GNC Vitamin B-12 ($23), is also a good way to supply your liver with the necessary vitamins it needs to aid natural detoxification.

"DRINK WATER TO LOSE WEIGHT."

Water does not help you lose weight per se, but drinking water instead of sugary drinks will definitely make a difference in the scales over time. This statement has gained so much traction simply because people aren't drinking enough water, hence a slight increment in their water intake and the health benefits associated with it makes water seem miraculous. Let's be honest, how many of us can confidently say we drink the recommended amount of at least 2 litres of water a day? Keep your body hydrated, and consume less sugary drinks to see a real difference, but don't attribute water on its own as the key means to weight loss.

"CALORIES DON'T MATTER WHEN YOU EAT HEALTHY."

Despite food being more nutritious, it doesn't mean the calories are negligible. While eating avocados and almond nut butter delivers healthy fats to your body, consuming four avocados a day while chanting "it's healthy" to yourself like a mantra doesn't negate the fact that it can pack quite a hefty calorie punch when eaten excessively. Just know how much calories and fats you should be consuming a day, and stick to eating in moderation. Balance is always key when it comes to losing weight, as in the end, a calorie is a calorie and they add up quick.

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