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Weight loss myths

Below are 5 myths that people sometimes have about weight loss. We've taken the opportunity to set the record straight.

Myth 1: you can turn fat into muscle

It's a myth that you can turn fat into muscle. The reverse is also true: your body can't turn muscle into fat.

This is because they are two entirely different tissues inside your body. But what you can do is lose fat and gain muscle mass.

Myth 2: missing meals means faster weight loss

Eating fewer calories than you're burning will result in weight loss, but you can't maintain a healthy weight by missing meals. There's a risk you'll miss out on much-needed nutrients from meals that you choose not to eat.

Losing weight by missing meals also isn't sustainable longer term. It may leave your body low in energy, meaning you may crave high fat and sugar snacks for an immediate energy boost.

Myth 3: carbs make you put on weight

Any food can cause weight gain if you eat too much. If you frequently consume more energy than your body uses, you're likely to gain weight.

Wholemeal carbohydrate (starchy) foods won't make you put on weight if you eat the right portion size in a balanced diet.

Most often, it is the fats you can add to carbohydrate (starchy) foods that can lead to weight gain. For example, butter in mashed potato or creamy sauces on pasta.

Myth 4: 'reduced fat' or 'diet' foods aid weight loss

Reduced-fat foods may generally contain fewer calories than the 'normal' versions. But it's important to remember that 'reduced fat' does not always mean 'low fat'.

It's also common that 'lower fat' versions of foods are often higher in sugar, as they have to compensate with something to achieve a similar taste. If you're on a weight loss journey, you will be looking to avoid both sugars and certain fats.

It's key to check the food label and ingredients lists on these marketed 'diet' products. Find out more about food labelling.

Myth 5: as long as I stick to the recommended calorie intake I'll lose weight

Not all calories are the same and they won't all have the same effect on your health and weight. A calorie from fat (chocolate) isn't the same as a calorie from protein (lean chicken).

Proteins can increase metabolism, reduce appetite and improve how weight monitoring hormones work. It's important that the calories you do choose to eat are from healthy sources.

You can achieve healthy weight loss through a healthy, balanced diet and regular physical activity. If you want to know more about your current eating habits and activity levels, take our healthy eating quiz or physical activity quiz.

What's next

If you're now ready to change, set yourself a goal for weight loss

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