Last Wednesday I was talking to one of my yoga students after class, and she said, “I bet you eat low carb, don’t you?” I told her no, I actually don’t. We talked a bit further and I learned that she was interested in a foolproof way to lose some weight.

What I didn’t tell her was that adopting one certain dietary style is never the solution. Losing weight comes down to behavior change –  regardless of dietary plan.

But it’s not quite as simple as adopting new behaviors. Humans are irrational, emotional and hard-wired to opt for comfort over scarcity.

In addition when it comes to “counting” calories (something that I rarely recommend), different macronutrients posses different “thermic effects” (Fat: 2–3%, Carbs: 6–8%, Protein: 25–30% and to make it more complex, carbs with fiber don’t burn at the same rate)

Then, for weight loss to occur, you also have to consider an individual’s total daily energy expenditure.

The key is to eat enough to fuel your body, feel satiated and satisfied without eating to excess. If low-carb helps you consume less – and it does for many – then that might be a dietary pattern to adopt. If intermittent fasting, or time-restricted eating, helps you reduce caloric intake, then that might be an option. Some choose carnivore and it works (especially for those prone to auto-immune issues). Others find veganism to be a good option.

Instead of weighing pros and cons of different nutritional styles, I’m going to detail some of the myths as they relate to various dietary plans.

Myth: Intermittent fasting is a magic solution for weight loss.

Reality: While intermittent fasting can be an effective tool for weight loss, it is not magic. Successful weight loss still requires a calorie deficit, meaning you must consume fewer calories than your body burns. Intermittent fasting can help some people achieve a calorie deficit by restricting the eating window, but it won’t work if you consistently consume excessive calories during the eating period.

Myth: You can eat whatever you want during the eating “window” without gaining weight.

Reality: Even with intermittent fasting, the quality of the food you consume matters. Relying on highly processed, calorie-dense, and unhealthy foods can hinder your weight loss goals and negatively impact your health. Nutrient-dense, whole foods are still essential for balanced and sustainable weight loss.

Myth: Intermittent fasting slows down your metabolism and can negatively impact muscle mass.

Reality: There is limited evidence to suggest that intermittent fasting slows down metabolism. In fact, some studies have shown that it may have a minimal effect on metabolic rate or even have a slight increase. However, individual responses to intermittent fasting varies, and if adequate protein is not consumed and resistance training is skipped, it could lead to muscle loss, which may negatively impact metabolic rate.

Myth: Low-carb diets are just about eating high amounts of protein.

Reality: While low-carb diets often do include higher protein intake, they are not solely about consuming large amounts of protein. The main emphasis of a low-carb diet is on reducing carbohydrate intake to encourage the body to burn stored fat as energy. A well-balanced low-carb diet should include healthy fats, such as those from avocados, nuts, and olive oil, as well as an adequate intake of vegetables and other nutrient-dense foods.

Myth: Low-carb diets are unhealthy and lacking in nutrients.

Reality: A properly planned and balanced low-carb diet can be healthy and nutrient-dense. Eliminating refined sugars and processed carbohydrates and focusing on whole, natural foods can lead to improved health outcomes. However, like any diet, it is essential to ensure you’re getting all the necessary nutrients. Low-carb diets should include a variety of vegetables, fruits, lean proteins, and healthy fats.

Myth: The carnivore diet can cure all health issues.

Reality: While some individuals may experience improvements in certain health conditions when starting a carnivore diet, claiming it as a universal cure for all health issues is misleading. The scientific evidence supporting the long-term health effects and safety of a strict carnivore diet is limited, and individual responses to such diets can vary a lot. Some people may thrive on this diet, but others may experience adverse effects. Health conditions are complex and require personalized, evidence-based approaches that consider dietary AND lifestyle factors.

Myth: Vegans don’t get enough protein.

Reality: One of the most persistent myths about vegan diets is that they lack sufficient protein. While animal products are rich sources of protein, many plant-based foods are also valid protein sources. Vegans can obtain all essential amino acids by consuming a variety of plant-based protein sources such as legumes (beans, lentils), tofu, tempeh, seitan, quinoa, nuts, seeds, and whole grains. A well-planned vegan diet can provide adequate protein to support good health and overall bodily functions.

Myth: Vegan diets are inherently unhealthy.

Reality: The healthfulness of ANY diet depends on the food choices made within that diet. A well-balanced and diverse vegan diet rich in whole foods, fruits, vegetables, legumes, whole grains, nuts, and seeds might offer many benefits. However, a diet consisting of heavily processed vegan junk foods and lacking in essential nutrients can be detrimental to health, just like any unhealthy diet comprised of overly processed foods.

Myth: Certain foods or diets can magically “burn” fat.

Reality: There is no magical food or diet that can “burn” fat. While some foods like green tea or spicy foods might have minor thermogenic effects (increasing calorie expenditure), the overall impact on weight loss is minimal. It’s essential to focus on overall patterns, portion control, and regular movement and exercise rather than relying on specific “fat-burning” foods or diets.

Myth: You have to completely avoid certain food groups to lose weight.

Reality: Eliminating entire food groups, such as carbohydrates or fats, is not necessary for weight loss and can lead to imbalances and nutrient deficiencies. Each macronutrient (carbohydrates, proteins, and fats) plays a role in your body’s functioning, and a balanced diet should include all of them in appropriate proportions. Instead of cutting out entire food groups, focus on making healthier choices within each group. Choose fiber-rich foods, lean proteins, and healthy fats while moderating added sugars and alcohol.

It’s important to approach weight loss with a realistic and evidence-based perspective. Choosing a plan and sticking to it can be a daunting endeavor. You may want to adopt a balanced and personalized approach that includes a variety of nutrient-dense foods, daily movement and physical activity, and building healthy lifestyle habits. If you do have specific goals, consider that working with me might be a move forward towards better health and productivity.


I work with mid-life men and women who want to feel younger through improving their relationship to food, movement and mindfulness.

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