With all the info out there, it’s hard to know what can really help you shed some pounds. EatingWell sorts the hope from the hype.

Samantha Cassetty, M.S. R.D.
August 11, 2020
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Pictured Recipe: Raspberry Yogurt Cereal Bowl

Though there are many ways to measure health aside from the scale, weight loss usually takes center stage for many when talking about health goals. An unfortunate consequence of how popular weight loss is that there is ample information, true or not, out there. We took a deeper dive into what the science says to separate weight loss facts from fiction.

Grapefruit Peels Off Pounds

That's a myth and it won’t quit; it’s been circulating since the 1930s, when the grapefruit diet first became a Hollywood obsession. The latest word: A recent analysis of three clinical trials showed no significant differences in body weight between participants who ate grapefruit and those who didn’t. The fruit is a low-cal hunger helper—half a medium grapefruit has just 40 calories and more than a gram of fiber—but it won’t produce any weight-loss miracles. So let’s put this 90- year-old myth to rest once and for all.

Green Tea Revs Metabolism

This one is not entirely true. Substances in green tea, including the antioxidant epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), have long been touted as metabolic boosters. However, a review of 15 studies found that the small bump in calorie burn was probably more related to the tea’s caffeine content than its EGCG, and thus not specific to green tea. (So your morning latte or cup of English Breakfast would likely have the same metabolism-goosing effect.) And previous research has shown that any weight loss is slight.

Yogurt Fast-Tracks Weight Loss

This is true-ish. A meta-analysis of diet, lifestyle and weight- gain data found that people who regularly ate yogurt had less risk of putting on pounds over a four-year period. And other research has linked the fermented food to greater weight loss and smaller waist circumference. The benefit may be the good gut microbes it contains and their anti-inflammatory effect on the body. (Inflammation has been tied to overweight and obesity.) But no direct cause-and-effect has been shown, meaning that yogurt eaters may simply have healthier lifestyles overall.

Go Big at Breakfast, Light at Night

True and worth the hype! For most, dinner is the largest meal of the day. But in terms of weight, you may be better off following the old advice to eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dinner like a pauper. New research compared people who consumed a large a.m. meal and meager dinner and vice versa. Participants had more than double the diet-induced thermogenesis (the increased calorie burn from eating and digestion) after breakfast than after dinner. That’s because your metabolism runs higher in the morning and slows at night, offering a weight-loss edge.

EatingWell, September 2020