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Dispelling popular diet myths

Dr. Mehmet Oz dispelled common diet myths that could sabotage weight loss on the April 21 episode of the "Dr. Oz Show." Dr. Oz's guest was obesity expert Dr. Joel Fuhrman, who said the wrong beliefs about dieting are what make it hard for some people to lose weight and keep it off.

"About 89% of you believe these lies," said Dr. Oz. "If women stop believing these lies, they can lose weight without having to worry about dieting again."

'Five Small Meals a Day' Is a Myth

The first weight-loss myth is that you need to eat five to six small meals a day to boost your metabolism. Dr. Fuhrman, author of The End of Dieting, said eating too frequently throughout the day actually keeps you fat because you never give your body a chance to burn your fat stores.

Dr. Fuhrman recommends eating no more than three meals a day that are spaced out several hours apart. He also said you shouldn't snack between meals and suggested you stop eating for the day after dinner.

This is an idea that "The Biggest Loser" star Jillian Michaels agrees with. "If you keep eating small amounts of food throughout the day, you'll never burn any fat," said Michaels, author of Slim For Life.

"When you're constantly eating, you're consistently releasing insulin, which puts your body into its 'absorptive phase.' What this means is that the insulin in your body is storing sugar, and not letting other enzymes in your body release sugar to break down fat."

'You Can't Out-Exercise a Bad Diet'

Another myth Dr. Oz dispelled is that you have to exercise to lose weight. Dr. Fuhrman agrees with many fitness experts (like celebrity trainer Bob Harper, author of Skinny Meals), who said diet trumps exercise when it comes to weight loss.

Dr. Fuhrman said exercise is a great way to tone muscles and enhance longevity, but as a weight loss tool, it's far less effective than dieting. Fuhrman went a step further and said exercise can actually make you more hungry, so you don't "need" to work out if weight loss is strictly your goal.

Science writer Gary Taubes agrees. Taubes, author of Why We Get Fat: And What to Do About It, said the best way to lose weight is to follow a low-carb diet that increases your intake of healthy fats and protein.

We don't get fat because we overeat; we overeat because we're getting fat," wrote Taubes. The simple answer as to why we get fat is that carbohydrates make us so. Protein and fat do not."

Finally, Dr. Oz debunked the weight-loss myth that it's okay to have one "cheat day" a week when you're dieting. Dr. Fuhrman, a vegan, said allowing yourself to binge-eat one day can actually trigger an even bigger binge down the line.

Dr. Melina Jampolis: Why Some Vegetarians Gain Weight

On a separate segment of his show, Dr. Oz's guest was CNN diet expert Dr. Melina Jampolis, who explained why some people gain weight on a vegetarian diet.

Dr. Jampolis, author of The Calendar Diet, said a vegetarian diet is great for reducing cancer risk and lowering blood pressure, but can sometimes fuel weight gain when people make the wrong food choices. These are the common mistakes some vegetarians make:

- Eating too many carbs. Melina said eating too many carbs without protein causes a blood-sugar spike, which promotes belly-fat storage and raises stress hormones. She suggested pairing your carb intake with some healthy proteins, such as lentils, quinoa, Greek yogurt, hemp seeds and almonds.

- Too much processed food. Dr. Jampolis, who also wrote The Busy Person's Guide to Permanent Weight Loss, said packaged vegetarian meals pack a lot of sodium and calories, so limit these to no more than three a week.

- Gorging on cheese. Dr. Jampolis said eating cheese is great for calcium, but keep in mind cheese has lots of calories, so don't go overboard.


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