ArrowDownFill 1arrow-small-lineFill 1Cooking Light - EasyCooking Light - FastCooking Light - So GoodCooking Light - How-ToCooking Light - Staff FaveCooking Light Badge - Wow!GroupClose IconEmailEmpty Star IconLike Cooking Light on FacebookFull Star IconShapePage 1 Copy 3Page 1 Copy 2Grid IconHalf Star IconFollow Cooking Light on InstagramList IconMenu IconPrintSearch IconSpeech BubbleFollow Cooking Light on SnapchatFollow Cooking Light on TwitterWatch Cooking Light on YouTubeplay-iconWatch Cooking Light on Youtube

Diet Myth: Eat Healthy Foods, and You'll Lose Weight

Photo: Victor Protasio

Will eating better automatically help you shed pounds? Not exactly. Learn the science behind this myth and how overeating on healthy foods can still cause weight gain.

Recently, a woman came up to me to say how frustrated she was that she was not losing weight, despite eating all the "right" foods—whole grains, fat-free dairy, and of course lots of fruits and vegetables. The mistake she was making is a common one: mixing up the idea of the healthiness of food with its energy (calorie) content.

People have, of course, lost weight on diets rich in foods generally thought of as healthy, but they've also lost weight on both high-fat and low-fat diets, and even on diets consisting only of food purchased at McDonald's or composed largely of Twinkies. Fad diets that promote "magical" foods gain their power from restricting calories, not from the special qualities of grapefruit or apple cider vinegar.

BOTTOM LINE: The healthiness of a diet is separate from its calorie content. This isn't to say that you shouldn't eat a healthy diet. But you can't ignore the calories if weight loss is your goal.