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Hungry Girl Today: 7.20.12

There are SO many diet myths floating around. Here are a few misconceptions that we feel need to be OUTED as being way off base... and some diet facts too!

"To lose weight, pick a daily calorie limit and stick with it 'til the weight comes off."
NOPE. Here's the thing -- there's not one special number that works for everyone. You and a friend could eat exactly the same foods, in exactly the same amounts, and only one of you might lose weight. The number of calories needed for weight loss varies due to many factors: current weight, height, activity level, etc. Plus, that number can change as you drop pounds. If you want some instant info, consult a calorie calculator that takes the aforementioned factors into consideration. You may also want to talk to a doctor or nutritionist for professional advice.

"Getting lots of sleep can help with weight management."
TRUE! Think about it this way: When you're sleep deprived, you don't feel energized. And neither does the rest of your body... which means less energy for efficiently burning calories. A recent study found that sleeping for more than 9 hours a night could suppress genetic influences on weight and favorably affect BMI (body mass index). On the flip side, getting less than 7 hours of shut-eye had the opposite effect. Another study found that merely viewing junk food while sleep deprived activated reward centers in a person's brain -- more so than those who got a sufficient amount of sleep -- which could make said food harder to resist. Rest is important, people!

"Eating after (fill in the blank time) is a bad idea."
NOT NECESSARILY. There's not a magic time at which, if you continue to eat, you will turn into a pumpkin. However, if you give yourself a cut-off time, you may take in fewer calories as a result of consuming less food, like evening snacks. Of course, if you cram in a huge snack before your cut-off point, the concept could work against you. Our advice? Pay attention to total caloric intake and the times of day you eat. If you find yourself consuming excess calories late at night, consider setting a nightly limit, but continue to monitor your overall calorie intake.

"Skipping breakfast is a smart way to cut calories."
BOOO... Chances are, you'll eventually get super-hungry from the extended fast (there's a reason they call it BREAK-FAST) and be prone to making bad food decisions. You could end up consuming more calories overall than if you'd eaten a smart morning meal. In fact, a new study found that people who ate breakfast every day were less likely to become obese or develop type 2 diabetes than those who didn't. It was also noted that people who ate breakfast regularly were likely to have other healthy habits. So what do you do if you're not hungry first thing in the a.m.? Be prepared. Have an on-the-go breakfast ready for later in the morning. Who's a savvy eater? You are!

Looking for More Myths to Bust?

Click here to uncover what ALL successful diets do, calorie burning 101, and the 411 on eating slowly!

The need-to-know info on negative-calorie foods, margarine versus butter, and more is just a click away.

Learn about salad myths, combating cravings, and calorie-slashing overkill HERE.

Cutting carbs, water for weight loss, vegetarian diets, ditching dairy -- click for the rundown!

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Hooray! It's July 20th, National Lollipop Day. Will we be celebrating with 60-calorie Tootsie Pops? OF COURSE. They're filled with TOOTSIE ROLLS; why wouldn't we?

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