Common nutrition mistakes that people usually make

Nutrition is one of the most important aspects of one’s health so avoid Common nutrition mistakes that people usually make. However, there are a lot of things that can have a negative impact on your health and slant the scales in your favor. Taking good nutrition is necessary for the body in order to enhance good health and growth and it will nourish our body.

Let’s be honest, nutrition can be confusing. It doesn’t matter what topic you research, you will always find contradictory information telling you to do different things. Although some nutrition topics are more debated than others, many people are still confused about some of the foundational nutrition principles and are making common nutrition mistakes that are preventing them from reaching their goals.

There is a  LOT  of nonsense going around in nutrition. So, here are the most common nutrition mistakes that people are making, that people seem to be repeating over and over, and some simple tips on how to ensure you’re on the right track.

1. Paying Attention to Calories but not Food Quality

The foundation of any good diet begins with the quality of the food that you eat. Whether your goal is to lose weight, gain weight, run faster, improve digesting, support aging, or simply eat better, the quality of the food that you eat is more important than how much you eat, when you eat, or what supplements you take.

Unfortunately, too many people focus on calories instead of the quality of the food making up those calories. Eating 1,800 calories in the form of processed food will not provide the same nutritional benefit as fresh, nutrient-dense, whole foods.

It’s important to understand that not all calories are created equal and the body is a lot more than a simple math equation.  Everything that you eat affects all aspects of your physical and mental health; from your stress level to your sleep habits to the state of your skin to your digestive health and so much more.

The quality of the food that you consume impacts your hormones, which are the master regulators of your health and weight, as well as your hunger cues and cravings, which will ultimately impact what you eat next. So, instead of only counting calories, start counting the chemical and ingredients in your food, and focus on food quality over quantity alone.

2. Paying Attention to Food Quality but not Calories

If you want to learn to eat well, you need to focus on food quality first, but you need to focus on total food volume as well. Yes, olive oil, avocado, kale, and chicken are all healthy whole foods, but that doesn’t give you free rein to eat as much as you want!

Remember, even too much of a good thing can be a bad thing, especially when it comes to weight loss. Although a person may be consuming a diet rich in whole foods, if you are not monitoring how much you are eating you can slow down your progress.

This is especially true for sources of fat in the diet, given that fat contains twice the amount of calories per serving as carbohydrates and protein, so an extra spoonful here and there can quickly add up over time.

Whole foods are far more satiating than processed foods and can, therefore, help to better navigate your own hunger cues, however, over-consumption of whole foods over time can still impede health goals, especially when it comes to weight loss.

3. Over consuming Natural Sugars

Yes, fruit, fruit juice, dried juice, maple syrup, and honey are natural sweeteners and much better options than refined sugars, however, there is still a limit to how much you can or should consume. All forms of dietary sugar, whether they are natural or refined, break down into glucose (sugar) by our digestive tract, and our body can only handle so much sugar at one time.

When consumed in the presence of fiber, such as fresh fruit, the absorption rate of sugar to the bloodstream is much slower, but when consumed in concentrated formats, such as fruit juice, dried fruit, maple syrup, or honey, they are quick to hit the bloodstream which can have a negative impact on one’s overall blood sugar and health.

It is certainly best to consume more natural sugars than refined sugars, however, it is also best that natural sugars be consumed in the presence of fiber.

As a general rule of thumb, it is best to consume more fresh fruit than concentrated sources (such as dried fruit and fruit juice), and also consume more vegetables than fruit, which generally contain less sugar and more fiber per serving, to help mitigate the damaging effects of all forms of sugar.

4. Under eating Protein

No, protein is not the cure-all solution to health, but a large majority of people continue to under consume protein on a daily basis. If your diet looks a little something like; bagel for breakfast, sandwich for lunch, granola bars and crackers for snacks, and pasta for dinner, it’s easy to see how many people are missing protein in their diet.

Although protein is often only seen as important for athletes and bodybuilders need, in truth, everyone needs protein. Proteins are molecules found in our food that are made up of amino acids which are the building blocks of life.

Although most popular for muscle building, these amino acids have many different roles in the body including acting as enzymes, hormones, neurotransmitters, and antibodies. The protein in our food also helps to replace “worn-out” cells, transport various substances throughout the body, and aid in growth and repair so without adequate protein intake, our bodies can’t function optimally.

Not only does protein has physical functions in the body, but protein is the most satiating macronutrient, meaning that it will help to keep you fullest the longest, balance your blood sugar, and minimize cravings.

Although the exact amount of protein required will vary from person to person based on their goals, as a general rule of thumb, you should consume a source of protein, animal or plant-based protein, at every meal.

5. Avoiding all Forms of Fat

Eat fat, get fat, right? Not quite. The idea that fat, especially saturated fat, is bad for you is the root of hundreds of other nutrition myths and is more damaging to your health than beneficial. Not only does the consumption of fat not impact weight at a linear rate, but saturated fat has been proven not to be the dietary evil it was made out to be.

In fact, the consumption of whole food sources of fat in the diet has been shown to improve cardiovascular risks, strengthen the immune system, improve brain health, improve lung health, improve liver health and support nutrition absorption.

Therefore, avoidance of whole food forms of fat in the diet does much more harm than good. On the contrary, it is the man-made refined and processed forms of fat, that we have been lead to believe are “heart-healthy”, such as vegetable oils, margarine, and butter alternatives, that are the most damaging to our health.

So, instead of opting for fat-free, low-fat, and non-fat options, and opt for natural fats such as butter, red meat, dairy, and animal fats, consume them in appropriate amounts, and avoid the man-made fats instead.

6. Relying on Supplements Instead of Food

It’s important to understand that supplements are 1% of the health equation. Yes, there may be specific periods of time where supplements can provide a much-needed boost or support, but assuming that supplements make up for a poor diet is misled.

Just as the name implies, supplements are a supplement to a healthy diet, not a replacement for it. Although the supplement industry promises silver bullets and quick fixes, that is not the reality of the situation.

Not to mention, the human body does a much better job at digesting, absorbing, and assimilating nutrients from whole foods as opposed to those that come in a capsule.

Humans have adapted to get nutrients from whole foods since most nutrients require enzymes, synergistic co-factors, and organic mineral-activators to be properly absorbed, which is not always the case with supplements.

Moreover, most studies show that standard multivitamins provide little to no benefit and can actually cause nutrient imbalances since manufacturers often use the cheapest ingredients possible to create their formulas.

So, before you go and spend all of your disposable income on powder and pills, do your best to address your actual food choice if you want to create real, long-lasting health changes, and supplement strategically, with high-quality supplements, only as needed.

7. Thinking that Fresher is Always Better

Of course, frozen pizzas and microwave dinners are a less than ideal choice, but when it comes to a whole food, frozen is just as good as fresh. Freezing food is simply a method of preservation, much like pickling, fermenting, and curing, that is used to keep perishable foods for longer periods of time.

Freezing whole foods does not diminish their nutritional value, in fact, it’s quite the opposite, it helps to preserve them. Although it might be ideal to eat fresh foods all year round, that is not the reality of the seasons.

Freezing seasonal fruits and vegetables, meats and seafood is simply is a way to help extend the lifetime of the harvest. Not to mention, frozen fruits and vegetables are often picked at the peak of ripeness making them more nutrient-dense than those that were picked pre-ripe and flown thousands of miles to land “fresh” on the grocery store shelf.

So, whether it’s frozen meat, frozen seafood, frozen fruit, pickled veggies, or fermented foods, there are many methods of food preservation that can actually help to maintain, and even increase, the nutritional value of our food.

8. Thinking that One “Bad” Meal Destroys Everything

The key to a healthy, balanced lifestyle is consistency. One meal, one day, or even one week of indulgence will not undo weeks, months, and years of balanced choices. Eating well is about the long game, not the short game, and if you focus too narrowly on one treat or one meal you can lose perspective.

Creating a balanced diet that works the long-term includes indulgences, they are built into the program, they are not separate from it. Of course, frequency matters, but just because you eat a cookie, some pizza, a slice of cake, or all of the above does not mean that you’ve “undone” any of the work that you have done up to that point.

One treat, one meal, one weekend away, is not going to revert any healthy choices you’ve made, it’s simply going to help you create balance. What is important to avoid is the decision to throw in the towel, binge eats, and allow one treat to take you completely off course.

To use an analogy, if you tripped and fell down one stair would you throw yourself down the entire flight? No, you’d catch yourself and keep going. The goal of eating well is about progress and consistency, not perfection. So, instead of beating yourself up, enjoy your treats, move on, and then get back to real food.

Drinking coffee or other caffeinated beverages before going to bed-

This can interfere with your sleep cycles and have an adverse effect on your health, it can also lead to sleeplessness, which could be detrimental to your long-term health. The best solution for this is consuming caffeine before noon each day, as it takes at least 8 hours for its effects to go away.

Eating too much sugar and starchy carbs-

Eating too many starchy carbs and sugary foods can lead to weight gain and obesity, this increases the risk of developing diseases such as type 2 diabetes, high cholesterol, and fatty liver disease. Sugary foods also spike blood sugar levels which may lead to mood swings or mental confusion.

Skipping breakfast and cutting out whole meals-

Some people believe that skipping breakfast and cutting out whole meals will lead to weight loss. Scientists, however, disagree, we wanted to know whether or not skipping breakfast and cutting out whole meals would lead to weight loss, so the study was conducted.

The results show that people who skip breakfast and cut out whole meals do not lose more weight than those who eat

Not eating enough proteins and fats—

Protein is essential for building muscle, repairing cells, and maintaining a healthy body, proteins are made up of amino acids that are used for many important bodily functions.

Our bodies also need fats to maintain an optimal weight and to supply energy, proteins often come from plant sources, but it is possible to get them from animal sources as well.

Too many meals that contain too many calories-

Sometimes people think that they are eating healthy when they are actually consuming too many calories, for example, a meal may contain a whole pizza worth of calories, but the person doesn’t realize this because the meal is “healthy” in their eyes because it’s full of vegetables.

Not eating enough Protein—

When it  comes to  losing weight  and  being able to stick  to a  healthy diet, protein  is the  king of  nutrients. Adding protein  to your diet is the  simplest,  most effective  and  most delicious way  to lose  weight with  minimal  effort.

Studies show  that protein  both  increases  your metabolic  rate and  helps reduce  appetite. Because  protein  requires  energy to metabolize,  a  high  protein  diet can increase  calories  burned by  up  to 80  to  100  calories  per day.

Protein  is  also  the  most fulfilling nutrient, by  far.  One  study  showed that people  who ate  30%  of  calories as protein  automatically ate  441  fewer calories  per day. In  other  words,  you  can  easily  increase  calories out and  reduce  calories in, just by  adding  protein  to your diet.

Protein  can  also  help  fight  cravings,  which  are the dieter’s  worst enemy.

In  one study,  25%  of  calories as protein  reduced obsessive  thoughts about food  by  60%  and  cut the  desire  for  late-night snacking  by 50%. If  you  want to lose  weight,  sustainably,  with  minimal effort,  then consider making a  permanent  increase  in  your protein  intake.

Not  only will it  help  you  lose,  it  will also  prevent or  at least significantly reduce  weight  regain,  in  case  you  ever decide  to abandon  your weight loss efforts.

Not cutting back on carbs—

Cutting carbs is a very effective  way  to lose weight. When people do that, their  appetite  tends to go down and  they  eat fewer calories automatically.

Studies  have  shown  that eating a low-carb  diet until fullness can  make you  lose about  2-3  times  as much  weight as a calorie restricted low-fat diet.

Not  only that, but low-carb  diets  also  have  all sorts of other  benefits for health,  especially  for  people  with  obesity, type  2  diabetes  or  metabolic syndrome…  which  are incredibly common  (and  serious) health  problems.

In  fact,  NOT recommending  a low-carb  diet in  these  instances is  a  mistake,  because  these  problems can  sometimes  literally be  reversed on  a  real  food  based,  low-carb  diet.

But…  if  you  don’t  want to go low-carb,  then that’s fine too.  Just make  sure you  eat quality, fiber-rich  carbohydrate  sources  from whole,  single ingredient foods. If  you  stick to real  foods,  the  exact composition  of  your diet becomes  less important.

Still eating a low fat diet—

The  universal  advice  to eat a  low-fat diet  was never based  on  good science. It was originally  based on a few  poorly  conducted  observational  studies, animal  experiments  and  misguided political  decisions.

Even though  there  was no evidence that  saturated fat caused heart disease  at the  time  (and  still isn’t), some  scientists  were  convinced  that it was harmful  and  that a low-fat diet  would  prevent heart disease.

This  has been  the official  position  of  the  governments and  mainstream health  organizations around  the  world  for  decades.  At the  same time, rates of  obesity  and  type  2  diabetes  have  skyrocketed. Since  then…  many  massive  studies have  been  conducted  on  the low-fat diet.

The  biggest and  most expensive  diet study in  history,  The  Women’s Health  Initiative,  randomized 48,835  women  into groups…  one  ate a  low fat diet,  the  other group  continued  eating the  standard  Western  diet.

After 7.5-8  years,  there  was only  a  0.4  kg (1  pound!) difference  in  weight and  there  was no reduction  in  heart disease  or  cancer. Many other studies  have  led to the same conclusion…  the  diet that is  still being recommended  by  the mainstream simply  does not  work.

It is a simple biochemical  fact  that carbs  raise  blood  sugar.  This keeps the diabetic  patients dependant on  blood  sugar  lowering drugs

Although  low-fat diets may be  okay for  healthy people,  they are  a complete  disaster  for  people  with  obesity, metabolic syndrome and  type 2  diabetes. In  fact,  low-fat diets  can  adversely  affect some  key risk factors for metabolic syndrome  and  heart disease.

Thinking that fruit juices are healthy—

Fruit  juice  is  often  perceived  as healthy…  it  must be,  because  it  comes from fruit,  right? Well,  not always.  Sometimes “fruit  juice”  is  actually  just fruit flavored sugar  water.  There  may  not even be any  actual  fruit  in  there…  it may  just be  water,  sugar  and  some  chemicals that taste  like  fruit.

But even if you  can  get  your hands on  real, 100%  fruit  juice,  you  still shouldn’t  be  drinking it (or  at least not  much).

The  problem with  fruit  juice,  is that it’s like  fruit  except with  all  of  the good  stuff  taken  out. Whole  fruits do  contain  some  sugar, but  it  is bound  within  the  fibrous cell walls,  which  slows down the  release of the  sugar  into the bloodstream.

But fruit  juice is different…  there’s no  fiber,  no chewing resistance  and nothing  to stop  you  from downing massive  amounts of sugar  in  a  matter of seconds.  One  cup  of  orange juice  contains almost as much  sugar  as two whole oranges.

The  sugar  content of  fruit  juice  is  actually  very  similar to sugar-sweetened beverages  like  Coca  Cola. So… eat  whole fruit,  but avoid  fruit  juice  if  you’re  trying to lose weight.

Not eating real food—

When it  comes to optimal  health,  people tend  to get lost  in  the details. They miss the  forest for the  trees. Even though  “nutrition”  as an  academic  discipline  can  be  incredibly complicated,  eating  healthy can  and  should  be  simple!

Keep  in  mind  that humans and  pre-humans have  managed  to survive  and be  healthy for  millions of  years. Yet,  we  only  learned about calories,  vitamins,  macronutrients and  all that stuff  very  recently.  Knowing about this  stuff  has NOT made  us healthier.

What  healthy, non-industrial  societies  that maintain  excellent health  all have  in  common  is that they eat real, unprocessed foods that resemble what they looked like  in  nature.

Multiple studies have  examined such  societies and  noted  almost a complete absence of  Western,  lifestyle-related diseases  like  obesity,  type II  diabetes  and  cardiovascular  disease. So if  it  looks like  it  was made  in  a  factory,  don’t  eat it! As long as you  stick  to  whole, single ingredient  foods,  the  rest of  the details become  much  less  important.

Thinking that you need to eat 5-6 times per day—

Many people seem to think that it is best to eat 5-6  small meals per day. They say  that  you  need  breakfast in  the  morning to “jump-start metabolism” and  then eat  every  2-3  hours  to “stoke the metabolic flame.”

It is true  that eating  can  raise  your metabolic rate slightly  while  you’re digesting  and  metabolizing the  food However,  it  is the  total amount of  food  you  eat that matters,  NOT the number of  meals.

This  myth  has actually been  tested  and  refuted  repeatedly.  Controlled trials  where  one  group  eats many, smaller meals and  the other fewer, larger meals find  no  difference  between  groups. It’s not natural for the  human  body to  be  constantly in  the “fed”  state.

The  human  body is  well equipped to handle short periods of  famine  and there  are  studies showing that a cellular repair process called autophagy starts to occur when we  fast for a short while.

Throwing away the yolks —

Eggs  are among the  most nutritious foods on  the planet. Just think about it…  the  nutrients in  a  whole egg contain  all  the  building blocks needed to turn  a  single fertilized  cell into an  entire baby chicken.

There’s only  one problem…  the  yolks also happen to be high  in cholesterol. Because  egg yolks are high  in  cholesterol, people believed that they would raise  cholesterol in  the  blood. For this reason,  mainstream nutrition  professionals often recommend that we  limit our egg consumption  to 2-6  whole eggs per week.

However,  most of  them  say  we  can  eat more  eggs than  that…  as long as we  make sure  to  throw  away the yolks. This  is pretty  much  the worst thing you  could  do, because  the  yolks contain  almost all the  nutrients.  The whites  are  mostly just protein.

Many studies  have  looked at whole egg consumption  and  blood cholesterol  levels…  in  70%  of  people,  eggs  have  no effect . In  the other  30%  (termed hyper-responders), egg yolks raise  HDL  (the good) cholesterol and  turn the LDL  particles into the  large,  fluffy kind… which  is not harmful.

In  fact,  many studies,  some  of which  included hundreds of  thousands of people,  have  looked at whole egg consumption  and  heart  disease  risk  in healthy people and  found  no association  between  the two.

Additionally, let’s  not forget that  eggs  have  many amazing  benefits. They’re loaded with  high  quality protein,  healthy fats, vitamins,  minerals and  antioxidants… almost every  nutrient your body needs.

They’re  also  very  high  in  choline,  a  brain  nutrient that 90%  of  people  don’t get enough  of  (47). Then they contain  Lutein  and  Zeaxanthin,  powerful antioxidants that are highly protective  for  the  eyes  and  lower  the  risk of  several  eye  diseases.

Eggs are  also among the  most weight loss  friendly foods you  can  eat. Replacing a grain-based  breakfast with  eggs  can  increase  fullness and make you  eat less  for  up  to 36  hours,  helping you  lose weight.

To top  it all  off,  eggs are  cheap, easily  prepared and  taste amazing. Really… whole eggs are pretty much  nature’s perfect food.  Throwing away the  yolk  is the  absolute  worst thing you  could  do.

Thinking that all that matters is calories—

The  excessive  focus  on  calories  is  one of  the  biggest mistakes in  the history of nutrition. It is the  myth  that it  is the  caloric value  of foods that matters  most, not the  foods that the  calories are  coming from.

The  truth  is…  calories  are  important,  but that doesn’t mean  we  need  to count them  or  even  be  consciously  aware of  them.  Humans  were  the healthiest and  leanest way  before they knew  that calories  existed.

It’s important to realize  that different foods have  different effects on  the hormones  and  brain  centers  that control what,  when and  how  much  we eat…  as well as the  number of  calories  we  burn.

Here are two examples of  why a calorie  is  NOT  a  calorie: Protein:  Eating a high  protein  diet can  boost  metabolism by 80-100 calories per day  and  significantly reduce  appetite  and  cravings.  Protein calories have  a different effect than  carb  or fat calories.

Many studies  show  that different foods have  varying effects on feelings of fullness. You  need  much  fewer calories to feel full  from eggs  or boiled potatoes,  compared to donuts or ice  cream.

There  are  many more examples of  foods and  macronutrients having  vastly different effects on  hunger and  hormones.  The  myth  that calories are  all that matters for  weight (and  health) is completely  wrong.

Replacing natural fats like butter with processed vegetable oils and margarine—

Mainstream  nutrition  has gotten  many  things wrong. However…  the  horrible advice to replace  natural  fats like  butter  with refined vegetable oils  and  processed margarine  may  be  the  worst.

Seriously… just look  at the  ingredients list for  margarine.  This  stuff  isn’t food,  it’s  a combination  of  chemicals  that looks and  tastes like  food. Margarine,  not surprisingly, increases  heart disease  risk compared to butter.

The  same can  be  said  about vegetable oils…  multiple studies show  that they contribute  to heart disease  and  kill  people. The  studies say  that  these  processed fats and  oils  increase  heart disease risk, so it makes sense  that we  should  avoid  them  if we  don’t  want to get heart disease.

It’s a  no-brainer,  right? Well,  apparently  not…  the  mainstream  nutrition  organizations are  still telling us to eat them,  even though  these  studies have  been  out for  many years. They just don’t  get it.

When we  replace  traditional foods like  butter  and meat with  processed  pseudo-foods,  we  become  fat and  sick. How  many doctors,  nutritionists, PhDs and  decades  of work does it take to figure that out?

Eating too many health foods—

Every  passing year, more  and  more  people  are  becoming  health conscious. For this reason…  the  market for  so-called “health  foods”  has grown rapidly in  the past  few  decades.

The  marketers have  taken notice  and  brought all  sorts of  foods that are supposed to  be  healthy to the  market.  On  these  foods,  you  will find  labels like  “organic”  and  “gluten-free.“ The  problem with  many of these foods is that they usually aren’t healthy at all.

Organic sugar  is still  sugar  and  gluten-free  junk food is still junk food. It is best to avoid  processed,  packaged  foods…  even if they  are found  in the  “health  food”  aisle. Always  read  labels…  you‘d be surprised  at some  of the stuff they  put in foods,  even the  so-called  health  foods.

 Not getting information from trusted sources–

Perhaps one  of the worst things about  nutrition  these  days,  is  all  the misinformation  and  incompetence. The  media are  particularly  at blame here  for  making scary headlines  based on  weak and  highly  flawed  science.

The  problem is that  most people don‘t  know  how  to interpret  studies or differentiate the good  information  from the  bad.

Common nutrition mistakes that people usually make and how to fix it

From time to time, we all knowingly and willingly make nutrition missteps. We choose fries instead of a side salad. We have a second scoop of ice cream. We grab takeout when we’re too exhausted to look at the stove. It happens, and it’s okay.

Arguably more dangerous are the nutrition blunders you don’t even know you’re making. We asked three local dietitians to share the most common misconceptions and mistakes clients make—because, chances are, you’ve fallen victim to the same ones.

Mistake No. 1: Believing all calories are made equal.

“Just as you don’t want to judge a book by its cover, you don’t want to judge a food by its calorie content. Four hundred calories of a chocolate cake are not the same as 400 calories of quinoa, tofu, and veggie bowl.

The fix: Read ingredient lists and nutrition labels, but don’t focus your energy on the calorie count. Rather than focusing on calories, look at the big nutritional picture, stressing that protein and fiber will help keep you full and satisfied.

Mistake No. 2: Giving salads a health halo.

Foods with a “health halo” are often perceived to be more nutritious than they are. Granola bars, sports drinks, and flavored yogurts are notorious members of this club, but salads—particularly restaurant salads—can be offenders, too.

Today’s salads may use healthful ingredients but are super-sized, loaded with items like fruits, nuts, grains, and cheese. Salad dressings also wear that health halo. An olive oil vinaigrette can have as many calories as a ranch or Caesar dressing.

The fix: If you can, make your salads at home rather than going out. If you simply don’t have time, order as if you were compiling ingredients in your own kitchen. Follow this formula: choose lots of greens and non-starchy veggies, one serving of protein, and one extra, [such as] cheese, nuts, avocado, or fruit.

Use your favorite dressing, but drizzle, don’t pour. Don’t go fat-free as a little fat improves the absorption of the nutrients in the salad.

Mistake No. 3: Making short-term changes instead of lifestyle swaps.

The number one thing that people forget is that whatever step they take to improve their diet, improve their health, they have to keep doing. If you hit a milestone or hit a victory and then they say, ‘Okay, I’m done.’

The fix: Get the word “diet” out of your vocabulary, and start thinking in terms of lifestyle. We recommend making sustainable switches—choosing whole foods over processed snacks, eating plenty of fruits and vegetables, focusing on a food’s overall value rather than one nutrient, adopting a fitness plan—rather than following the latest fad diet.

That’s especially important because every plan won’t work for every person. We see people who are very successful who are Paleo, and I people who are totally vegan and that works best for them. Figure out what works for you, and stick with it.

Assuming that your choices are better than they actually are—

From fruit juices to canned vegetable soup, breakfast muffins to seven-grain bread, it’s easier to think your food choices are healthier than they really are, experts say.

If a label says ‘Seven-Grain Bread,’ it sounds pretty healthy, right? But unless that label also says ‘whole grains’ it’s not necessarily going to be the healthiest bread choice you could make.

Likewise, many folks think that eating a can of vegetable soup is as nutritious as downing a plateful of veggies — not realizing how few vegetables are inside, and how much of the nutrients are lost in processing.

Another common mistake: Substituting fruit juices for whole fruits.

Are fruit juices healthier than soda? Yes. But they are also concentrated sources of sugar that don’t give you anywhere near the same level of nutrients you get from whole fruits. What’s more, if you’re trying to lose weight, you won’t get the same sense of fullness from a glass of juice that you will from a piece of fruit.

Instead, you’ll just take in a whole lot of calories — and still, feel hungry.

The solution: Whenever possible, eat whole, fresh, and unprocessed foods. Even when you eat them in smaller amounts, you’re likely to get a well-rounded group of nutrients. When buying packaged foods, put in at least as much time into reading labels and selecting products as you do when choosing a shower gel or shampoo.

Don’t just assume a product is healthy — even if it’s in the health food section of the supermarket. You’ve got to read the labels.

Being confused about carbs–

A national fascination with low-carb diets has many Americans eliminating carbohydrates from their eating plans in record “grams.” But before you reconstruct your personal nutrition pyramid, there’s something you should know.

There are carbs that are very, very good, and some that are less good, but your brain and body must have some carbohydrates every day.

Moreover, because complex carbohydrates (those rich in whole grains and fiber) keep you feeling full longer, they also help you to eat less — and lose more!

But eliminating this important food group isn’t our only carb-related mistake. Just as troublesome is the belief that all no-carb or low-carb foods are healthy, or that you can eat them in any amount.

Much like the low-fat diet craze, where everyone thought that if a meal had no fat, it had no calories, similarly, people have come to believe that if it has low carbs you can eat as much as you want and not gain weight. And that is simply not true. Eat enough of anything, and you’ll gain weight.

The solution: Experts say you should never cut any food group out of your diet — including carbohydrates. Equally important, is to learn which carbohydrates give you the biggest bang for your nutritional buck.

It’s a lot harder to run amuck when you are including carbohydrates like fresh fruits and vegetables and whole grains in your diet.

Eating too much—

Whether you’re filling your plate with low-fat, low-carb, or even healthy, nutritionally balanced foods, overestimating how much food your body needs is among the most common mistakes, experts say.

“Many people believe they should feel not just satisfied after a meal, but stuffed. I think many of us have lost touch with the sensation of having had enough food.

People also tend to believe that they can eat larger portions if all the food on their plate meets the guidelines of their current diet — such as low-carb or low-fat — and that, of course, is also not true.

The solution: Remain conscious of portion sizes. Weigh and measure standard portions, at least at first, so you’ll know what the amounts should look like. Never use restaurant portions as your guide — they super-size everything.

Not eating enough –  or often enough–

While overeating and undereating may seem like contradictory nutrition mistakes, they are related.

If you don’t eat at regular intervals throughout the day, you risk disrupting your blood sugar and insulin levels, which in the end can promote fat storage and lower your metabolism — both of which lead to weight gain.

The solution: Eat something every four hours and never let yourself “starve” from one meal to the next.

Taking too many supplements–

“People tend to forget that a vitamin pill is a supplement — it’s meant to complement your diet, not act as a stand-in for the foods you don’t eat. What’s more, taking too many vitamins can end up sabotaging your good health.

Every vitamin and mineral and phytochemical in our body works in concert with one another, and it’s easy to knock that balance off if you are taking concentrated doses of single nutrients or even groups of nutrients.

Any diet plan that claims you must take a high-potency supplement to meet your nutritional needs should send up a red flag.

It means that the eating plan is not healthy, and it also means you are going to miss out on the synergistic health effects that can only come from whole foods — including not only helping you to feel fuller longer but also preventing cellular breakdowns important to preventing disease.

The solution: Both experts recommend taking no more than one all-purpose multivitamin daily. Don’t supplement your diet with individual nutrients without the guidance of your doctor, nutritionist, or another health expert. Keep in mind that anyone from the health food store is usually not a health expert.

Excluding exercises—

While most folks believe nutrition is all about food, it’s also about how your body uses food — and that’s where regular exercise comes in.

Without adequate exercise, you cannot maintain a high enough metabolic rate to burn your food efficiently. A pill can’t do that for you; foods alone can’t do that for you. Exercise is the only way to achieve it.

The solution: Make exercise a regular part of your life. And don’t get hung up if you can’t do it at the same time every day. If you miss your routine in the morning, don’t wait until the next day and try to do twice as much. Instead, try to fit in some exercise — even if it’s just a little bit — every day.

Believing everything you read about nutrition and weight loss–

Just because someone writes a diet book or a nutrition guide does not mean they are an expert.

If you’re turning to a book for guidance, look to the author’s credentials and ask yourself: Is this person a dietician; do they have an advanced degree in nutrition? Or are you buying this book because it’s written by a celebrity who you think looks good?

Even if an “expert” is behind your nutrition or diet plan, it’s important to make sure the plan is based on solid research.

Has the plan been tried on 20 people or 200 people? Have the results been published in a peer-reviewed medical journal — or is it based solely on anecdotal reports? These are things that I fear many people don’t pay attention to before paying attention to what is being said — and that is a huge mistake.

Perhaps even more important: Experts say there is no one diet or nutrition plan that is right for every person.

Actually, dieters need to stop blaming themselves when a plan doesn’t work for them. It’s not them. It may not even be the plan. It’s just not the correct match.

The solution: Before following a particular diet or nutrition plan, check the credentials of the author or creator. Look for plans that are backed up by published medical data, and supported by the opinions of many experts in the field.