Myth No. 1: Don't eat after 8 p.m.
The reality: Calories can't tell time. "Your body digests and uses calories the same way morning, noon, and night," says Mary Flynn, Ph.D., a research dietitian at the Miriam Hospital, in Providence.
Myth No. 2: Eating Small, Frequent Meals Boosts Your Metabolism
The reality: Food intake has a small effect on metabolism. What most affects your basal metabolic rate (BMR), the rate at which your body burns calories at rest, is body composition and size. More muscles and bigger bodies burn more calories overall.
Myth No. 3: Pasta makes you fat
The reality: Carbohydrates per se don't make you fat; extra calories do. "Americans tend to eat too much carbohydrates, fat, and protein. But they overeat carbs most of all," says Barbara Moore, Ph.D., spokesperson for the American Society for Nutrition.
Myth No. 4: Coffee Can Help You Lose Weight
The reality: While coffee may temporarily squelch your appetite, too much coffee into your system may lead to anxiety, sleeplessness, and an increase in heart rate and blood pressure.
Myth No. 5: Milk Helps Weight Loss
The reality: Dairy doesn't appear to have magic properties. Studies have been inconclusive as to whether milk helps or hurts dieting.
Myth No. 6: Going on a Diet Is the Best Way to Lose Weight
The reality: Short-term, you do lose weight on any plan that results in your eating fewer calories. But temporary changes don't lead to permanent losses. If you have a new way of eating and think, I'm going to eat like this forever, that's the way to lose weight and keep it off.
Myth No. 8: To Lose Weight, You Need to Cut Calories Drastically
The reality: Sure, if you subsist on 1,200 calories a day, you'll take off weight, but it won't be for long. Psychologically, it's difficult for people to adhere to strict diets over a long period because they feel deprived and hungry. You are more likely to gain the weight back if you drastically diet.