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7 True Old Wives' Tales About Dieting

Many people try a new diet at least once in their lifetime. While some people adamantly never diet and others are seemingly always on whatever is currently the most popular diet, I would argue that the majority of people fall somewhere in between. Over the years, people hear all sorts of dieting theories from relatives, friends, celebrities, the media... pretty much everywhere. And while some of these theories are misleading or confusing exaggerations that have been passed down over the years, there are some old wives' tales about dieting that are surprisingly true.

Dieting is, for better or maybe actually for worse, a part of the lives of many Americans. And not just adults. According to a 2015 research brief published by Common Sense Media, citing research that found that by the time they reach the age of seven, about 25 percent of kids have "engaged in some kind of dieting behavior." That's fairly alarming when you think about it.

There can be benefits, of course, of healthy dieting when older. Especially if you look at it as healthy habits. Good or bad, these seven ideas about dieting are more than just old wives' tales. They're actually proven to be true. Keeping them in mind may just help you live a healthier lifestyle.


An Apple A Day Keeps The Doctor Away


As it turns out, the old adage about fruit warding off doctors is kind of right. If you're dieting for medical reasons, incorporating apples into your daily diet could help you reach the results you're looking for. Although, of course, eating an apple isn't an instant cure-all, a 2012 study conducted by researchers at The Ohio State University found that eating an apple a day can lower your level of LDL cholesterol (aka the "bad" kind). Over time, this can prevent atherosclerosis, or the hardening of your arteries, which can cause major health issues.


Bread Crusts Are Good For You

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Eating crusty bread may have even more benefits than just the emotional ones you already knew about. (Just me? OK cool. ) According to a news release from the American Chemical Society, 2002 research out of Germany found that bread crust is "a rich source of antioxidants" and darker breads (like wheat, pumpernickel, and other whole grain varieties, which are important for weight loss) have more of these antioxidants in their crusts than less nutritious white breads. Though the old "everything in moderation" quip still applies, this just might mean you don't have to avoid the bread basket when out to dinner any longer.


Drinking Water Helps With Weight Loss

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According to research presented at a meeting of the American Chemical Society in 2010, drinking a couple of glasses of water before each meal can help assist in weight loss over time. Additionally, drinking more water while cutting back on highly caloric beverages can help you decrease your daily calorie intake.


Midnight Snacks May Make You Gain Weight


Although it's not the specific activity of eating at night that can cause weight gain, registered dietitian Jaime Mass told Women's Health that eating later at night can be due to emotional eating (like to relieve stress) rather than real hunger. Emotional eating, or eating out of boredom, may result in choices that are higher in calories and unhealthier than what you'd normally eat during the day. Keeping that late-night, mindless eating in check can help keep you from unintentionally piling on the pounds.


Breakfast Is The Most Important Meal

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In an attempt to lose weight, some people eschew this credo and skip breakfast, thinking it'll help them take in fewer calories over the course of the day. But according to Medline Plus, eating a healthy breakfast can help you manage your hunger throughout the day, which means you may not need to inhale a snack from the vending machine later.


Whole Grains Are A Good Choice


Some people think going carb-free is key for dieting, but not all carbs are created equal. According to the Mayo Clinic, whole grains are in fact a healthy option because they're higher in fiber and other nutrients. You don't have to completely eliminate refined or enriched grains, however. Ultimately, it's about balance.


Your Metabolism Slows With Age


You've certainly heard older women bemoan the fact that their metabolism is slowing down and they're gaining weight a little more easily. And that's because it's true, their metabolism is actually slowing a bit. Registered dietitian and president of the Produce for Better Health Foundation Elizabeth Pivonka told WebMD that as women age, their metabolisms slow, meaning it takes more effort to maintain a healthy weight or lose unwanted extra pounds. It's still doable, it just takes extra work.