6 Weight-Loss Tips Dietitians Warn Against

Jessica Migala
by Jessica Migala
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6 Weight-Loss Tips Dietitians Warn Against

It can be hard to sift through weight-loss advice and the latest trends to find a healthy eating plan that is enjoyable and will work for life. In fact, even RDs hear tips they find misguided and unsustainable. Here, several nutrition experts discuss six common pieces of advice they believe do more harm than good.



Weight loss is not a mentality and it’s not about who has the most self-control, says Tamar Samuels, RD. Focusing on self-discipline alone means you might blame yourself for failing to stick with a diet (usually a fad one) when in reality it was the diet that failed you. Focus on all-around wellness, not on what you think you need to deprive yourself of. That means filling your plate with a variety of unprocessed, whole foods and drinking plenty of water, but also clocking 7–8 hours of sleep each night. Incorporating a mindfulness practice into your everyday routine can also be a beneficial step in changing your behavior for the better, adds Samuels.



Beans are commonly cut out of many popular diets since they are deemed too high in carbs or even labeled as “toxic,” says Andrea Conner, RD. “Beans are actually one of the healthiest foods on the planet. They have a wonderful combination of high-quality, fiber-rich carbohydrates and protein,” she says. Unless you have a severe allergy, they’re not toxic and can be a great low-cost option to use for soups and stews as part of meal prep.



“You’re likely having cravings in the first place because your current weight-loss efforts are too strict. When foods are off-limits, you naturally want them more,” explains Emily Ranucci, RD. A better approach: “Begin a weight-loss journey by prioritizing your health and happiness,” she says. Creating a lasting healthy lifestyle means being able to indulge without guilt.



“There are so many reasons why people struggle to lose weight and it’s not as clear-cut as creating a calorie deficit,” says Samuels. “It’s important to acknowledge that weight loss takes an individualized nutrition, exercise and stress-management approach, which includes strategies and tools for managing obstacles.” If your doctor tells you that you need to lose weight and then gives the above advice, push back and ask for specifics on how or for a referral to a professional (like a registered dietitian) who can help create a personalized plan.



“We know these types of foods are not health-enhancing, but trying to exclude them entirely can backfire,” says Conner. The key, she says, is avoiding regular overconsumption of these foods. Enjoy a piece of cake at a party (no, you didn’t “blow it”), and then balance it out with good-for-you foods the rest of the day.



If you swap your breakfast or lunch with a shake (or a similar meal replacement), you might find it works to help you lose weight in the short-term. However, “they can eventually get boring or difficult to keep up with if you travel for work or have frequent social obligations,” says Joey Gochnour, RD. If you don’t know how and what to eat when on your own or after you stop drinking the shakes, it’ll be tough to keep off any weight you’ve lost. That’s where consulting a registered dietitian specializing in weight loss can be helpful for creating a sustainable long-term plan.

About the Author

Jessica Migala
Jessica Migala

Jessica Migala is a health and fitness freelancer based in the Chicago suburbs. She spends her days writing with her beagle mix by her side and her free time with her two young sons. Jessica also writes for O, The Oprah magazine, Woman’s Day, Real Simple and others. Find her at jessicamigala.com.


19 responses to “6 Weight-Loss Tips Dietitians Warn Against”

  1. Clevelandchica says:

    I appreciate these realistic and more meaningful suggestions to those frequently used “tips”. I need to lose a few pounds and will be incorporating them into my strategies.

  2. Dave Smith says:

    I agree, I have heard the “eliminating beans” idea and and it makes no sense. It is a powerful combination with rice too for a boost of energy.

  3. Summitbay says:

    I appreciate the positive fibes I get from reading your tips.

  4. Sonja says:

    You do realize that sugar is one of the most addicting substances in the world and telling someone on the one hand to have less sugar and then turning around and telling them to go ahead and have a piece of cake once in awhile, sets them up for days of sugar cravings afterward right? Its like telling an alcoholic to go ahead, have a drink every once in awhile so you don’t feel deprived.

    • omnomnom says:

      then in that case, that would be an exception that would need additional consideration. though last i checked, i’ve yet to come across convincing evidence that sugar would be as addicting as alcohol, nicotine, etc. that is a separate conversation to be had, but nonetheless, the purpose of the article is that for most people, falling for fad, trendy tips can be extreme and may not be sustainable over the long term.

    • Sheri says:

      I so agree with you Sonja.. For me personally if I give in to the sugar I have serious cravings for days afterward. For me sugar is as addictive as any drug or alcohol or nicotine. On the other hand we are all built different and I know sugar doesn’t affect all people this way. For me it does.

    • lookingahead says:

      I don’t see a problem with the “have that piece of cake every once in a while” suggestion. The article is written for the general public, not specifically for people who feel / know they have trouble with sugar.

  5. Ruth Zwieg says:

    I don’t agree with any of this especially not to get rid of sugar. Sugar is a major reason for childhood and adult diabetes. Who is writing this stuff?

    • Val says:

      Sugar does not cause diabetes. It may contribute to obesity which can lead to diabetes. The person who is writing the article is a registered dietitian and she is giving accurate advice. As an RN, I have also heard the evidence that supports what she is saying.

    • Sean Nissen says:

      There’s an about the author at the bottom. Doesn’t say much looks like just freelancer writer for various health and fitness publications (or sections in more general ones). Quick look can’t see anything about credentials and degree was in journalism. That said anyone can read medical articles so the exact source shouldn’t matter… though generally would want links to sources

  6. lkaumans says:

    Thanks for this, especially #4. I am so tired of being told “calories in, calories out,” “eat less, move more.” That doesn’t work for everyone!!! Thank you for saying that! The only thing that works for me personally is to eliminate as much sugar and refined carbs as possible. That’s what works for me. I wouldn’t recommend it for everyone so why do some nutritionists spout the above as the only answer. Why can’t we just realize that every “body” is different, metabolizes differently, has different reactions to certain foods.

    • SeaDoc says:

      You’ve just described the merits of the Ketogenic diet, whereby we cut out crappy carbohydrates which raise our insulin levels, which promote fat storage, and generate ketones for energy by burning our fat stores for energy. By switching from a carb-aholic, we let our metabolism break down our stored fats into energy using ketones (by-product of fat breakdown) into energy. Ironically, newborn infants are born Ketogenic… Best eating option utilizing real foods, not processed, not fructose, not corn syrup, not poly-unsaturated fats – go real food – you’ll live longer and lose weight naturally…

      • lkaumans says:

        Keto is exactly what I do and what works for me. I know some would say it’s a trend, it’s bad for you, etc., but it works for me. It’s good for me. My body responds well to eating this way. What’s bad about eating whole, clean foods and eliminating the sugar and highly processed foods? Sugars and grains are very inflammatory for me as well and when I eat keto, inflammatory pain is significantly reduced as well as 50 lbs gone last year. 🙂

        • SeaDoc says:

          Amen, it is NOT a fad diet. In fact, our bodies are born into Ketogenics and it is because of our ‘nutritional guidelines’ which encourage 60% carbohydrates with multiple feedings, our bodies are always in a hyper-insulin state, promoting constant fat storage. I’m a pediatrician, no longer able to practice, as I can not recommend a Ketogenic diet for my obese younger patients. It is tragic that medicine has become beholden to the status quo. You would think that after 40 years of a flawed nutritional experiment of high carbs, low fat, that has failed so miserably that the medical profession would wake up and say enough. But no, they are bought off and paid for by the pharmaceutical industry and others that make a killing off of us being obese, insulin insensitive, and/or type 2 diabetic as well…

          • lkaumans says:

            Amen! Love this! Have you read the book Why We Get Fat? It’s very eye-opening about how the flawed nutritional advice came about. I have a neighbor who’s son was diagnosed with fatty liver disease at age 11 and yes, he’s obese. His doctors are telling her that a keto diet is bad for the liver even though they also tell her that the over-consumption of sugar and highly processed foods cause the disease. She frequently tells me how bad this diet is for me. No, it’s not. Not for me. My cholesterol numbers go down, my A1C goes down, all my blood work normalizes when I eat this way. That’s part of the reason for my rant above. It is so sad that in your practice, you can’t tell this to the parents of these children. I have struggled with obesity since a very young age.

          • SeaDoc says:

            I’m so glad we met on this site – perhaps, if one person is convinced to give this way of life a chance, it will be worth it… I can’t tell you how many people I’ve encouraged to try low carbs (less than 20gm daily), and their type 2 diabetes have totally been cured, obesity has resolved, immunogenic skin diseases disappear, IBD resolves, cardiac functioning improving… Years of carbohydrate toxicity gone along with all the inflammatory markers back to normal… Truly, a wonderful way to live and eat GREAT foods… Not manufactured crap foods…

          • lkaumans says:

            I wholeheartedly agree! Thanks so much for your comments! 🙂

  7. Sean Nissen says:

    First one says it isn’t about self control (it 100% is) but some of the others reasons for why those tips aren’t good strongly hint at self control… also if you are going to provide links for some of these things might be useful if not all of them were to this same site.

  8. Angela says:

    This article was made to placate people who have a hard time finding a healthy lifestyle. It is full of faulty information that will not be beneficial to someone who is trying to lose weight.

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