Around this time of year, we start thinking about trading in our bulky sweaters for swimsuits. And there’s a sudden surge of advice in magazines and online about “How to lose 10 pounds fast!” Well, before you try a weight loss shortcut, here’s what you need to know about three bogus weight-loss solutions:

  • Forget about eating “negative calorie” foods. You’ve probably heard that eating foods like grapefruit or celery can help you lose weight – because they’re so low in calories that we burn more calories digesting them than they contain. Unfortunately, that’s not true. Marion Nestle is the author of Why Calories Count, and she says a stick of celery has ten calories but it takes only two calories to digest it. Bottom line: The only freebie is plain water! Your best bet is to track all of the foods you eat, and pay attention to your total calorie intake.

  • Drink ice water and you’ll burn more calories. While that’s technically true, it won’t make you thin. Nutritionist David Grotto says that it takes only about five calories for our bodies to warm up a cup of cold water. Which means, to burn the calories in one pound, you’d have to drink 700 glasses of water!

  • You can boost your metabolism by adding things like hot peppers and spicy mustard to your diet. Exercise physiologist Ron Mendel says those foods will help you burn a few extra calories, but they won’t help you lose a significant amount of weight. The only way to do that is to follow the old standby: Eat less and exercise more.