Are Artificial Sweeteners Bad?

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I always thought I was doing myself a favor when I would use an artificial sweetener or sugar substitute in my tea, cereal, or anything else I would sprinkle it in, or on. Now all of a sudden I hear advertising claims for the use of sugar.  What gives?

Artificial sweeteners can raise insulin levels, which in turn will send a message to the brain to store fat, which leads to weight gain. It may be psychological as well. When we are told that something has no calories or less calories, we automatically believe that there is room for more. Maybe by cutting calories in your diet soda intake, you justify the burger, fries, chips, second portion of mashed potatoes or whatever you have.

Did you know that as little as one diet soda a day can increase your risk of diabetes or metabolic syndrome? Metabolic syndrome is a group of conditions that includes increased cholesterol levels, high blood pressure, larger waistlines and elevated glucose. This raises your risk of stroke, diabetes and heart disease. Other negative affects can be headaches, tooth enamel loss and an increased risk of depression. Lower bone mineral density in female soda drinkers, raises the chance of osteoporosis as well.

Nutritional Value? Forget it. Not with an artificial sweetener. Do yourself a favor and drink water. So you like the bubbles? Get sparkling water, or put a straw in the glass and blow bubbles. Just kidding about the straw, I wanted to see if you were still reading. But I enjoyed it as a kid. My dad wasn’t so thrilled with me though.

If you are weaning yourself off of regular soda, a diet alternative soda may be for you, but only if it is short term. Our brains are wired to receive the signal that it had sugar, Not an artificial sweetener.

Our brain responds to sweets by telling us to have more. When we take in a sweet flavor without calorie content, the craving is not satisfied and we drink or eat more sweets to try to make up that difference, thus taking in more calories. Remember that the excess is stored as fat. Sugar actually sends a signal to the brain that it has received it’s reward, Sucralose, (my sweetener of choice),will not do that. So the viscous cycle continues. I will throw a word of caution about the excessive use of refined sugars. Moderation!

I am not a licensed medical professional, registered dietitian, nor do I claim to have all the answers. I am trying to raise your awareness of the possible dangers or hurdles you could face with a weight loss program. If you question this, please research for yourself. Knowledge and the application of it will take you extremely far. 

In fitness, Bob

Weight Loss Plateaus

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Have you ever started a diet or weight loss plan, only to hit a plateau or hump that you just couldn’t get over? Were the goals that you set for yourself reachable in the time frame you allotted? Did you find yourself cheating occasionally or skipping workout days.

Some of you may know that in order to lose weight you must expend, or use, more calories than you take in. You will need to workout a little more to get rid of the extra weight that you have put on as well.

When beginning an exercise routine, most people experience their best results, however the body adapts to the exercise routine and is no longer challenged the way it was before. If all you monitor is the scale, you may not even see the results. This is due to the fact that you are burning fat and losing mass. You may even see an increase in your weight because you are building muscle. This new muscle growth will help you achieve the results you want.

You must hold yourself accountable with every bite you take. If you consider how much movement is required to burn the food energy you ingest, you may achieve greater results. This is not to say that you should starve yourself either. In a starvation mode, your body will adjust by storing the food it takes in as fat, so that it does not burn it as fuel. You will actually begin to lose muscle mass.

Try to keep an honest journal of what you consume and how you were feeling at the time you ate it. Were you angry, happy, with other people or alone? Condiments and drinks will add to your intake of “invisible” calories quickly. I love eggs, but at 70 calories each or 17 for the white only, sometimes I sacrifice a yolk or two. This helps my cholesterol as well.

Change up your workout routine. As I said, the body will become accustomed to the exercise, and your nutrition needs will change. Do you fidget? Maybe you should. Movement uses energy. Sing to yourself and tap your foot, or get up for a quick walk to a friends cubicle, the restroom even if you don’t need to use it, just start moving more. And if you increase your water intake, (hint hint), you will have the need to get up and move.

Don’t fall for for rapid weight loss pills, gimmicks, machines, or diets of whoever is famous at the time. If you do not make this a lifestyle change, then you won’t have a life changing event. Consider hiring a Certified Personal Trainer that will help guide you through your journey. Stay motivated, accept that you may have setbacks, and overcome them.                                                                          In fitness, Bob