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Why Artificial Sweeteners are Preventing you from Losing 10 Pounds

Why Artificial Sweeteners are Preventing you from Losing 10 Pounds

My cup of warm coffee is the highlight of my morning. I wake up looking forward to it. The comforting taste in my mouth, the warm feeling in my body and the satisfaction knowing that my mind will slowly start to awaken, brings me incredible pleasure.

I feel like I deserve a treat for being up early, getting to work, and having so much under control (or at least looking like I do) so early in the day.

My coffee used to be more than a simple comfort in the morning, though. It was a creamy, sugary delight that helped satiate my sweet craving. I used to add one pack of Splenda and a low-fat (heavenly) vanilla creamer in my morning coffee.

“Can’t I just have a little sweetener in my coffee?” I would think. I felt like I was already giving up so much. I knew not to go overboard with brownies, cakes and cookies. There were so many times when I would resist a pastry at work or say no to a cupcake or donut.

I wondered if my sweetener would help me lose weight because it wasn’t officially sugar – it was a sugar substitute and didn’t have any calories.

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Sweeteners are low-calorie substitutes for sugar – and many of them are not unsafe nor hazardous to our health in the typical amounts you would use.

“While they are not magic bullets, smart use of non-nutritive sweeteners could help you reduce added sugars in your diet, therefore lowering the number of calories you eat.”
– Dr. Christopher Gardner, associate professor of medicine at Stanford

The biggest prevention to our weight-loss is not that artificial sweeteners have less calories than sugar.

I challenge you to think bigger than if your artificial sweetener will help you lose weight because it has less calories than sugar. . .

Sweeteners prevent weight-loss because of the effect they have on your brain.

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Here are 3 major effects sweeteners have on your brain – and why they are preventing your weight-loss:

1. Your sweet craving drives overeating

From a Yale Journal of Biology and Medicine article:

“Experiments generally have found that sweet taste, whether delivered by sugar or artificial sweeteners, enhanced human appetite. Animals seek food to satisfy the inherent craving for sweetness, even in the absence of energy need.”

This means that even if your body does not need energy, or calories, from food, it is seeking to satisfy its sweet craving.

You may think, “Why not give your body its sweet fix though a no-calorie sweetener?”

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Here’s my take – as a longer-term solution, why not reduce your dependence on sweetness so you don’t need any kind of fix?

It’s possible (I did it after being a sugar addict until I was in my thirties)

2. Sweeteners prevent enjoying the real taste of healthy, unsweetened foods

One of the biggest effects of adding sweeteners is that it “changes the way you taste food.” Sweeteners are more potent than sugar, and though you are using a lower quantity than you would of sugar, it over stimulates your sugar receptors – and as a result, may “limit tolerance for more complex tastes” says Dr. Ludwig, Weight-Loss Specialist at Harvard-affiliated Boston Children’s Hospital.

“That means people who routinely use artificial sweeteners may start to find less intensely sweet foods, such as fruit, less appealing and non-sweet foods, such as vegetables, downright unpalatable” – Harvard Medical School article

Artificial sweeteners make it very difficult for you to eat healthy, filling foods because you don’t like their taste as much and crave food that is sweet.

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3. Sweeteners reduce your brain’s association of sugar with high calories

Since artificial sweeteners are low in sugar, they can prevent your brain from associating sweetness with high-calorie intake. “As a result, we may crave more sweets, tend to choose sweet food over nutritious food, and gain weight. Participants in the San Antonio Heart Study who drank more than 21 diet drinks per week were twice as likely to become overweight or obese as people who didn’t drink diet soda.”

Try cutting the amount of sweetener you use in half starting today, and slowly starting to take them out of your diet so that you can lose weight faster and easier. Some of the most popular sugar substitutes are Splenda, Stevia, Nutrasweet, honey and maple syrup, among many others.

Once you start the process of taking sugar out of your diet, your body will rapidly respond. Though you may feel some withdrawal symptoms like sharper cravings, these will fade if you stick with the plan. You will lose weight quickly, have shinier skin, and even start to look younger.

When you take time to actually taste real food and drinks, you’ll find they’re pretty damn good! Taking pleasure in them makes losing weight and having the body you dream of so much more attainable, no matter your genetics or busy lifestyle.

I still savor my morning cup of coffee. I just actually enjoy the taste of the coffee itself and the feeling it gives me – it’s no longer masked by the sugar and heavy sweet cream. I enjoy the real deal now as well as a healthy relationship with food and my own body. Care to join me?

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Last Updated on September 18, 2020

7 Simple Rules to Live by to Get in Shape in Two Weeks

7 Simple Rules to Live by to Get in Shape in Two Weeks

Learning how to get in shape and set goals is important if you’re looking to live a healthier lifestyle and get closer to your goal weight. While this does require changes to your daily routine, you’ll find that you are able to look and feel better in only two weeks.

Over the years, I’ve learned a lot about what it takes to get in shape. Although anyone can cover the basics (eat right and exercise), there are some things that I could only learn through trial and error. Let’s cover some of the most important points for how to get in shape in two weeks.

1. Exercise Daily

It is far easier to make exercise a habit if it is a daily one. If you aren’t exercising at all, I recommend starting by exercising a half hour every day. When you only exercise a couple times per week, it is much easier to turn one day off into three days off, a week off, or a month off.

If you are already used to exercising, switching to three or four times a week to fit your schedule may be preferable, but it is a lot harder to maintain a workout program you don’t do every day.

Be careful to not repeat the same exercise routine each day. If you do an intense ab workout one day, try switching it up to general cardio the next. You can also squeeze in a day of light walking to break up the intensity.

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If you’re a morning person, check out these morning exercises that will start your day off right.

2. Duration Doesn’t Substitute for Intensity

Once you get into the habit of regular exercise, where do you go if you still aren’t reaching your goals? Most people will solve the problem by exercising for longer periods of time, turning forty-minute workouts into two hour stretches. Not only does this drain your time, but it doesn’t work particularly well.

One study shows that “exercising for a whole hour instead of a half does not provide any additional loss in either body weight or fat”[1].

This is great news for both your schedule and your levels of motivation. You’ll likely find it much easier to exercise for 30 minutes a day instead of an hour. In those 30 minutes, do your best to up the intensity to your appropriate edge to get the most out of the time.

3. Acknowledge Your Limits

Many people get frustrated when they plateau in their weight loss or muscle gaining goals as they’re learning how to get in shape. Everyone has an equilibrium and genetic set point where their body wants to remain. This doesn’t mean that you can’t achieve your fitness goals, but don’t be too hard on yourself if you are struggling to lose weight or put on muscle.

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Acknowledging a set point doesn’t mean giving up, but it does mean realizing the obstacles you face.

Expect to hit a plateau in your own fitness results[2]. When you expect a plateau, you can manage around it so you can continue your progress at a more realistic rate. When expectations meet reality, you can avoid dietary crashes.

4. Eat Healthy, Not Just Food That Looks Healthy

Know what you eat. Don’t fuss over minutia like whether you’re getting enough Omega 3’s or tryptophan, but be aware of the big things. Look at the foods you eat regularly and figure out whether they are healthy or not. Don’t get fooled by the deceptively healthy snacks just pretending to be good for you.

The basic nutritional advice includes:

  • Eat unprocessed foods
  • Eat more veggies
  • Use meat as a side dish, not a main course
  • Eat whole grains, not refined grains[3]

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Eat whole grains when you want to learn how to get in shape.

    5. Watch Out for Travel

    Don’t let a four-day holiday interfere with your attempts when you’re learning how to get in shape. I don’t mean that you need to follow your diet and exercise plan without any excursion, but when you are in the first few weeks, still forming habits, be careful that a week long break doesn’t terminate your progress.

    This is also true of schedule changes that leave you suddenly busy or make it difficult to exercise. Have a backup plan so you can be consistent, at least for the first month when you are forming habits.

    If travel is on your schedule and can’t be avoided, make an exercise plan before you go[4], and make sure to pack exercise clothes and an exercise mat as motivation to keep you on track.

    6. Start Slow

    Ever start an exercise plan by running ten miles and then puking your guts out? Maybe you aren’t that extreme, but burnout is common early on when learning how to get in shape. You have a lifetime to be healthy, so don’t try to go from couch potato to athletic superstar in a week.

    If you are starting a running regime, for example, run less than you can to start. Starting strength training? Work with less weight than you could theoretically lift. Increasing intensity and pushing yourself can come later when your body becomes comfortable with regular exercise.

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    7. Be Careful When Choosing a Workout Partner

    Should you have a workout partner? That depends. Workout partners can help you stay motivated and make exercising more fun. But they can also stop you from reaching your goals.

    My suggestion would be to have a workout partner, but when you start to plateau (either in physical ability, weight loss/gain, or overall health) and you haven’t reached your goals, consider mixing things up a bit.

    If you plateau, you may need to make changes to continue improving. In this case it’s important to talk to your workout partner about the changes you want to make, and if they don’t seem motivated to continue, offer a thirty day break where you both try different activities.

    I notice that guys working out together tend to match strength after a brief adjustment phase. Even if both are trying to improve, something seems to stall improvement once they reach a certain point. I found that I was able to lift as much as 30-50% more after taking a short break from my regular workout partner.

    Final Thoughts

    Learning how to get in shape in as little as two weeks sounds daunting, but if you’re motivated and have the time and energy to devote to it, it’s certainly possible.

    Find an exercise routine that works for you, eat healthy, drink lots of water, and watch as the transformation begins.

    More Tips on Getting in Shape

    Featured photo credit: Alexander Redl via unsplash.com

    Reference

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