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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 20, 2018

How to Stay Calm and Cool When You Are Extremely Stressful

How to Stay Calm and Cool When You Are Extremely Stressful

Being in a hurry all the time drains your energy. Your work and routine life make you feel overwhelmed. Getting caught up in things beyond your control stresses you out…

If you’d like to stay calm and cool in stressful situations, put the following 8 steps into practice:

1. Breathe

The next time you’re faced with a stressful situation that makes you want to hurry, stop what you’re doing for one minute and perform the following steps:

  • Take five deep breaths in and out (your belly should come forward with each inhale).
  • Imagine all that stress leaving your body with each exhale.
  • Smile. Fake it if you have to. It’s pretty hard to stay grumpy with a goofy grin on your face.

Feel free to repeat the above steps every few hours at work or home if you need to.

2. Loosen up

After your breathing session, perform a quick body scan to identify any areas that are tight or tense. Clenched jaw? Rounded shoulders? Anything else that isn’t at ease?

Gently touch or massage any of your body parts that are under tension to encourage total relaxation. It might help to imagine you’re in a place that calms you: a beach, hot tub, or nature trail, for example.

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3. Chew slowly

Slow down at the dinner table if you want to learn to be patient and lose weight. Shoveling your food down as fast as you can is a surefire way to eat more than you need to (and find yourself with a bellyache).

Be a mindful eater who pays attention to the taste, texture, and aroma of every dish. Chew slowly while you try to guess all of the ingredients that were used to prepare your dish.

Chewing slowly will also reduce those dreadful late-night cravings that sneak up on you after work.

4. Let go

Cliche as it sounds, it’s very effective.

The thing that seems like the end of the world right now?

It’s not. Promise.

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Stressing and worrying about the situation you’re in won’t do any good because you’re already in it, so just let it go.

Letting go isn’t easy, so here’s a guide to help you:

21 Things To Do When You Find It Hard To Let Go

5. Enjoy the journey

Focusing on the end result can quickly become exhausting. Chasing a bold, audacious goal that’s going to require a lot of time and patience? Split it into several mini-goals so you’ll have several causes for celebration.

Stop focusing on the negative thoughts. Giving yourself consistent positive feedback will help you grow patience, stay encouraged, and find more joy in the process of achieving your goals.

6. Look at the big picture

The next time you find your stress level skyrocketing, take a deep breath, and ask yourself:

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Will this matter to me…

  • Next week?
  • Next month?
  • Next year?
  • In 10 years?

Hint: No, it won’t.

I bet most of the stuff that stresses you wouldn’t matter the next week, maybe not even the next day.

Stop agonizing over things you can’t control because you’re only hurting yourself.

7. Stop demanding perfection of yourself

You’re not perfect and that’s okay. Show me a person who claims to be perfect and I’ll show you a dirty liar.

Demanding perfection of yourself (or anybody else) will only stress you out because it just isn’t possible.

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8. Practice patience every day

Below are a few easy ways you can practice patience every day, increasing your ability to remain calm and cool in times of stress:

  • The next time you go to the grocery store, get in the longest line.
  • Instead of going through the drive-thru at your bank, go inside.
  • Take a long walk through a secluded park or trail.

Final thoughts

Staying calm in stressful situations is possible, all you need is some daily practice.

Taking deep breaths and eat mindfully are some simple ways to train your brain to be more patient. But changing the way you think of a situation and staying positive are most important in keeping cool whenever you feel overwhelmed and stressful.

Featured photo credit: Brooke Cagle via unsplash.com

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