For so many years, the standard American diet strategy to lose weight, burn fat, and improve overall health could be boiled down to eliminating sugars at all costs.
The food industry recognized we were in trouble with rising obesity and metabolic disease rates, so highly processed diet alternatives were produced to trick us into thinking that by eating these artificial sweeteners, we would lose weight, feel better, and have happier endings.
The diet food brands made sure we knew we weren’t in danger of consuming any sugar or calories slapping a shiny “0 calorie” on the label juxtaposed with vibrant ad colors. But they forgot to mention the slew of other toxic ingredients we were consuming in place of the sugar.
First, let’s identify the red flag artificial sweeteners. You’ll want to make sure you read labels for Splenda, also known as sucralose, and aspartame. These artificial sweeteners are the worst of the bunch because unlike some of the more earth-derived sweeteners (we’ll chat about those in a moment), they are chemically produced with harmful ingredients our bodies are not designed to digest. The more processed ingredient we eat, the more our body perceives that ingredient as foreign threat.
So while it might seem all well and good to have your favorite soda and skip all the sugar and calories, inside your body is on guard working to protect itself from the unnatural ingredients. This often explains the commonly reported negative digestive symptoms associated with artificial sweeteners. If you’ve ever experienced bloat, constipation, acid reflux, or general sensitivity to artificially sweetened foods – that would your body’s inflammatory response kicking in. When in eaten in excess, artificial sweeteners put you a higher risk of developing metabolic disease, cancer, disrupt hormonal balance, and increase insulin resistance making weight loss much more difficult.
Day to day, artificial sweeteners can also be detrimental to your eating habits, which can have a negative long-term effects on your metabolism, performance, and fitness goals. Sweeteners like Splenda, Equal, and Sweet ‘N Low can be hundreds of times more sweet in taste than table sugar. When eaten in excess, our satisfaction for the natural sweetness from fruit and vegetables significantly decreases. Fake sugars become like a drug, where we need more and more of them in order to be satisfied.
By eating artificial sweeteners rather than real, wholesome sugars from natural foods we also desensitize our appetite awareness. It becomes far more difficult to sense when we’re truly hungry, satisfied, or stuffed. Diet foods flavored with artificial sugars are highly processed, therefore, low-energy foods. This is why it’s so easy to plow through a bag of chips or slurp down a sugar-free latte. Each bite and sip is essentially empty and void of nourishment.
While it is absolutely correct that eating a diet of excess low-quality and highly refined sugars will certainly increase your chances of putting on fat and gaining weight – this piece of advice, like most other nutritional information out there, has been severely distorted and thrown out of context.
The food industry wants us to think by making a quick-fix swap for sugar-free anything automatically makes it healthy. Rather, the real nutritional strides is when you take the courageous step to change not just what you’re eating, but HOW you’re eating and why.
How to SWEETEN with SAVVY:
Enjoy more of Mother’s Nature’s natural sweetness from whole foods like fruits, sweet potatoes, and squash.
When needed for baking or cooking, choose an earth-derived sweetener such as honey, maple syrup, or coconut nectar in small quantities to taste the sweet without throwing off your blood sugar.
Monk fruit and stevia are much healthier alternative to lower calorie sweeteners. They are far wiser upgrades than Splenda since they are completely natural and derived from plants.
Be good to your body by fueling it with the highest-quality and highest energy foods that the Earth provides to us in abundance. When you choose real food, your body can more naturally regulate proper portions and intuitive satisfaction. And when you want the occasional ice cream scoop or an artisanal doughnut – DONUT regret it! A little indulgence is also a healthy and necessary part of your vibrant lifestyle.
By making the commitment to improve your eating habits and cultivating a healthy mindset about food, you’ll accomplish your biggest goals with strength, grace, and mega self-love!