I get this question a lot, “what’s wrong with drinking a diet soda if it has no calories?!” Or I love this one, (as they are eating a candy bar), the ingredients say “sugar free” that’s fine to eat right Joey?!
This is one of the biggest diet myths out there, the artificial “zero” calorie issue. Since something is listed as zero calorie or sugar free it doesn’t mean that it can’t have a direct effect on your waistline! Contrary to what the soda companies and others would like you to think, having artificial sugar is NOT ok!
When we eat something with an artificial sweetener like sucrolose, aspartame, or the popular Splenda this can have a direct response to how our body reacts. Our brain senses that it’s getting something sweet so naturally it wants to fill the void of eating that sugary treat, but when our brains pleasure sensor doesn’t recognize any calories to be satiated it wants you to take in more and more of this “zero” calorie sweet goodness! This in turn causes an insulin spike in our bodies and we put the breaks on any fat burning and increase fat storage (well that and our waistline).
Here’s an exert from a recent Huffington post article: “It’s important to understand how exactly insulin and blood sugar play a role in Type 2 diabetes. Insulin is a hormone produced by the pancreas that assists in the absorption of sugar into cells and also helps to decrease the amount of sugar that is circulating in the blood. The amount of insulin secreted into the bloodstream is related to the amount of sugar circulating; when there is less sugar, there is less insulin being secreted, according to the Mayo Clinic. With Type 2 diabetes, cells become insulin-resistant, and the pancreas isn’t able to produce enough insulin to get the cells to take up the sugar. When this happens, sugar accumulates in the blood.”
Study after study shows people who consume artificial sweeteners are more likely to overeat and become obese and diabetic. A study presented by the ADA (American Dietetic Association) showed that people who drank diet soda over a 10 year period had dramatically bigger waistlines than those who didn’t!
Ok, enough of the facts, what are my tips?
- If you want something sweet go ahead and have something with real sugar, honey, pure maple syrup, agave, or even stevia (shown not to spike insulin levels). This will give your brain the calories it needs to slow down your hunger response.
- If you want ice cream (yum!) eat a higher fat ice cream (WHAT!!!?), this will have more calories per serving but it will fill you up faster and make you LESS likely to over indulge.
- Try to get a workout before you eat that sugary food, at least this way some of your food calories will be used to repair your body and less likely stored as fat!
Yours in health,