If you’ve struggled with losing weight, restrictive diets that claim to be the best diet for fast weight loss or the best diet to lose belly fat sound like the answer. If you just quit eating fat, if you just quit eating sugar, if you just quit eating carbs, then you’ll finally lose weight. The problem with that strategy is that there’s not much left that you can eat. Plus, when you go at the food pyramid or the healthy plate with a machete and hack away most of the food groups, the result won’t be a healthy diet.
Sometimes science comes up with the “answer” to your dieting woes, creating products in the lab that will supposedly allow you to indulge in foods you crave without having to deal with the fat or calories. But here’s the hitch you should have seen coming: the ingredients Nature makes are healthier for you than ones cobbled together in a lab. Your body knows how to process and deal with real sugar and real fat. It isn’t quite sure what to do with sugar and fat substitutes, however, and that can result in health issues including weight gain, which is what you were trying to avoid in the first place.
The Not-So-Sweet Truth About Sugar Substitutes
Harvard Health points out that five artificial sweeteners have been approved by the FDA as safe for human consumption. Sure, the FDA’s process has determined that they aren’t likely to give you cancer, but that doesn’t mean they’re the healthier alternative to real sugar. Neither will they make your diet healthy and help with weight loss. In an interview with Harvard Health, obesity and weight loss specialist Dr. David Ludwig revealed that, because artificial sweeteners are so much sweeter than actual sugar–and even high-fructose corn syrup!–they over-stimulate your sugar receptors. That can result in an intolerance for foods that aren’t as intensely sweet, meaning you’ll be turned off from eating healthy things like fruits and vegetables.
Additionally, artificial sweeteners tend to be addictive. They make you crave more sweets which you feel justified in eating because they’re sugar free, right? That usually results in weight gain rather than being a solution for it. A study originally published in the British Journal of Nutrition showed that subjects who drank an average of three diet sodas each day were twice as likely to be overweight, even obese, as the participants who didn’t indulge in diet drinks.
Scientific American says that part of the weight gain issue with sugar substitutes is that they upset the balance of bacteria in your digestive system, interfering with your body’s ability to properly digest food and extract energy, even from nutritious foods. But their nefarious actions don’t stop there. Artificial sweeteners also encourage populations of bacteria that turn energy into fat and send it for storage to your tummy, thighs and hips.
On top of all of that, research published on the American Diabetes Association website concluded that drinking diet sodas daily was associated with 67 percent greater risk for type 2 diabetes as well as a 36 percent increased risk for metabolic syndrome, a condition that includes elevated abdominal fat as well as high blood pressure, high blood sugar, and high cholesterol.
If you’re going to contend that common white table sugar isn’t healthy either, you’ll get no arguments here. Granulated sugar goes through so much processing that empty calories are all it has left to offer you in the end. According to Livestrong, however, turbinado sugar goes through minimal processing and is the product of the first pressings of sugar cane. Also known as raw sugar, turbinado sugar has a high moisture content so, measure for measure, it has fewer calories than white sugar. Another bonus is that the chemical-free processing procedure leaves turbinado sugar with a significant amount of nutrients including
And! One teaspoon of turbinado sugar only has 5 grams of complex carbohydrates, a definite diet win.
Making the Case for Fat
If you’ve been following along, you know that we’ve already covered the subject of fats in your diet, but it bears bringing up briefly again to discuss the weight gain that is likely if you opt for fat substitutes instead of going for the real thing. ABC News reported on a study that found that a diet that included fake fat resulted in higher weight gain than one that contained basic, plain and simple natural fat.
It seems one of the major issues is the same as with artificial sugar: fat substitutes screw up your body’s ability to effectively control what it eats. They also interfere with digestion and metabolization of food so, once again, energy is turned into fat and packed onto your “problem areas” for storage.
Instead of trying to outwit Nature by “tricking” your body with fake fat and sugar substitutes, just go for the real thing — but, for the love of all that’s holy, do it in moderation! Having permission to eat real sugar and real fat isn’t the same as eating as much of it as you can cram into your cakehole. The best way to lose weight is a diet and fitness program that includes sugar and healthy fats — yes, even real butter — along with an exercise regimen. Your body was designed to move. People who eat the good stuff then work it off with exhilarating exercise lose weight more effectively and keep it off in the long haul.