You’ve spent hours on the treadmill, given up your favourite comfort foods, and even tried a few prepared meal diet programs. But no matter what you do, the number on your scale doesn’t seem to budge. What can you do to finally shed those pounds and achieve your weight loss goals? Try these 4 easy weight loss strategies that are backed by science.
1. Get enough sleep
When you think of weight loss strategies, you may be most likely to think of ones related to diet and exercise. Diet and exercise are important, and we’ll get to them later. But they aren’t the only factors that can affect your weight. Your sleep can too.
If you’re like a lot of North Americans, you lead a busy lifestyle and you may try to get by on as little sleep as possible. But science shows that this can make it harder for you to lose weight. Why? When you’re tired, you’re more likely to choose unhealthy foods when you’re hungry.
But that’s not all. When you don’t get enough sleep, your body releases more ghrelin, a hormone that increases appetite, and less leptin, a hormone that tells your body that you’re full. This may be in part why scientists have found that people who don’t get enough sleep eat 300 extra calories each day.
Because a lack of sleep can cause you to gain weight, one of the best weight loss strategies you can use is to make sure you get enough sleep.
2. Drink water before meals
Drinking water doesn’t just keep you hydrated. It can also help you lose weight. Science shows, for example, that drinking water can boost your metabolism by 24% to 30% over a period of 60 to 90 minutes. This helps you burn more calories. In addition, when you drink water before meals, it may help you eat fewer calories. In a study, researchers found that dieters ate fewer calories and lost 44% more weight when they drank half a litre of water 30 minutes before meals.
3. Prioritize diet over exercise
Maintaining a healthy diet and exercising regularly are both important weight loss strategies. But according to scientists, they aren’t equally effective. Research shows that diet plays a bigger role in weight loss than exercise does. This is because it’s very easy to gain sugar, fat, and calories by eating unhealthy foods. But it takes a lot of exercise (much more than most people think) to burn them off. So although it’s still important to exercise, it’s more important that you skip that burger or chocolate bar.
4. Incorporate garcinia cambogia into your diet
When it comes to your diet, weight loss strategies don’t just include avoiding foods that make you gain weight. It’s also important to consume foods that help you lose weight. One of these powerful superfoods is garcinia cambogia. A pumpkin-shaped fruit, garcinia cambogia produces weight loss. Researchers have even found that people who have a hard time losing weight can experience a 5-6% drop in body weight and body mass index when they eat garcinia cambogia.
Use the right weight loss strategies
When you try to lose weight, you may turn to strategies you hear about on TV or read about in magazines. But the reality is that not all weight loss strategies are equally effective. If you want to achieve your weight loss goals this year, use strategies that are backed by science. They’ll help you get results without wasting your time or money.
If you’re like a lot of North Americans, you probably feel tired for a good chunk of the day. It doesn’t seem to matter how much sleep you get or what you do during the day. You’re exhausted for hours in the morning, feel fatigued in the middle of the afternoon, and are ready to pass out soon after dinner. How can you feel more energized during the day so you can get more out of it? Try these 6 simple diet changes that increase energy levels.
1. Maintain a balanced diet
One of the easiest ways to change your diet to increase energy levels is to adopt a balanced diet. You may feel tired all the time because you’re eating lots of carbs without balancing them out with lean proteins and produce. Give yourself an energy boost by eating a balanced diet that includes items from all four major food groups. Be sure that you’re getting enough fruits and veggies, meats and alternatives, and dairy or dairy alternatives in addition to those carbs.
2. Eat at regular intervals each day
Another simple way to increase energy levels is to eat at regular intervals each day. When you eat at regular intervals, your body knows when it can expect food next. So instead of making you feel hungry to trigger eating, your body manages hunger effectively and sustains your energy until your next meal or snack.
3. Don’t skip breakfast
This is a tough one if you don’t like to eat as soon as you get out of bed. But it’s worth trying. After all, eating breakfast is a key way to increase energy levels. When eating breakfast, stick to healthier options, such as eggs or oatmeal with fruit. And if you can’t bring yourself to eat first thing in the morning, pack a snack that’s high in fibre for the road. This way, you’ll have something healthy to eat later on in the morning when you’re ready to eat.
4. Reduce your sugar intake
Sugar is a double-edged sword. It can give you a quick boost of energy. But this boost is often followed by a sharp and sudden crash. That’s why reducing your sugar intake is an effective way to increase energy levels overall. Of course, sugar is impossible to avoid completely because it’s naturally present in many healthy foods, such as fruit. Focus instead on limiting your intake of added sugar, such as the sugar you find in cookies, candy, and pop.
5. Choose iron-rich foods
No matter how much sleep you get and how often you eat breakfast, you won’t feel energized if your body is lacking iron. After all, your body needs iron to transport oxygen to organs in your body. That’s why you might feel tired, look pale, and even faint if your body is low in iron. Boost your iron stores to increase energy levels by eating foods rich in iron. These include red meat, fortified cereals, and pumpkin seeds.
6. Eat foods that release energy slowly
Another way to increase energy levels is to consume foods that release energy slowly throughout the day. For example, coconut oil is known to be an energy-boosting food because it’s packed with medium-chained tricyclerides (MCTs). Because the body processes MCTs gradually over time, coconut oil gives you a noticeable energy boost that remains stable throughout the day (instead of plunging after 30 minutes or an hour).
Small changes can increase energy levels
Feeling more energized during the day isn’t just about making sure you get more sleep at night. It’s also about managing your diet in the right way. Increase your energy levels by making small yet effective changes to your diet, such as eating at regular intervals, limiting your sugar intake, and consuming iron-rich foods. These changes will give you the energy boost you need to make the most of your day.
Your low back pain may not have seemed like a big deal when it first started. But now that you’ve had it for months or years, you can see how it has affected your quality of life. For example, it’s hard to sit for long periods of time, even simple physical activities can be uncomfortable, and the pain is bad enough to keep you up at night. If you’ve tried traditional medical treatments without success, you may think you’re out of options. But you aren’t. There’s something you need to try: glucosamine chondroitin. Here’s how glucosamine chondroitin reduces low back pain.
What is glucosamine chondroitin?
Glucosamine and chondroitin are distinct substances that are naturally present in your body. Glucosamine is an amino sugar that’s present in cartilage cells and other connective tissue. In comparison, chondroitin is a complex carbohydrate that 2. helps cartilage retain water.
Even though glucosamine and chondroitin are separate substances, they’re often combined in health supplements to optimize their benefits. That’s why you’ll see supplements containing glucosamine and chondroitin labelled as “glucosamine chondroitin.”
3 ways glucosamine chondroitin reduces low back pain
1. Relieves pain
One way that glucosamine chondroitin reduces low back pain is by providing relief from the pain itself. In a systematic review of research studies, scientists found that people with low back pain who took glucosamine chondroitin supplements reported less pain on the Lequesne index than people who didn’t take the supplements did. This provides evidence that glucosamine chondroitin reduces low back pain by providing relief from the chronic pain people experience.
2. Reduces inflammation
Inflammation plays a key role in low back pain. That’s why reducing inflammation in the back is an important step in addressing low back pain. Science suggests that glucosamine chondroitin may also reduce low back pain by decreasing inflammation. In a study of 217 men and women, researchers assessed how much and how frequently participants incorporated glucosamine chondroitin supplements into their diet. They also measured inflammation in participants’ bodies. They found that inflammation levels were lower in men and women who consumed more glucosamine chondroitin.
3. Improves function
When you have low back pain, you want to do more than just get rid of the pain. You also want to get back to performing everyday tasks that you were able to do before you developed low back pain. Research suggests that glucosamine chondroitin may be able to help here too. Specifically, when studying whether glucosamine chondroitin reduces low back pain, scientists found that people who took the supplement reported improved back function. This suggests that glucosamine chondroitin may improve mobility and range of motion in people with low back pain.
Find relief from back pain with glucosamine chondroitin
Research provides evidence that glucosamine chondroitin reduces low back pain by relieving pain, reducing inflammation, and improving function. However, different from other dietary supplements, glucosamine and chondroitin aren’t available in everyday foods. That’s why you’ll need to look for high-quality glucosamine chondroitin supplements to incorporate these healing substances into your diet.
Stop worrying about your low back pain today. Find relief by buying glucosamine chondroitin from our website.
Low back pain doesn’t get as much attention as cancer and heart disease do. But in the United States, it’s one of the most common reasons why people visit the doctor. In fact, if you suffer from low back pain, you’re part of a whopping 29% of American adults who experience it. How can you treat low back pain so that you can stop missing out on your life? Find out why painkillers and steroids usually don’t work and learn about the 5 strategies you should try instead.
What doesn’t seem to work?
Traditionally, doctors have used opioids, steroid injections, bed rest, and surgery to treat low back pain. The problem? Researchers have failed to find evidence that these treatments actually work. And that’s not all. Science even shows that they can produce harmful side effects and complications.
Why aren’t traditional medical treatments effective for treating low back pain? Because they target only physical causes of back pain. This is a limitation because scientists now believe that psychological factors also contribute to low back pain. That’s why they’ve found that among people with the same physical low back injury (for example, a bulging disc), some may experience excruciating pain whereas others experience no pain at all.
5 alternatives you can use to treat low back pain
If traditional ways to treat low back pain don’t work, what can you use to find relief? Check out these 5 alternatives, all of which are backed by scientific evidence:
Doctors used to think that rest was the best thing you could do to treat low back pain. But this isn’t what the research shows. In fact, science provides evidence that staying in bed is one of the worst ways to treat low back pain in most cases. This is because there is consistent evidence that staying active can reduce low back pain whereas being inactive can delay recovery. Exercise helps to treat low back pain by boosting muscle strength, enhancing flexibility and range of motion, and reducing stiffness.
Yoga isn’t just good for managing stress and reducing anxiety. It can also help you treat low back pain. In a systematic review of research on yoga and low back pain, scientists found that people who practiced yoga experienced an improvement in back-related function after 3 to 6 months. In comparison, people who didn’t engage in any exercise didn’t experience this change.
3. Tai chi
Like yoga, tai chi emphasizes the mind-body connection and has been shown to be effective in treating low back pain. In a systematic review, researchers at the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality found that tai chi reduces chronic low back pain in comparison to no exercise. In addition, they found that people who did tai chi also returned to work sooner.
4. Massage therapy
Although experts believe that active treatments, such as exercise, yoga, and tai chi, are the best way to address low back pain, passive treatments may also provide some relief. For example, science shows that massage therapy, which involves manipulating muscles and soft tissue, reduces symptoms and improves function in the short term.
5. Multidisciplinary rehabilitation
Studies reveal that physical therapy isn’t any more effective in treating low back pain than exercise is. However, there are now treatments that combine physical therapy with psychological therapy. Known as multidisciplinary rehabilitation, this treatment targets both the physical and psychological factors that contribute to low back pain. As a result, researchers have found that it works better than traditional physical therapy both in the short term and long term.
Use evidence-based strategies to treat low back pain
If you’ve been suffering from low back pain, you may be desperate to find relief. As a result, you may feel tempted to turn to medication or steroid injections for a “quick fix.” However, science shows that these treatments don’t work most of the time and can even be harmful. That’s why experts recommend alternative ways to treat low back pain, such as exercise, yoga, tai chi, massage therapy, and multidisciplinary therapy. These treatments are backed by scientific evidence and are less likely to cause harm.
Want to reduce stiffness and improve mobility in your back so that you can make the most of the 5 strategies we described above? Add glucosamine chondroitin to your diet today.
Have you done your research on how to boost your health, prevent disease, and get the body you’ve always wanted the natural way? If you have, there’s a food you may have heard of: garcinia cambogia pure. Native to Indonesia, garcinia cambogia is a pumpkin-shaped fruit. It’s most well-known for its impact on weight loss, but it has a range of other health benefits as well.
You may have never seen garcinia cambogia in your local grocery store. But this fruit isn’t anything new. It’s been used in Southeast Asian cuisine for many years. Fortunately, you don’t have to travel around the world to experience the benefits of garcinia cambogia. Instead, you can get them by adding garcinia cambogia pure extract to your diet.
Here are 5 key facts about garcinia cambogia pure you should know:
1. It has more than one name
Unlike most people, garcinia cambogia goes by more than one name. Its scientific name is Garcinia gummi-gutta. However, it’s also known by several common names, including garcinia cambogia, garcinia, Malabar tamarind, brindleberry, and kudam puli. When sold as a health supplement, it is often referred to as garcinia cambogia.
2. The active ingredient is in the rind
The key active ingredient in garcinia cambogia isn’t in the fleshy part of the fruit. It’s in the superfood’s rind. Known as hydroxycitric acid (HCA), this substance may increase weight loss by blocking fat production and suppressing appetite. Specifically, scientists believe that it stops a key enzyme in the body, citrate lyase, from producing fats from carbohydrates. It may also suppress appetite by increasing levels of serotonin, a chemical produced by the body that affects mood, appetite, and sleep.
3. It can help with weight loss
Even if other weight loss methods haven’t worked in the past, garcinia cambogia pure can help you shed those pounds. In particular, scientists have found that garcinia cambogia can produce weight loss. Researchers have found that these effects apply even to those who have a hard time losing weight. When scientists studied 60 obese people, they found that those who took garcinia cambogia experienced a 5-6% drop in body weight and body mass index. Those who didn’t take the extract didn’t experience a change.
4. It has other health benefits too
Science shows that garcinia cambogia pure does more than just help with weight loss. It also has a range of other health benefits. These include reducing cholesterol, stabilizing blood sugar, and aiding digestion.
5. What to look for
Be aware that not all garcinia supplements are the same. Many brands contain only a fraction of HCA and are full of fillers, binders, and artificial ingredients. Maximize the health benefits you get from this powerful fruit by looking for “pure garcinia cambogia.”
Experience the benefits of garcinia cambogia pure
Garcinia cambogia pure isn’t a treadmill, diet meal program, or synthetic weight loss pill. But it can give you the body you’ve always wanted and boost your health in a variety of other ways.
When your knees, hips, or hands hurt on a regular basis, it can be hard to do even the simplest everyday tasks. You may find it hard to climb the stairs in your home, go for a run, or even simply chop vegetables for dinner. To find relief from the pain, you can try taking an over-the-counter pain killer or a prescription pain medication. However, even when they work, these medications can produce unpleasant side effects. What other options do you have? You can incorporate glucosamine chondroitin into your diet.
What are glucosamine and chondroitin?
Glucosamine and chondroitin are both natural substances that are present in the human body. Glucosamine is an amino sugar that’s found in cartilage cells and other connective tissue. Chondroitin, on the other hand, is a complex carbohydrate that helps cartilage hang onto water. To optimize their health benefits, glucosamine and chondroitin are often combined into a single health supplement.
Here are 4 ways glucosamine chondroitin supplements can improve joint health:
1. Reduce joint pain
Need relief from the pain of achy joints but don’t want to rely on medication? Give glucosamine chondroitin a try. Scientists have found that it can reduce pain associated with arthritis, temporomandibular joint (TMJ) syndrome, and other joint conditions. For example, in a large randomized clinical trial, researchers found that glucosamine chondroitin provided significantly more pain relief than a placebo in participants with moderate-to-severe knee osteoarthritis pain. Scientists have also found evidence that glucosamine works as well as ibuprofen (a common over-the-counter pain medication) at relieving pain from TMJ.
2. Decrease inflammation
In addition to reducing the pain associated with joint conditions, science shows that glucosamine chondroitin reduces inflammation. In a study of 217 American participants, researchers measured how much men and women supplemented their diet with it. They also assessed levels of inflammatory biomarkers (which indicate the presence of inflammation) in their bodies. The results showed that participants who took more glucosamine chondroitin had lower levels of inflammatory biomarkers.
3. Improve joint function
Even if your joint pain and inflammation are under control, you may have difficulty performing everyday tasks because your joints are stiff. Glucosamine chondroitin can help here too. In a network meta-analysis that included 54 studies of 16,427 participants with knee osteoarthritis, scientists found that taking glucosamine chondroitin significantly improved joint function.
4. Enhance joint structure
When you have a chronic joint condition, you don’t just want temporary relief from your symptoms. You want to improve the structure of your joints to prevent symptoms in the future. That’s where glucosamine chondroitin comes in. Experts have uncovered some evidence that chondroitin can improve joint structure. In addition, in a study with rats, scientists found that daily glucosamine supplementation boosted the health of connective tissues surrounding bones and strengthened newly formed bones.
Get joint relief with glucosamine chondroitin
Science shows that glucosamine chondroitin can improve joint health in a number of ways. However, unlike other dietary supplements, such as iron and folic acid, glucosamine and chondroitin aren’t present in the foods we eat. That’s why you want to look for high-quality, potent glucosamine chondroitin supplements to harness the power of these natural healing substances.
Get relief from stiff, achy joints so you can get back to living your life. Buy glucosamine chondroitin from our website.
Ceylon cinnamon is a flavourful spice that’s used in baked goods, savoury side dishes, and breakfast foods. However, cinnamon is more than just a spice that makes food taste delicious. It also has powerful, disease-fighting properties. That’s why people around the world have used it for medicinal purposes for thousands of years.
Ceylon cinnamon vs. Cassia cinnamon
When you’re thinking about the health benefits of cinnamon, it’s important to distinguish between two types of cinnamon: Ceylon cinnamon and Cassia cinnamon. Native to China, Cassia cinnamon is the type of cinnamon you’ll find in most grocery stores. It’s lower in quality and inexpensive. In comparison, Ceylon cinnamon, which is also called “true cinnamon,” is native to Sri Lanka. It’s higher in quality and more expensive.
How can Ceylon cinnamon help you fight disease and boost your health? Check out these 5 surprising health benefits:
1. High in antioxidants
Ceylon cinnamon may seem like just any old spice. But it beats out most foods, spices, and herbs when it comes to its antioxidant content. In fact, research shows that cinnamon has one of the highest antioxidant concentrations, beating out garlic, oregano, and thyme. As a result, cinnamon helps to fight oxidative stress, which can lead to disease, and slow the aging process. In addition, it may protect the body against DNA damage and tumour growth.
2. Reduces inflammation
Because Ceylon cinnamon contains a high concentration of antioxidants, it has powerful anti-inflammatory effects. For example, scientists have found evidence that cinnamon can improve pain management by reducing muscle soreness. In the long term, it may also reduce the risk of developing heart disease and experiencing a decline in brain function.
3. Stabilizes blood sugar
If you have diabetes, you know how important it is to regulate your blood sugar levels. Scientific evidence shows that cinnamon may be able to help. In a review of 16 studies, researchers found that Ceylon cinnamon showed promising results as a supplement that may help manage diabetes symptoms. Science also shows that it may increase sensitivity to insulin and regulate blood sugar levels.
4. Boosts heart health
Want to reduce your risk of developing heart disease? Give cinnamon a try. This powerful spice can help to prevent heart disease by reducing not just one but several risk factors. In particular, research shows that cinnamon can reduce high blood pressure and high triglyceride levels. It also reduces LDL cholesterol (the “bad” kind) while keeping levels of HDL cholesterol (the “good” kind) stable.
5. Protects the brain
In addition to its role in preventing cardiovascular disease and regulating blood sugar, Ceylon cinnamon may protect the brain against neurological disorders, such as Alzheimer’s disease. People with Alzheimer’s have a buildup of tau (a protein) in their brains. Research shows that key compounds in cinnamon make it more difficult for tau to accumulate.
Optimize your health with Ceylon cinnamon
Although you may associate cinnamon with sugary treats that aren’t good for your health, Ceylon cinnamon has a range of health-boosting properties. Not only is it packed with antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds, but it also reduces your risk of heart disease, stabilizes blood sugar, and protects the brain. Ceylon cinnamon sure is one sweet spice.
Fight disease and boost your health with Ceylon cinnamon today. Buy it from our website today.
Artificial sweeteners have little to no calories. And because they can be thousands of times sweeter than sugar, they’re often used as a substitute for it (1, 6, 12). For this reason, food manufacturers market artificial sweeteners as a way to reduce the sugar and calories in your diet and help you lose weight.
But, do artificial sweeteners increase weight loss? No. In fact, many studies suggest that people gain weight by eating them (1, 10, 12). And even though some food governing bodies have deemed most of them safe, are they really? Not necessarily. In reality, there are many conflicting studies about the safety of artificial sweeteners, although some studies that support their safety are funded by companies that make and sell them (10). Hence, you should be cautious when consuming artificial sweeteners because they could be less healthy than table sugar (1, 10, 12).
Are artificial sweeteners safe?
There haven’t been enough longitudinal studies on artificial sweeteners to demonstrate their safety (12). However, because there isn’t much evidence proving that they aren’t safe, food companies have pressured governing bodies to allow their use (10). Why? Because artificial sweeteners are cheap to make and much sweeter than sugar. So food companies know they can get uneducated consumers hooked on them (7, 10, 12). The reality is that some artificial sweeteners have been linked to side effects. For example, they may cause cancer in rats, disrupt the body’s calorie counter, and increase cravings for refined sugars (1, 10, 12). These effects make sense considering how some artificial sweeteners are made.
How are they made?
Some artificial sweeteners come from simple carbs, such as sucrose. Sucrose comes from refining sugarcane or beet sugar to make table sugar. Sucralose, an artificial sweetener found in major brands that are sugar substitute for coffees, teas, and baking. It’s derived by taking sucrose and replacing hydrogen-oxygen groups in it with chlorine (9). This is clearly an unnatural substitute.
Whereas some artificial sweeteners are chemically synthesized, others are processed more naturally. For example, the first artificial sweetener to be chemically synthesized was saccharin in 1879. Chemist Fahlberg discovered saccharin by accident because he didn’t wash his hands before eating. He was working with a combination of substances, such as sugar and coal tar. Saccharin was accidentally found by boiling over a cocktail of sulfobenzoic acid, phosphorus chloride, and ammonia (3, 10).
More natural and extracted from a plant native to Paraguay and Brazil, stevia is a sweetener that is 300 times stronger than sugar. By using leaves, an alcohol, and heat, it’s possible to make a liquid form of stevia. Unfortunately, some food companies extract stevia and refine it into a less natural powder form. Advocates argue that stevia has no negative effects. But some studies have shown that it may lower sperm counts and lead to smaller offspring (10). Regardless, if you understand how some artificial sweeteners are made, you can make healthier choices.
Why aspartame stands out
Since its approval in 1981, 75% of all artificial sweetener complaints to Accounts Receivable Management Solutions (ARMS) have been about aspartame. (Note, however, that only about 1% of people who have problems with products report them.) Some people have suggested that aspartame causes several symptoms and conditions, including dizziness, headaches, chronic fatigue syndrome, and cancer (10). Critics argue that even though aspartame breaks down into digestible amino acids, these amino acids are normally accompanied by others amino acids in natural foods that “balance” out their effects. Having abnormally high concentrations of the amino acids aspartame produces may have adverse effects (1,10).
Regardless, top governing bodies stand by their aspartame regulations. Moreover, aspartame was the victim of Internet hoax reports in the late 1990s, which led the public to think it was far worse than scientific reports suggested (5). This prompted governing bodies to affirm its safety (2, 4, 8).
However, in 2015, aspartame was replaced with sucralose in diet drink products. Aspartame also isn’t safe for people with phenylketonuria – a genetic metabolic condition (2, 4, 8, 11).
How artificial sweeteners affect our bodies
It’s important to note that many countries have deemed the artificial sweeteners mentioned here and many others to be safe. Hence, most acute negative effects on health are probably minor (2, 4, 5, 8). However, even without evidence from longitudinal studies, some conclusions suggest that artificial sweeteners throw off our body’s ability to “count calories” (1, 10). This refers to our body’s ability to match how many calories we are consuming with how many calories we need each day.
The problem with “counting calories” is that our body uses the taste of how sweet something is to estimate how many calories we’ve consumed. Because artificial sweeteners contain little to no calories, they disrupt our body’s calorie count. Specifically, studies have shown that eating artificial sweeteners regularly can lead the body to think that sweet taste equals minimal calories. So when you eat sweet foods without artificial sweeteners, your body underestimates the calories you’ve consumed, which makes you overeat (1, 10, 12).
Foods that contain artificial sweeteners
You’re most likely to find artificial sweeteners in foods like diet soft drinks, gum, candy, powdered soft drinks, flavored water, condiments, instant coffee, baking mixes, and desserts. However, you can also find them in toothpaste, mouthwash, chewable vitamins, and cough drops. Because they show up in so many products, be aware of what you consume by reading ingredient lists of the foods you buy.
Here are some of the most common artificial sweeteners:
Additive Code: E951
Additive Code: E954
Additive Code: E955
Davidson, T. L., & Swithers, S. E. (2004). A Pavlovian approach to the problem of obesity. International journal of obesity, 28(7), 933-935.
Scientific Opinion on the re-evaluation of aspartame (E 951) as a food additive. (2013). EFSA Journal. 11 (12): 263. doi:10.2903/j.efsa.2013.3496
Fahlberg’s account of how he discovered the sweetness of saccharin appears in: (Anon.) (July 17, 1886) “The inventor of saccharine,” Scientific American, new series, 60 (3) : 36.
(2017). Aspartame. Retrieved on 6 March 2017 from https://www.food.gov.uk/science/additives/aspartame
Hattan, D.G. (2015).“FALSE: Aspartame — sweet poison”. Snopes. Retrieved 6 March 2017 at http://www.snopes.com/medical/toxins/aspartame.asp.
Li X. D., Staszewski L., Xu H., Durick K., Zoller M., Adler E. (2002). “Human receptors for sweet and umami taste”. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 99 (7): 4692–6. doi:10.1073/pnas.072090199.
Lin, S. Y.; Cheng, Y. D. (October 2000). Simultaneous formation and detection of the reaction product of solid-state aspartame sweetener by FT-IR/DSC microscopic system. Food Addit Contam.17(10): 821–7.doi:10.1080/026520300420385.
Magnuson B. A.; Burdock G. A.; Doull J.; et al. (2007). Aspartame: a safety evaluation based on current use levels, regulations, and toxicological and epidemiological studies. Critical Reviews in Toxicology. 37 (8): 629–727. doi:1080/10408440701516184
Myers, R. L.; Myers, R. L. (2007). The 100 most important chemical compounds: a reference guide. Westport, Conn: Greenwood Press. p. 241. ISBN0-313-33758-6.
Because of food manufacturer marketing strategies that oversimplify the low carb diet, carbohydrates have been demonized. But just as there are healthy and unhealthy types fats, there are also healthy (i.e., complex carbs) and unhealthy (i.e., simple carbs) types of carbs. Below is a breakdown of the types of carbohydrates to eat and the types to avoid. However, note that this information does not apply to people who have certain genetic conditions, such as lactose intolerance, galactosemia, or celiac disease, which restrict the body’s ability to metabolize certain carbohydrates (1, 3, 5).
Simple Carbs vs. Complex Carbs
Nutritionists categorize carbohydrates as either simple carbohydrates or complex carbohydrates. One has a short chain of molecules (simple). The other has a longer chain (complex). From a chemistry point of view, all carbohydrates are technically “sugars.” But the sugar most people think of when they hear the word is also considered its own class of carbohydrates – go figure (4, 9, 11). Sugars have short chains of molecules (simple carbs). However, not all carbohydrates are sweet. And not all accompany healthy vitamins and fibre (6, 10). This is where we can start to see a divide between healthy and unhealthy carbs.
For example, table sugar (sucrose – a simple carb), is a sweet and unhealthy carbohydrate because it is not accompanied by fibre or vitamins. However, vegetables and whole grain bread (complex carbs), which are not sweet, are forms of healthy carbohydrates. Why? Because they are accompanied by vitamins, minerals, and fibre (2, 4, 10). However, it is important to note that some complex carbs are often refined (e.g., white flour and pastries). This usually means that their fibre, vitamin, and mineral contents have been stripped and unhealthy sugars have been added. So it can be a bit of a trade-off. Yes, you will probably consume some simple carbs in the form of sugar. But try to eat ones that accompany natural fibre, vitamins, and minerals. Think fruit (good) versus candy (bad). Too easy.
How to identify healthy vs. unhealthy carbs
Another helpful tool is the glycemic index (GI) of foods. Many studies suggest that the GI may be a more effective way to identify healthy forms of carbohydrates (6, 8, 13). Moreover, the simplest way to separate healthy and unhealthy carbohydrates (and most foods for that matter), is to consume foods that grow naturally and avoid processed and refined foods. For example, brown rice, oats, and broccoli are healthy whereas white crackers, pastries, and granola bars are not. Why? Because they are more processed and more likely include added sugar.
Added sugars can be hidden under many names in ingredient lists. Below is a list of some of the most common names for simple carbs, ones you want to minimize in your diet. Importantly, it includes scientific names used by food manufacturers to “hide” sugar from the buyer. Certain prefixes and suffixes of names are important to recognize when determining if food contains added sugars. For example, the prefix “malt-” and the suffix “-ose” refer to sugar. Maltodextrin and dextrose are two examples of sugars added by manufacturers to improve shelf life and taste.
Simple Carbs (1-2 sugar molecules)
Carbs in bold reflect names that are often “hidden” in processed foods.
Additionally, watch out for these in ingredient lists:
High-fructose corn syrup
Evaporated cane juice
Fruit juice concentrate
Here are some foods that contain simple carbs:
White bread, pasta, and rice
Replace these with whole grain flour and brown rice
Cereals made from “enriched wheat flour”
Replace these with oats and bran
Condiments, such as jams, ketchup, and BBQ sauce
Keep in mind that simple carbs are also found in foods like apples, peaches, bananas, and all fresh fruit for that matter. This doesn’t make them unhealthy. Because fresh fruits contain vitamins, minerals, and fibre and are grown with minimal human intervention, they’re healthier (2, 7). Other healthier foods that contain simple carbs include raw honey and pure maple syrup.
Complex Carbs (3 or more sugar molecules)
Complex carbs are commonly referred to as dietary starch. They normally contain lots of fibre, vitamins, and minerals. These carbs are most common in whole plant foods but are also found in whole grains. Complex carbs also generally have a low glycemic index (GI). For this reason, they help you release energy at a longer and more consistent rate than simple carbs do (6, 8, 13).
Foods to look for that contain complex carbs include the following:
Legumes (e.g., beans, lentils, and peas)
Whole grain flour in breads, pasta, and couscous
Oats, bran, and barley
Brown and wild rice
In sum, it’s a myth that all carbs are unhealthy as some low carb diet plans suggest. However, it’s important to avoid simple carbs, especially those containing refined flour and sugar, and eat complex carbs and low-GI foods. People should also be wary of artificial sweeteners, especially aspartame. There aren’t many longitudinal studies conducted on aspartame, and some early evidence suggests that it may have negative health effects (12). But most importantly, people need to develop a diet around carbs that reflects their own metabolism, fitness level, and genetics to achieve their goals.
Kinesiologist & M.Teach
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Now before I get into it, carbohydrates and their role in nutrition is a heavily debated topic. There are many opposing studies, advocates, and nutrition plans. For this reason, I’m not going to argue that the low carb diet is bad for all people or that it’s the ideal diet for all people. The reach of biodiversity across genetics, fitness levels, and metabolism is vast, and there isn’t enough evidence to suggest that one sweeping dietary regime will cure all people of all ailments. Whether it’s the Atkins diet, a high natural starch diet, a “slow” carb diet, a carb loading diet, or any diet that places an emphasis on carbohydrates, there are scientific studies and individuals that support each of them (1, 5, 6, 7, 9).
At the end of the day, it’s about what works best for you and your own genetic makeup, fitness level, and metabolism. However, most low carb diets have two things in common, and these are what I’ll be focusing on.
The characteristics of a low carb diet
All low carb diets share these characteristics:
They all agree that refined carbohydrates, such as sugar and white breads, should be avoided as much as possible.
When thinking of “refined carbohydrates”, think of carbohydrates that do not grow naturally.
They all can be connected to misleading forms of weight-loss promotion.
Below you will find my analysis of the myth around weight loss and the low carb diet. However, if you read my post on the myth that all carbs are bad, you’ll also find information about the healthy and unhealthy types of carbs.
What we’re led to believe about low carb diets
The primary selling point of the low carb diet is that it helps people lose weight. As a result, low carb diets have demonized carbohydrates in the eyes of the public. Neither of these claims are completely true, nor are they completely false. Instead, this is a perfect example of how mainstream media take advantage of an uneducated public when it comes to nutrition and biochemistry. They incorrectly portray all carbs as bad instead of just demonizing the unhealthy types – refined carbs (3, 4, 5, 6, 9).
Food companies prefer to simplify their marketing campaigns to promote weight loss because if it sounds easy to the buyer, it should be easy to lose weight. Why complicate weight loss strategies with detailed truths of biochemistry? People don’t have time for that. Instead, why not just dumb it down enough so that campaigns provide partial truths? This way, everyone can stay ignorant about the big picture, and the weight loss population can go on providing profits to companies that promote the low carb diet.
Similar simplified weight loss marketing strategies were applied to the low fat diet campaigns in the late 1970s, and they still echo in today’s media. Bogus ads on obviously unhealthy foods still promote slogans like “low fat” and “99% fat free.” The idea that eating less fat equals being less fat is an oversimplified but effective marketing ploy. Now the same tactics of oversimplifying biochemistry to sell weight loss products are being used with carbohydrates with slogans like “low carb” and “carb free”.
The low carb diet is best known for producing rapid weight loss. This is the foundation of the low carb diet myth. As soon as you drop all those carbs, weight loss happens fast! And you know what? This part is true. If you cut out carbs from your diet right now, you’ll lose weight (1, 6, 9). But, and this is a BIG BUT, what’s being oversimplified is that all that initial weight loss is just water weight (1, 10, 11). That’s right, just good ol’ H2O.
Recall that the full name of carbs is carbohydrates.The “carbo” of carbohydrates represents carbon molecules whereas the “hydrates” represents the binding of water molecules. Hence, carbohydrates got their name because they bind to water (1, 10, 11). So without carbs, your body doesn’t need to hold onto as much water and, therefore, excretes it. This results in rapid weight loss!
How low carb diets limit weight loss
Regardless of the whole truth, food advertisers love to promote the idea that the low carb diet produces rapid weight loss. But this approach is not in the long-term benefit of people who want to lose weight and keep it off. Realistically, everyone is going to have a few nutritional days here and there that don’t jive with their goals. So obviously, regular exercise to burn extra calories can play a significant role in losing and maintaining weight (2, 4, 8). All health regimes for all people should always include exercise no matter how frequent or infrequent it is. After all, a healthy weight is not a quick fix; it’s a lifestyle commitment to ongoing healthy habits!
However, cutting out the wrong type of carbs may weaken your energy and, hence, weaken your ability to combine exercise with nutrition to reach your goals (2, 7, 10, 11). This is due to how your body’s energy systems function during exercise. Predominantly, your body metabolizes both fat and carbohydrates for energy. At rest, it is roughly 70% fat and 30% carbs that are being broken down. Hence, eating healthy fats and fewer carbs during times of low energy exertion has been shown to benefit weight management (7, 8, 12).
At the start of exercise bouts, though, these ratios practically flip! That is, your body starts burning about 70% carbs and 30% fat as energy. This is because carbohydrates break down faster than fat, which allows you to access higher levels of energy for improved exercise performance. This means that without eating many carbohydrates before exercise, performance could be weakened and fewer overall calories may be burnt because there isn’t enough fuel to sustain the energy needed (7, 8, 12). Additionally, it is wise to eat some carbohydrates after exercise and to replenish the stock that has been burnt. If people do not eat some carbs day to day while regularly exercising, they are more susceptible to fatigue and overeating as compensation (2, 7).
In sum, how the body metabolizes carbohydrates is a complicated process, and I don’t mean to make it sound too simple. But here are the key ideas:
The initial weight loss experienced from the low carb diet is predominately water weight (1, 10, 11)
Eating too few carbs while following an exercise program will hurt your ability to keep weight off in the long run (7, 8, 12)
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