artificial sweeteners

Why You Should Avoid Artificial Sweeteners

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:

  • Aspartame
    • Additive Code: E951
  • Saccharin
    • Additive Code: E954
  • Sucralose
    • Additive Code: E955




  1. Davidson, T. L., & Swithers, S. E. (2004). A Pavlovian approach to the problem of obesity. International journal of obesity28(7), 933-935.


  1. 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


  1. 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.


  1. (2017). Aspartame. Retrieved on 6 March 2017 from


  1. Hattan, D.G. (2015).“FALSE: Aspartame — sweet poison”. Snopes. Retrieved 6 March 2017 at


  1. 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.


  1. 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.


  1. 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


  1. Myers, R. L.; Myers, R. L. (2007). The 100 most important chemical compounds: a reference guide. Westport, Conn: Greenwood Press. p. 241. ISBN 0-313-33758-6.


  1. Obringer, L.A., (2005). “How artificial sweeteners work”
    com. <> 5 March 2017


  1. Roberts, M. (2015). Pepsico to drop artificial sweetener aspartame. Retrieved on 6 March 2017 at


  1. Yang, Q. (2010). Gain weight by “going diet?” Artificial sweeteners and the neurobiology of sugar cravings.Yale J Biol Med83(2), 101-108.
complex carbs

Complex Carbs vs. Simple Carbs

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.

Hidden Sugars

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 “-oserefer 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.

  • Glucose
  • Sucrose
  • Fructose
  • Lactose
  • Dextrose
  • Polydextrose
  • Maltodextrin
  • Oligofructose
  • Maltose
  • Mannitol

Additionally, watch out for these in ingredient lists:

  • High-fructose corn syrup
  • Evaporated cane juice
  • Dehydrated juice
  • Fruit juice concentrate
  • Molasses (treacle)
  • Syrups
  • Crystals

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
  • Pastries
  • Table sugar
  • Condiments, such as jams, ketchup, and BBQ sauce
  • Canned fruit
  • Sodas
  • Candies
  • Desserts

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:

  • All vegetables
  • Legumes (e.g., beans, lentils, and peas)
  • Quinoa
  • 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.


Joshua Turner

Kinesiologist & M.Teach

March 2017



  1. Beutler, E. (1991). Galactosemia: screening and diagnosis. Clinical biochemistry24(4), 293-300.


  1. Blaack, E. E, Saris, W. H. M. (1995). Health aspects of various digestible carbohydrates. Nutritional Research. 15(10): 1547–73.


  1. Fasano, A., & Catassi, C. (2001). Current approaches to diagnosis and treatment of celiac disease: an evolving spectrum. Gastroenterology120(3), 636-651.


  1. Flitsch, S. L., Ulijn, R. V. (2003). Sugars tied to the spot. Nature. 421(6920): 219–20.  doi:1038/421219aPMID 12529622.


  1. Heyman, M. B. (2006). Lactose intolerance in infants, children, and adolescents. Pediatrics118(3), 1279-1286.


  1. Jenkins, D.J., Jenkins, A.L., Wolever, T. M., Josse, R. G., Wong, G. S. (1984). “The glycaemic response to carbohydrate foods”. The Lancet. 324: 388–391. doi:1016/s0140-6736(84)90554-3


  1. Jenkins, D. J., Wong, J. M., Kendall, C. W., Esfahani, A., Ng, V. W., Leong, T. C., … & Singer, W. (2009). The effect of a plant-based low-carbohydrate (“Eco-Atkins”) diet on body weight and blood lipid concentrations in hyperlipidemic subjects. Archives of Internal Medicine169(11), 1046-1054.


  1. Liu, S., Willett, W. C., Stampfer, M. J., Hu, F. B., Franz, M., Sampson, L., … & Manson, J. E. (2000). A prospective study of dietary glycemic load, carbohydrate intake, and risk of coronary heart disease in US women. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition71(6), 1455-1461.


  1. McNeff, C. V., Nowlan, D. T., McNeff, L. C., Yan, B., & Fedie, R. L. (2010). Continuous production of 5-hydroxymethylfurfural from simple and complex carbohydrates. Applied Catalysis A: General384(1), 65-69.


  1. Shai, I., Schwarzfuchs, D., Henkin, Y., Shahar, D. R., Witkow, S., Greenberg, I., … & Tangi-Rozental, O. (2008). Weight loss with a low-carbohydrate, Mediterranean, or low-fat diet. New England Journal of Medicine359(3), 229-241.


  1. Simonds, P. (2005). Surviving the low-carb craze: help your clients make educated decisions based on science, not science fiction. IDEA Fitness Journal2(2), 54-60.


  1. Swithers, S. E. (2013). Artificial sweeteners produce the counterintuitive effect of inducing metabolic derangements. Trends in Endocrinology & Metabolism24(9), 431-441.


  1. Wolever, Thomas M. S. (2006), The glycaemic index: A physiological classification of dietary carbohydrate, CABI, pg. 65, ISBN 9781845930516.




low carb diet

Myth: The Low Carb Diet and Long-Term Weight Loss

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”.

For more on healthy types of fat and the low fat diet myth, read our post on the topic.

What low carb diets really do

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).

Key Points

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)



  1. Astrup, A., Larsen, T. M., & Harper, A. (2004). Atkins and other low-carbohydrate diets: hoax or an effective tool for weight loss?. The Lancet364(9437), 897-899.


  1. Chambers, E. S., Bridge, M. W., & Jones, D. A. (2009). Carbohydrate sensing in the human mouth: effects on exercise performance and brain activity. The Journal of physiology587(8), 1779-1794.


  1. Howard BV, Manson JE, Stefanick ML, Beresford SA, Frank G, Jones B, Rodabough RJ, Snetselaar L, Thomson C, Tinker L, Vitolins M, Prentice R. Low-fat dietary pattern and weight change over 7 years: The Women’s Health Initiative Dietary Modification Trial. 2006;295(1):39-49. doi:10.1001/jama.295.1.39


  1. Howard BV, Van Horn L, Hsia J, Manson JE, Stefanick ML, Wassertheil-Smoller S, Kuller LH, LaCroix AZ, Langer RD, Lasser NL, Lewis CE, Limacher MC, Margolis KL, Mysiw WJ, Ockene JK, Parker LM, Perri MG, Phillips L, Prentice RL, Robbins J, Rossouw JE, Sarto GE, Schatz IJ, Snetselaar LG, Stevens VJ, Tinker LF, Trevisan M, Vitolins MZ, Anderson GL, Assaf AR, Bassford T, Beresford SAA, Black HR, Brunner RL, Brzyski RG, Caan B, Chlebowski RT, Gass M, Granek I, Greenland P, Hays J, Heber D, Heiss G, Hendrix SL, Hubbell FA, Johnson KC, Kotchen JM. Low-fat dietary pattern and risk of cardiovascular disease. The Women’s Health Initiative Randomized Controlled Dietary Modification Trial. 2006;295(6):655-666.


  1. Jenkins, D. J., Wolever, T. M., Kalmusky, J., Guidici, S., Giordano, C., Patten, R., … & Buckley, G. (1987). Low-glycemic index diet in hyperlipidemia: use of traditional starchy foods. The American journal of clinical nutrition46(1), 66-71.


  1. Jenkins, D. J., Wong, J. M., Kendall, C. W., Esfahani, A., Ng, V. W., Leong, T. C., … & Singer, W. (2009). The effect of a plant-based low-carbohydrate (“Eco-Atkins”) diet on body weight and blood lipid concentrations in hyperlipidemic subjects. Archives of internal medicine169(11), 1046-1054.


  1. Jeukendrup, A. E. (2010). Carbohydrate and exercise performance: the role of multiple transportable carbohydrates. Current Opinion in Clinical Nutrition & Metabolic Care13(4), 452-457.


  1. Melzer, K. (2011). Carbohydrate and fat utilisation during rest and physical activity. European E-Journal Of Clinical Nutritional And Metabolism, 6(2), e45-e52.


  1. Shai, I., Schwarzfuchs, D., Henkin, Y., Shahar, D. R., Witkow, S., Greenberg, I., … & Tangi-Rozental, O. (2008). Weight loss with a low-carbohydrate, Mediterranean, or low-fat diet. New England Journal of Medicine359(3), 229-241.


  1. Simonds, P. (2005). Surviving the low-carb craze: help your clients make educated decisions based on science, not science fiction. IDEA Fitness Journal2(2), 54-60.


  1. Sondike, S. B., Copperman, N., & Jacobson, M. S. (2003). Effects of a low-carbohydrate diet on weight loss and cardiovascular risk factor in overweight adolescents. The Journal of pediatrics142(3), 253-258.


  1. Suga, K., Kawasaki, T., Blank, M.L. and Snyder, F. (1991). An arachidonoyl (polyenoic) specific phosphollpase A2 activity regulates the synthesis of plateletactivating factor in granulocytic HL-60 cells. Journal of Biological Chemistry. 265: 12363-12367.
dr oz recommends turmeric curcumin

Why Dr. Oz Recommends Turmeric Curcumin For Brain Health

The internet is exploding with information on how to boost your physical health. But what can you do to protect your brain? According to Dr. Oz, the answer lies in a spice: turmeric. Read why Dr Oz recommends turmeric curcumin, a key compound in turmeric, for boosting brain health:

Reduces the risk of Alzheimer’s disease

Alzheimer’s disease is a life-changing form of dementia with no known cure. But research reported by Dr. Oz suggests that turmeric curcumin can stop Alzheimer’s in its tracks. Science shows that turmeric curcumin might prevent plaque buildup in the brain, which is believed to cause Alzheimer’s. Who knew a spice could protect your memory?

Prevents Parkinson’s disease

Imagine having a disease that slowly attacked the cells in your brain so that it became hard to walk, talk, and breathe. That’s Parkinson’s disease, and it affects more than a million Americans. Parkinson’s destroys cells that produce dopamine, a chemical that helps your muscles move. According to data presented by Dr. Oz, turmeric curcumin protects dopamine-producing brain cells against the Parkinson’s protein.

Protects against neurotoxicity

It’s no secret that the food we eat – even the stuff that looks healthy – isn’t always good for us. In fact, many common foods and medications contain preservatives that are toxic for the brain. So what can you do to preserve your learning and memory function? Dr. Oz recommends turmeric curcumin because it can protect the brain against toxins.

Dr Oz recommends turmeric curcumin, but what kind do you need?

To get the best bang for your buck, take turmeric curcumin that’s enriched with black pepper extract (bioperine). On its own, turmuric curcumin is hard for your body to absorb. But when it’s paired with black pepper extract, your body can unlock its unbeatable health benefits.

Boost your brain health today with turmeric curcumin. Buy the supplement on our website.

low fat diet

Fat: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

The Fat Stereotype – “The Low Fat Diet”

Historically fat has gotten a bad rep because of the low fat diet. In 1977, the low fat diet was promoted by a large number of nutritional bodies, even including several government networks in various countries (7, 15). Food companies in countries such as Canada, USA, Australia, and the UK poured large sums of money into marketing the benefits of a low fat diet in order to captivate the population that this was a solution to help lose weight. And how could you blame them? How could you blame an uneducated population with the science behind nutrition still barely in its infancy? Eating less fat equals being less fat. Simple. Obvious. Too easy.

Ironically, this is almost when the obesity and type 2 diabetes epidemics began to take form (15). Some studies suggest that since individuals were seeking low-fat foods, the alternative products consumed were high in simple carbohydrates such as sugar. Today we know sugars to be the leading cause of unhealthy weight and numerous other health problems stemming from poor nutrition (5, 6).

The history of our mainstream media echoes in today’s marketing. An overly simplistic view of following a low fat diet and weight loss is easier to promote to the uneducated public. This is why we still see bogus ads such as “Low Fat” and “99% Fat Free” for processed foods that are high in sugars and preservatives. This view into the past allows us to understand where the negative stereotype of fat originates from. Eating less fat equals being less fat. False.   

The Good

Disclaimer: A cornerstone to good nutrition is obviously eating healthy foods, but in moderation. It will always ring true that your calorie input verses your calorie output will determine if you lose, gain, or keep weight consistent, no matter where those calories come from. That’s just physics. Please don’t think that by eating more fat you will lose weight. But, some calories are easier to burn off than others and that’s where healthy fats come in.

Simply put, the healthiest fats are unsaturated fats such as monounsaturated fat and polyunsaturated fat (look for them on labels). These types of fats are the easiest for your body to breakdown and turn into energy (4). At rest, your body creates about 70% of its energy by breaking down fat (11, 17). The majority of this fat is supplied to your brain, which is made up of about 60% fat (2). Your brain needs a lot of energy to run and regulate things such as processing fat through your stomach and liver to help create more energy. You can start to see a cycle, I’m sure. Thus, given that unsaturated fats can be broken down into energy faster, you burn fat more efficiently – it’s easier to burn off.

However, it should also be noted that saturated fats fall into a grey area as many studies are still conflicting. Some recent studies show that saturated fats can be healthy when coming from minimally processed sources, such as coconut oil. However, saturated fat from foods that are more processed such as cheese and other forms of dairy should be consumed with more moderation (9, 14).

Metabolizing fat is a complicated process and I don’t mean to make it sound too simple. But, if you can increase your consumption of foods that contain unsaturated fats, you will feel fuller, have more energy, improve your mental health, and provide yourself with the potential to reach the wellness you desire (1, 3, 4, 10, 16).

Foods to look for:  

  • Unsalted Nuts
  • Seeds
  • Avocado
  • Peanut Butter (100% peanuts)
  • Fish
  • Eggs
  • Olive Oil (avoid deep frying)
  • Dark Chocolate (70% cocoa)
  • Coconut Oil

And if you’re looking for other examples of foods and recipes to improve your wellness, check out the Slow Carb Diet and Glycemic Index article.

The Bad

As previously noted, saturated fats fall into a grey area. This is especially true in how saturated fats effect low density lipids (bad cholesterol) (14). Saturated fats do take longer for your body to metabolize (4), and therefore, unsaturated fats are still the better option. To empower your choice of foods, read nutrition labels to help compare the types of fats that are present in your products.

With that in mind, it is probably best to remember that the most important aspect of nutrition is to select foods that are minimally processed. Foods that don’t require nutrition labels, foods that have a short ingredient list (or at least have names you understand), and foods with not-too-distant expiration dates are the foods you should build your diet around. So for things that are high in saturated fat, such as dairy products and red meat, consume these sparingly.

The Ugly

Trans fats are by far the worst type of fat for your health. Not only does it take longer to break down and dispose of trans fats as energy, but they release less net energy because your body requires more time to metabolize these fats (4). Hence, you feel more tired, have less energy, and you want to eat more to make up for that energy – this could create a nasty snowball effect. Again, I apologize for simplifying how fats are metabolized (I know it’s a complicated biochemical process). However, minimizing your consumption of trans fat has widely been supported to improve health (4, 12, 13).    

Moreover, large amounts of trans fat are responsible for significant increased risks of cardiovascular disease, bad cholesterol levels, and even depression amongst many others (16). Now, it’s obvious to think that eating poorly would lead to adverse physical consequences, but how could mental health issues such as depression be associated with nutrition? Research is young, but more and more studies are finding links between microbes (bacteria) found in an individual’s gut and their mental and physical health (3, 10).

Foods to Avoid

  • Look out for foods that have long ingredient lists and never seem to go rotten
  • Any food deep fried or battered
  • Hydrogenated oils (look at the ingredient list)
  • Cakes, pies, cookies, doughnuts, and frosting
  • Chips
  • Frozen pizzas
  • Ice cream
  • Margarine
  • Microwave popcorn
  • Microwave dinners
  • Shortening
  • Creamers

It can be worrying to think that probably 70%-80% of the food found in grocery stores shouldn’t be considered very healthy (a figure you can come to by comparing how many processed verses unprocessed foods there are). And don’t get down on yourself if you have some ice cream or a cookie or whatever else sometime – I do! But, do so rarely and in mind of your goals and how you feel.

By becoming more educated on the fats in your food and busting myths on the “low fat diet”, you’ll help empower yourself to make healthier choices. You’ve already made a big step by making it to the end of this article.


  1. Arnos, P., Sowash, J. & Andres, F. (1997). Fat oxidation at varied work intensities using different exercise modes. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, 29 (5), S199.
  2. Chang, C., Ke, D., & Chen, J. (2009). Essential fatty acids and human brain. Acta Neuroi, 18(4), 231-241. Retrieved from
  3. Claesson, Marcus J., et al. “Gut microbiota composition correlates with diet and health in the elderly.” Nature 488.7410 (2012): 178-184.
  4. Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. (1994). Fats and oils in human nutrition. Rome: FAO. Retrieved from:
  5. Howard BV, Manson JE, Stefanick ML, Beresford SA, Frank G, Jones B, Rodabough RJ, Snetselaar L, Thomson C, Tinker L, Vitolins M, Prentice R. Low Fat Dietary Pattern and Weight Change Over 7 Years: The Women’s Health Initiative Dietary Modification Trial. JAMA. 2006;295(1):39-49. doi:10.1001/jama.295.1.39 (low fat diet)
  6. Howard BV, Van Horn L, Hsia J, Manson JE, Stefanick ML, Wassertheil-Smoller S, Kuller LH, LaCroix AZ, Langer RD, Lasser NL, Lewis CE, Limacher MC, Margolis KL, Mysiw WJ, Ockene JK, Parker LM, Perri MG, Phillips L, Prentice RL, Robbins J, Rossouw JE, Sarto GE, Schatz IJ, Snetselaar LG, Stevens VJ, Tinker LF, Trevisan M, Vitolins MZ, Anderson GL, Assaf AR, Bassford T, Beresford SAA, Black HR, Brunner RL, Brzyski RG, Caan B, Chlebowski RT, Gass M, Granek I, Greenland P, Hays J, Heber D, Heiss G, Hendrix SL, Hubbell FA, Johnson KC, Kotchen JM. Low-Fat Dietary Pattern and Risk of Cardiovascular DiseaseThe Women’s Health Initiative Randomized Controlled Dietary Modification Trial. JAMA. 2006;295(6):655-666. (low fat diet)
  7. Kearns CE, Schmidt LA, Glantz SA. Sugar Industry and Coronary Heart Disease Research: A Historical Analysis of Internal Industry Documents. JAMA Intern Med. 2016;176(11):1680-1685. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2016.5394
  8. Kinsella, J.E. 1990. Possible mechanisms underlying the effects of n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids. Omega-3 News, V, 1-5.
  9. Malhotra, A. (2013). Saturated fat is not the major issue. The BMJ. Retrieved 7 December 2016, from
  10. Mayer, Emeran A., et al. “Gut microbes and the brain: paradigm shift in neuroscience.” The Journal of Neuroscience 34.46 (2014): 15490-15496.
  11. Melzer, K. (2011). Carbohydrate and fat utilisation during rest and physical activity. European E-Journal Of Clinical Nutritional And Metabolism, 6(2), e45-e52.
  12. Mensink, R.P. and Zock, P.L. Lipoprotein metabolism and trans fatty acids. In: Trans Fatty Acids in Human Nutrition, pp. 217-234 (J.L. Sébédio and W.W. Christie (eds.), Oily Press, Dundee, Scotland) (1998).
  13. Micha, R. and Mozaffarian, D. Trans fatty acids: Effects on cardiometabolic health and implications for policy. Prostaglandins Leucotrienes Essent. Fatty Acids, 79, 147-152 (2008).
  14. Mora, S., Szklo, M., Otvos, J., Greenland, P., Psaty, B., & Goff, D. et al. (2007). LDL particle subclasses, LDL particle size, and carotid atherosclerosis in the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA). Retrieved 7 December 2016, from
  15. National Center for Health Statistics (US). Health, United States, 2008: With Special Feature on the Health of Young Adults. Hyattsville (MD): National Center for Health Statistics (US); 2009 Mar. Chartbook. Available from:
  16. Sanchez-Villegas et al. (2011). Dietary Fat Intake and the Risk of Depression: The SUN Project. PLOS One, 6(1)e16268
  17. Suga, K., Kawasaki, T., Blank, M.L. and Snyder, F. 1991. An arachidonoyl (polyenoic) specific phosphollpase A2 activity regulates the synthesis of plateletactivating factor in granulocytic HL-60 cells. Journal of Biological Chemistry. 265: 12363-12367.
slow carb diet

Weight Loss Hacks: Master The Slow Carb Diet and Glycemic Index

The Slow Carb Diet and Glycemic Index

As a chef I hear much about food trends and diet fads, I keep a skeptical eye out for the information that seems relevant. Once every 10 years or so strides are made in human health science that topple food fads.

The current evolution of this phenomenon is the refined understanding of glycemic index and how it’s particular effect on the body can be deployed to make shocking changes in personal health and well-being. The phenomenon is know as the Slow Carb Diet and has been made wildly popular by the self help guru Tim Ferris in his book The 4 hour body

Most carbohydrates we eat come in the form of refined sugars, breads, cereals, white rice, muffins, cakes and pastries. All of these products share a common theme, they are refined. The process to make flour, extract sugars and hull rice are all extreme forms of refinement that allow the baser elements of these foods (sugars) to get streamlined through our digestion and injected straight into our blood. This is called a “blood sugar spike” and just about everyone has experienced the effects.

What you maybe don’t know is that this blood sugar spike will damage the body over time even if you do not have diabetes. After Years of studying diabetes we have an astounding knowledge of the effects of insulin on the body and this is where the rubber meets the road.

glycemic index


The Rollercoaster

You have a busy day, on your way to work, like always, you get a double-double coffee and a bagel with cream cheese from your favorite Canadian fast service cafe. Sugar spike, you feel incredible, your brain and muscles run on glucose and you have just hit the motherload! Your belly full and day underway you tackle challenges one after another, and silently your body is working against you.

Your Blood sugar spike sent a message to your pancreas to release insulin a hormone that tells the body to consume the readily available sugar and store the rest in the muscles for later use. Just as fast as that energy is delivered, your body takes it away, and now you are low, in some cases lower than before you had breakfast, then hunger sets in. This is not regular hunger either, this is low blood sugar hunger, body shaking, soul sucking hunger as though you have never had food before in your life. You lose focus, irritable and without thought you hit the nearest food retailer for a sandwich made with refined white bread.

Wash, Rinse, Repeat

If you’re burning only glucose, on an endless cycle of sugar, guess what you’re not burning; fat, a problem that only compounds over time. Obesity, hypertension, heart disease, cancer and any number of highly unpleasant forms of gastrointestinal malfunction follow this cycle.

The Fix

You can still eat carbs, the key is knowing the glycemic load. The glycemic index refers to the amount of glucose in the blood at any given time and the glycemic load is the amount of glucose that a given food will deploy into the bloodstream and how quickly. A Low glycemic load has a slow release that is easily assimilated and evenly distributed over time, a high glycemic load is a catalyst for “blood sugar spike”.

Low GL foods

Sweet potato
Whole wheat pasta
Raisin Bran or whole bran cereal
Cous Cous
Black beans

High GL Foods

White Bread
Energy Drinks
White Rice

For a full list of comparable foods check here 

Here is a recipe I use for an on the go meal I can eat warm or cold to help me keep my day level and avoid the roller-coaster. With both the slow carb diet and glycemic index, you just have to be aware of what goes on your plate.

Chickpea Penne Pasta

2/3 cup chick peas drained & rinsed
1 cup cooked whole wheat penne pasta
1/4 red onion minced
1 large tomato diced
2 cups baby spinach
1 tbsp capers
1/2 tsp crushed chili peppers
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
pinch of salt

Combine these ingredients into a medium sized plastic travel container, it can be shaken up and eaten cold for a filling slow carb diet meal, or microwaved for 2 minutes to wilt the spinach and soften the tomato for a hearty warming meal on the go.

dr. oz says coconut oil

Why Dr. Oz Reccommends Coconut Oil

When you think of coconut, you probably think of treats like coconut cream pie, pina coladas, and Bounty bars. This means coconut can’t be good for you, right? Think again. Check out the 3 reasons why Dr. Oz says coconut oil is good for your health:

1. Boosts weight loss

Coconut oil is high in saturated fat, so shouldn’t it make me gain weight? Not quite. Unlike red meat, coconut oil contains shorter chains of fat called medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs). When your body breaks down MCTs, it burns energy more efficiently. That’s why researchers found that women who ate coconut oil every day for 12 weeks had less abdominal fat than women who didn’t.

2. Nourishes skin

Can’t focus at work because of your dry or irritated skin? Coconut oil can help. Packed with Vitamin E, coconut oil soothes skin that’s been tortured by eczema, psoriasis, and bug bites. And because lauric acid, one of the MCTs in coconut oil, fights fungus, coconut oil can help you kiss fungal infections goodbye.

3. Heals ulcers

Lauric acid doesn’t just make your skin glow. It can also banish ulcers from your gut. How? With its antibacterial powers. Lauric acid kills H. pylori, the bacteria that causes most ulcers in the stomach and small intestine. So instead of being the treat that eats away at your digestive tract, coconut oil repairs it.

Dr. Oz says coconut oil is a superfood, and he’s right

It can be easy to dismiss the health benefits of coconut oil. After all, it’s hard to believe that a tropical fruit could be so good for you. But as we’ve explained, science shows that coconut oil packs a powerful punch against disease and infection. That’s why Dr. Oz says coconut oil is one food you can’t live without.

Ready to experience the benefits of coconut oil firsthand? Buy the supplement on our website.

migraine headaches

Secret Chef Recipe That Crushes Migraines

Migraine headaches affect 24% of the population, including me. Everyone gets headaches, but migraines are a group of symptoms that are connected to the central nervous system and often indicate underlying conditions. Migraines can affect sight, hearing, balance and even disrupt proper functioning of the G.I. tract. When I started to discover some of my own migraine triggers I noticed the symptoms correlated strongly to my diet.

Cured meat was my ultimate go to as a chef, for adding deep rich umami to a dish almost nothing compares. My diet was peppered with buffalo mozzarella and mortadella sandwiches and pasta carbonara, not to mention late night snacking on crusty bread and sliced coppa with mustard, but it was not meant to last.

Contained within these foods is protein called tyramine, which has been correlated to trigger headaches in migraine sufferers. This protein, combined with other chemicals in the brain can not only trigger headaches but can also raise blood pressure and seriously affect overall health.

Here is the good news, cured meats are not off the menu. The correlation comes from the combination of the protein tyramine and the fermentation process often used to cure or preserve these products. Not only that, if there are foods that trigger migraines then you better believe there are foods that prevent them. Enjoying cured meat and cheese in moderation, and adding some of these remedy foods into your diet on a regular basis can let you have your prosciutto wrapped grissini, and eat it too.

migraine headaches

Leafy Greens

Spinach, Swiss chard

-Contains magnesium, which has been shown to significantly prevent the conditions in the brain that cause migraine headaches.

Healthy Fats

Salmon, Olive oil, Walnut oil

Omega 3 Fatty acids have been shown to reduce the frequency and severity of migraine headaches.

Seeds, Nuts, Mushrooms

-many seeds and nuts contain riboflavin and coenzyme Q10, both shown to reduce frequency 2-3 times with many migraine sufferers. Mushrooms are another significant source of riboflavin.

Here is a recipe I eat at least once a week that is packed with these preventative foods and helps keep my diet in check.

One Pan Pacific Salmon

2 pieces salmon 6-7 oz each

5-6 large pieces swiss chard, washed and roughly chopped

1 large sweet potato peeled and cut into 1 inch chunks

2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

1 tbsp lemon juice

2 tbsp maple syrup

1/2 tsp crushed chilies

2 tbsp roasted peanuts, chopped

  1. In a large fry pan with a tight fitting lid saute the sweet potato in olive oil over medium-high heat until golden and starting to soften about 5 minutes. Add the swiss chard and lower the heat to half, covering it so the potatoes can steam a little.
  2. Sprinkle a little salt on the salmon and let it come to room temperature while you make the sauce.
  3. Combine the lemon juice, maple syrup, chilies
  4. Once the potatoes are cooked through spread out the mixture of chard and create an even layer in the pan, lay the salmon in the pan and spoon the sauce over each piece being sure to use it all.
  5. Cover the salmon and let it cook covered for 7-10 minutes  

To serve the salmon, spoon a little of the sweet potato and swiss chard mixture on the plate, top it with the steamed salmon and sprinkle with chopped peanuts. Enjoy!

dr oz suggests garcinia cambogia

Dr Oz suggests garcinia cambogia pure for weight loss

Are you splurging on pricey diets and gym memberships and still having trouble shedding the pounds? It’s time to call the pumpkin-shaped fruit garcinia cambogia to the rescue. Here’s why Dr Oz suggests garcinia cambogia pure for weight loss:

Why Dr Oz suggests garcinia cambogia pure

According to Dr Oz, garcinia cambogia pure is a revolutionary fat buster. Why? It allows the average woman to lose four pounds in one month without dieting and exercising. That’s no small amount. And even for obese adults, garcinia cambogia pure can reduce body weight by 5–6%.

These effects sound great, but how does garcinia cambogia pure work its magic? In two different ways.

Appetite suppressant

Garcinia cambogia pure nips emotional eating in the bud by suppressing your appetite. Garcinia cambogia pure makes cells in your brain release more serotonin, a chemical that controls appetite. Have trouble staying away from cookies even when you know you’re not really hungry? Garcinia cambogia pure has you covered.

Fat blocker and burner

Sugar is in so many foods we eat these days. And what happens when you eat it? Your liver turns it into fat. Garcinia cambogia pure blocks this process and lets your body turn sugar into energy instead. And when you’re body isn’t producing fat, it’s burning it. Science shows that people who take garcinia cambogia pure for just five days burn more fat during exercise than people who don’t.

Losing weight is tough. But when you’ve got the fat-busting power of garcinia cambogia pure on your side, you can find yourself on the road to success. That’s why Dr. Oz suggests garcinia cambogia pure for weight loss.

Want to feel great inside and out? Buy garcinia cambogia pure on our website or reach out to us if you have any questions on how shed those pounds!

chronic back pain

How To Get Rid Of Chronic Back Pain & Muscle Tension

Chronic Back pain is one of the most common reasons why people can’t come into work. It’s a real epidemic caused by bad posture habits and failure to develop proper strength and flexibility. To make matters worse, there’s a lot of confusion on how to cure back pain. At one point, in an effort to eliminate chronic back pain I went through different chiropractors, acupuncturists, back specialists, physiotherapists, and the list goes on! I’m not saying that there aren’t awesome medical practitioners that don’t have the capability to eliminate back pain, but I almost lost hope… Until I discovered alternative ways to relieve and eventually eliminate my back pain. One important starting point before taking on the following list, is to really understand what problem is and what could be the root cause. I eventually figured out that my muscles kept getting extremely tense, and my only hope for temporary relief was a deep tissue massage with grinding elbows (OUCH!). For many years I kept up this pattern until I had enough and decided to search for alternative approaches to eliminating back pain. Now I’m so happy and grateful to say that my life is VERY different. I feel taller, my back feels in place, and I feel comfortable sitting and standing. With the list below I’m hoping I can save you many years of finding a cure, and thousands of dollars from your wallet and insurance bills. If you follow all five suggestions from this list, I’m confident you’ll be happy and on your way to recovery. At least try it for a month.

  1. Massage Aids

I can’t stress this more. Sometimes you’ll have those hard nights where your muscles are incredibly tense and you’ve asked your partner way too many times for a massage. This is exactly why you should have the following items around your home:

  • Lacrosse Ball
  • Massage Roller

With a lacrosse ball you’ll be able to pin point exactly where your muscles are tense. It also gives you the currect indication on how to sit properly (which is making sure you have support for your lumbar region). Its hard enough to give you that relief you’re looking for, yet the perfect size to not give you discomfort. You can buy a lacrosse ball from Amazon or any sporting goods store. Check out the video below on how to use a lacrosse ball to give you relief from chronic back pain.

Like the lacrosse ball, a massage roller is an excellent tool to keep around the house. Especially because its firm and allows you soften the specific regions of your back. It fits perfectly in the lumbar region, and will give you awesome support when sitting in uncomfortable positions. You should use it anytime you feel like your posture is not correct. Its actually meant for sore muscles after an intense workout.


2. Yoga & Deep Stretches

Continuing to do deep stretches will ensure those muscles stop tightening. Your muscles have been conditioned to go back into the same mode, which is why to reverse it you must have it adapt to the new ways. Achieving flexibility through yoga and deep stretches is key to achieving relief from chronic back pain.


3. Meditation & Self-Hypnosis

No joke here, meditation training works… Only if you truly believe in it. This was the one thing I did that allowed my subconscious mind to be reconditioned. It is incredible how much emotional baggage you collect over the years, and it can show up in physical form. If you follow Louise Hay, you’ll learn that many illnesses are derived from a hidden negative emotion. In my case it was unnecessary guilt, and that was one of the constant feelings I had to let go in order to release the tension along my back. Make sure you find credible sources when it comes to meditation tapes and self-hypnosis. There’s a lot of stuff out there that doesn’t really cut it. We’ve found a great self-hypnosis meditation below, start by following through on it every evening.