My gym is doing a weight loss challenge for the new year. A couple of weeks back, I was asked to talk about sugar (among other topics) during a nutrition seminar we were having for the weight loss challenge. The advice I gave to the people gather was to cut out all added sweeteners both caloric, and non caloric. No sugar, no matter what the name. As soon as I said that, a lady raised her hand to ask a question. She asked, ” If you have to have sweetener though, which do you choose?” I tried to explain to her that, in the context of this being a weight loss challenge, and that the people here are trying to lose weight, choose neither. There is no reason to eat added sugar of any kind when you are trying to lose weight. You don’t ‘need’ it as I hear a lot of clients say, that’s in your head and you can get over it with a dash will power instead.
Now, for those of us at a healthy body weight, who can maintain said weight with a 80%/20% strict diet, what about us? Are we allowed to have added sweetener once in a while? Do we go the real or fake route? The answer to the the first question, I believe, is yes, if you are at a healthy body weight, and are not trying to lose, then yes you can indulge in things (sparingly) that I wouldn’t recommend to weight loss clients. Things like whole grain, or no grain, pancakes. However, that commercial HFCS syrup like substance is still a no no. Be smart with your sweetener choices. Choices like organic maple syrup, agave nectar, or coconut nectar are much better for you. These choices are lower glycemic index, so they don’t cause the insulin spike that regular table sugar does. In addition, they are sweeter than table sugar, so you’ll use less of them. Finally, practice using these products in moderation. If you are drowning pancakes in agave nectar everyday, you will gain weight. It is still sugar people and must be handled with caution.
So what about artificial sweeteners? They have no calories in them, so that is a plus! However, the ones that have been around longer have been shown in studies to potentially be hazardous to your health. The newer ones, have not been extensively studied. Bottom line for these is that I wouldn’t risk it. If it doesn’t benefit your health, and potentially may negetively affect it, then to me it is not worth my time. Besides, several studies link artificial sweetener consumption to weight gain link.
So, in conclusion, if you are trying to lose weight, avaiod all sugar. If you are at a healthy weight, indulge in healthier (doesn’t mean healthy, I mean they ain’t vegetables) real sugar options rarely. Untill next time!