Just eat real food. Really.

Image courtesy of Suat Eman / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of Suat Eman / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

It can be really tempting to get really dialed in on carbs and figure things are great.  I mean, it’s a low carb diet, my carbs are low, so things are good… right?  But then you step on the scale and it hasn’t moved.  Or worse, it’s gone up!  You remember that sometimes the scale is a big fat jerk, so you check your measurements… oh no, they haven’t moved either.  The detective work begins!

You’re not fat-phobic, so you know that the issue isn’t that you’ve taken out the carbs but forgotten to replace them with fat.  That, as we know, is a good way to want to chew off your own arm.  Fat promotes satiety and is your fuel.  Good, we can check that off the list in our diet forensics for the day.  You’re eating above-ground vegetables just like you should, because they are full of essential nutrients and it’s weird but even though you hated them before you’ve really developed a love for them.  You’re only eating fruit occasionally, because while fruit has some great nutrients too, it’s still nature’s candy, and you know that candy and sugar is something that is limited and should only be enjoyed rarely.  The same nutrients that are in fruits can be found in vegetables.  You do love having berries, but those are very low in sugar.

Really, the only other thing worth mentioning that you’re eating is some Atkins bars and sugar free candy, but those aren’t worth mentioning because they don’t have carbs in them, right?  Wrong!  Oh, man, I get so mad at this.  Not at anyone who has eaten them or bought them, but at companies that still mark products containing sugar alcohols as have zero net carbs (or don’t count the sugar alcohols as carbs).  Here’s the issue.  A lot of sugar alcohols, especially ones that end in “-itol” (and ESPECIALLY ones containing maltitol) get processed by your body at least partially as sugar.  That means that even though Atkins or any other company marked that they’d have zero effect on your blood sugar, they do.  That also means they are going to drive your hunger.  If you go check out any low carb message board, you will see many people stall their weight loss or gain weight by eating those bars.  Not only that, but “-itol” sugar alcohols are really rough on your gut.  The only thing I’d recommend saving them for is if you get really constipated.  They’ll clear the plumbing really quick!

It’s not just the “-itol” sugar alcohols that raise blood sugar.  Aspartame, sucralose (splenda), truvia (Erythritol/rebiana blend), and even stevia can cause a Pavlovian like insulin response in your body.  So, even though there may not be any actual sugar in it, your body still responses like it was sugar in a lot of people.  It will cause a blood sugar drop, causing you to get hungry.  So then you eat more.

Also, that “measures cup for cup like sugar” sweetener?  That’s mostly not even mostly your favorite artificial sweetener.  Check the label.  The first ingredient is maltodextrin.  Maltodextrin gets metabolised as a sugar.  Awesome, right?

So the bottom line out of all of this is: just eat REAL food.  Seriously.  Don’t be afraid of real food like meat, veggies, cheese, eggs, and other amazing things like that.  Just don’t eat frankenfood like Atkins candy bars, “nutritional shakes”, diet soda, and watch the pounds drop.

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