It is astonishing to me that in 2020 zero calorie artificial sweetners are still legal in the US after all of the research that has proven their negative effects on health. However, what’s even more amazing is the fact that our society still believes in the ZERO CALORIE MYTH. There is a ubiquitous zero calories myth that consuming products that claim they have “zero calories” means that your body is not being affected by what these products are technically replacing—ingredients such as sugars and carbs. So the myth is that if you consume something that has zero calories, you will avoid gaining weight, because you are not consuming the ingredients that cause weight gain.
THIS IS NOT CORRECT!
The reason these products technically have zero calories is because the carbs or sugars that are being replaced by artificial, lab-created ingredients are foreign chemicals that your digestive system does not recognize as calories. However, just because your body doesn’t see them as calories, it doesn’t mean they don’t cause you to gain weight. It’s a little trick the food corporations like to play on the public with false advertising.
What people fail to understand is what happens with these chemicals in your body when your digestive system isn’t recognizing them as fuel for energy—which is what calories are? It means, your digestive system actually has to work that much harder to break these so called “zero calories” products down in order to help them pass through your system. So…what happens as your body is working overtime to digest these foreign chemicals? Everything else is being stored as FAT! Therefore, you are better off eating something with “real” sugar vs. artificial sweetner, because although it may contain more calories, you’ll actually burn those calories vs. storing them as fat. The zero calorie myth has been going on for so long that it takes some time to get used to the idea that whole foods are much better for maintaining a healthy weight than their lower calorie replacements. But there are a few staple things you can focus on to get your mind on the right track!
Here are 3 helpful tips to avoid this myth:
If the bubbly is what you’re craving, switch to club soda. This is a great way to avoid the zero calories myth! Club soda will provide the fizz without the calories and also provide more hydration. Yes, there are “flavored” club soda options as well, but the ingredients usually read “natural flavors.” I have done a ton of research and have yet to figure out what these “natural flavors” are, which to me screams “CHEMICALS!” Which is what we are trying to avoid! So if you need to add a little flavor to your club soda, add a splash of juice, preferably organic, of course. By doing this you are still keeping the calories low, but are ingesting something your body will be able to digest easily.
This is the deal. Our bodies need fat, carbs, protein and fiber—plain and simple. There are NO shortcuts to nutrition. Opting for “diet” products in order to reduce calorie intake, DOES NOT WORK! This is the most common zero calories myth mistake. When one ingredient is reduced, another is increased in order to make up for the void in taste. For example, many low fat options will have much more sugar in the recipe, because the taste of the product changes when you reduce the fat. In actuality, fat in food helps you feel satiated (full)—when things are reduced in fat it the chances of overeating are higher, because it takes more to make you feel full. Therefore, if you consume products in their “whole” state, the chances of overeating are less, because you will feel full a lot quicker.
Ever since the weight loss industry began describing calories as something to avoid, there has been a false belief that calories are “bad.” WE NEED CALORIES in order to function!!! There is no need to believe zero calories is better for you. Instead of avoiding calories, start educating yourself on the difference between “good” calories vs. “bad” calories. This is much simpler than you think. Good calories are in any food product that is whole and natural occurring in nature. The reason they are good, is because our bodies have been digesting these foods for our entire existence and therefore we easily break them down and use them for energy, which is what calories are for! Bad calories are in food products that are processed, i.e. made with additives, preservatives and mostly chemical components, which wreak havoc on your gentle digestive systems and cause you to store fat instead of burning it. Stick to whole foods and your digestive system will thank you!
My suggestion is to stop being afraid of whole natural foods. They are the best way to maintain a healthy weight. Also, do yourself a favor and read the ingredients list of your products. No list should be longer than roughly 5 ingredients. If there are words you don’t recognize or have the ability to pronounce, chances are your body will not understand them either.
Although my blog topics can be very beneficial to your overall health, they are not intended for the purpose of providing medical advice. All content is for informational purposes only and is not intended to serve as a substitute for the consultation, diagnosis, and/or medical treatment of a qualified physician or healthcare provider. Every effort is made to ensure the accuracy of published information on or through my website, blog, e-mails, programs and services. However, the information may inadvertently contain inaccuracies or typographical errors. Every effort has been made to present you with the most accurate, up-to-date information, but because the nature of diet, fitness and health research is constantly evolving, we cannot be held responsible for the accuracy of our content.