The Power of Protein Explained

It’s safe to say that in over 12 years of personal training and weight loss coaching in Red Deer I’ve seen more than a few nutritional fads and practices come and go. One nutritional practice that seems to have stood the test of time is adding a little additional protein to provide the key ingredient for automatic fat loss. In a recent post I’ve added to my other website I explain and define protein rich foods as well as the suggested amount of protein for an individual to consume. These recommendations have remained consistent through all the years I’ve been personal training in Red Deer, they are definitely tried and true. Read the whole story at the following link.

Artificial Sweeteners, Sweet Misery!

Commonly used in diet and weight loss products, but can they hurt you?

Artificial sweeteners, we find them in many of our favorite diet products ranging from calorie-reduced items to artificial flavor sprays. For many dieters artificial sweeteners have been the catalyst for success when it comes to committing to a weight loss regimen.

In my own experience I’ve always permitted my clients to use artificial sweeteners but with the suggestion of trying to keep them to a minimum. Here are a few things you may not know about these products.

Aspartame – The grand daddy of the sweeteners and the one that has received the most bad press in recent years. Aspartame is made from two amino acids, aspartic acid and phenylalanine, you may remember from a previous column that amino acids are components of protein. Aspartame has been associated with a number of conditions some of the more notable: epileptic seizures, migraines, severe dizziness, memory loss, severe depression and an increase in appetite. Everyone seems to have a different level of sensitivity to aspartame but nearly all of us react to aspartame use with at least mild water retention. People who consume aspartame should particularly avoid doing so in a situation of low blood sugar such as first thing in the morning, after extended activity or even on an empty stomach. It’s in this situation some studies suggest that you may be more vulnerable to seizures because of how the absorption of phenylalanine occurs at the blood brain barrier.

Acesulfame Potassium – This is likely the least known of the artificial sweeteners but with all the negativity surrounding aspartame it has become a little more prevalent in a number of products. Acesulfame potassium is a derivative of acetoacetic acid, it was approved in 1988 by the FDA. While writing this article I’ve only been able to find reference to 28 research studies for ace-K as opposed to over 500 for aspartame. Though it is considered safer than aspartame some animal studies indicated ace-K may be responsible for development of lung tumors, breast tumors, and rare types of tumors of other organs such as the Thymus gland. In addition some speculation indicates ace-K may also aggravate hypoglycemia.

Sucralose – The shining knight of the sweetener world, or at least that’s what it has seemingly been touted to be. Surcalose is made from the sugar molecule by a process of chlorinization. Sucralose has had the least number of research studies performed of all the sweeteners and there has been some controversy as to how and why it was so quickly approved. To this point because there have been so few studies, only 19 I could find reference to, testing sucralose the list of ill effects is shorter but still raises some concern. Issues such as shrunken thymus gland, enlarged liver and kidneys, lower red blood cell count, decreased fetal body weights, longer pregnancy, and diarrhea all reside on that list.

As you may now see sweeteners can be pretty scary things. I do believe while keeping everything in moderation you may find a product containing an artificial sweetener may give you that extra edge in reaching your goal but it is best try to keep it to a bare minimum or eliminate them if altogether if possible. Next week I’ll post about Stevia as it’s the one sweetner not mentioned here.