It is a well-known fact that we are constantly bombarded with ads for products relating to weight loss. From the humble beginnings of Kellogg’s (manufacturer of popular corn flakes) Lucky Charms to the ever-popular Pringles, the weight loss industry grew massively after the Second World War.
In more recent years, as food marketing became more advanced, the industry grew even further. Companies like Mondelēz International (manufacturer of Oreos) and Nestlé (manufacturer of Nesquik, KitKats, and more) employed highly efficient marketing campaigns that were based on psychological manipulation and celebrity. As a result, many people who experienced weight loss as a result of these campaigns subsequently developed eating disorders, such as anorexia and bulimia.
It is important to note that this article is not trying to bash the weight loss industry. There is definitely a place for dietary products in the fight against obesity. However, let’s be mindful of the methods that these companies utilize to market their products and the possible long-term effects.
The Trouble With Artificial Sweeteners
One of the major issues surrounding diet products is the use of artificial sweeteners. While some people may suffer from an upset stomach due to an overuse of artificial sweeteners (commonly found in diet products), the long-term effects of consuming these compounds are unknown. Moreover, these compounds are highly processed and their effects on the environment are questionable. Finally, there is evidence that shows that consuming artificial sweeteners may lead to weight gain.
It is well-established that consuming too many calories leads to weight gain. When food is presented to the brain in excess, it will always be interpreted as “good” due to our “calorie obsession”. As such, food companies commonly use artificial sweeteners in their products to cut the calories without impacting the taste. The evidence suggests that this may be causing us harm.
The Evidence Behind Sugar Freedom
Many popular diets promote sugar freedom as a way of life. As a result, many people undergo great struggles attempting to avoid sugar. However, there is an abundance of evidence showing that eating too much sugar is not good for our bodies. This is not to say that all sugar is bad, but rather that there is a specific type of sugar called “simple” or “natural” sugar that our bodies need for health purposes. Simply put, too much of this type of sugar will result in insulin resistance and Type 2 diabetes.
There are three major types of sugar that our bodies need for health purposes:
- Lectin (not a true sugar but it reacts with proteins in the stomach lining to form a complex) – This type of sugar dissolves easily in water and is found in beans, lentils, peas, and some vegetables. It is a great source of fiber that our bodies need for proper digestion.
- Maltose (a type of sugar that our bodies produce using starch found in plants) – This type of sugar is more resistant to digestion than other sugars and is slowly broken down into glucose (sugar) in the intestines. Although maltose is a type of sugar that our bodies produce, it is highly processed byproducts such as malt syrup that you typically find in soft drinks and beer that you should avoid.
- Fructose (a type of sugar that you will find in large amounts in fruits such as apples, pears, and strawberries) – This type of sugar is even more harmful than ordinary sugar because it is rapidly absorbed by the body and does not stimulate the pancreas to produce insulin. As a result, too much of this type of sugar can cause teeth discoloration (due to acid build-up in the mouth), kidney damage, liver damage, and increased risk of Type 2 diabetes.
The Importance Of Eating Real Food
Another important factor to consider when trying to lose weight is what you are eating. One of the primary reasons that so many people are experiencing health issues relating to weight loss is that they are feeding their bodies synthetic foods. Due to the growing popularity of paleo and keto diets, many people are consuming a lot of processed foods with refined sugar and flour. Even foods that you would normally think of as healthy (cheese, eggs, and pasta) are commonly loaded with empty carbohydrates (sugar) and preservatives.
By contrast, foods that you would consider “unhealthy” such as potato chips, cookies, and cake are often high in fiber and contain a good amount of natural nutrients like vitamins and antioxidants. Moreover, there are many options for vegetables and fruits that are low in sugar but high in fiber. This type of food will naturally fill you up and prevent you from overeating.
In a nutshell, if you are following a diet program and are still losing weight, it may be a good idea to have a word with your physician or dietitian. They may be able to shed some light on what is causing you to lose weight and how you can prevent it. In the meantime, if you are looking for a way to lose weight naturally, there are simple ways to do it. Cut down on the food that you are over-consuming and start eating more real food instead. This will help boost your metabolism, provide you with more energy, and let you become healthier.