In this post:
- Calorie Free and Low Carb Processed Foods and Supplements
- Artificial Sweeteners
- Use Sparingly
- How I Feel When I Eat These Products
- A Mindset- Your Choice
Calorie Free and Low Carb Processed Foods and Supplements
Let’s talk about all this calorie free, fat free, carb free food I currently have in my pantry and fridge right now…. wow… Never in my right mind have I even entertained the thought of consuming things like crystal light, Sans Sucre Mousse, Walden Farms calorie free pancake syrup or coffee creamer as well as all the supplements many bodybuilders take including protein powders and BCAA’s…All artificially sweetened.
Now, I am not at all knocking a specific product line although some are definitely worse than others. As far as calorie free condiments…Walden Farms, I have found, have better ingredient lists when it comes to calorie free foods.
Many, if not all, of these products contain artificial sweeteners like aspartame (Equal/ Nutrasweet) , acesulfame potassium (Sunett and Sweet One), and sucralose (Splenda). (Don’t get me started on the crapola fats. That’s another blog post) These sweeteners are a synthetic sugar substitute even though they are derived from natural sources. They are not digested fully and pass through the body making them a low calorie sweetener. They have been a controversial topic as being carcinogenic even though, according to the Cancer Institute, there is no evidence to support this.
Many studies have shown how the regular use of diet foods with artificial sweeteners can actual cause weight gain, increase risk for type II diabetes and make sugar cravings worse.
Yale Journal of Biological Medicine: Gain weight by “going diet?” Artificial sweeteners and the neurobiology of sugar cravings
Harvard School of Public Health: Artificial Sweeteners
Artificial sweeteners do have their uses in the weight loss world and for people with diabetes if used sparingly and only when necessary.
Currently, my contest prep diet consists of BCAA’s 1x per day, Whey protein 1x per day and some of the condiments or flavored drinks. The BCAA’s I use have less crap than other brands – Modern BCAA’s. Same for the protein powder- BODYSTRONG Whey Protein but it all adds up!
As far as the condiments and desserts go, I use them sparingly and only on very low carb days (less than 30g) or to curb the occasional craving in contest prep. This is a short term solution! Not a great one, but it is one.
I may use Walden Farms salad dressing on salads or the Walden Farms chocolate syrup on 2 or 3 strawberries to curb a sweet tooth but using these products on a regular basis or in larger quantities is not great for your health.
How I Feel When I Eat These Products
When I eat these types of foods, especially more than sparingly,I feel a little weird- like I’ve been chemicalized. Too much and they upset my digestive track for a good 24 hours because they are– artificial! Your body doesn’t digest them well which is why they are calorie free!
Over the last week, I would say I have been using calorie free products about 1-2x per day and today and I feel it. I feel toxified. Sort of like how I feel if I eat too much sugar only – chemicals.
The thing is, for the majority of the population that isn’t dieting to below normal body fat levels can lose weight and feel great eating a whole food, low refined sugar diet without feeling deprived (most of the time)… I know, I have done it after two kids and through 1 contest prep to lose weight as well as for the last 15 years to maintain my weight and be healthy. So why am I using these products now?
Well, the sport of bodybuilding requires you to be very lean. Leaner than you would ever maintain. In the last 4-6 weeks of my contest prep when calories are getting low, your cardio is high and your fighting your bodies survival mechanisms to keep on body fat, sometimes you just need a little extra flavor when eating meals that you need to fit into your allotted macro-nutrients (protein, carbs and fat). I can’t stress enough, even short term use,that these fake low calorie processed foods should still be used sparingly.
Weather you are in contest prep or not, treats and unhealthy food choices such as processed foods, refined sugars and unhealthy fats should all be kept in moderation for your health and to keep that sexy ass. Think of it this way…. no one can tell you what you can and cannot eat, even yourself. YOU CHOOSE to not eat something based on your long term health goals. (Thanks MacKensie Piper for this thought while chatting at the YMCA).
Ask yourself, will this food help me reach my goals? Will this food nourish my body? And, in the words of my Grandmother, “a moment on the lips is a lifetime on the hips!”
If you start thinking about food as something you can or cannot have, you will want it more.
At any rate, I am cutting back on these low calorie foods in my last few weeks of contest prep (with the exception of the BCAA’s and protein).BUT, When this is over, and my body is done eating itself lean, I can’t wait to get my 100% ‘whole food- low sugar-higher fat-no artificially sweetened supplements’ diet back because I am going to need a serious detox!
Also, a few things on how to detox, what foods to eat and please note- a detoxifying diet is not something you just do for a week…. you must maintain with a healthy lifestyle.