This Ingredient Leaves Advertisers STUNNED!

Right now, in your pantry, you have an ingredient than can make slugs melt.

It’s the combination of a highly-reactive, unstable metal, and an element that is one electron away from lethal chlorine gas.

This ingredient can raise blood pressure in humans, making it dangerous to those with heart disease, high cholesterol, and those at risk of stroke.

This ingredient can kill you.

However, we also need this ingredient to live.

What is this ingredient? It is salt.

And that is exactly why this ingredient leaves advertisers stunned. Because I can make just about anything sound horrifying, like a controversy, or the Illuminati of supplements if I happen to word it in such a manner. And these advertisers happen to know that. They use this exact method to try to get your attention so you’ll buy their product.

Right now you probably also have an ingredient in your pantry or cupboard that can kill your pet cats or dogs. That ingredient is chocolate. Pets cannot process it. Yet many people eat it quite regularly. Do you think twice about it? Probably not. Should you? Probably not. But when I make the direct link that it can kill your pets, do you begin to doubt that chocolate is healthy, even for a fraction of a second? Possibly. That is exactly the lies and manipulation these ads try to coerce you with.

Did you know, even drinking too much water, too quickly can kill you? And it can kill you in a matter of hours. So, using that logic .. theoretically water can be more lethal for you than fast food, in an immediate manner. Are you scared to drink water? No. Should you be? Absolutely not.

So why do people believe in that sort of advertising? Because they want miracles. Miracles that don’t exist. They want purity. The epitome of health. The epitome that doesn’t exist yet, because everyone is different, and has different dietary needs. Yet people don’t know that, so they keep believing these blanket terms that are just confusing them about their food choices.

This is why we should believe in moderation. However, should moderation include handfuls of the latest supplements touted on some sort of TV show that just wants to make money? (I’m looking at a certain doctor here, mayhaps one better left in the Wizard of Oz, if you know what I’m saying). Should moderation include reading every website blindly, believing that absolutely everything is harmful to you?

No.

What is harmful to you, may not be harmful to me. What is harmful to me, may not be harmful to you. I mean, I could go ahead and tell everyone to avoid penicillin because I’m allergic to it, it harms me, and therefore it must be bad. But that’s a complete and utter lie. Penicillin is not bad for some people. For some people, it is the first line of treatment.

So theoretically, you can take green coffee bean if you want to. I mean, studies have had to be retracted because they’re probably bullshit, and the beans can be tainted with penicillumso it’s probably not the best idea for me .. but if you believe it works, free country, right? And maybe one day the evidence might change, and more studies might come out. So who knows?

Setting the bullshit aside, there does not exist a supplement that can raise your metabolism more than a few percent without risk of killing you. That doesn’t mean that they result in certain death (ECA stacks — ephedrine, caffeine, and aspirin — may raise your metabolism up to 10%, and are vastly used by bodybuilders .. however, they have also killed people who were not careful about over-consumption or overexertion), but in some cases, they do, such as the DNP I just linked in this sentence; that can raise your metabolism a whopping 50%, but has most certainly killed people. If a website or TV show cited it as a miraculous dietary aid today (which it was believed to be in 1938 until it was pulled off the shelf a year later, yet people are still obtaining it, using it, and dying) — bragging about its miraculous ability to increase your metabolism more than any other substance, and its way of seemingly melting fat (leaving out the part that it literally causes your cells to overheat themselves to death in the meantime) .. how many people do you think would probably buy it? My guess would be millions.

That doesn’t mean you can’t raise your metabolism naturally, the hard way — aka proper diet, exercise, spicy foods, lifting weights and having a high muscle mass, etc. That just means that this isn’t what most people want to hear. That’s why clickbait exists. That’s why people order these shitty, sketchy products from these shitty, sketchy websites. The same people also go to these shitty, sketchy websites for food recommendations.

So people are against GMO’s, gluten, and pesticides, but they will unknowingly take capsules full of weed-killer (exactly what DNP is made for), ordering them off of third-party websites as a weight-loss aid. Where do we find the balance?

Certainly not all clickbait is bad. Heck, science even does it from time to time (well, news websites do it about science .. there could be a small link to something in a cancer study and on the news it’ll say ‘New Cancer Cure Found at ____ University!’). It’s all about views, really. But that doesn’t mean you should believe everything you read. Even if it has a catchy title. Because they’re probably just doing it for money (read: ads), not science. Even if it has some science-y stuff in it. A lot of advertisers will sponsor a small-scale study just to link to as ‘proof’, even though the results are likely entirely skewed. Such as the green coffee bean study I linked above.

What separates the fact from the bullshit? Time. There has always been diet aids, but they are forever changing. Green tea has been out there a long time, and has a lot of evidence that it may work. So the longer something is out there, the more likely it will get more studies which have more things in common, to help sort the wild bullshit claims from the concrete evidence that occurs more and more often. And who knows, maybe that green coffee bean will have more valid claims linked to it one day.

And once you finally see these advertisers repeating their claims more and more (hint: many won’t, because they still want your attention), such as trans fat being bad for you .. well, they might actually be right for once. But that’s probably because they’re parroting information for a decade ago.

That’s ads for you.

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Happy (Not) Valentine’s Day!

Hello Everyone!

I just wanted to make a quick post to say a happy [belated] Valentine’s to everyone and hope you all enjoyed it, single or not!

I made some red velvet banana bread for the occasion. Yes, red velvet banana bread! (It’s not protein powder!) And thought I would share it with you all. Well … to the extent that I can, that is! If I could pass some through the computer screen, I surely would. But seeing as that is not possible (yet!) here it is:

redvelvet223

And the beauty of it is how easy the recipe is. Simply take your favourite banana bread recipe, and replace the dry ingredients with red velvet cake mix. Whether homemade or store-bought, that is up to you! Mine consisted of red velvet mix, 3 bananas, 1/3 cup vegetable oil, 3 eggs, and a cup of dark chocolate chips — baked at 350 for about 50 minutes. I always cover my banana bread with foil the last 10 minutes of cooking to make sure the top is cooked through. I also made my own frosting using 1/2 a block of cream cheese, 1/2 cup powdered sugar, 2 tbsp of butter, and 1/4 tsp vanilla.

Enjoy!

PS: Check out these gorgeous flowers Mr. Cake got me. 🙂 Pretty neat, huh?

flowers

Why Being a Holistic Nutritionist Isn’t for Me

I first started getting into nutrition about a decade ago, when I was 14. I had been a competitive athlete since the age of 6, and decided that learning about nutrition might give me an edge. However, because I was a disinterested teenager, the thought stayed at the back of my mind until I was 16.

After a summer of a little bit too much World of Warcraft and Chinese food, I found myself floating from my in-season weight of about 120lbs up to 143lbs. I know that’s not that big of a deal for most people, especially when you’re my height (I’m now a little over 5’7″ tall), but it was for me. It was devastating. I was a size 10 who was used to wearing a size 4. Even my dad had told me I had begun to get a bit tubby.

So what did I do? I began to read pretty much every diet book ever. I started with the Atkins diet book, the GI Diet, the Abs Diet, etc (the latter 2 I still find to be acceptable books to this day, so it’s not all bad). I remember trying to eat cabbage soup for a week. The soy-flour muffins on Atkins tasted awful so I tried to doctor them up with cocoa powder and pecans, not knowing that was adding carbs or calories, because I didn’t know how to count those at the time.

But once I did figure out how to count calories, I went overboard. I started at 700, then moved up to 900. I spent a few weeks only eating back the calories I burned — so unless I went to the gym for 2 hours in the morning, I didn’t eat. Once skating started again, I realized I couldn’t function on 900 calories a day, so I upped it to 1350. However, because I was no longer ‘counting’ exercise, I didn’t know I was burning at least 700 calories a day in-season. As a result, I was only consuming 700 net calories a day for 8 months.

Soon my weight slipped .. 137lbs, 125, 119, 112. I stopped getting periods. My bones stuck out. Even got some pressure wounds from being in the bathtub because my spine would grind against the porcelain while I was bathing.

My saddest memory was writing a Christmas list in which I asked for a heated blanket, heated slippers, sweaters, and warm pyjamas. I didn’t even realize it until I got better, but I think that may have been my body crying for help. In fact, I cried all Christmas. Late November I was given a very dire prognosis. Nobody knew what to do until I could be hospitalized; but there were no openings for another month. They weren’t sure I’d live past another couple weeks. I didn’t think I’d done anything wrong. I just wanted to live.

112 was when I was diagnosed with an eating disorder. All in all I sunk to about 100lbs.

The wake-up call happened when knee slipped out of place during practice because I didn’t really have muscle to hold it in anymore. I spent a month and a half in a straight-legged brace, and had to quit figure skating.

Once my knee was healed, I was hospitalized for EDNOS (eating disorder non-otherwise specified … I had classic symptoms of anorexia, but was more obsessed with the counting calories than anything — even my weight). The hospital staff was very worried about me at first, but I managed to become healthy in a mere 2 months. I gained 20lbs in that time by eating a second dinner most nights. Whenever a patient left the hospital and their food tray was sent in, I decided to have it. I had completely given up my restricting, voluntarily. I had given up the will to fight against myself. I just wanted to heal.

Because I healed quickly and still knew a lot about food, people began to recommend I get a degree in nutrition. It took until I was 21 to decide I should (I had gotten over my eating disorder by the age of 17).

I was excited at first. After being an athlete for 10 years and surviving an eating disorder, I thought I could save the world.

Unfortunately, I believe that Nutritionism is the wrong route for that.

Don’t get me wrong, it is the right route for many people. And it can help many other people. However, in other ways, the industry that has been created by Nutritionism can be harmful.

I believe it is an honest mistake. They want to help people, they truly do. But I believe that by using unscientific methods such as iridology, recommending unneeded enemas, ‘food typing’, and using products for cleanses and detoxes that aren’t necessarily FDA approved — they may sometimes be doing more harm than good. Some of them, that is. Not everybody uses those methods or recommends such things. In fact, in the degree they strongly recommend you look up studies and learn how to read them properly. Ironically, though, they still provide many texts with the course that are anti-vaccine, anti-modern medicine, and even anti-FDA and anti-hospitals.

I’ve seen people (colleagues, I guess you could call them? People in the same course as me, either way) advertising on Facebook that cancer patients should use their juice cleanses instead of going through with chemotherapy. Things like that make me very, very sad. In fact, I often wish I would’ve opted for the route of a Dietitian instead, when I see things like that.

Some of you may be wondering what the difference between a Nutritionist and a Dietitian is.

Dietitians hold a bachelor’s degree, Nutritionists do not. It takes approximately 2 years to become a Dietitian, 1-2 to become a Nutritionist. That doesn’t mean Nutritionists may not hold other bachelor’s degrees if they decide to pursue other fields — it just means they don’t get one with the Nutritionist course.

Nutritionists take their courses at private, privately funded colleges made for Nutritionism only; Dietitians study at a University.

Nutritionists also study the spiritual and holistic side of things; from your sleep schedule, down to your chakras. Dietitians do not. However, Dietitians often formally study Agriculture during their course. They also go way more in-depth when it comes to medical stuff.

They both require a little bit of biochemistry, as well as anatomy. My anatomy textbook in my Nutritionist course was my favourite, as was my chemistry one. They were the only ‘serious’ textbooks I got, in my opinion. They had the facts and nothing but the facts, as well as a number of proper studies.

They are both board certified (at least in Canada); however, Nutritionists are more privately certified, while Dietitians are government certified, as far as I’m aware.

Becoming a Dietitian often has strict prerequisites, such as partaking an undergraduate program. Nutritionists can go into their course with nothing but a high-school diploma or GED.

The term ‘Nutritionist’ is so unregulated in places, you can’t even legally use the prefix ‘Registered’ in Alberta, because they reserve that right for Dietitians.

Dietitians can work alongside doctors and in hospitals. Nutritionists are not legally allowed to treat or diagnosed anyone (although that doesn’t mean they don’t bend their words to try — like how I mentioned above, trying to cure cancer with juice fasts or ‘Gerson therapy’ — which is $65k a year to down chopped raw liver and receive coffee enemas).

I believe a lot of people go into Nutrition with pure intentions, like I did.

However, after being provided with textbooks that said such horrifying things (there was even a holistic magazine provided with the course, used for study, that said you shouldn’t bring your kid to the hospital if they have a high fever, even at 104*F — the temperature doctors unanimously agree starts to become a danger to mortality). In fact, that book further recommends you should put your kid in a hot bath or wrap them in blankets to aggravate their fever. I told myself I would burn that book after I finished my course, I was so appalled.

Another was anti-vaccine. So vehemently so that it tried to say you were poisoning your child if you gave them one. And yet another said the same about GMOs (of which I will discuss the pros and cons of another day — but I believe that in general, they can be helpful … indeed, they did save the lives of 1 billion people in drought-ridden countries shortly after they were created, but more on that later. It is still a very controversial subject).

The more and more I ‘learned’ from the Nutritionist course, the more and more I studied and taught myself the opposite, because something just seemed ‘fishy’.

It has gotten to the point where I failed my final and I’m scared to re-try it because I just don’t know what to say anymore. Half of the time I fill out answers I feel like I’m making stuff up; like the section of the course where I was supposed to predict which chakra someone had damaged by what crisis they were having in their life. I had never re-read a book so much to get an answer. I honestly felt like I was pulling things out of my ass. I have nothing against that sort of thing. Indeed, I found the book generally enjoyable to read, and consider myself quite open-minded. (For those of you who don’t know, chakras are basically invisible spiritual channels in your body that can effect different body parts, often based on ‘chi’ or ‘qi’ — invisible ‘life force’ energy from traditional Asian medicine. There is no evidence they exist. They’re kind of a spiritual/religious thing. No hard feelings to those who do believe them — I just believe it’s difficult to do a test on something I can’t really quantify.).

But basing a test on it? Exhausting. I felt like I was getting my degree in being a psychic, not helping people eat better. It may be some people’s cup of tea, but it was not mine, at least not at the time.

Indeed, some Nutritionists go on to get higher educations. Some may study on their own time for hundreds of hours, like I do. Some may be very educated, even more-so than Dieticians in some cases. A degree doesn’t define you as a human, nor does it define the limits of what you can learn — it merely provides you a platform with which to study. There are ‘good’ and ‘bad’ folk of all degrees — doctors, lawyers, teachers, policemen. Some are more learned than others. Some got better marks. Some are more passionate. Some are more indifferent.

The point is, I believe I got started on the wrong foot. That doesn’t mean you did. That doesn’t mean I’m discrediting all of Nutritionism. I simply believe it needs vastly more updated texts and regulations before people should begin to take it more seriously. That doesn’t mean you or I are bad at our jobs. It just means that, evidence provided, I feel the Nutritionist degree is lacking. And if you have a passion for it, I believe you should further your education in other ways — rather than trapping yourself in the holistic dogma often associated with it.

Thanks for listening, and I hope this post didn’t anger anyone. I just wanted to be honest for a moment, as well as tell my story. Again, what works for me may not work for you, and vice versa. If you want to go gluten-free, go for it. If you want to believe in food combining, go for it. If you want to have a consultation by a Nutritionist, go for it. I’ve had one before (back before I knew what a Nutritionist was, let alone attempted to become one). Heck, I’m the one here downing the protein shakes, so why should you be listening to me? 😛

I believe it is absolutely wonderful that people have such a wide range in freedom of choices. It’s just when that wide range has corners that may or may not be trying to pull the wool over people’s eyes, that I feel I need to speak out about it. And that’s exactly why Nutritionism isn’t for me.

Chocolate Almond Cheesecake Shake

chocolateshake

Here’s yet another concoction I’ve come up with in the past few days having to do with protein. I know what you guys are thinking, “What’s with all the protein, man?!”

Well, to be honest, I was diagnosed with a heart infection right before I started this blog. The pinnacle of health, right? Why should you be following someone’s health blog when they have/had a heart infection?

It wasn’t my fault, I swear. I just happened to get a fever when I was camping last August and it went a little too deep for comfort. Probably started with strep bacteria because my throat was mighty sore at the time. Believe it or not, heart infections are actually somewhat common in people my age (I am 23). I felt a little bit of chest pain starting in October … nothing major, just a bit of burning. Kind of like acid reflux but a bit to the left. Went to the doctor in January when it wouldn’t go away, and BOOM, pericarditis.

Did you know that your body usually goes for muscle first if you’re an active or dieting individual? I mean, active enough that carbs don’t even have a chance. What muscle does the body like to choose, of all things? The heart muscle. And because my habit of staying healthy includes running 3 miles a day and eating in moderation, I figured it would be best to up the protein just in case my body decides to have a little snack on my ticker.

I’ve also been taking 600mg of advil a day, a bit of potassium citrate every other day (about 1/4 tsp pharmaceutical grade powder, roughly 600mg), and 200mg magnesium citrate every other night. Electrolytes are important when the heart is involved. I can also afford to eat a bit of salt because I have a low resting blood pressure.

However, if you ever get something wrong with your heart, I highly, highly suggest you go see a doctor. That’s not something to be screwing around with. The only reason I am is because I was directed to take that much advil a day, and my test results came back completely normal, so it’s likely just a very mild infection. Even my thyroid was normal, which is unusual, because it’s autoimmune (I know, I’m sooo healthy, right? That one is hereditary, though!). Only 1 in 3 people experience spontaneous thyroid remission. I guess I have good gambling odds.

Anyhoo, in order to force more protein into myself (my macros are about 35% fat/ 35% carbs/ 30% protein right now, it is recommended that active individuals looking to burn fat/maintain muscle eat between 20 – 40% fat, 20 – 40% carbs, and 30 – 50% protein), I’ve been tinkering around with a bunch of recipes involving protein powder. I even just had a whole stash mailed to me from bodybuilding.ca so I can find the best vanilla flavour ever (even though I did find a pretty good one from Superstore in the meantime, the Vanilla Whey Isolate – PC brand). But I’m not sure what to do with vanilla (yet!), so on with the chocolate!
chocolateshake2(Look, it’s my blue sippy-cup again! Boy do I love that thing. You can get a whole set — orange, purple, and blue — from Costco, for about $20.)

Chocolate Almond Cheesecake Shake

  • 1 scoop chocolate protein powder
  • 1 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup almond milk
  • 1/3 cup cottage cheese
  • 1 tbsp cream cheese
  • 3 ice cubes
  • 1/8 tsp almond extract
  • sugar or sweetener to taste (I used just a few drops of stevia)
  1. Place everything in the blender; almond milk first, followed by sweetener, protein and cocoa powder, cottage cheese, cream cheese, and ice on the top.
  2. Blend for a minute or two.
  3. Pour and serve.
  4. Mmmm.

Nutritional Info using unsweetened almond milk, 2% cottage cheese, regular cream cheese, and Isoflex: 267 calories, 9.5g fat (4g saturated), 450mg sodium, 9.5g carbohydrates, 3g fiber, 3g sugar, and 38g protein

The Ecological Impact of Too Many Choices

These days, people want it all. We want regular potato chips, baked potato chips, all the flavors we’ve had in the past, and new ones too. We also want juices that are unpasteurized, pasteurized, half-sugar, no sugar added, regular, sweetened with sucralose, or stevia and erythritol for those who don’t like the idea of sucralose. We also want full-calorie, low-calorie, low-fat, sugar-free, low-carb, and gluten-free foods. We want the option to have cheap conventional coffee as well as shade-grown and fair-trade coffees so we can choose between saving money and feeling better about the environment.

On top of this we also want the option of electric cars, high gas mileage vehicles, giant trucks, or those that can seat a small army of either children or commuters. We want the latest iPhones and we want them NOW. We complain that things coming from China are terrible in regards to labour but do we ever stop and think of the ecological impacts of too many choices in other regards, such as with food and ethical labelling?

We must understand that in order to have regular food, organic food, and non-GMO food, we must make more and more crops in order to adhere to people’s widely varying modern preferences. Now we’ve got crops of regular corn, organic corn, non-GMO corn, and the odd biorhythmically grown corn crop as well. All of these crops must be separate to meet said demands, because consumers don’t want their organic corn contaminated by conventional growing methods, and their biorhythmic foods must not be grown during the wrong orbit.

Some of these things are positive, such as organic farms using less energy and more nutrient retention in the soil. Some of these things are not, noting that the same study cites that organic farming needs more land for their yields, has the potential to cause more water pollution, and has a more acidifying effect on the surrounding environment. This being said, it still has an overall lesser impact on the environment than conventional growing. The problem being, however, that with lower yields, there is the tricky balance of being better for the environment but still needing extra land cleared for crops. Thankfully as studies like this continue to surface, these issues are being acknowledged and worked on.

Another worrying thing is that, in addition to wanting non-local foods year round such as coconuts, pineapples, bananas, mango, and dragon fruit — we also want exotic specialty ‘superfoods’ such as noni, mangosteen, acai and goji berries, and so on. The list seems to increase every year, trying to sell us something exotic from afar and promising it as a new ‘fountain of youth’, when we have foods like that in our own climate such as blueberries that we sadly ignore while increasing our carbon footprint for the far-away promise of health.

Demographers predict that the population could either hit 11 billion by 2100 or cap off at 8 or 9 billionIf the former does occur, will we really be equipped to provide food and residence for a growing number of people while we continue to screw around with land … trying to up-sell things to people who are just getting fussier and fussier, blinded by the notion of health (or lack there-of) or labels?

And it’s not just our fault. A lot of our crops go towards feeding livestock. However, with a lot of people strongly refusing to reduce their intake of meat, what does this have to say for the future? As revealed by the infographic article linked earlier in this paragraph, it seems the US is trying to get more milk from fewer cows. This efficiency is actually better for the environment, as there becomes less waste as less cows are needed. It also reveals that corn may be more efficient for this than grass. It challenges popular concerns: food transportation may be beneficial in some cases, as more local trips may be necessary to get the mass quantities of eggs needed for a supermarket, stacking on the miles opposed to longer transportation of a higher volume of eggs from farms that are further away. However, all these things have downsides such as the possible use of antibiotics and hormones, as well as animals becoming sick.

Regarding fruits and vegetables, are we really okay with the fact that cutting down forests is the most popular method of creating crops? And seeing as Canada may be one of the places that will have their crops least affected by climate change, are lots of our forests going to be cut down in sacrifice of higher population and global emissions? How would people cope when they realize that Canada’s climate can’t support many of the foods they want? That a lot of things may have to be greenhouse grown considering many places in Canada have 6-8 month periods of snow?

Could we fix this by eating less, considering that 35% of adults in the US and about a quarter of Canadians are obese, and that 15% of food that is thrown out isn’t even opened? Or is the remedy simply more exercise?

Either way, whether or not we’re overeating, while we’re still tossing that much food, do we really need even more choices when it comes to processed and packaged foods? And do we really need more exotic foods shipped in from overseas? Where does freedom of choice versus resource management come into play?

For the time being, perhaps compromises on both sides are needed. Less specialty health-food, and less new flavours of soda and chips. But until we stop our massive habits of consumption, only time will tell how much of that silver spoon will be left in the next few decades.

Protein French Toast

Cooking with protein is a hot button in the fitness industry. Always has been, always will be.

Some people are brave and can whip together a scoop or two of protein powder with some eggs and call it a pancake. I’ve tried that. It didn’t come out well! Fell flat and was more of a crunchy disk than anything. But hey, any way people are willing to get their macros, am I right?

I find the trick to cooking with protein is using a light hand, and trying not to deviate from the original recipe too much. Whey protein is not a flour. It doesn’t really have its own substance and won’t really add ‘bulk’ to any recipe. Rather, it will readily dissolve into liquids leaving you with a sort of flat concoction if you use too much. It really likes to absorb liquids. Thus, you have to add it into something it’ll readily dissolve in. Something you’re not afraid of tasting like that particular flavor of protein powder. Something with extra moisture added into the recipe in the way (or whey, heh) of oats, eggs, applesauce, peanut butter, bananas, or other ‘soft’ ingredients that will give it some texture.

French toast is an easy place to start, since it is simple and already uses milk and eggs 🙂
proteinfrenchtoast2

Protein French Toast:

  • 2 slices fibre-rich bread (I prefer Squirrely or something extra dense like that)
  • 1 egg
  • 3 tbsp milk
  • 1/4 scoop (8 grams) protein powder (I used Isoflex)
  • (optional) 1 tbsp maple syrup, for topping
  1. Preheat a pan to medium on the stove.
  2. Whisk together egg, milk, and protein powder in a small dish. Pie plates are perfect for this. You can add some cinnamon or vanilla extract if you’d like extra flavor.
  3. Soak your bread in the mixture for about 20 seconds per side. Breads that are high in fibre make a good sponge!
  4. Give pan a good once-over with cooking spray (use a coconut-oil one if you can find it), and gently nestle your bread in there. Cook it for a couple minutes each side.
  5. Serve with maple syrup, berries, or anything else you fancy on top 🙂 caramelized bananas are my favourite when I have time to make them!

Nutritional info (without toppings): 324 calories, 10g fat (2g saturated), 190mg cholesterol, 450mg sodium, 45g carbohydrates, 10g fiber, 9g sugar, and 24g protein

Are artificial sweeteners evil?

Sweetener

Are artificial sweeteners evil?

It is a debate that has been going on for decades.

Oddly enough, the word ‘artificial’ creates hostility on its own. Many people associate ‘artificial’ with something bad. You know what is artificial? Flying on a plane and getting to the other side of the world in 16 hours or less. Driving a car. Eating cereal that came in a printed, pre-packaged box. Having a skin graft or a lung transplant. Taking medicine. Having a blog.

Are half of these things bad? No. But they don’t have the word ‘artificial’ in them, so they seem less likely to be misconstrued. Call it ‘artificial transport’ and then see what people say after a few years. Probably either hostility defending it, or a lot more people choosing to walk.

However, I digress. I must admit to being the neutral party when it comes to the actual subject matter. I believe artificial sweeteners are both good and bad.

Why?

The good:

They can help with weight loss and blood pressure reduction. Alternatively, though, so can reducing your sugar intake. I would call it a moot point, then, but do acknowledge the fact that they can indeed help dieters with poor impulse control when it comes to sweets. This may be a good thing for those with a risk of diabetes.

The aspartame -> brain tumour ‘link’ is likely a fallacy. There were simply not enough potential causes isolated to garner it a real concern.

Sucralose is proven safe to consume, even in ridiculous amounts. A packet of Splenda contains 12mg of sucralose. Scientists were having subjects safely consume up to 500mg per day (that’s 41.6 packets in a day!).

Men who drink diet soda instead of regular soda might have a reduced risk of heart disease. However, this seems to depend on other factors as well, so I wouldn’t call it the be-all end-all to your current soda habit.

The bad:

They might actually make you more hungry. Artificial sweeteners have no effect on ghrelin, the hormone that makes us hungry. Real sugars, however, can reduce it; making us less hungry. Marginally so, but still enough for a statistical difference.

They might cause you to eat more fat. They are also not very useful when it comes to people who aren’t dieting, as they will usually end up ‘eating back’ the ‘missing’ calories later in the day.

Artificial sweeteners mixed with alcohol cause you to get drunk more quickly than their sugar-sweetened counterparts. Why is this bad? Those who ‘go big or go home’, or are known to start a party with a rapid succession of alcohol consumption may be at higher risk of alcohol toxicity without even knowing it. In fact, this effect may be even worse when caffeine is addedsuch as in the case of mixing diet cola and alcohol.

There is also some evidence that those who regularly consume artificial sweeteners may not feel as satisfied when they consume real sugars, causing them to over-indulge. They may even lose interest in less-sweet foods that may be necessary for good health.

There are other things out there to discuss as well, such as how they purportedly increase incidences in cancer. However, I did not find any studies concrete enough about that for me to feel worthy of linking. There is still a lot of controversy about it, even in the scientific world, it seems. I suppose we’ll just have to wait to find out more.


So should you consume artificial sweeteners or not?

Well, that is completely up to you.

As noted by my introduction postI believe in moderation. I think they’re fine, but I prefer having them in foods where they’re already mixed in – I still use sugar in recipes. When I consume artificial sweeteners in ‘regular’ foods, my preferences are varied. I might put a packet of sucralose-based sweetener in my oatmeal every couple weeks, because stevia can taste like vomit to me (at least in oatmeal .. oddly enough, I am fine with using it in hot chocolate or smoothies). I use both sucralose and stevia-sweetened protein powders equally enough. When it comes to sodas, I prefer sugar alcohols. They seem to make me crave less sweet stuff afterwards, compared to acesulfame-potassium. That is just me, though. You could be completely different in your preferences, and I am a-okay with that.

Whatever you do, just make sure not to over-do it. That goes with both sugar and artificial sweeteners; as both have their upsides and downsides.