Dangers Of Artificial Sweeteners

If you’re trying to lose weight it probably makes sense to consume products that are sweetened with artificial, calorie free sweeteners. Did you know that artificial sweeteners are actually dangerous and can actually cause weight gain?  You might be surprised by the dangers of artificial sweeteners.

Some Dangers Of Artificial Sweeteners

Here are a few but there are lots more:

They mess with your taste buds: Artificial sweeteners are much more sweet than natural sweeteners.  The problem with this is that they cause your taste buds to become less sensitive.  This means foods won’t taste as good to you and you’ll always be looking for something sweeter.

They can cause you to eat more: When you eat something sweet your body expects a high amount of calories to be coming in.  Artificial sweeteners have no calories so this balance gets thrown off.  This makes your body send out signals to eat more so that the energy (calories) coming in equal the sweetness.

They may cause panic attacks: People who consume some types of artificial sweeteners have reported experiencing panic attacks and depression.  Symptoms of a panic attack include racing heart beats, shortness of breath and feelings of impending doom.

They can affect your central nervous system: Research has shown that Aspartame may be one of the causes of central nervous system disorders including fibromyalgia and multiple sclerosis.

They can cause headaches: At very least, artificial sweeteners can cause headaches.

Don’t Eat Artificial Stuff

Our bodies need real food that exists in nature.  When you eat natural foods your body stays in balance.  Once you start introducing chemicals into your body everything starts to fall apart.  Stay away from edible chemicals and your health will be much better.

Can Coffee Make You Fat?

Can coffee make you fat??  The other day a friend told me that she heard that caffeine can cause you to gain weight.  I’d never heard this before so I looked into it.

Will Drinking Coffee Lead To Weight Gain?

I’ve got great news!  Moderate consumption of black coffee will not lead to weight gain.  There were some studies done on mice where when they consumed the equivalent of 5-6 cups of coffee they did gain fat and they experienced glucose intolerance which is a pre-diabetic condition.  This only happened when they were consuming the equivalent of 5-6 cups of coffee per day so as long as you’re sticking to 1-3 cups you don’t have to worry about your coffee causing weight gain.  The only exception would be if you were loading your coffee up with cream and high calories sweeteners or artificial sweeteners.  Drink it black so you don’t end up drinking too many calories.

What About The Diuretic Affect?

Turns out that as long as you stick to 1-3 cups of coffee per day you’re fine.  Older studies only measured urine output for 2-4 hours after consuming coffee.  More recent studies measured volume for a full 24-hour period.  Turns out that the volume of urine over a 24-hour period was pretty much the same whether the person had consumed coffee or not.

How Does Coffee Affect Athletic Performance?

Many athletes use caffeine to aid in their performance.  It seems to work best if you consume 3-6mg/kg of body weight about 60 minutes before your workout/event.  It’s even suggested that athletes abstain for about 7 days before an endurance event so they get the full affect.  Your body will become more tolerant to caffeine when you consume it regularly.   The effects of caffeine seem to be best for endurance performance because it frees up fatty acids to be used as fuel during the exercise thereby sparing glycogen.

What Are The Cons Of Caffeine?

While a bit of coffee can be great, too much can be detrimental.  If you were to consume upwards of about 9mg/kg of caffeine in a day you’ll likely suffer from anxiety, jitters, upset stomach, inability to focus, insomnia and even heart palpitations.  As mentioned above, mice who consumed the equivalent of 5-6 cups of coffee/day did experience weight gain and glucose intolerance.  Just because some is good does not mean more is better.

Enjoy Responsibly

Enjoy the simple pleasure of your morning coffee!  1-3 cups per day has been shown to have no detrimental effect, if anything it actually has health benefits! Did you know that coffee is a great source of antioxidants?  Buy organic beans and grind them just before you use them.  Once you grind them the effects of oxidation will affect the flavor so you want to be sure to grind it right before you use it.  If you’re drinking more than 5 a day or you’re noticing some ill effects such as those mentioned above you should look at decreasing your intake.

Action Steps To Change Your Life Today!

Not satisfied with your life?  Then fix it!  Here are some action steps to change your life today!

Action Steps To Change Your Life

Count your blessings. Take the time to write out all the good things in your life.

It doesn’t have to be anything huge – I’m thankful that I have a reliable car to get me to and from work.  I’m also thankful for the awesome people who come to my studio.

Avoid negative people. This may not be possible all the time, but look at circumstances in which it is possible. Avoid people who leave you feeling depressed after being with them.  Don’t let others rob you of your happiness just because they’re miserable.

Exercise consistently. Fit in 30-60 minutes 3-5 days per week of your favourite physical activity.  Schedule it and make it non-negotiable.

With your fitness goals focus on performance, not looks. If you’ve decided to make healthy changes for the sole purpose of losing weight it’s going to be a long and frustrating journey.  Healthy weight loss is fine but don’t obsess over it.  Instead take note of how much better you’re performing and how much healthier you feel.  Take joy in being able to run up a flight of stairs without feeling like you’re going to die.

Stop comparing yourself to others. You don’t know everyone’s story.  Just because someone looks like they have it all together and are living the good life doesn’t necessarily mean it’s true.  We are all unique with our own stories so there’s no point in comparing yourself to anyone.

Eliminate time wasting activities. If tasks keep piling up because you’re short on time, see what activities you can do without, or at least cut in half. Do you find yourself blowing 20 minutes reading gossipy stuff in the media?

Do you really need to know this information? Eliminate things like this and see if you don’t soon realize how much you never needed these kinds of activities.

Don’t let other people out-rank you. This means put your feelings first. This may sound selfish, but it applies to choices that won’t hurt anybody.

Worrying what others will think of you will set you back in life—over and over again.

Be a big dreamer. Dream big and never doubt yourself.  Once you decide to do something and you’re truly passionate about it go after it.  Working towards something you’re passionate about will lift your spirits every single day.

Take Action Now!

Try taking a few of these action steps and start to notice how much happier you feel and how much more productive you are!  This is your life and you need to live it on your terms so you can be the best you!

Unusual Reasons To Workout

You know that working out lowers the risk of heart disease, it helps burn fat, improves your cholesterol profile, keeps blood sugar levels in check and keeps your blood pressure under control.  But do you know all the other great reasons to workout?

For many individuals, these health related reasons don’t provide enough motivation. So here are some other reasons to workout that you may not have realized.

Reasons To Workout

Keeps the brain young. Research shows that exercise improves memory by enlarging the brain’s hippocampus, lowers risk of dementia and stroke, and enhances cognitive skills. Exercise can reverse age-related brain shrinkage and reduce the risk of spontaneous brain bleeding that can occur in the elderly.

Makes it easier to rebound from major surgery. A trained body is less likely to suffer complications from surgery and will recover faster than an out-of-shape body.

Makes you more capable in everyday life. When you have a fit strong body you’re able to move better and handle more physical stress such as moving furniture or climbing stairs.  A weak, stiff body severely limits what you can physically do.

Increases coping abilities. According to research regular exercise may improve mental health by helping your brain cope better with stress.  Exercise actually seems to give the body a chance to practice dealing with stress.  As we all know when you practice something you get better at it and this seems to be the case with our bodies when they experience the physical stress of exercise on a regular basis.

More Reasons To Workout

  • Helps you sleep better
  • Fights off depression and anxiety
  • Has a calming effect
  • Builds self-confidence
  • Lowers odds of having to one day rely upon a walker or cane
  • Helps prevent chronic back pain
  • Can suppress migraine headaches
  • Preserves quality of life by keeping you mobile into your later years

No Excuses!

You can’t deny that a well balance fitness plan improves your quality of life.  Some people say they can’t fit it in but with all the amazing payoffs from putting in just 30-60 minutes a day 3-6 days/week everyone needs to fit it in.  There’s no excuses!  Don’t like the gym?  Go outside for a workout.  Can’t leave the house for a workout?  There are at home programs you can do.  Crazy schedule?  Again, at home workouts can be done any time and if you’re traveling you can take your workouts with you.

Can You Damage Your Heart By Working Out Too Hard?

Have you ever wondered if you could damage your heart by working out too hard?  Do you purposely keep your heart rate on the lower side during your workouts for fear of doing damage?  If you have you may be keeping yourself from achieving the results you want.

 How High Is Too High?

Did you know that it’s extremely difficult, if not impossible to damage a healthy heart with exercise?  You can even exceed 90% of your estimated maximum heart rate without doing damage.

What Is Your Maximum Heart Rate

Your true maximum heart rate (MHR) is the highest pulse rate that you can attain during all-out effort.  The best way to get your true MHR is by doing an exercise stress test done on a treadmill, or stationary bike.  If you can’t get in for a stress test you can also subtract your age from 220.  This is only an estimate and is quite conservative as it’s meant for the average population.  Sadly the average population is sedentary so this equation can be wildly off for anyone who works out on a regular basis.  This tool can help you get a better estimate of your MHR.  Keep in mind that as you become more fit, your heart becomes stronger and more efficient at pumping blood through your system, so it actually slows down a bit.

How To Improve Your Cardiovascular Fitness

Regular exercise and healthy diet is almost a sure way to increase your cardiovascular fitness and prevent a heart attack in a healthy heart.  To improve your cardiovascular fitness you need to exercise a minimum of three times per week, 30-60 minutes a day at 60-90% of your maximum heart rate.  People who are new to exercise will have a higher heart rate until they become more fit, and should work at the lower end of the scale.  As they begin to feel less breathless, they can push a little higher.

What Happens If You Exercise Above 90% Of Your Maximum Heart Rate?

Exercising above 90% of your MHR is known as the anaerobic zone.  Anaerobic exercise requires stored glycogen in the muscle for fuel, instead of the readily available oxygen from the blood.  When you’re working anaerobically, waste products build up quickly, and the blood flow is inadequate to remove them.  This is what causes that burning sensation in the muscles when you suddenly increase your effort to an all-out effort ie. going from a jog to a sprint.  A few minutes of active rest (you’re still moving but at an easy pace) allows the blood flow to remove the built up waste and you can continue to exercise.

How To Monitor Your Heart Rate

You could try taking your pulse on your neck or your wrist but sometimes it’s tricky to find it and when you finally do it’s already come down a bit.  Your best bet is to invest in a heart rate monitor which can range in price from $50-$350 and more depending on how much information you need.  For the purpose of reading your pulse while exercising you will do just fine with the less expensive models.

Other Factors That Could Increase Your Heart Rate

There can be times when you’re doing your usual workout but your heart rate seems higher than it should be.  This could be due to dehydration, fatigue, infection with or without fever, anemia, obesity, or use of certain stimulants such as caffeine.  It is theoretically possible that exercising with a fever can cause some damage to the heart muscle, so never exercise aerobically when you are sick with a fever. 

Go Ahead And Go For It!

Everyone is an individual, and has different tolerance for exercise and endurance level.  If you’re new to exercise use your pulse rate to make sure that you’re getting into your target training zone.  Once you have learned how your body feels during and after workouts of different intensities you won’t be as dependent on the numbers: you’ll just know when you are in the zone!