Before I start, this article is not to debate the evidence surrounding the safety of various artificial sweeteners. For that I suggest you go to the website examine.com. If you are worried about any specific ingredients in anything you consume, search it up in their to receive and objective, scientific view point (nutrition is a science, remember).
The Appeal to Nature
Artificial sweeteners get an unfounded bad reputation among many who assume that “unnatural” foods are the devil, and as such, any food with a long name must be bad for your body. This is called the naturalistic fallacy/appeal to nature. A bit about that..
“An appeal to nature is an argument or rhetorical tactic in which it is proposed that “a thing is good because it is ‘natural’, or bad because it is ‘unnatural'”. It is usually an invalid argument, because the implicit (unstated) primary premise “What is natural is good” typically is irrelevant, having no cogent meaning in practice, or is an opinion instead of a fact” – Wiki
It is possible to become obese and unhealthy through consuming only “natural” foods. I will admit that a diet aimed at weight loss will probably contain more “natural” foods like lean meats and vegetables, simply because they are usually more filling per calorie and contain great amounts of micronutrients (& protein & fibre, respectively). However, there is still room for heavily processed, refined, man made, whatever-you-want-to-call-it, food products within our diet, and they may actually help us reach our goals in some cases.
Foods High in Sugar can be Positive or Negative within a Diet
From personal and coaching experience, I have learnt that when transitioning from a bulk (weight gain phase) to a cut (weight loss phase), the first foods to be emitted from the diet are usually those high sugar, low fibre, low protein: eg soft drinks, donuts, ice cream, lollies, etc. These foods can be useful for some individuals who need a lot of calories to put on weight (3000+), as these foods make it easier to reach desired carbohydrate and calorie intake without making you full. When the cut begins, calories/carbs need to be dropped, and so it makes sense that these foods are dropped. They also don’t offer much protein, which requirements increase as you lose weight (in order to spare muscle tissue).Whether foods high in sugar are positive or negative to a diet is dependent on context.
Easing the Transition into Dieting
I recommend slow weight loss phases, whether you are prepping for a bodybuilding show or simply trying to drop some unwanted fat, a rough guideline is no more than 1% of body weight, weight loss per week. Taking it slow will help to conserve gym performance, and therefore muscle mass. It will also make the diet more sustainable, with less cravings & bad moods. Artificial sweeteners ease the transition from the weight gain phase to the weight loss phase. Replacing higher calorie deserts with options like sugar-free jellies, and soft drinks with diet drinks, our dieting attempts may actually feel less like dieting. We still get to taste the sugary taste which our instincts are wired to crave. This easy transition should increase dietary success through sustainability, so long as we still track our food intake to some extent as suggested in previous articles.
- Just because a food does not appear in nature does not make it unhealthy.
- Keep dietary changes small to improve sustainability & long term adherence.
- Replace sugary foods with calorie-free substitutes when transitioning into a weight-loss phase.