IS STEVIA GOOD OR BAD?

IS STEVIA GOOD OR BAD?

Stevia_ A Sweet Cheat?

Stevia: A Sweet Cheat?

It seems like the word popped into mainstream vocabulary and made its way into thousands of “diet foods” overnight. A “natural” sweetener that is up to 150 times sweeter than sugar with zero calories? The gods have shined their lights and delivered the ultimate gift to every sweet tooth and waistline! Or did they? Is Stevia all what it’s cracked up to be? Let’s take a look…

 What Is Stevia?

For more than 1,500 years, leaves of the Stevia rebaudiana plant were used in South America to sweeten teas and medicines. However, most of the “stevia” you find on store shelves today are highly refined products from its extracts, hardly anything natural. Products that are marketed as “stevia” are actually sweeteners that contain steviol glycoside extracts (molecules that contain glucose and other non-sugar substances called aglycones). If you want a more “natural” stevia, you can find it for sale, but it hasn’t been approved by the FDA for use as a food additive/sweetener.

 

Did you claim your free ebook yet?

Did you claim your free ebook yet?

 

Grab the Free Report: How To Beat Your Weight Loss Plateau and receive the Origin Weight Loss newsletter to help you cultivate your mindset, elevate your fitness, and empower your extraordinary life. I promise to never share your email address or spam you.

You have Successfully Subscribed!

 

Is it Safe?

Although it was originally banned in the United States in 1991 because it was thought to be carcinogenic or “cancer-causing,” additional research suggested specific varieties of stevia were safe and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the use of specific stevia extracts containing purified rebaudioside A in 2008.

How Does It Taste?

Sweet (Duh!). Jokes aside, there are different stevia products and they vary in taste, which is all about personal preference. Some products have an aftertaste and some don’t. The aftertaste has been described as something similar to licorice. Some people prefer the powdered or granulated form of stevia, some prefer the liquid… You just have to try them to find one that you like. However, to make it easier to decide and to help you save money and not waste your precious time, make sure that the stevia you buy is organic without additives or alcohol. Those tend to leave the least aftertaste.

What Are The Health Benefits of Using Stevia?

There is conflicting evidence of its effect on blood sugar levels and insulin release from the pancreas. It’s important to mention that the intestinal tract contains its own “sweet receptors” similar to the taste buds in your mouth, however, there is insufficient evidence of the effect of stevia on those receptors and glucose absorption and hormone secretion in the gut. In addition, there are bacteria or “flora” in your gut. One study found that the glucose released in the process of breaking down stevia during digestion was metabolized by bacterial flora in the colon and was not absorbed into the bloodstream. However, more research is needed to confirm that it doesn’t have an effect on blood glucose levels.

Gut-health-690x462

So, Can Stevia Help With Weight Loss?

Again, there just isn’t enough research on it. Although it is zero calories, we don’t know how the body reacts to it and if its effects are similar to artificial sweeteners, it may actually cause weight gain.

What It Boils Down To…

Granted, we definitely consume way too much sugar in this country. However, the use of sugar substitutes may not be as beneficial as what we had hoped for, and stevia might be included in that list. We won’t know for certain until more research is performed. For me, I’m more of a “if it didn’t come directly from the Earth, I’m not putting it in my mouth” kinda girl. I’m sticking to natural cane sugar, but in moderation. However, if I had to choose between stevia and other sugar substitutes (Splenda, Sweet and Low, etc), I would go with stevia. Ideally, the best is to get rid of your sweet tooth, but that’s not always easy!

Love and Health,

Carissa XOXO

References

Benford, D.J., DiNovi, M., & Schlatter, J. (2006). Safety evaluation of certain food additives: steviol glycosides. WHO Food Additives Series (World Health Organization Joint FAO/WHO Expert Committee on Food Additives (JECFA)), 54, 140.

Brown, R.J. & Rother, K.I. (2012). Non-nutritive sweeteners and their role in the gastrointestinal tract. J Clin Endocrinol Metab, 97(8), 2597-605.

Goyal, S.K. (2010). Stevia (Stevia rebaudiana) a bio-sweetener: a review. International Journal of Food Sciences and Nutrition, 61, 1, 1-10.

Gregersen, S., Jeppesen, P.B., Holst, J.J., & Hermansen, K. (2004). Antihyperglycemic effects of stevioside in type 2 diabetic subjects. Metabolism, 53(1), 73-6.

Yang, Q. (2010). Gain weight by “going diet?” Artificial sweeteners and the neurobiology of sugar cravings. Yale J Biol Med, 83(2), 101–108.

 

 

New to this blog? Start here.

You’ll learn exactly how to eat and exercise to get slim, lean, healthy, and confident in your own body. Without sacrificing time, money, or the foods you love.

This website is about learning how to make the right, easy changes in your lifestyle that result in the greatest results.

Thousands of others have already changed their lives by following the simple, effective principles taught on this site, and you can too.

CALCIUM AND MAGNESIUM FOR BETTER SLEEP

CALCIUM AND MAGNESIUM FOR BETTER SLEEP

Calcium and Magnesium for Better SleepHow Can I Sleep Better?

Magnesium

For better sleep, magnesium is a vital, relaxing mineral that many of us are deficient of, partly because of over-farming. Yes, we should be able to get enough by consuming natural sources of magnesium such as dark leafy greens, grains, fruit, and beans. However, the soil is not as magnesium-rich as it used to be and therefore natural sources aren’t as rich in magnesium, despite farmers’ efforts.

In addition, some types of food processing lower magnesium levels substantially, such as when the magnesium-rich germ and bran are removed during grain refining.

How does magnesium affect sleep?

Magnesium deficiency causes restless legs, insomnia, and fatigue. Taking magnesium supplements can lower cortisol levels (the “stress hormone”) and calm you down, relax your muscles, and send you off to Snooze Land.

Who’s at a higher risk for magnesium deficiency?

Some people are at a higher risk of developing a magnesium deficiency, including those with celiac disease, Crohn’s disease, type 2 diabetics, older adults, alcoholics, people taking certain antibiotics, diuretics, proton pump inhibitors for GERD/gastric reflux (e.g. Nexium, Prevacid), or oral bisphosphonates (e.g. Fosamax) for osteoporosis.

Calcium

Calcium is the most abundant mineral and the body and is sometimes misunderstood. As Americans, it has been instilled into our brains that calcium is the “bone mineral.” However, it has so many other very important uses, including regulation of sleep. In addition, although dairy is rich in calcium, there are plenty of non-dairy sources, including dark leafy greens, green beans, and almonds.

How does calcium affect sleep?

Calcium is important in regulating sleep because it helps the brain use tryptophan to produce melatonin, a sleep inducer. This is why grandma was right when she said to have a warm glass of milk before bed time- because dairy products contain both tryptophan and calcium, which will send you nodding off to bed. However, some of us don’t get enough calcium in our diets, so taking a supplement isn’t a bad idea if you’re having a hard time getting a good night of sleep.

 

Carissa Alinat ARNP

Did you claim your free ebook yet?

 

Grab the Free Report: How To Beat Your Weight Loss Plateau and receive the Origin Weight Loss newsletter to help you cultivate your mindset, elevate your fitness, and empower your extraordinary life. I promise to never share your email address or spam you.

You have Successfully Subscribed!

 

Who’s at higher risk for calcium deficiency?

Those at higher risk are older adults, especially post-menopausal women due to increased bone loss (this is where calcium is stored when it’s not needed elsewhere in the body) and decreased estrogen (which causes the body to absorb less calcium). Mainstream society like to say that vegetarians are at a higher risk for calcium deficiency, but that depends on individual diet. Think about all of the non-vegetarians who don’t consume dairy or eat many vegetables- aren’t there plenty of people like that? They probably outnumber vegetarians in the U.S., for we are unfortunately living in a junk food nation.

What to do, what to do!?

Obviously, the best way to get enough of each is through diet. However, if you’re struggling to sleep, starting off here with these two minerals might be your best bet.

It’s important to have a balance between these two vital minerals, and taking them together will give you the best results. There are plenty of over-the-counter options available, and some provide a combination of the calcium and magnesium.

Good night, sleep tight!

Love and Health,

Carissa XOXO

 

 

New to this blog? Start here.

You’ll learn exactly how to eat and exercise to get slim, lean, healthy, and confident in your own body. Without sacrificing time, money, or the foods you love.

This website is about learning how to make the right, easy changes in your lifestyle that result in the greatest results.

Thousands of others have already changed their lives by following the simple, effective principles taught on this site, and you can too.

HOW CAN GUT FLORA HELP ME LOSE WEIGHT?

HOW CAN GUT FLORA HELP ME LOSE WEIGHT?

Here is how Gut Flora can help you lose weight.

 

The community of microorganisms that live in your digestive track, better known as “gut flora,” play an important role in all aspects of your health, including weight loss. In fact, a healthy gut is the hidden key to weight loss! Here’s why…

 

Calories don’t always count.

 

The reason for this is because different guts metabolize food differently. Obese people have gut flora that cause the body to absorb more calories. This may have been an advantage thousands of years ago, but in these modern times, our guts don’t need to be as efficient when food is so readily available. And although the species of flora in our gut have been around for quite some time, the balance between species changes according to diet. This is because some bacteria will dominate while others diminish when their incoming nutrients are altered.

 

Insulin sensitivity is regulated by gut flora.

 

When the gut is overcrowded with “bad” gut bacteria, inflammation occurs and insulin resistance develops. This means that the body can no longer process carbs the way it should, which leads to high blood sugar, sugar cravings, and weight gain.

 

Gut flora affect your sweet tooth

 

The reason for this is because when you have a lot of gut bacteria that prefer to feed on sugar, you crave sugar to feed your gut. The more sugar you eat, the more “bad” bacteria thrive in your gut.

 

Here’s what you can do to get back a better gut flora balance:

 

1. Get an oil change

Inflammatory fats damage your gut flora. These are the refined vegetable oils that are high in inflammatory omega 6 fatty acids including canola oil, corn oil, sunflower oil, peanut oil, safflower oil, soybean oil, vegetable oil, and margarine or any other “buttery” spread. Although they have been marketed as “heart healthy,” they damage the gut bacteria and promote inflammation and weight gain. Instead, use oils that are anti-inflammatory and full of healthy omega 3 fatty acids, such as extra virgin olive oil, coconut oil, and grass-fed butter.

 

2. Eat whole, unprocessed, unrefined foods.

Avoiding anything boxed or prepackaged is the easiest way to eat whole, unprocessed, unrefined foods. Packaged foods usually contain a lot of added sugar, refined carbs, and additives that don’t support a healthy gut. The best way to shop at the grocery store is to stay away from most of the center aisles and shop around the outer ring of the grocery store, where the fresh produce, meats, and other whole foods are stored.

 

Did you claim your free ebook yet?

Did you claim your free ebook yet?

 

Grab the Free Report: How To Beat Your Weight Loss Plateau and receive the Origin Weight Loss newsletter to help you cultivate your mindset, elevate your fitness, and empower your extraordinary life. I promise to never share your email address or spam you.

You have Successfully Subscribed!

 

3. Pile on the fiber

Fiber is a food you can’t digest and is a major component of plant cells. There are two types of fiber: soluble and insoluble. Soluble fiber turns into a gel when mixed with water and slows down digestion. Insoluble fiber absorbs water and swells, speeding up digestion. Both are good for you, but gut flora are nourished by soluble fiber while insoluble fiber support healthy bowel movements, which contain a lot of dead gut flora, cleaning out your digestive track. In addition to healthy gut flora, fiber is also filling and soluble fiber provides an excellent source of butyrate, which is an anti-inflammatory fatty acid that helps control appetite and speeds metabolism. In conclusion, you should get plenty of both types of fiber, approximately 40 grams a day for men and 25 grams a day for women. To pile on more fiber, leave the skins of most fruits and vegetables on and eat whole grains (unless you follow a Paleo diet).

 

4. Eat fermented foods

These contain probiotics (live bacteria and yeasts that are good for your gut flora). They include fermented milk products such as yogurt and kefir with live and active cultures, cheese, and fermented vegetables such as sauerkraut, pickles, and kimchi. Make sure that the fermented vegetables are sold in refrigerated sections, because shelf-stored versions have no live bacteria. Also be wary of probiotic supplements. Although they are meant to provide and alternative way of getting probiotics, the bacteria are easily killed by sitting on store shelves too long, or stored or transported at the wrong temperature. Eating refrigerated fermented foods is a better guarantee that you are getting live bacteria, and it saves you a ton of money.

 

If you want to lose weight, cut the sugar cravings, and lower your risk of insulin resistance (the path to diabetes), you have to take care of your gut. So take a walk through your kitchen, and find the foods that may or may not support a healthy gut flora. Your belly and scale will thank you!

 

Love and Health,

New to this blog? Start here.

You’ll learn exactly how to eat and exercise to get slim, lean, healthy, and confident in your own body. Without sacrificing time, money, or the foods you love.

This website is about learning how to make the right, easy changes in your lifestyle that result in the greatest results.

Thousands of others have already changed their lives by following the simple, effective principles taught on this site, and you can too.

Pin It on Pinterest