Dangerous Sweeteners – Stay Away

Have you been eating sugar for a long time, but have recently decided to go on a diet that restricts it? Switching to artificial sweeteners does help, but are they all bad for you? Well, some are and some aren’t, depending on how much you can believe of what companies and our own government tell us.

The best thing to do is to use natural sweeteners like raw honey or pure maple syrup, but if you’re on a low carb diet, you really may not have a choice. Honey, for instance, is very high in carbs, so in order to make things sweet-ish, you’ll have to rely on sweeteners. Below we will go through the worst sweeteners first, and then the best (until further research tells us otherwise).

Saccharin (Sweet ‘N Low, generic pink packets)

saccharin packets

Saccharin used to contain a label that warned people of its consumption possibly causing cancer, but that label was taken off by the FDA. I personally don’t trust any government organizations with your food, as most of them are corrupt, paid off by companies. This sweetener is made from coal tar, accidentally discovered by a chemist who worked with coal tar.

It’s made with anthranilic acid (used to corrode metal), ammonia, chlorine, nitrous acid, and sulfur dioxide. As early as 1907, it was deemed dangerous for people’s health by a director in the USDA. Five years later, the public was told it was safe, but by 1972, the FDA tried to have it banned without success. It was known to cause cancer in lab rats, but saccharin stayed on the shelves with a warning label, instead of fully protecting the public from it.

Aside from those studies on rats, saccharin has been linked to breathing problems, rashes, diarrhea, headaches and allergies. Nevertheless, people still consume it and now that there’s no warning label, they may never know of the dangers if they don’t read about it. It can be in our foods already as well, so always look at ingredients, especially with baby foods.

Aspartame (Equal, generic blue packets)

aspartame

Found in most diet sodas and sugar free foods, Aspartame is made from aspartic acid and phenylalanine, which are both amino acids. It is broken down by the body, unlike saccharin, and can be withheld in different areas throughout the body, causing side effects immediately or more slowly over time. However, it’s still a debate as to whether it’s truly bad for you, even though many people are complaining about their symptoms after ingesting aspartame.

There have been reactions of side effects including the eyes, ears, nerves, dizziness, headaches, depression, heart palpitations, and many more, including very serious ailments and life threatening diseases. This is definitely one to stay away from, and it’s in many more products than you might realize.

Splenda (Sucralose, yellow packets)

sucralose

Splenda is 600 times sweeter than sugar, so many people use it when they are reducing their sugar consumption, thinking that it’s a great alternative. It does have one good thing going for it, and that is the fact that it’s not fully absorbed by the body. So maybe there’s a chance all those harmful chemicals will not affect us as much. However…

Many people think Splenda is like sugar, because that’s what they’ve been told, but that’s not true. It was accidentally discovered in the middle of a new insecticide experiment. Although it’s true that Splenda was originally sugar, so many chemicals were added that it ended up being very different from sugar. The addition of chlorine is what is most concerning, as it is a known carcinogen, but not enough studies have been conducted on what it’s actually doing to our bodies.

Side effects of consuming Splenda include skin irritation, breathing conditions like wheezing and coughing, heart palpitations, bloating and much more. One of the ingredients in Splenda is maltodextrin, which is in many foods and causes a spike in insulin. It is a carbohydrate that adds bulk to the packets, and not only is it not good for you, but it’s completely unnecessary. The other ingredient, dextrose, is not much better.

Acesulfame K

ace-k

This sweetener has been around since the late 80’s, yet many people have never heard of it or knew it was being used in their food and drinks. It is 200 times sweeter than sugar and is also known as acesulfame potassium or Ace-K. It’s made with methylene chloride, a chemical used as a paint remover (yeah, think about THAT!) that can cause airway irritation and skin problems.

It also has been known to cause cancer, nausea, headaches, liver and kidney problems, and much more. The frightening thing is that the FDA is not requiring that this chemical be tested for its effects on humans when they consume it. Stay away from this one at all costs, if you possibly can. Do your due diligence and read ingredients on food and drinks so you can avoid products containing these chemicals, and your body will thank you for it.

Neotame

neotame chemical

This sweetener was approved in 2002 by the FDA, supposedly to become the new aspartame, only without the phenylalanine (the chemical in aspartame that causes a problem for people). It is up to 13,000 times sweeter than sugar and the FDA has said it’s safe, but can we really trust them at this point? They said others were safe as well, but none of these are safe.

Many companies claim to have done testing on their products, but they are allowed to get away with so much because of laws that make it easier for them to sneak by. The findings they came up with are not available to the public, which is a concern in itself. No one knows what long-term effects this will have on our bodies. It isn’t even a requirement to be listed in the ingredients of foods/drinks, which is pretty scary, and only proves that the FDA does not have our health in mind.

These five sweeteners are a big no-no, and you would be wise to avoid them if you can. If you must use a sweetener, then you might as well just use a little bit of natural sugar, raw honey, or real maple syrup. However, all hope is not lost when it comes to sweeteners, and we will examine those in our next article.

Is A HIIT Workout The Best Workout?

From feeling energized to uplifting your mood, the importance of exercise can never be ignored because the results are simply amazing, both physically AND mentally. Regardless of age, physical ability or sex, everyone benefits from working out. It also reduces stress, helps you to lose weight and gain muscle.

HIIT (high-intensity interval training) is one form of exercise that is highly recommended. It is a training technique where you use all of your energy to put into a quick, intense burst of workouts which are followed by short recovery periods. These exercises increase your heart rate and burn more fat within a short span of time. During HIIT, the body is depleted of oxygen, but recovers during rest periods between workouts.

How To Work Out On HIIT

Some HIIT exercises include burpees, push ups, high-knees, pull ups, jumping lunges, skipping rope, and jumping jacks. With these exercises, you can do 20 rounds of each workout with a resting period of 10 seconds between each exercise, then repeat three times. If you do this three times a week, the results will be incredible.

hiit workout

Amazing Benefits Of High-Intensity Interval Training

YOU BURN MORE FAT: During HIIT, you will burn more fat by training under fatigue. Your body will delay the accumulation of lactic acid and metabolization of both fats and carbs will result in a greater calorie output, hence you burning more fat. HIIT is also known to boost metabolism for 36 hours post workout, which means you will burn fat even when you’re not working out.

GREAT FOR BUSY SCHEDULES: HIIT is an ideal workout for a busy schedule. You can achieve results in a mere 20 minutes of interval training compared to jogging on a treadmill for an hour. A short period of high-intensity interval training will improve your capacity in aerobic and exercise tolerance, as much as what weeks of endurance training would do.

A HEALTHIER HEART: By pushing your body to the anaerobic zone (the point where it’s difficult to breathe and feels like your heart is popping out of your chest), your heart will be strengthened and become more stable. Extreme results are achieved by extreme training. A study has proven that after a month of HIIT, you can cycle twice as long as you could before, while maintaining the same pace.

biking

NO EQUIPMENT NEEDED: Skipping rope, jumping jacks, knee highs, burpees, and biking are some of the HIIT workout that do not require any exercising apparatus. This translates that HIIT is cost effective and can be done anywhere, at any time. Equipment such as dumbbells can make weight loss less achievable, since the focus will be on muscles rather than on pushing your heart for more fat burning.

INCREASED METABOLISM: HIIT leads to greater production of the Human Growth Hormone [HGM] 24 hours after working out. It is an added advantage since HGM increases burning of calories and also slows the aging process, leaving you looking young and glowing.

CAN BE DONE ANYWHERE: Since no big gym equipment is necessary, you can do it in your house, on a boat, at the park, near the beach, etc. It is easier to adapt to, cost effective (no need to pay for gym memberships), and results are achieved within a short period.

jump roping

IT’S CHALLENGING: Doing HIIT requires maximum concentration with minimal to no distractions, meaning you can’t do it while doing something else. As hard as it can be to work out, different short interval exercises make it more fun while burning more fat.

HELPS TO TRAIN MIND AND BODY: HIIT requires you to alternate between speed and a short rest, and you are required to stick to the pace even when you feel depleted. This is why you need to work with your mind to maintain the same pace.

BEAT THE HOLIDAY BULGE: HIIT helps to keep the belly bulge away, even during the holidays when you tend to indulge in junk and not control your food portions. Go ahead and enjoy yourself, because life is short so why not have some fun? You won’t have to worry, because with HIIT, you can snap back within a very short time.

holiday cookies

With the above benefits, HIIT becomes a great deal for any person who wants to be physically fit in a short span of time. It can be done by anyone, regardless of their daily schedule or financial status, so there’s no excuse for not working out. However, to achieve the desired goals, it is necessary to keep your diet in check, with occasional free days to eat whatever you want.

Foods To Eat Before A HIIT Workout

Carbohydrates: Carbs are essential to propel energy into your muscles. They keep you going, especially on the last lap of your exercise where you hit that anaerobic stage. Eat a combination of simple and complex carbohydrates such as oatmeal, apple slices, or a banana with whole grain bread.

bread and banana

Caffeine: Caffeine can keep you energized for hours, but don’t drink too much of it or it’ll make you jittery, nauseated and even nervous. With a small amount of caffeine, you will get a jolt that will make your workouts seem much easier.

Foods To Eat After A HIIT Workout

Just because you worked out, it doesn’t give you free reign to indulge in unhealthy foods. Your metabolism will still be going strong long after working out, so don’t overindulge, or you will add more calories than you burned, hence no weight loss. You can eat more of the healthy food to stave off hunger. Make more meals at home, that way you can control what goes into your dishes, like salt, sugar, bad carbs, and fats.

Proteins And Carbohydrates: This duo will help to rebuild what is depleted during a working out. The best choices you can go with are Greek yogurt, a glass of dairy milk, fruits and a cup of cooked vegetables. Greek yogurt will help in squashing hunger after your workout, which will also assist in restoring glycogen.

strawberries

No Salty Stuff: Working out lowers potassium levels in the body, and so does salt. When potassium is low, it makes you weak, you get muscle cramps, you can feel nauseated, and even have low blood pressure. Your heart and muscles need potassium to work properly, so instead, you can have fruit juices (low sugar or none), vegetables/juices, or a chocolate milk. Prune juice is one of the highest in potassium, and you will notice a chocolate milk feels like heaven (is there any time it DOESN’T feel like heaven?). It’s high in potassium and helps to rejuvenate your body after a hard workout.

Working out is healthy to our bodies. It fights many weight related diseases, makes us feel better physically and mentally, and gives us a boost of self esteem because we look better as well! Be consistent, disciplined and determined, and you shall achieve your goals.

Are Alternative Milks Really Good For You?

Most milk consumed in the United States is from a cow, but more people have turned to milk alternatives like nut, rice, and coconut milks. They are lactose free, which is great for those who are lactose intolerant, but do they have enough nutrition? Although some alternative milks are fortified with vitamins to compensate for the loss of real milk vitamins, these can be found in other food or supplements as well. But let’s take a look at what these milks are all about.

Soy Milk

Soy milk is similar to milk in the way of protein, carbs, and texture, and has lower fat than these other alternative milks. It as has phytonutrients, which are very healthy compounds found in plant foods that we eat. It also has 75% more antioxidants than cow’s mlk!

soy milk

Per cup, soy milk has 100 calories, 4 grams of fat (3.5 of which are good fats), 300 mg of potassium, 8g of carbs, 6g of sugar and 7g of protein. It has 50% of your vitamin B-12 for the day, 30% of your vitamin D, and 30% of your calcium, among other vitamins and minerals. These nutritional facts could go up or down depending on what kind of soy milk you buy, as is true with all of these we’re discussing.

Almond Milk

This nutty milk really doesn’t need to be fortified with vitamins, as almonds are already rich in vitamin E, magnesium, calcium, iron and others. It’s also a good source of monounsaturated fat, lowering bad cholesterol in the blood stream. It’s very tasty too!

almond milk

Per cup, almond milk has 60 calories, 2.5g of fat (1.5 is monounsaturated), 150mg of potassium, 8g carbs, 1g fiber, 7g sugar, and 1g of protein. Daily values of vitamins and minerals include 10% vitamin A, and 30% calcium, among others.

Cashew Milk

Cashew milk does not have as much nut flavor as other nut milks, but it’s a good source of minerals like iron, magnesium and zinc, along with healthy fats.

cashew milk

Per cup, cashew milk has 150 calories, 10g of fat (of which 8g are healthy fats), 130mg of potassium, 13g of carbs, 7g sugar, and 3.5g of protein. Daily values of vitamins and minerals include 25% copper, 15% magnesium, and a healthy balance of other vitamins/minerals.

Hemp Milk

This is the most watery of these milks, but it is rich in omega-3 fatty acids (which treats inflammation and is good for the heart). Some people think it has a gritty taste, and some like it, so you’d have to taste it to know, of course.

hemp milk

Per cup, original hemp milk has 130 calories, 3g of fat, 113mg potassium, 20g of carbs, 1g of fiber, 15g sugar, and 4 g protein. Daily values of vitamins and minerals include 18% vitamin A, 25% vitamin D, 46% calcium, 43% phosphorus, and 31% riboflavin. It also has vitamin E, iron, magnesium, thiamin and zinc.

Coconut Milk

If you love coconut, you’ll probably love this milk, but it’s a subtle flavor. People love this milk as a dairy creamer alternative in their coffee because it’s so thick.

coconut milk

Per cup, coconut milk has a whopping 550 calories, 57g of fat, 13g carbs, 8g of sugar, and 5g of protein. It’s not too high in vitamins, but is rich in copper, manganese, iron, and selenium, among others. It’s best to only have small portions of this at a time, like being part of a smoothie for taste.

Rice Milk

Rice milk is great for those with nut allergies or who are lactose intolerant, but is high in carbs and low in protein. It is, however, high in vitamin B-12 and D, but other than that, there’s no great advantage to drinking rice milk versus the other milks.

rice milk

Per cup, rice milk has 100 calories, 2g of fat, 23g of carbs, and 15g of sugar. Daily values are 50% vitamin B-12, 30% vitamin D, 25% vitamin E, and 30% calcium. It has almost the same vitamin values as soy milk, but none of the other benefits.

Only you can judge for yourself what is best for you. The real milk industry is going after alternative milks for not being real milks, but it’s most likely because their sales are seeing a small decline. Soy milk seems to be the winner, but almond milk tastes better, in my opinion. Try them all and see what you think, but be careful with the coconut milk!