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Will Drinking Diet Soda Really Make You Gain Weight?

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It’s pretty obvious that drinking diet soda isn’t good for you, but is it the culprit of your expanding waistline or of your inability to shed pounds?

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You’ve probably seen countless stories that diet drinks cause weight gain, and this theory is mainly product of a couple of popular research studies’ findings. One study by scientists at the University of Texas followed more than 3,600 people for seven to eight years and recorded their average consumption of artificially-sweetened drinks during that time. They found that, the more diet drinks a person consumed, the higher body mass index (BMI) and risk of obesity.

Those scientists also conducted a similar study published in 2015 in which they examined 749 people for nine years. The number of fizzy drinks each person drank were recorded, as well as whether or not those drinks were of the diet variety. This study found that those who had at least one diet drink per day grew at least three inches around their waists and that a direct correlation was found between the frequency of drinks consumed with inches grown.

It appears that this correlation proves that diet soda directly causes weight gain, but that may not be true.

A couple of issues with these findings keep researchers from proving that diet soda leads to weight gain. Most importantly, the people who participated in these studies weren’t monitored or asked to report anything but their beverage consumption. That means that other unhealthy habits could have caused the participants’ expanding waistlines, not (just) diet soda.

To cut this doubt, the 2015 study adjusted statistically for variables that could affect the correlation. They accounted for a variety of starting waist sizes, exercise levels, smokers and non-smokers. Because of this, they claim that there is an “independent effect of diet soda consumption on waist circumference change over time,” says Dr. Hazuka, senior author of the study. He refers to the correlation as being in a “dose-response manner.”

Still, because the diets of these individuals were not monitored or controlled, the findings do not prove causation.

Shape’s “Diet Doctor” Mike Roussell, PhD, suggests looking at your diet as a whole rather than picking apart single habits. “If diet soda is going to be your one vice, that’s fine. I’d rather you drink that than a high-calorie beverage, but limit your consumption to one per day at most,” he said.

So if you’re eating well and exercising regularly, that one diet drink isn’t going to make you gain weight. But be mindful of your choices and don’t let that single sip turn into a junk food binge! Remember, diet soda may be zero-calorie, but it’s not water. It doesn’t hydrate your body and shouldn’t be your go-to drink. Before indulging in your diet drink, be sure to drink at least 64 ounces of water throughout the day!

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The Difference Between Exercise To Lose Weight And Exercise To Maintain Weight


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We all know that whether you are trying to shed those last couple pounds or whether you are just working towards maintaining your weight, exercise is absolutely vital. Regular workouts are a great way to lower your risk for diseases and health conditions, boost your mood and your energy levels, help you get those 7 to 9 hours of sleep every night, and even improve your sex life! However, many people wonder whether their workouts should remain consistent, regardless of their weight loss goals. The simple answer is that there are some small differences when you are exercising to lose weight versus when you are exercising to keep your weight stable.

When you are exercising to lose weight, typically your workouts (and diet) are going to be more extreme. Most experts recommend higher intensity training, because it obliterates fat, helps get that heart pumping, and allows you to continue to burn through calories even after you’ve stopped moving. Examples of high intensity workouts include cross training, kickboxing, spinning classes and Zumba dance classes. These modes of exercise consist of short, extreme bursts of energy and small periods of rest or more relaxed movement.

For weight loss, your goal is going to revolve around eliminating fat from your body and gaining muscle. Weight lifting will probably become an essential part of your routine, because it encourages your body to shed that fat and hone in on developing and toning those muscles.Increased muscle mass helps amp up that metabolism, which breaks down the foods you eat and converts them into energy.

Keep in mind that an essential part of weight loss includes what you are putting into your body. You can hit the gym for hours every day, but if you are stuffing yourself with sugary, fatty, oroverly-processed foods, those extra pounds aren’t going anywhere!


When it comes to maintaining your weight, your workouts will adapt to fit your new goals.The important thing to remember is that you must stay active. Sure, you’ve reached your goal weight, but if you don’t make an effort to get up off your butt, your body is going to react accordingly. Most people who are looking to maintain their weight work out just as much, if not more, than they did during their weight loss endeavors.

The key difference is that you should shoot for more moderate workouts, rather than high intensity exercise. Your body has already done away with unnecessary fat and has developed muscle. Keeping up with aerobic exercise is an important part of this process. Go on long walks, grab a bike and explore your neighborhood, or join a spinning class at your local gym. Those activities will help get your heart rate up.

In terms of weight training, it is definitely crucial that you continue to pump some iron! Keeping those muscles nice and toned is absolutely essential. Vary your weight training with body weight exercises and hand weights and machines. Work on building up your stamina and endurance, rather than your strength.

Mixing up your workouts is a vital part of weight maintenance. Keeping your weight consistent is going to be a lifelong struggle, so you don’t want to get stuck in a routine that you will eventually tire of and abandon. Don’t be afraid to try new activities. If you find yourself getting tired of that 5-mile run every morning, give kayaking a shot! Muscle confusion will help keep things interesting so you don’t get bored and head back to the couch.

Regardless of your goals, exercise is an important element of a healthy lifestyle.

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Top 10 Slimming Superfoods

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Below, we’ve put together a list of the top 10 slimming superfoods! These amazing ingredients have been found to boost your metabolism, fight off cravings, and delivers tons of vitamins and minerals.

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1. Green tea
Green tea is one of the best superfoods for weight loss. A serving of green tea can help rev your metabolism, while delivering powerful antioxidants. Additionally, green tea will help keep you hydrated and keep your stomach full to prevent cravings.

2. Grapefruit
Grapefruit is great for weight loss because it can lower insulin in your system. Insulin is the hormone that triggers fat storage when there’s too much sugar in your body.

3. Blueberries
Packed with antioxidants and superfoods, blueberries are a nutritional powerhouse. But did you know they can also help keep you slim? They’re a great low-calorie way to satisfy your sweet tooth and contain fiber to help keep you fuller for longer.

4. Oranges
Oranges are high in both fiber and water. Both of these help fight craving and keep your metabolism reeving. The high water content can also help you get clear skin, and strong healthy hair.

5. Chiles
If you like spicy food, you might be in luck. Chiles have been found to contain a compound called capsaicin. Capsaicin acts as a thermogenic, driving up your metabolism so that you burn more calories.

6. Avocados
Avocados are full of delicious healthy fats that have been found to help prevent hunger and help you maintain a healthy weight.

7. Almonds
While nuts are notoriously high in fats and calories, this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Nuts contain healthy, essential fats that contribute to proper brain function and a fit body. It has also been found that substituting high-carb snacks for nuts aids weight loss in people. You can also try substituting dairy milk with almond milk.

8. Plain Non-Fat Greek Yogurt
Yogurt is full of probiotics that can help you digest more efficiently. Additionally, plain greek yogurt can be used to substitute sour cream in many recipes and can even be used as mayo in tuna salads.

9. Quinoa
Quinoa is a healthier alternative to white rice because its elevated fiber content will keep hunger at bay while also keeping your blood sugar levels from spiking.

10. Papaya
Last but not least is papaya. This bright colored tropical fruit has been used for many years for its medicinal qualities. It’s an excellent anti-inflammatory, full of vitamins and minerals, but low in sugars. Frozen papaya is excellent in smoothies because it has a texture similar to thick ice cream.

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4 Way The Scale Deceives You And Other Weight Loss Lies

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What Your Cravings Are Really Telling You

Cravings are one of the biggest stumbling blocks when you’re committed to losing weight and feeling healthier. Giving in to cravings can lead to frustration that stops you from moving forward.

People experience different types of cravings, and you may not be vulnerable to all of them. The first step in learning how to beat cravings is to become more aware of the ones that trip you up as you work to lose weight. Learn what your cravings are really telling you and discover tips for how to beat cravings so you can maintain the positive change you deserve.

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You’re addicted to sugar.
Sugar has some qualities that make cravings irresistible. It floods the body, causing a blood sugar spike, which is quickly followed by a crash. That crash compels the brain to seek out even more sugar to compensate for the dip in blood sugar levels.

You’re stressed.
You may be more likely to cave to cravings if you’re stressed. Why? Because the brain considers eating a “feel good” activity, so it releases “feel good” hormones, like dopamine and serotonin, when you eat.

You’re conditioned to reach for salty or fatty foods.
The typical American diet includes a lot of processed foods loaded with salt and fat—so much that your taste buds may be trained to crave the unhealthy stuff.

You’re not eating enough.
That might sound like an odd piece of advice, but it’s worth considering if you’re working to lose weight. The average woman should not eat fewer than 1,000 calories per day. Under-eating doesn’t give the body the energy it needs to maintain normal functions, kicking the body into starvation mode, which increases cravings.

You’re not sleeping enough.
Sleep plays a critical role in the regulation of hormones related to hunger. If you’re not sleeping enough, you’re more likely to overeat or snack too frequently, particularly on starchy foods.

1. Stop cravings before they start.
Learn how to beat cravings by eating 4-6 small meals/snacks each day to keep blood sugar levels even. Stock the kitchen with healthy snacks like Caramel Pumpkin Spice Corn orClean Eating Raspberry Oat Bars.

2. Distract yourself.
Find an activity that will keep your mind off that craving. Here are a few ways to distract yourself:

  • Do a workout
  • Call a friend to chat.
  • Read a book or article.

3. Wait the craving out.
Put a timer on your craving. For example, commit to yourself that you’ll wait 15 minutes before eating the food you’re craving. While you’re waiting, crank out a few Desk Push-Ups or sneak in a relaxing Back Stretch. You might be surprised to find that the craving’s kaput after a few minutes.

4. Retrain your taste buds.
Swap out processed meals for a clean-eating menu filled with minimally-processed or whole foods. Tuck away the salt shaker, too, and instead season meals with herbs and spices that add flavor without excess sodium.

5. Get your zzz’s.
Keep hunger hormones in check naturally by investing in good-quality sleep.

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The Sneaky Reasons You Might Be Gaining Weight

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Most women know that different points during the weight loss journey can be very demotivating. Even more demotivating is when, even with all the hard work and exercise, your weight loss stagnates, or even reverses. All your hard work is not going to waste, especially if you’ve made a lifestyle change for the betterment of your overall health. But sometimes there are other factors that can be bumps in the road for you: hormone imbalances, insomnia, and of course, stress. If you notice that your favorite jeans are harder to pull on, or have seen the numerical differences between one day and the next, there might be an answer for the unexpected weight gain.

1. Life has got you stressed. You’ve heard it before, that sneaky hormone: cortisol. In preparation and response to stressful situations (money issues, job loss, death of a relative), the body releases cortisol which increases the appetite. The American Psychological Association reports that about 39 percent of adult Americans say they respond to stress by overeating or eating unhealthy foods. Human beings emotionally eat as a coping mechanism… so, by developing another coping mechanism to the inevitable stresses of life, your body can respond to stress in a healthy way. Ways to tackle stress are doing yoga, reading a novel, exercising, going out into nature, etc. After reducing your stress, you can leave eating for when your body really needs sustenance!

2. You’re on anti-depressant medication. It very well may be that the anti-depressant medication you’re on is working, and therefore you’ve regained your appetite and gained healthy weight. But many medications have well-established side effects of weight gain. The Massachusetts General Hospital Center For Women’s Health states that some common antipsychotics such as lithium, and antidepressants such as mirtazapine (brand name Remeron), are associated with unexplained weight gain. The drugs may trigger food cravings or affect the metabolism, notes Dr. Andrew Weil on his website. If you are prescribed for an anti-depressant and notice an upward fluctuation in your weight, you might talk to your doctor about switching medications or change to non-pharmacological treatments.

3. Insomnia: You’ve been hitting the gym and eating blueberries out the wazoo, yet you’re not shedding any pounds. If you don’t get the minimum of eight hours per night, your body produces less leptin, which is the hormone that tells you when you are full. Double whammy: Lacking in sleep makes your body produce more gherlin, which is the hormone that makes you feel hungry. Indulging in a great night’s sleep will help you wake up with a pep in your step and it will better equip you to make healthy choices throughout the day.

4. Your portion sizes are off. With so much debate in the past few decades about what to eat and how much in order to stay healthy, it’s no wonder that so many people are heavy-handed with their meals. It’s just as easy to overindulge in food that is considered healthy — but overindulgence is still overindulgence. If you are always a member of the Clean Plate Club, try putting your meal on a smaller plate and seeing if your satisfaction is on par with larger plated meals. To help keep your portions in check, view these helpful comparisons.

5. Hypothyroidism: It’s a fancy word for when your thyroid is not making enough thyroid hormone. It can make you feel sluggish and weak, and accounts for a slower metabolism and possible unexplained weight gain. Not a very good combination when trying to lose weight. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services notes that women are more likely to develop thyroid diseases than men. Your doctor can perform a simple blood test to detect if your thyroid hormone levels are too low.

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BMI: The Original Way To Measure Your Body Mass

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The BMI (body mass index) was originally created for insurance companies so that they could show policyholders the mortality rates of overweight people. It was thought-up in 1832 by Adolphe Quetelet, a mathematician who set out to define the standard human body within the parameters of height and weight. But there’s no question that the human body is so much more than just height and weight.

body mass index BMI

The equation relates those two elements, dividing height by weight to give a composite number falling anywhere between 18 and 40; that number could be seen as a rough sketch of how your body compares to the overall population in terms of fat content. In one regard, the BMI can be useful insofar as providing general data that helps doctors understand risk factors for a large subset of the population. But on a personal level, those two elements (weight and height) fall short of providing an accurate depiction of a person’s physiology. The equation does not take into account gender, body frame, ethnicity, age, exercise or eating habits.

Why so many doctors and health gurus find it outdated is because the formula does not differentiate between muscle and actual fat. Victor Adam of Axiom Health and Fitness explained that “what makes this useless as a determining factor for health is that it is very unspecific, since it doesn’t account for lean body mass. Someone who is 250 pounds of solid muscle at 5’6” puts them at a BMI of 40, which by this measurement says this individual is very obese and exceptionally unhealthy. While this is obviously an extreme example, it shows you the limits of this particular measurement — which is why it is not good for much more than offering you an initial indicator of the health of your weight for your height.”

For people who have larger frames, lots of muscle mass or higher bone density, the BMI ratio would be misleading. Also, the BMI does not take into account where fat is located.Visceral fat, another term for belly fat, is far more dangerous to a person’s health than fat located around the buttocks or thighs. Visceral fat crowds organs and can interfere with how they function.

Based on the BMI alone, many hardcore athletes would be considered overweight, even obese, because they lift heavy weights or run cross country and have tree-trunk thighs. On the other hand, someone could be a couch potato all day every day, and still have a BMI that falls within the healthy range. Hands down, tons of doctors and health coaches find the BMI tells a poor tale about a person’s health.

Dr. Scott Schrieber, a chiropractic physician that is double board certified in rehabilitation and clinical nutrition, said about determining body composition that “there are better choices, such as a percent body fat read, a waist to hip ratio, hydration status, ideal body weight, but not one method is superior than the other. We need to look at many measures for the individual, rather than globalize the entire human population into one test.”

If accuracy and truth about your health are important, there are more accurate methods available today. By getting a reading on your body fat percentage, you’ll get a very accurate idea of how much extra fat you carry as well as how many calories your body naturally burns. This can be done through your primary care physician. A waist-to-hip ratio you could do yourself! Registered dietitian, Amrie DeFrates, from California also pointed out that “though there are studies that show obesity as a risk factor for diseases such as heart disease and diabetes, there is also significant evidence to show that good health is absolutely achievable at any size.” Meaning, your health is not dependent on how much you weigh. What matters more is that you eat right, treat your body kindly, and most importantly, are happy.

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