The Slow Carb Rule I Don’t Agree With
It’s a simple lifestyle – beans, protein and vegies, and then that fun day of the week where anything goes. So what’s not to like? Great health results, losing fat, building muscle – it all seems pretty great. But there’s one particular recommendation Tim Ferriss made that I’ve never agreed with, and research now proves it could see your waist line expanding over the next 5 or 10 years. Find out what the problem is, right now, and stay lean for life.
Beyond the five simple rules of slow carb, there’s a lot of ‘oh but’s’ included for those who are enthusiastic to follow slow carb to the letter, with desires of losing fat and changing how the body looks and feels. It’s one of those little rules that’s got me worried. And some research I came across recently has made it even more important to share this with you.
Though mentioned in the book as an acceptable alternative, I strongly advise against drinking ‘diet’ soda, ‘diet’ pop, or ‘diet’ soft drinks (depending on where you live), and any other ‘diet’ drinks (including artificially sweetened protein drinks, and chocolate drinks). For some people, this might not change a thing, but for others, this could substantially change how you think about your weekly routine.
Before I hear protests about diet drinks not containing any calories, and them not having any sugar, let me say clearly, that this recommendation is not based solely on the suspected link to blood sugar and insulin that has been mentioned online, and may apply to certain artificial sweeteners – this advice is based on a scientific study done by the University of Texas last year.
The findings of the researchers was that quite clearly, there was a correlation between those people who drank diet drinks, and the size of their waist line.
The researchers actually tracked nearly 500 people over almost 10 years of their lives, to see if there would be any long-term effects from these drinks.
They saw a sharp increase is waist lines for those people who drank diet drinks. Especially for those who drank 2 cans, or more, per day – their waists were 5x more likely to increase than non-diet drinkers.
Another research project saw that mice, when fed aspartame in their diet, had higher blood sugar after 3 months, compared with mice who ate regular food. This is another great warning sign that these chemical sweeteners are not for anyone who has health and longevity on their mind.
The third strike comes from the co-author of the studies, who says that artificial sweeteners could stop the message getting to your brain that you’re full. Obviously this has huge consequences for anyone eating using any method other than counting calories. In this scenario, the worst thing to do would be listen to your hunger. And let me make it clear that I don’t believe we should have to count calories to stay at a healthy weight.
So how is it happening?
Pretty simply, according to the researchers, it’s likely that the artificial sweeteners are triggering hunger when they’re eaten, but then basically don’t deliver on that promise of ‘food’ when they arrive in the stomach. This confuses the body, and the result, on a biochemical and hormonal level, is still unknown. What has been demonstrated, however, is the external effect – waist lines increasing.
Even when researchers isolated out other lifestyle factors, like exercise, the results still showed the link between ‘diet’ drinks and waist size increasing.
Currently, there’s no research like this that has been done on natural sweeteners that are calorie free – specifically, Stevia. Stevia is a plant extract that is 100 times sweeter than sugar, and therefore is only used in very small amounts. It has no calories. It is difficult to say whether or not Stevia would have the same effect on hunger, or whether the current research that shows it does not affect blood sugar is a reliable indicator that it works differently than artificial sweeteners. Only time will tell.
Personally, I feel it’s wise to avoid the artificial sweeteners entirely, and that means keeping an eye on not just soda or pop. To be fair, Tim Ferriss has recommended against protein drinks with artificial sweeteners, citing blood sugar bumps, however I feel diet drinks need to be targeted, and removed from the ‘OK’ list entirely. Avoiding artificial sweeteners also means checking other products beyond drinks these days, that you might think are healthier than their ordinary counterparts – like low sugar yogurt, especially (though of course this might only be an issue if you are on slow carb and eat yogurt on cheat days).
Though this might come as a disappointment, or a shock for you, if you drink diet drinks right now, the good news is that ending that habit is likely to bring better results for you. Of course, there’s no guarantees as to how long that will take, but I expect in a few years’ time the body will have adjusted, without artificial sweeteners, to a healthier and more natural, balanced state.
Please pass this along to friends and colleagues who may be diet soda drinkers – with the diet fads sweeping through the media and grocery stores, and more people switching to what they think is a healthier alternative (and medical professionals even recommending diet drinks), I think this information is very important and needs to reach as many people as possible.
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