Eat Empowered, Weight Loss

Diet Treats That May Be Tricking You

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I’m a nutritionist who believes in sweets and treats. I use the term “conscious indulgence” to help my clients find an accepting spot for decadence in their diets. So many of us are looking for ways to lose weight, stick to a healthy meal plan but also indulge. We’re looking for “free” foods and “sweet” foods that we can eat without “guilt” (a food term I despise by the way) or fear of derailing our efforts. This Halloween I wanted to point out how some of those kinds of treats may be tricking your brain and bod. Tricks are fine on All Hallow’s Eve, but when it comes to your nutrition, trying to trick your bod can derail you from your goals.

 

Re-sensitize your wagging tongue. Are you looking forward to walking your kids through the ‘hood with a diet soda in your hand? Do you eat gorgeous salads at lunchtime and pair it with a diet soda? Even though these practices would be condoned by some, I am not a believer in artificial sweeteners and I’d say the comfort, sweetness and pleasure of the diet soda is nothing but smoke and mirrors. I’m picking on diet soda right now, but there are artificial sweeteners in so many foods: yogurts, chewing gum, candy, salad dressings and more!  I’ll tell you that this treat is a devil in disguise. While I could support this argument from many angles (artificial sweeteners as appetite stimulants and triggers for cravings to name a couple), I’m focusing on the pleasure sensors on your tongue. As we age, our taste buds become less sensitive. We load up on salt, sugar and fat to really concentrate flavors, and our tongues become even more dulled to the natural sweetness of foods. Since artificial sweeteners are 180 to 13,000 times sweeter than sugar, people who use them like their sweets sweeter, denser and richer and it may take more to satisfy the indulgence then their sugar-eating counterpart. My advice: wean or cold turkey yourself from artificial sweeteners. {Tweet this}. Once you get ‘em out of your system, your tongue will forgive you and you’ll be surprised how much more delish that mango tastes than it did before. Replace them with the real deal and opt for seltzer, green tea and ingredient lists that are clear of chemicals. I’d argue that a spoonful of honey in your green tea can be just as indulgent and much more satisfying.

 

Don’t give candy a hierarchy. You may think the jelly beans are a better choice than the chocolate coins because ‘they’re just sugar, whereas the chocolate has fat’, but truth be told any extra calories you eat gets turned into fat — be it from sugar, fat or carbohydrate. You are not eating the gummy bears for their vitamins or minerals (there are none), fiber (none again) or health benefits (nada, nil, zilch). You’re eating your treats for their taste and the pleasure of indulging. Sit down. Enjoy your treat so that it will be mindful, conscious and satisfying, rather than eating it standing up, in the car or when you are distracted. While you aren’t eating Halloween loot for the health benefits, can you go healthier? Yes! Choose a chocolate that is made with 70% cacao. {Tweet this}. Look for gummy candy that is made with organic ingredients and are dye-free. Heck, roll your caramel apple in flax meal and coconut flakes. You won’t be tricking your bod, you’ll be treating your mouth and you’ll reap a little nutritional benefit along the way.

No more tricks with your treats. Keep ‘em separate, and rock an honest bod. Be real with your conscious indulgences — there’s a place for them in your Nutritious Life.

 

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