I’m going to let you in on a little secret.
I consumed artificial sweeteners and fat-free foods regularly during my last two diet phases.
And I wound up losing 25lbs.
How can this be? Mainstream fitness advice tells us these things are terrible for us. Strong advocates of natural and clean eating demonize them.
In today’s article, I’m going to show you how these two atypical foods can actually be very powerful tools to help you get better fat loss results.
Let’s start with some Context
Your diet as a whole should include a wide variety of foods in order to get a good balance of proteins, fats, and carbs, as well as important micronutrients.
When fat loss is the goal, you simply need to consume fewer calories than you burn on a consistent basis. Sounds simple, right?
Well, for some people, eating less is quite challenging. Cutting calories can be a bit tricky, especially if you’re only eating whole food sources.
Imagine your perfectly delicious, salted, baked potato has the butter removed. You’re now left with a dry potato to choke down. Doesn’t sound too appetizing, does it?
While I’m not advocating you guzzle down 26 diet cokes a day, there is nothing wrong with using artificial sweeteners and fat-free foods as tools during a fat loss diet.
(I love me a nice cold DC)
Calories are the name of the game when it comes to losing body fat so it only makes sense to use these to our advantage.
If you’re a Paleo follower, or someone who only eats natural and organic, what I’m about to say might surprise you.
Artificial sweeteners are perfectly fine to use in your diet and have been found to cause no adverse effects to your bodyweight as once believed.
Not only are they ok to use, I strongly suggest using them at various times to help you cut calories. Sure, having the real deal is tasty, but so isn’t losing fat and hitting your goals.
Instead of loading up your morning coffee with regular sugar (not necessarily bad but has a good amount of calories), opt for some Truvia, Splenda, or other sweetener of your choice. This may save you several hundred calories per day, which by the end of the week will greatly contribute to your overall calorie deficit. HERE is a great article from two trusted medical doctors on the topic of artificial sweeteners and weight loss.
Some of my favorite products with artificial sweeteners include diet coke, sugar-free maple syrup, Truvia, Mio flavoring and Powerade zero’s. This is just a brief list of my favorites but there are plenty of products to achieve the desired effect: to make things taste pretty good without the added calories.
Because remember, when dieting, every calorie matters. I don’t know about you, but personally, I’d rather be able to eat more food. If that means using some artificial sweeteners throughout the day to help save me some calories then I’m all for it.
My advice to you?
Feel free to use artificial sweeteners as part of a healthy diet. They can help you cut calories and lose more weight when you replace them for regular sugar-laden foods.
Fat-Free Doesn’t Suck
I once thought fat-free foods were terrible for me. Even though they contained zero fat, I somehow believed they were worse than eating full-fat foods.
How could a food with fewer calories be worse for weight loss than foods with several hundred more calories?
Now, not all fat-free foods are created equally. Many times when the fat is removed, other ingredients go in to make the food taste good. Oftentimes it’s sugar or carbs which replace the fat. You definitely want to check the nutrition labels because some fat-free foods may contain more calories than the regular version. It’s up to you to identify which ones will help you cut calories and which ones are simply tricking you into believing you’re being ‘healthier.’
One of my favorite fat-free foods and something I used throughout my diet was fat-free cheese. Along with shredded cheese, these bad boys below go nicely over eggs and veggies as well:
An excellent source of protein for such a small amount, a serving of shredded fat-free cheese comes in with around 9g of protein and only 45 calories. It contains trace carbs and zero fat. This was my go-to when making breakfast scrambles, omelets, or looking for some additional flavor on potatoes and rice.
Another swap I made was using butter spray, something I used to despise, in place of real butter. This helped save me tons of calories which I could use to get more food in during my diet. It’s important to realize how these foods can be of benefit during a diet.
You aren’t only eating these foods, but rather using them as tools to cut calories, stick to your diet, and burn more fat.
That’s the whole idea of a diet phase, right?
Tools of the Trade
Dieting isn’t easy, but it can be made a bit less stressful.
Sure you could avoid artificial sweeteners and fat-free foods.
But why would you if they can help you effectively lose weight?
There’s simply too much fear mongering going on these days. Foods are placed off-limits. People are being told they’ll get deathly ill if they consume a diet soda.
It’s pretty crazy to think about, actually.
The fact of the matter is this: artificial sweeteners and fat-free foods are phenomenal tools for controlling calorie intake. Better yet, as part of a well-rounded diet, they’re perfectly healthy to use.
Stop being afraid of these things and use them to your advantage.