Express Yourself!


It is with great pleasure that we are taking the wraps off our newest feature the “User Forum”. 


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Feel free to start a new topic or comment on an existing one. Perhaps you would care to share some recipes or some exercise tips or some ways you save on shopping…whatever! 

Please take it for a test ride and leave your thoughts!


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GMO, Natural, Organic and Alfred E. Newman!

We are living in a world today where lemonade is made from artificial flavors and alfjpgfurniture polish is made from real lemons.” ~Alfred E. Newman      


So what does it matters to you what the difference is between natural foods, organic foods and non-GMO foods? Are natural foods free of toxins? Do some organic foods contain GMO’s? You have a right to know what is in the food you are feeding your family but, food labels are confusing and often misleading. Read this article by Claudia Pillow, PhD, about the the difference between “natural”, “organic” and Non-GMO.

Many Americans think the term “natural” is fairly similar to “organic, and in fact many think “natural” labels are more meaningful than “organic”. This thinking is not correct.

The term “natural” applies broadly to foods that are minimally processed and free of synthetic preservatives, artificial sweeteners, colors, flavors and other artificial additives, growth hormones, antibiotics, hydrogenated oils, stabilizers, and emulsifiers. Unlike, organically labeled foods, most foods labeled natural are not subject to government controls beyond the regulations and health codes that apply to all foods. Exceptions include meat and poultry. The Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSTS) of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) requires these to be free of artificial colors, flavors, sweeteners, preservatives and ingredients that do not occur naturally in the food. Natural meat and poultry must be minimally processed in a method that does not functionally alter the raw product. However, under these guidelines, it includes animals that have received antibiotics and hormones to promote rapid growth.

Outside of the meat counter, the FDA makes no stipulation about the use of the term nat“natural,” leaving manufacturers to abuse it however they see fit. Therefore “natural” cereals may contain Genetically Modified Organism’s (GMOs), high fructose corn syrup, and partially hydrogenated oils. Buyer beware- most consumers believe “natural” implies “absence of pesticides” and “absence of herbicides.” Sixty-one percent of Americans believe “natural” implied or suggested the “absence of genetically modified foods.” On both scores, they are wrong.

What does the label “ORGANIC” mean to you?

“Organic” refers not only to the food itself, but also to how it was produced. Foods labeled organic must be certified under the National Organic Program (NOP), which took effect October 21, 2002. Despite rigid organic certification procedures, organic certification is about the *process* of growing food, not about the actual resulting food. There is no required testing process for organic ingredients. The NOP regulations prohibit the use of genetically modified organisms, prohibit commingling or contamination during processing and handling, and require preventative practices to avoid contact with GMOs. Organic agricultural products should have minimal if any GMO contaminants; however, organic food products do not have a zero tolerance for the presence of GMO material and remember, there is no required testing process for organic ingredients.

In addition, the USDA oversight of organic food has been lax since the program was organizlaunched in 2002. It can take nearly three years for a manufacturer who illegally uses the term “organic” in their labeling to be noticed, reported, investigated, and forced to amend their label. The oversight of organic manufacturers falls short of assuring standards are met. Once again, buyer beware- shop locally whenever possible and support manufacturers who are dedicated to ingredient integrity.

Currently, there are three “organic” labels classifications:

100% Organic: Must contain 100% organically produced ingredients (excluding water and salt). This is the only label that certifies a completely organic product AND completely GMO-free ingredients.

Certified Organic / USDA Organic / Organic: At least 95% of content is organic by weight (excluding water and salt). The National List. GMOs are NOT on this list, so these products are also usually GMO-free.

Made with Organic: Up to 70% of the ingredients are organic. These products can NOT carry a “USDA organic” label and are NOT typically GMO-free.

What does Non-GMO mean to you?

GMOs, or “genetically modified organisms,” are plants or animals created through the gene splicing techniques of biotechnology (also called genetic engineering, or GE). This experimental technology merges DNA from different species, creating unstable combinations of plant, animal, bacterial and viral genes that cannot occur in nature or in traditional crossbreeding.

Are GMOs safe?

Most developed nations do not consider GMOs to be safe. In nearly 50 countries gmjpgaround the world, including Australia, Japan, and all of the countries in the European Union, there are significant restrictions or outright bans on the production and sale of GMOs.

One of the most common concerns about the prevalence of GMOs in North America is whether they are safe for children and families to be eating. Many of the foods that are most popular with children are at high risk for containing GMOs, such as cereals, snack bars, snack boxes, cookies, processed lunch meats, and crackers. Over 80% of U.S. processed food contains GMOs.

What are the most common GMOs?

The most common GMOs are soy, cotton, canola, corn, sugar beets, Hawaiian papaya, alfalfa, and squash (zucchini and yellow). Many of these items appear as added ingredients in a large amount of the foods we eat. For instance, your family may not eat tofu or drink soy milk, but soy is most likely present in a large percentage of the packaged foods in your pantry.

GMOs may be hidden in common processed food ingredients such as: Amino Acids, Aspartame, Ascorbic Acid, Sodium Ascorbate, Vitamin C, Citric Acid, Sodium Citrate, Flavorings (“natural” and “artificial”), High Fructose Corn Syrup, Hydrolyzed Vegetable Protein, Lactic Acid, Maltodextrins, Molasses, Monosodium Glutamate, Sucrose, Textured Vegetable Protein (TVP), Xanthan Gum, Vitamins, Yeast Products.

Is there a certification process for GMO-free food?

Yes. When you see the Non-GMO Verified label on a product, it means the producer NGP-Seal-Revised-Draft-for-FSIStook the time to go through a certification program similar to the one used to obtain organic certification; only it’s designed to focus on GMO-free processes.

Started initially by retailers, the Non-GMO Project’s Product Verification Program (PVP)‘s core requirements include “traceability, segregation, and testing at critical control points.” Compliant products bear the Non-GMO Project Seal shown above indicating that the product has been produced in accordance with the best practices of the Non-GMO Project Standard. However, the Non-GMO Project says directly that its label does not guarantee that a product is 100% GMO-free, because contamination is an ever-growing threat.

How Does Contamination Occur?

Contamination can happen any number of natural ways: 1. via cross-pollination between GMO and non-GMO crops; 2. from trace amounts of GMO ingredients found in animal; 3. from seeds traveling by wind or by migratory birds that take root in the soil of an organic farm; and 4. from ingredient suppliers that co-mingle various sources.

So, where does that leave you and your family?

1. Read ingredient labels and look for the Non-GMO Verified logo to ensure your foods are as free from GMO’s as possible.

2. Don’t be afraid to ask the manufacturer about how a product is grown or produced.

3. Just because a product has a lot of certifications, doesn’t mean it is healthy. Fair Trade, Certified Gluten-Free and Certified Vegan do not mean organic or non-GMO. It may still contain artificial sweeteners and colors, synthetic fillers, trans fats, pesticide residue, and GMO’s.

In the United States, mattresses are required to describe the fabric and filling on a label with the intent to inform the consumer of the hidden contents, or “filling materials” inside bedding & furniture products. The law label was born in the early 1900s to prevent these articles from being further manufactured with contents such as horse hair, corn husks and whatever else a manufacturer could find to use that the consumer would never see, similar to food labeling. Why should we expect anything less in the labeling of our food?

Balsamic Asparagus….OMG!

Asparagus, one of those vegetables that people either loaspjpgve or hate!  Now because asparagus is very detoxifying and one that boasts an array of vitamins and minerals, you don’t want to go without it for very long. So lets try and turn that hate into a love affair by adding some balsamic vinegar.


Balsamic Asparagus
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  1. Asparagus - 1 pound, cleaned and trimmed
  2. extra virgin olive oil - 4 tsp
  3. good quality balsamic vinegar - 1 Tbsp
  4. sea salt - 1/2 tsp
  5. freshly ground black pepper - 1/8 tsp
  1. Preheat oven to 425°F.
  2. Place asparagus in a large rimmed baking sheet.
  3. Season with salt and pepper.
  4. Drizzle with olive oil and toss to coat.
  5. Roast for 15-20 minutes or until lightly browned.
  6. Remove from oven, drizzle with balsamic, and toss to coat.
  7. Transfer to a serving dish and serve immediately.
Adapted from Paleo Table
Adapted from Paleo Table
My Healthy Paleo




Roasted Garlic Broccoli

You know, if someone would have told me when I was a kid or even now as a seniorbroc (can’t believe it), that I would be loving me some broccoli I would have said “tu sei pazzo” (Italian for “you are insane“).  Now since eating Roasted Garlic Broccoli  spritzed with a little lemon I am a convert!


Roasted Garlic Broccoli
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  1. 2 heads of broccoli, cut into florets
  2. 3 tbsp olive oil
  3. 5 cloves of garlic, minced
  4. 1 tsp salt
  5. 1/2 tsp pepper
  6. 1 tsp lemon juice
  7. Pinch of red pepper flakes (optional)
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. In a large bowl, toss the broccoli with olive oil, salt, black pepper and garlic. Spread the broccoli in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet.
  3. Bake until florets are tender enough to pierce with a fork and the edges are browning, about 15 minutes. Turn once halfway through the baking process and add red pepper flakes, if using.
  4. After baking, squeeze lemon juice liberally over the broccoli before serving.
Adapted from Paleo Grubs
Adapted from Paleo Grubs
My Healthy Paleo

Hail to the Kale….and Bacon!

Kale,  Ahhh, kale. This truly is a “super-food” and a great addition to any healthy baconkalediet.  Now mix it with Bacon and “bingo” not only is it healthy but great tasting as well!


Hail to the Kale....and Bacon!
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  1. 1/2 bunch fresh kale, stem removed and chopped
  2. 1/2 a small onion, diced
  3. 2 garlic cloves, minced
  4. heavy pinch of nutmeg
  5. 1/4 cup of bacon fat
  6. 5-6 slices of bacon, chopped into bits
  1. Preheat a large sauté pan and add a couple generous tablespoons of bacon fat.
  2. Rinse and chop the kale, dice half a small onion, mince the garlic, chop the precooked bacon.
  3. When the pan comes to temp, add the onions, kale and garlic. Put the minced garlic on top of the kale–if it goes in first, it will burn long before the kale has wilted enough to eat.
  4. When the kale cooks down a bit, add the salt and nutmeg. If using nutmeg on greens is new to you, then this will be a treat. It’s the trick good cooks everywhere use to highlight the earthy, bitter flavors of greens with this prep method. It’s classic gourmet cooking! Be careful with your “pinch” though. Nutmeg is very strong. We are looking to accent the kale, not dominate it. If your veggies smell like onions and pumpkin pie, you’ve gone too far. I prefer to use the actual nut and grinder for quality and portion control purposes, but ground nutmeg would work too if it’s what you have on hand.
  5. Toss the kale often and sauté until the leaves have broken down to a consistency that looks like what you’d want to eat. I don’t like my cooked greens too soft, so I probably stop these slightly short of what others might prefer.
  6. Just before transferring to a serving bowl, toss the chopped bacon into the kale to warm. It’s now ready to eat!
  7. If you want to fancy this up, trade out the regular onion for shallots, pearl onions, or cippolinis. You can also add some red chili flakes, mushrooms, chopped walnuts, dried cranberries, or top with goat cheese… you get the idea, right? There’s a lot you could do with this and still stay on the Paleo track!
Adapted from Paleo
Adapted from Paleo
My Healthy Paleo



Holy Cannoli

Is there a better or more celebrated Italian pastry than the cannoli?  Just think about how many times you’ve heard the infamous line from the Godfather spoken by   Clemenza, Leave the gun, take the cannoli.” cannolitee

Now I know you’re taste buds are screaming right now for one of these treats from the heavens but remember, you’ve gone Paleo, so what are you to do?  Don’t worry Pizano, here’s an offer you can’t refuse!   Thanks to Carla Mary’s Paleo Blog!

Paleo Cannoli

Holy Cannoli
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  1. Ricotta 8 oz (yeah that's right)
  2. Agave/Honey 1/4 cup
  3. Coconut Milk 4 tablespoons full fat
  4. Arrowroot Powder 1 teaspoon
  5. Enjoy Life Chocolate Chips 1/4 cup
  1. Almond Flour 1/2 cup
  2. Coconut Flour 1/2 cup
  3. Coconut Oil 1/2 cup
  4. Agave/Honey 1/4 cup
  5. Vanilla 1 tablespoon
  6. Sea Salt 1/2 teaspoon
  7. Water about 1/2 tablespoons
Whipped Cream
  1. Coconut Milk 2 cups unsweetened
  2. Agave/Honey 3 tablespoons
  3. Vanilla 1 teaspoon
  1. Mix all filling ingredients with standing mixture until smooth; fold chips in. Pipe in serving cups/bowls.
  2. Combine all cookie ingredients and knead until dough is able to form desired shapes or be rolled out and cut into shapes on parchment paper. Dough can he chilled briefly before shaping in refrigerator. Bake on cookie sheet pan lined with parchment paper at 350 degrees for 8-10 minutes until golden.
  3. Whip all whipped cream ingredients in standing mixer or with hand held mixture until light, airy, and fluffy. Store in refrigerator until ready to spoon or pipe on top of cannoli cup.
  4. Can add extra chocolate chips on top. This one is for all my .
My Healthy Paleo


Tickle My Ribs….Standing Prime Rib

Deep brown crust, juicy pink meat—prime rib is elegant, crowd-friendly, and really standquite easy to prepare, requiring no special equipment or hard-to-find ingredients. And while we too often corral this carnivore crack into the holiday-meal category, there’s no reason you can’t use rib roast as the inspiration to throw an impromptu party. 

Tickle my Ribs!
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  1. 5 lb Rib Roast Beef Roast, [approximately 4 ribs]
  2. 3 1/2 Tbsp Spicy Brown Mustard
  3. 1 Tbsp ground Ginger
  4. 1 Tbsp Garlic Powder
  5. 1 Tbsp Onion Powder
  6. 1 Tbsp ground Coriander
  7. 1 Tbsp Cumin
  8. Salt and Pepper, to taste
  1. Allow prime rib to sit at room temperature for up to 1 hour.
  2. Preheat oven to roast at 500 degrees.
  3. Brush prime rib on all sides with mustard.
  4. Sprinkle prime rib with spice mixture and press spices into mustard coating.
  5. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  6. Place prime rib onto a broiling pan, fat side up.
  7. Roast at 500 for 15 minutes, then turn the temperature down to 350 and continue to roast. 15 minutes per pound yields rare, 20 minutes per pound yields medium, 25 minutes per pound yields well done.
My Healthy Paleo


Lime Cauliflower Rice

I can’t believe that I used to hate cauliflower…but not anymore!  Try this simple and delicious  alternative to grain rices with a light lime flavor. you can use broth to add a more savory flavor, or simply cook with water.

Mouth Watering Lime Cauliflower Rice
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  1. 1 head of cauliflower, "riced"
  2. 1/4 cup chicken broth (or you can use water)
  3. 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  4. 2 limes, juice and zest
  5. 1/4 cup chopped cilantro – leaves only
  6. Salt and pepper to taste
  1. Chop a head of cauliflower and place chunks in a food processor or pulse blender
  2. Pulse until it turns into particles resembling rice – this should happen pretty quickly
  3. In a medium-sized pan, add the 1/4 cup broth (or water) and heat over medium to medium-high heat
  4. Add the cauliflower "rice"
  5. Add the 1/2 tsp of garlic powder
  6. The cauliflower contains a lot of moisture. You'll notice it will start to steam in the pot. Just watch it and stir occasionally
  7. Continue to cook the cauliflower rice for 10-12 minutes
  8. Taste the cauliflower for a “rice” consistency
  9. Once the rice is done, stir in the juice and zest of 2 limes, add the cilantro
  10. salt and pepper to taste
My Healthy Paleo

Cauliflower Curry Rice

Curry-Cauliflower-Rice-11-1024x768One of the hardest things for anyone new to Paleo to give up is a side of rice.  This is especially true when this is combined with curry. Like how do you eat curry without rice? Have no fear this curry cauliflower rice will do just the trick! Fast to make and seasoned with curry, turmeric and ground ginger. Don’t have any coconut curry to serve it with? It would also be good with some grilled chicken or beef.

Curry Cauliflower Rice
Serves 2
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  1. 1 head Cauliflower
  2. 1 tbsp olive oil
  3. 1/4 tsp Curry powder
  4. 1/4 tsp Turmeric
  5. 1/8 tsp Ginger ground
  6. Salt to taste
  7. Fresh parsley chopped, to garnish
  1. Cut the cauliflower into florets, making sure to get a little stem as possible. If you accidentally cut large stems make sure to trim them.
  2. Put the cauliflower in a food processor and pulse until it becomes a rice consistency.
  3. Heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the cauliflower rice and saute for 4-5 minutes, until soft.
  4. While the cauliflower rice is cooking mix together the spices in a small bowl. Stir into the cauliflower making sure to coat evenly. Cook for 1-2 minutes until fragrant.
  5. Season with salt and remove from the heat.
  6. Garnish with fresh parsley and serve.
My Healthy Paleo

Food Wasted….fills 730 Football Stadiums!

The following artcle was written by Jonathan Bloom and appeared on

John Oliver Hates Food Waste (and Chard)  food-waste-984x500

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver tackled food waste. For fans of the comedian and the show, that is a wonderful thing. For first-timers, know that there is plenty of explicit language.

Last Week Tonight sure does a nice job of tricking us into learning. Their treatment of food waste did not disappoint. What began with an indictment of America’s predilection for all-you-can-eat everything transitioned into a full examination of the absurdity of wasting 40 percent of our food supply in the face of 50 million food-insecure Americans. 

I was heartened that the story included the environmental impact of food waste, including methane (that’s my voice in the clip). Same goes for their mention of the water squandered to create food not used, especially in light of  the ongoing drought.

Meanwhile, I’m glad that Oliver illustrated the hollowness of date labels (as things that look official but can be ignored, like a kid playing dress up in a cop outfit). And I loved that he debunked the myth that food donors can be sued when people get sick, exposing it as a false fear (like the swimming cramp after eating).

The piece gave some well-needed publicity to the Bill Emerson Good Samaritan Act. Oliver voicing the main provision of that law was both a national service and a personal thrill. Meanwhile, Oliver exposed how the Senate hindered future food donations by turning the America Gives More Act (HR 644) into a zombie bill, nixing permanent tax incentives to small businesses and farms who donate food.

A few phrases really went down smoothly: “Farm to Not-a-Table,” “Wining and Dining raccoons,” and “produce body shaming,” (which reminds me of my attempt to promote wider acceptability with #realfoodhascurves). I also liked how Oliver dismissed the lawsuit myth by mocking the idea of ‘all those high-powered lawyers representing the hungry.’

The only thing missing was a call to action, as the show’s main stories often include. But as one of the show’s researchers told me, simply shedding light on food waste and its triple costs (ethical, economic, and environmental) will likely prompt many viewers to examine their own habits. Or at least never eat at Carl’s Jr./Hardees again. Maybe even both!

One statistical note: The finding that the US fills 730 stadiums with food waste annually stems from my finding on the daily filling of the Rose Bowl. It’s basically that we fill the Rose Bowl two times every day. When I was doing my original research in 2009, I found that we almost filled that stadium twice every day. It was about 197 percent per day, so I said we filled the Rose Bowl once a day to give a conservative estimate. In the intervening years, the growing population and steady waste rates combine to make that two times per day estimate solid.


The Happy Booker…

The Happy Booker

Can you read yourself into a healthier and thinner you? Wouldn’t that be heaven, unfortunately the truth is curling up with a Paleo diet book doesn’t burn many calories or improve your health. However, the right guide can inspire you to make healthy lifestyle changes and teach you how to whip up delicious dishes.  Excite your inner food lover with the best Paleo books out there!

(click on book picture for review and pricing info)







Just Say No to Sweet ‘n Low…

Artificial Sweeteners, Appetite, and Weight


Artificial sweeteners sound like a dream come true for weight control. Even for people who generally eat a Paleo diet and scrupulously avoid real sugar, there’s always that temptation to give artificial sweeteners a pass. After all, they have no calories! Sure, they might not be the healthiest thing in the world, but at least they won’t make you gain weight, right (and we all know that’s what’s really important; who cares about that silly “health” stuff)? Surely it’s better to have Equal in your coffee than to have actual sugar, isn’t it?

Well first of all, weight and health are two different things. You can be thin and still be very, very sick. Paleo is a diet designed to make you healthy: for some people, that means weight loss as part of the package, but the weight loss itself isn’t the end goal. The end goal is health. So if artificial sweeteners help you lose weight but destroy your gut flora or cause other problems, then they’re not Paleo regardless of what the scale says.

But do they really even help you lose weight? It’s true that they don’t have calories, and it’s true that calories ultimately drive weight gain or loss, but “calories” includes both “how many calories you eat” and “what your body decides to do with those calories” – and the second category is not something you can measure just by tallying up a number.

If artificial sweeteners cause metabolic or gut flora damage that makes you (a) absorb more calories from the food that you eat, (b) store more calories as fat instead of burning them as fuel, or (c) both, then they might still cause weight gain even though the sweeteners themselves have no calories.

To clear that up, here’s a look at some common artificial sweeteners. This article doesn’t look at stevia (which is a natural product, so it isn’t an artificial sweetener) or at sugar alcohols (e.g. xylitol and erythritol, which are in a class of their own). It’s just about 0-calorie artificial sweeteners:

  • Saccharin (Sweet’n’Low)
  • Sucralose (Splenda)
  • Aspartame (Equal, NutraSweet)
  • Neotame (NutraSweet)
  • (outside the US) Cyclamtes*

*Cyclamates are not approved by the FDA for human consumption, but they’re common in Europe.

Consumption of artificial sweeteners is associated with obesity. Does this mean that the sweeteners cause obesity, or does it mean that people who are obese tend to eat more artificial sweeteners because they’re trying to lose weight?

It’s hard to say whether these sweeteners do or don’t contribute to weight gain and loss – for one thing, the studies are full of conflicts of interest. Scroll down to the bottom, and you’ll often see that the authors have some kind of professional involvement with the artificial sweetener industry – of course they’re going to find that artificial sweeteners don’t cause weight gain. But here’s a look at the research we have on the topic.

Artificial Sweeteners: Effects on Insulin and Blood Sugar

One theory for how artificial sweeteners might contribute to weight gain revolves around insulin. Insulin is a hormone that helps clear glucose (sugar) from your bloodstream. If artificial sweeteners trigger the release of insulin but don’t provide any extra sugar for it to remove, you might end up with a dangerous low blood sugar crash. Then you feel hungry because you’re sugar crashing, so you reach for the simple carbs and end up gaining weight.

It makes sense as a theory, and it makes sense if you only look at rodent and test-tube studies, but the effects in humans are less clear. This study found that in healthy subjects sucralose lowered blood glucose (implying some kind of insulin action), but aspartame did not; in subjects with Type 2 Diabetes, neither had an effect. This study found that tasting aspartame, saccharine, or sucrose did not cause any greater insulin release than tasting plain water.

A review concluded that the insulin theory doesn’t actually pan out in actual human beings, but the authors of that study had serious conflicts of interest (one worked for the International Sweeteners Association, and the other one works for the company that makes Splenda). This review, where the authors had no conflicts of interest, concluded that “Further research is needed to determine whether non-nutritive sweeteners have physiologically significant biological activity in humans.”

The bottom line: It’s unlikely (but not conclusively proven false) that artificial sweeteners cause weight gain through an insulin response.

Artificial Sweeteners: Effects on Appetite

But what if it isn’t insulin at all? Another theory is that artificial sweeteners confuse your body by separating the taste of sweetness from the caloric reward. As a baby, your body learned to associate sweet taste with calories. By eating them, it un-learns that instinctive association, and learns that taste and calories are unrelated. This impairs your natural ability to “eat when you’re hungry and stop when you’re full,” and makes you more susceptible to external cues (e.g. food advertising).

In this study, rats fed a saccharin-sweetened yogurt ate more calories and gained more weight and body fat than rats fed a glucose-sweetened yogurt. The researchers speculated that this was because the artificial sweetener separated the taste of sweetness from the physiological intake of calories, effectively confusing the rats’ hunger signals.

So does it work the same way in humans? Some evidence does show that artificial sweeteners and real sugar have different effects on the brain. This study put healthy, non-obese men in an MRI after drinking either plain water (control), sugar water, or water sweetened with aspartame. Drinking the sugar water had a noticeable effect on brain activity in the hypothalamus, while the aspartame water didn’t. In other words, the subjects’ brains didn’t really “register” that they’d drunk something sweet.

There’s not a lot of evidence that this change in brain activity causes increased hunger or weight gain in humans, though.

This study found that artificial sweeteners made the subjects feel subjectively hungrier, but they didn’t end up eating more to compensate      istock_rf_soda_can_and_sugar_cubes                                  (to be fair, the authors also clarified that their study design might have caused this). This study found that 280ml (just under a standard soda can) of an aspartame-sweetened soft drink had no effect on appetite, while 560ml (that’s roughly the size of a bottle you get from a vending machine) actually reduced appetite.

This review examined the role of artificial sweeteners on appetite regulation in humans, and found that hunger and satiety ratings after drinking sugar-sweetened soft drinks and artificially-sweetened drinks are basically the same. If you give study subjects a drink and then later give them a meal, they’ll eat about the same amount regardless of how the drink was sweetened.

The authors concluded that humans are so lousy at compensating for liquid calories that there’s basically no difference between compensation for sugar-sweetened drinks and artificially-sweetened drinks. We don’t compensate for liquid calories anyway, so there’s no real difference. The result is that in blind taste-tests, using artificial sweeteners results in a slightly lower calorie intake overall.

That accounts for the most popular use for artificial sweeteners: in drinks. It’s not clear whether this effect extends to artificial sweeteners in foods (like the yogurt in the rat study).

The bottom line: artificial sweeteners in drinks probably don’t increase appetite by confusing your body’s regulation mechanisms. In solid foods, it’s not clear.

Artificial Sweeteners: Effects on the Gut

The last potential problem is the gut: a recent study found that mice who ate a reasonable dietary amount of artificial sweeteners developed gut problems that impaired their carb tolerance and made them gain weight. Saccharin in particular caused significant changes in the gut flora of the mice (aspartame had no effect).

When they tested the same thing in humans, about half the people eating the saccharin had impaired glucose tolerance and about half of them showed no change.

In other words, some people may be sensitive to changes in gut flora caused by artificial sweeteners, but other people may not be. Hopefully more research will clear this up: it’s an interesting question!

Summing it Up

Various overall studies on artificial sweeteners and weight gain have come to different conclusions:

  • This review of artificial sweeteners on body weight concluded that there really is no evidence for significant benefit or drawback. In other words, switching from sugar to Splenda probably won’t help most people lose a lot of weight, but it won’t make them gain a lot of weight either.
  • This study found that replacing sugary soft drinks with artificially-sweetened soft drinks (without any other intervention) had no significant effect on BMI after two years. This is a valuable study, because it’s a real-world situation, not a blinded taste-test, so it controls for the “I got Diet Coke, so I get to have this cheesecake” effect – that might be one big reason why artificial sweeteners aren’t very useful for weight loss in the real world.
  • This review concluded that artificial sweeteners have a very slight tendency to reduce body weight, but if you look at the Acknowledgements section at the bottom, you’ll see “We acknowledge the International Life Sciences Institute Low-Calorie Sweetener Committee for providing feedback and review of the study protocol and manuscript.”

In other words, artificial sweeteners likely don’t do a lot for body weight either way, possibly because they’re really just a junk-food crutch that doesn’t address the reasons why we crave sugar and processed foods in the first place. They might not cause weight gain, but they’re not a sustainable strategy for weight loss, either.

It’s also worth reiterating that just because something doesn’t cause obesity doesn’t make it healthy. Especially considering the recent work on artificial sweeteners and the gut flora, it might be wise to hold off on eating them. The 2014 study just started to scratch the surface – we know a little bit about sugar alcohols and the gut, but very little about artificial sweeteners.

Instead of trying to reduce the calories in your junk food, a better plan for weight loss is to stop eating junk food full stop. Tackle any sugar cravings or emotional eating head-on instead of masking it with artificial sweeteners. That’s the way to create sustainable lifestyle changes and develop a healthy relationship with food in the long run.

Not all salads are boring….

Grilled Veggie Salad Platter with Lime Sauce


A simple summer salad can be instantly elevated when the vegetables are cooked on the grill, achieving the perfect hint of smokiness. The vegetables make up a colorful and nutritious platter to add to your dinner table. Serve with a side of cumin lime dipping sauce for extra zest as well.

Grilled Veggie Salad Platter- this makes a delicious and wholesome lunch or quick meal. Love it!
This recipe, made of so many different kinds of vegetables, is sure to be a crowd-pleaser. If you have any vegetarians at the table, they will probably be the happiest when you present a plate overflowing with delicious veggies. And any meat-eaters can pick and choose whichever of the vegetables they like, or take a bit of everything. Besides being served hot, the grilled veggies hold up well at room temperature, and can even be served cold from the refrigerator.

To achieve the best potential flavor, you need to choose the right vegetables at the grocery store or farmers market (or from your garden, if you are lucky). Try to stick to produce that is in season. For the most part, the veggies should be plump and unwrinkled. Asparagus and zucchini should be firm. Zucchini and summer squash shouldn’t be too large because otherwise they will be seedy. Once all the vegetables are assembled, there is a bit of chopping and dicing. The prep work is what takes awhile in this recipe, but you are rewarded with a rainbow plate of healthy food.

raw vegetables

Once you have good vegetables, the high heat of the grill brings out their greatest potential flavor.  By grilling, the vegetables retain more nutrients than they would if boiled in water. And remember that grills vary, so the cooking time will depend on the type of grill you have and how old it is. Use your best judgment based on your own grilling experience to determine the length of cooking time.

veggies on the grill

Do not the simplicity of the ingredients in this recipe fool you. This grilled veggie salad platter is brimming with complimentary flavors. I highly recommend quickly whipping up the cumin lime sauce to serve on the side. The sauce helps to unite everything on the plate and round out the dish. It also provides a cool contrast to the hot veggies right off the grill. The combination makes a wonderfully light summer dinner or side dish.

veggie platter


Grilled Veggie Salad
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  1. Grilled Veggie Salad Platter
  2. 4 medium zucchini
  3. 1 medium yellow squash
  4. 1 red bell pepper
  5. 1 yellow bell pepper
  6. 1 red onion, thinly sliced
  7. 1 lb. asparagus, ends trimmed
  8. Extra virgin olive oil, for drizzling
  9. For the sauce
  10. 1/4 cup Paleo mayonnaise
  11. Juice of 1 lime
  12. 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  13. 1 tsp cumin
  14. Salt & pepper, to taste
  1. Slice the zucchini and squash in half lengthwise and then into 1/2-inch thick slices. In a medium bowl, whisk together all of the ingredients for the sauce. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Set aside.
  2. Preheat the grill to low heat. Lightly drizzle the vegetables with olive oil and toss to coat. Working in batches, place the vegetables onto the grill in a single layer. Close the lid and cook for 10-12 minutes, turning once. Transfer to a serving plate and serve alongside the cumin sauce.
Adapted from Paleo Grubs
Adapted from Paleo Grubs
My Healthy Paleo