The Bitter Side of Sweet: Diabetes & Artificial Sweeteners

Diabetes – such common a condition in today’s society that I doubt it even needs an introduction.

In a nutshell, diabetes is the mismanagement of the body’s ability to control blood sugar. In most cases this can occur in one of two ways – or “types”:

Type 1 – an autoimmune condition
-The body’s inability to produce any or enough insulin
-NO method of prevention
-NOT brought on by lifestyle

Type 2 – a metabolic disorder
-The body’s inability to use the insulin it produces
-CAN BE preventable
-CAN BE brought on by lifestyle

For type 2 diabetics, the cells of the body are not responding to insulin – otherwise known as insulin resistance. The role of insulin is to lower blood sugar levels by regulating the rate in which glucose is taken up by the cells of the body. Insulin resistance can develop over time when the body is exposed to high levels of sugar in the diet that it just simply cannot keep up.

So naturally one might think that by replacing sugar with zero calorie man made chemically sweetened toxic crap such as Splenda or Aspartame, one may be better equipped to manage their blood sugar, right?


Our brain is hardwired to associate sweet with calories. When the calories don’t show up, our inherent biological reaction is to go and find them- so in other words, our brain quite literally sends us on a hunt for sugar (i.e. cravings!).

This reaction (and subsequent junk food feast) directly contributes to insulin imbalance and resulting blood sugar fluctuations, all the while increasing fat storage. Yep, you heard that right – WEIGHT GAIN. Another function of insulin is to control fat storage, so if your insulin levels are high, it is also likely you will have an easier time gaining weight and a much more difficult time losing it.

So the next time you think that you are doing yourself a favour by reaching for that zero-calorie food or drink, remember that even though they may not technically contain sugar, they can still have the same effect on blood sugar that actual sugar does, or worse. These charming chemicals can also tend to come with a whole slew of additional gnarly side effects including nausea, headaches, breakouts and mood disorders.

Not so sweet now, huh?


Guest post by Alex Nucci

3 Nutritionist Approved Fast Foods

Ok folks, here is it, the question that I know you are dying to have the answer for- ‘where can I get healthy(ish) fast food?”

Before I answer, I feel compelled to preface my suggestions with this:
• fast food is ‘fast’ for a reason… just stew on that for a minute
• you can’t control the quality of ingredients in these products, so if you are the type who really cares about this, like I do, buyer beware.
• Nothing and I mean NOTHING, can replace home cooked meals…so with that said, here are 3 go-to fast foods you could grab in a pinch…key word here is ‘pinch’.

1. Starbucks Protein Bistro Box. I like this because it is simple. Hard boiled eggs, cheese, fruit and a pita. It’s nothing fancy or overly processed; it’s effortless ingredients for a quick and easy snack.

2. Opa! If you haven’t jumped on the Greek train than I highly recommend you start now. The Mediterranean flavours will whisk away your taste buds to warmer climates- hopefully inspiring you to cook more of these flavours at home. For now, Greek fast food restaurants are easily found in every town. Choose a chicken or lamb, rice and a beautiful Greek salad and enjoy knowing you have kept French fries and nuggets off your waistline.

3. Wendy’s Apple Pecan Chicken Salad. My suggestion here is to skip the dried cranberries (and the pecans if you are up to it) and only use one of the two packs of dressings they give you. What is left? Fresh salad, chicken, blue cheese and apple; quick and easy for those on the road or crunched for time

Remember, fast food can pack on the pounds or if chosen smartly can be a quick go-to once in awhile. The trick is to not let yourself get too hungry, otherwise you will end up making a poor choice out of desperation.

So if you are like me and want to learn some mad skills in nutrition or want to lose some of that unwanted fat, check out my new book Your Weight Loss G-Spot!

I’m a Nutritionist and here is why I know losing weight can help your type II Diabetes

In the spirit of Diabetes Awareness month, I thought it would be appropriate to walk you through why Type II Diabetes, as a preventable lifestyle disease, can be prevented and even often cured when smart and realistic steps are taken from someone who is motivated to positively change their life.

“The growing prevalence of type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and some cancers is tied to excess weight.” So although we know that being overweight and type II diabetes are closely linked, unfortunately, often people struggle getting started on making change- whether it’s from lack of knowledge, a poor support system or they simply feel that getting started is daunting or too time consuming. But that is where I come in. As YOUR nutritionist, I am here to lay it out for you, be your support system and cheerleader. This is my job and I love it.

I often hear from my clients, that once they begin sessions with me, a lot of the fears they had about changing their diet and lifestyle that the process is no longer scary. Once they know that I’m here for them through the whole process, without judgment and only for their best interest, they are calm and ready to dive in.So what does diving in look like?
Well for everyone it is different. It depends on where each person is starting from.

  • How much weight do they need to lose?
  • How high are their blood sugars?
  • How long have they been this way?

So lets dive in with 4 simple, food based suggestions I want you to add into your diet today that will help you lose weight and begin to lower and better balance your blood sugars.

1. Cinnamon: This fragrant spice is amazing for naturally lowering blood sugars. I give this to all of my clients who have blood sugar concerns and weight to lose. Cinnamon is a tasty addition to smoothies, oatmeal, plain Greek yogurt and even coffee and tea. How much you ask? I say, add cinnamon to as many foods as you can through your day.

2. Green Tea: is being touted as an awesome natural support for blood sugar management. “Various studies have shown the beneficial effects of green tea, not only on cardiovascular diseases but also on obesity and type 2 diabetes itself”. If you don’t like it hot, consider buying an infused green tea, such as lemon or raspberry infused green tea and cool it down with lemons and limes and store in your fridge. If you really want to hide the taste, use cooled green tea as a base for your smoothie instead of using water or juice.

3. Turmeric: Talk about a potent antioxidant rich food! Pay attention if you don’t use this food yet in your diet. As a member of the ginger family, this plant is a powerhouse in my option and should be used by everyone. In the Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry researchers “found that Turmeric could prevent diabetes from developing”. How to use: add a pinch to smoothies or salad dressings, sprinkle over cooked veggies for a touch of flavor, add to rubs for fish or poultry or enjoy in a stir-fry.

4. Fish and Hemp seeds: I wanted to include these two omega-packed protein sources in this list to demonstrate the importance of both fatty acids and protein in blood sugar management. I meet very few individuals in my practice who eat enough protein and this can wreak havoc on our blood sugars. Protein helps to balance sugars from foods, slowing them down in our blood stream- hugely important to anyone trying to lose weight, but especially vital for type II diabetics.
Pick ideally 3-4 servings of clean and lean protein per day. Examples include: plain Greek yogurt, eggs, chicken and protein powders (one of my favourites are Fermented Vegan Proteins + by Genuine Health).

If you are anyone you know is struggling with type II diabetes, my hope is that you share this article with them.
If you decide you want to learn more about healthy weight loss, please check out my newest book, Your Weight Loss G-Spot – The woman’s how-to weight loss system for a healthy, sassy you!
It is a make-it-happen weight loss book that combines the fundamentals of nutrition and healthy eating with the mind–body–heart targeted coaching required to get you to your goal and to make it stick. To find out more about it, go here: –Coming November 14th 2015!


i Parvez Hossain, M.D., Bisher Kawar, M.D., and Meguid El Nahas, M.D., Ph.D. (2007). Obesity and Diabetes in the Developing World — A Growing Challenge.N Engl J Med 2007; 356:213-215 January 18, 2007 DOI: 10.1056/NEJMp068177

ii Diabetes Metab J. 2013 Jun; 37(3): 173–175. Published online 2013 Jun 14. doi: 10.4093/dmj.2013.37.3.173 PMCID: PMC3689013 The Effects of Green Tea on Obesity and Type 2 Diabetes Hyun Min Kim and Jaetaek Kim


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Obesity + Diabetes. 3 Key Steps To Keeping This Disease At Bay!

Think you are immune to Type 2 diabetes? Think again.

About four weeks ago, Sarah visited my office, complaining of being overweight and blood sugars that were too high. Her Doctor was insisting for her to see a registered nutritionist, or go on medication.

And Sarah is not alone. According to The Journal of American Medicine (JAMA), 35% of the US population is considered obese. That is approximately 78.6 million people. According to JAMA, “obesity-related conditions include heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and certain types of cancer, some of the leading causes of preventable death.” So with about 1 in 3 people suffering from obesity, it is no wonder that “The growing prevalence of type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and some cancers is tied to excess weight.”

Type 2 diabetes and obesity are on the rise and the most important question is – what are YOU going to do about it?

These are the cold hard facts. The scary stuff we hear about and know we should do something about. But what happens when life gets in the way, or temptations are too strong or we simply just don’t know what changes to make? I get it and as a nutritionist it’s ingrained in my soul to want to help.

We can’t fight the facts, but we can certainly fight back and take a stand for our own health!

Remember Sarah?

For Sarah, medication was simply not an option and she was motivated for change. Together we made the changes necessary to bring her weight and blood sugars into a healthier place. I’m excited to report, 4 weeks later she is 13.5 lbs down and has brought her blood sugars from 7.5 down to 6.2. We still have more work to do, but this one example of many that demonstrates the power of getting professional and personable advice which will help you lose weight and enjoy all the benefits of living healthy and well!

So here are 3 simple steps you can make today to take charge of your health:

1. Reduce, no, better yet, ELIMINATE white foods and processed white sugars from your diet. Examples include white breads, pastas, pastry, pop, candy and desserts. Seems simple right? In reality this is harder than you think. Temptations lurking around every corner make it hard for some, but others find emotional attachment and comfort in these “foods”. First identify when you tend to reach for these items. Is it only when you are in social settings? Or do you tend to lean on these items when you are stressed and or tired? Knowing this is half the battle (see tip #3 for more on this).

2. Eat more protein. Whether you are a vegan, vegetarian or meat- eater, protein helps to increase your metabolism (helping you to burn more calories at rest), increase lean mass (more muscle =less fat) and slow the release of sugar into your blood stream (key for reducing the all too common afternoon slump and SUPER important for those dealing with blood sugar issues). And just as a side note, if you do choose to eat meat, make sure it’s lean and clean sources like poultry, eggs and cold water fish.

3. Get a grip on your stress. You read that right. When you are stressed your body produces cortisol (a stress hormone) that causes you to store fat. In addition, when you are stressed your blood sugars rise, a problem for those suffering from blood sugar concerns.

Identifying triggers, being aware of their presence, having proper tools to manage stress like exercise and perspective- creates more balance which will be vital to keeping belly fat away and blood sugars controlled.

You have the power to avoid becoming another statistic. Yes, genetics can play a role, but research clearly demonstrates that for the majority of people, obesity and type II diabetes are preventable diseases.

So, start implementing these 3 simple steps today, one step at a time and you will be well on your way to creating everlasting change.

 If you decide you want to learn more than please check out my newest book, Your Weigh Loss G-Spot – The woman’s how-to weight loss system for a healthy, sassy you!

It is a make-it-happen weight loss book that combines the fundamentals of nutrition and healthy eating with the mind–body–heart targeted coaching required to get you to your goal and to make it stick. To find out more about it, go here:  

What are some good exercises this winter? Please see here for some tips.