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

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


Picture credit:

2015 #JulyCrunchChallenge: WINNER

Thank you to all who participated in this Crunch Challenge (#JulyCrunchChallenge).

And the WINNER of the 2015 #JulyCrunchChallenge is…((drumroll, please))…


Tena Kellet! Tena, please contact me (I e-mailed you) and I will give you information on how to claim your consultation prize :) Congratulations on winning!

Spotting the Holiday Bombs

Q1: Is having a few alcoholic drinks ok? BurningAtomBomb

A: Yes. A drink (for females) or a couple (2 for males) is ok, but be mindful of calories.  The calories in alcohol can add up quickly. Drink slowly and alternate your alcoholic drinks with alcohol free, low calorie beverages (water!) Consider mixing your spirits with water or soda.

Q2: Is it ok go into hibernation mode in the winter as it’s too cold to exercise outside?

A: No. Balance extra calories from the holiday season with some indoor activity. Adults are recommended to have at least 2.5 hours per week of exercise. I jump on the treadmill each night for 30 minutes to keep my heart healthy and balance any indulgences.

One of my favourite sites for home workouts is They are short and effective workouts that can be done in the comforts of your home.

Q3: I’m going to start fresh in the New Year with a healthy lifestyle. Is this ok?

A: No. You should never put off being healthy. It’s great to set goals and have a timeline to achieve them, but making those changes sooner than later will do the body good. Set realistic goals – taking into account the holiday season and parties. You can always take your goals up a notch in the New Year.

Remember, you have one more month to rock out a killer body, don’t waste it!

Q4: Holiday parties are so tempting and so bad for my diet. How can I manage?

A: You are in control of your actions. To help you decrease overindulging at a holiday party, have a meal/snack before you go. For buffet parties, check out all your options and keep your trips to the buffet table to 1 plateful. Focus on enjoying the holiday foods that are only available at this time of year. Forget the stuff you can get all year round. Offer to bring a healthy dish to a party – if nothing else, you can at least have some of your own dish. Keep your portion sizes in mind.

Q5: Is it true that all the yummy holiday foods are unhealthy?

A: False. Scour the internet! There are always healthier alternatives to making something. Think about lowering the salt, using herbs and seasonings to flavor food, using less oil/butter and even using less sugar. You may be surprised at how good things still taste!

Here are 3 ideas to get you started:

1. Asparagus wrapped in prosciutto and baked

2. Shrimp and cocktail sauce

3. Caprese salad sticks

Q6: Is it a good idea to reward myself for being good this holiday season?

A: True. It is a great idea to reward yourself for your achievements – big and small! Rewards keep you motivated and push you to do better for your personal success. We encourage you to have reward yourself with a non-food related rewards such as a spa day, mani/pedi, new movie, or even buying that new top you’ve been dyeing to wear to that next Christmas party.


For more info on keeping trim and stress free this holiday season, click here:

Losing Fat by Managing Insulin – Not Just for Diabetics!

NutsWeight loss is something that many people are trying (almost desperately) to attain. It seems to be a goal that drifts further away, sometimes even when we think we are on the right track. The good news is that research is always trying to better understand our amazing bodies and how foods can improve our health. We now understand the value of insulin and how important a balance of blood sugar and insulin is in weight management. For those of you who don’t know, insulin is a hormone that helps our body cells use glucose (energy for the cell to function). When things are not functioning as they should, our body cells may not respond to insulin and thereby not understand how to use glucose – meaning that our body cells pretty much starve. This “extra” glucose is then converted to fat, which gets stored around the body. Here are 5 ways we can help our bodies use insulin more efficiently:

1. Blueberries
Recent evidence published in the Journal of Nutrition suggests that consuming blueberries daily can help increase your body’s sensitivity to insulin – which can help decrease the risk of developing type 2 Diabetes! It was found that obese individuals who were not diabetic, but did have insulin resistance, were able to increase insulin sensitivity by 22% after 6 weeks! Greater sensitivity to insulin means that our bodies are using sugar (glucose) efficiently, rather than storing it as fat. An extra bonus – blueberries are delicious! Why wouldn’t we want another reason to love them?
2. Cinnamon
Cinnamon is another great food which has been found to balance insulin levels in the body. A teaspoon a day, for 20 days, was able to improve insulin’s response to glucose and lower blood sugar by 20%! Other research has shown that cinnamon can decrease total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol (the bad one) for those with type 2 Diabetes. With the cold weather coming along, why not add a little cinnamon into your smoothies? Cinnamon has a way of warming my heart!
3. Zinc
Zinc is a very important mineral for the body – being involved in the function of more than 200 enzymes! As a common deficiency, it is important that we maintain our body’s levels of zinc. A quick way to learn if you are deficient is to crush a zinc tablet to powder and mix it with ¼ cup of water. Slosh/rinse your mouth with this solution (do not swallow!) and spit it out. If you do not experience any taste or a light mineral taste in your mouth, you are probably zinc deficient. If you have a strong, unpleasant taste in your mouth, you are probably not zinc deficient. Check out this link for food sources of zinc:
4. Nuts
Adding a tablespoon of nuts to your weekly routine can improve insulin balance by up to 30%. Research has found that having nuts (walnuts, almonds, hazelnuts, etc.) 5 times per week resulted in delayed onset of type 2 Diabetes. Nuts provide you with the healthy fats, which are protective for the body – so get a little nutty this month!
5. Exercise
Exercise has many positive effects on our mood and body. It is one of the best things we can do to prolong our health. Exercise helps to improve insulin sensitivity – within 3 days of decreased activity, our insulin sensitivity and glucose response drops by a dramatic 30%! Get active today. Just think: do you have more energy after you’ve been sitting on the couch for an hour or after you’ve taken a 15 minute evening stroll? (hint: couch = lethargic feeling, walking = body releases “happy” hormones…try it and let us know!)
For more information, visit: