All posts by Amber Dawn Orton


This week ADOFitness trainers will be addressing some common topics that we often get asked about. Coach Joey discusses the Importance of Water Intake.

It may be hard to believe that over half of our body is made up of water, but it’s true! About 60% of our bodies (give or take) is made up of water… definite proof that the amount of water we consume is very important! Drinking enough water helps your organs function properly and has a ton of benefits! Here are just a few of the many benefits to drinking enough water…

1. Weight loss: Choosing water over sugary drinks, like juice and soda, helps to quench your thirst without the added sugar and calories. Water also helps your body get rid of toxins and helps “flush out your system” so to speak. The more water you take in, the more water you will lose. If you start drinking a gallon of water a day you will lose a couple pounds simply from being hydrated.

2. Increased metabolism and reduced appetite: Two studies have shown that drinking 500 mL (17 ounces) of water can temporarily boost your metabolism by 24-30%! Drinking cold water helps keeps you full because your body has to warm the water up before it can process it – this keeps your stomach feeling fuller and your body has to use more energy to heat the water up, so you will burn more calories.

3. Increased energy and improved brain function: Some studies have shown that as little as 1-1.5% fluid loss during exercise can negatively affect mood and concentration in women. This little amount of fluid loss can also cause increase in headache. Especially when exercising or sweating a lot, it’s important to rehydrate your body to keep your energy and brain function in peak working order!

4. Clear skin: Water helps keep your skin’s elasticity and moisture, so you’ll be less likely to develop wrinkles and dry skn.

5. Decreases constipation: Dehyrdation is one of the most common causes of constipation. When you eat food it goes to your stomach and your large intestine or colon. If you’re dehydrated your large colon soaks up water from your food waste which in turn makes it very difficult for your body to have a bowel movement. So making sure you have a high enough water intake can help your body move things along and help you have more regular bowel movements.

6. Decreases risk of kidney stones: Making sure your body is hydrated will help your kidneys function properly and can decrease your risk for kidney stones. Your kidneys are the filtering system in your body, that help you get rid of excess fluids and wastes, so if you aren’t drinking enough water to help this process, your kidneys will not be able to function properly.

How much water is enough? Well, like all nutrition and exercise, the amount of water you should consume varies based on YOU! Your weight and activity level determine how much water your body needs… the more you weigh, the more water you need; and the more active you are and the more you sweat, the more water you need. At ADOFitness, we tell clients to aim to drink one gallon (128 ounces) of water per day. This may seem like a lot, but there are many ways to get your water in! If you aren’t drinking this much water per day, work your way up to it. Drink a half a gallon for a few days, then increase to 2/3 gallon, and so forth until you reach one gallon per day. You can also add some flavor to help get your water in, like adding fresh fruits, mint, and lemon! You can also drink unsweetened tea to help get your water in. Buying a container that helps you measure how much water you are drinking per day can also help you stay on track. If you buy a 32 ounce water bottle, then you know you need to drink 4 bottles per day to reach your goal of one gallon. Happy drinking



This week the ADOFitness trainers will be addressing some of the most common things we get asked about. This week Ill be addressing CELLULITE.

Cellulite is something we as coaches get asked about A LOT. Why? Because its VERY common to have! Everyone wants to know how or if they can get rid of cellulite.
So what is cellulite exactly? Its fat tissue beneath your skin that is being pushed against connective tissue, causing it to dimple or wrinkle in spots.
Can you get rid of it? Well of course you can. If its body fat and you lose body fat you will lose cellulite. However, it is usually accumulating in areas that are hard to lose bdoyfat from which is also why it is so persistent with women on their backside, hips, and thighs. These are the areas our hormones usually want to drop fat from last as a female. Since there is no way to spot reduce when it comes to weight loss, you must lose enough weight for your body to drop weight even from your most stubborn areas to actually get rid of cellulite.
So are there ways to improve it in the process? Yes. Anytime you stimulate an area you can increase blood flow and reduce fluid buildup. So things like deep tissue massage, foam rolling, fascia blasting, etc can break up the connective tissue helping create a smoother surface. You can also use things like micro needling and skin brushing to help stimulate blood flow to the skins surface. Will this completely rid you of cellulite? Most likely not. You will still need to lose body fat in order to actually get rid of cellulite. But consistently forcing blood flow to the surface of the skin and breaking up adhesions that may have formed in your connective tissue can reduce the appearance of it.



This week ADOFitness trainers will be addressing topics we get asked a lot about. This week Coach Tara will be addressing the benefits of carbs preworkout for sustained energy throughout your workout.

This is definitely a question that I get asked a lot about. Recently I have had many people asking about the benefits of carbs before they lift. A lot of these individuals were on a low carb plan or fasting before they lifted, and were noticing they were feeling weak during their workouts. Carbs are essentially your energy source and are going to help power your workout. I understand some people prefer to lift on an empty stomach and that is totally fine, but if you want to feel energized and strong enough throughout your entire lift I would definitely recommend getting the proper amount of carbs before you head to the gym. Everyone wants to have a killer workout and we all have had those days where our workouts are dragging or we lack motivation and energy. One of the biggest reasons for that comes from what you are putting in your body.

While protein plays a role in muscle building and repair, carbohydrates are actually going to be your bodies energy source for long workouts. They are one of the best fuel sources due to how well they use oxygen. The amount of glycogen (carbs) that’s stored in your liver and muscle cells is going to be solely dependent on your intake. Your body will convert glycogen to glucose, which then your muscles will use as fuel. The amount of fuel your body gets to use for this workout is going to be based on what you have just put in your body. Once your body runs out of glycogen stores, not only do you feel lethargic and tired but you don’t have enough glycogen to sustain your energy throughout the rest of your workout. This is where our bodies will then start to burn fat as an energy source. YES, you do want your body to burn fat if your overall goal is fat loss, but you do not want your ONLY fuel source to be body fat, as body fat burns at a much slower rate than carbohydrates providing less overall energy. Which in the end slows you down and makes it much more difficult to get in a great workout.

Studies have shown that once your body has depleted it’s self of carbs you will feel very fatigued, you won’t be able to get full muscle contractions, and your tryptophan levels decrease. Tryptophan assists with serotonin production which is going to help improve your motivation and mood. So when that drops it makes it so much hard to push through a workout and keep your motivation up. Studies have shown that a low carbohydrate diet significantly enhanced fatigue and reduced overall desire to exercise. Which makes so much sense, as it is very hard to stay motivated when you are eating very little and have very low energy.

So overall if you want to have amazing energy and strong workouts where you can actually sustain your energy, I would highly recommend making sure to get a good portion of carbohydrates in before you head into the gym to lift.



This week the ADOFitness trainers will be addressing the difference between HIIT and steady state cardio. Coach Trista discusses aspects of both methods.

HIIT (high intensity interval training) is short in duration but explosive in the movement and intensity of the exercise. This includes bouts of pushing yourself as hard as you can go followed by a rest period catching your breath until the next sprint. An average HIIT session should range from 10-20 minutes. Anything over 20 minutes would not be considered HIIT as our bodies simply could not allow it if it has been executed correctly. True HIIT should feel like you can’t breathe, and just when you feel like you cant push harder- you do- and this is where the magic happens. It’s uncomfortable, and that is why the body changes. The overall effectiveness of HIIT cardio is determined by the amount of time the body spends at it’s VO2 Max (the maximum rate of oxygen consumption during exercise).HIIT cardio creates an after burn effect much like weight training does. Which also increases metabolism. EPOC (excess post exercise oxygen consumption) this is the amount of oxygen your body needs to return to its normal resting metabolic state. The more oxygen that is needed- the more calories burned. A study has shown HIIT to produce an after burn effect of up to 21 hours post exercise.
Lastly, HIIT is more beneficial for preserving muscle tissue. For example, if you look at a sprinters body compared to a distance runner you will notice the difference in muscularity. That’s because a sprinter is activating muscle fibers with more intensity in their movement.

Steady state cardio can be defined as a continuous, moderate- low Intensity pace also known as (MISS) or (LISS). This is implemented at a fixed rate of intensity and sustained for an extended amount of time. About 55-70% of VO2 Max. Steady state can increase endurance and burn calories but does not make changes in the body to improve metabolism. Steady state does not have the same muscle retention as HIIT. Muscle tissue is at higher risk for catabolic effects as muscle fibers are not engaged in the exercise like they are in more explosive movements. However, steady state cardio is beneficial when an individual is already implementing HIIT cardio up to 4 days per week and needs to create a larger energy deficit. This is when you would combine both methods during the week for further results. Some people may enjoy steady state for relaxation purposes or due to physical Injuries preventing them from implementing HIIT. Both methods of cardio have merit, but it’s important to know the facts on both to decide what kind of cardio regimen is needed for your specific goals.



This week the @ado_fitness trainers will be addressing topics that we get asked a lot about. This week ADOFitness coach Joey Guz explains what insulin is and what it does for your body.

If you asked someone about what insulin is, you would probably get an answer similar to “doesn’t it have something to do with blood sugar?” or “doesn’t that have to do with diabetes?” If you asked someone involved in the fitness community, you might get a more technical answer about uptake of sugar in the muscles and muscle growth. Insulin plays a crucial role in how your muscles take in sugar for energy and how sugar is stored in your body. By understanding a little bit more about insulin, you can use the way your body already works to your advantage in reaching your health and fitness goals.

Insulin is a hormone that is made in your pancreas. Insulin helps to regulate your blood sugar by either storing the glucose (sugar) you take in when you eat carbohydrates for future use, or utilizing that glucose for immediate energy. Insulin is like the key that unlocks your body’s cells to let the glucose in. When you eat, your blood sugar rises, and this signals your pancreas to start releasing insulin. The insulin attaches to your body’s cells, which lets the cells know it’s okay to absorb the sugar. This sugar is used in your cells for energy! If you take in more glucose then your body needs, insulin helps your body store it in your liver for future use. If in a few hours, your body needs more energy, but you have not eaten anything, your blood sugar will begin to drop. When this happens, your liver is alerted to release some of it’s stored glucose to feed your cells.

Part of the reason people gain weight when they eat too much is because there is that extra glucose in the blood that the body does not need… this is stored for future use when your body needs energy, but if you aren’t expending enough energy to signal your body that you need more, the glucose is never released. Instead, it is stored as fat. This is why weight loss is a combination of controlled intake and controlled output.

Insulin plays a key role in muscle development, too. When you eat and insulin is released, glucose enters your muscle cells, which gives your muscles more energy to lift weights, run, walk, bend, and stretch. It also dilates your blood vessels, allowing more blood flow to your muscles, which allows more nutrients into your muscles. This is why you often see competitors eating simple carbs on show day, or athletes eating simple carbs before a game. Simple carbs are easy to digest and the glucose from them enters your blood stream quickly. This gives you a boost of energy and signals your pancreas to release insulin and the glucose is taken up in your cells. Because your muscles have taken in all that glucose, they appear more full and prominent and they have energy to move. Since your blood vessels also dilate with the increased insulin, you also appear more vascular.

So how can you use all of this information to your advantage? You can plan your food choices around the times you are most active. By eating complex carbs, which are slow to digest, throughout the day you keep your blood glucose levels relatively stable. The glucose from complex carbs is released over time; instead of the big burst of glucose your get with simple carbs. Because glucose never really “spikes”, your insulin level is also stable throughout the day. This means your body is going to resort to that stored glucose for energy. When you know you are going to be physically active, like before a lift or run, it’s good to eat simple carbs. This creates that blood sugar spike that results in increased insulin release. The insulin opens up your cells and that glucose you just took in is used for energy, instead of being stored. This allows your muscles to get the nutrients they need to work and grow and prevents fat storage.

If you tailor your meals around your activity, you can help your muscles grow faster and prevent the storage of extra fat. Now, doing this is not mandatory for fat loss… if you are at a caloric deficit, you are going to lose weight. However, by knowing more about how your body works, you can reach your goals more efficiently!



This week the ADOFitness trainers will be addressing some of the most common things we get asked about. Coach Jennifer talks about healthy weight gain with pregnancy.


Pregnancy and weight gain go hand and hand, but are you really eating for two? You do need extra calories but you’re not necessary eating “for two”. According to evidence based research, from the Institute for Clinical Systems Improvement: ” Routine Prenatal Care, only 300 extra calories are needed for a healthy weight gain during pregnancy.” It’s important to gain a healthy weight during pregnancy for the mother and baby. There’s common risks to the mother when you gain to much weight, according to the Institute for Clinical Systems Improvement.

“1. Increased risk for gestational diabetes
2. Increased risk for hypertension
3. Greater likely hood of cesaren birth
4. Increased rate of postpartum complications
5. Anesthesia related problems
6. Increased length of hospital stay post birth

Some common risks for the fetus include:
1. Increased risk for congenital anomalies
2. Lower success rate for breastfeeding
3. Predisposition to insulin resistance and more. ”
It can also be dangerous to not gain enough weight during ones pregnancy. It can lead to complications and even an pre term delivery. Slow and steady wins the race!!

Eating whole foods is a great way to gain a healthy amount of weight. It also helps you feel full because they are nutrient dense foods. Another great way to feel full throughout the day is to consume 5-6 meals and having snacks on hand helps too! Avoid sugary drinks and high calorie snacks. Swamp them out for water, sparkling water, pretzels, fruit, yogurt and lower calorie snacks. Try baking instead of frying food and try to use fat in moderation. if you eat fast food, try and pick the best options you can. There always better choices out there.

Another very important thing during pregnancy is how much fiber you consume. Fiber consumption can help with constipation, prevent weight gain , and help you lower your blood pressure. Which can help you avoid preeclampsia. Heres a list of of the best foods to eat while pregnant and many include that high fiber.

1. Water which is not a food but is the essence of life and helps you feel full longer, helps with constipation and dehydration.

2. Oats are full of fiber and keep you feeling full! Also known to help with breast milk production.

3. Avocados are a delicious way to get vitamins and healthy fats. Full of folate , potassium, B6 and vitamin C.

4. Wild salmon is full of omega 3’s and essential fatty acids.

5. Yogurt is full of calcium and you can make so many different dishes with it! Also great replacement for sour cream!

6. Lentils are packed full of fiber, protein and folate.

7. Lean Meats contain amino acids that help build all the cells in your babies body! If you’re a vegetarian there are also many non meat ways you can fill your protein such as lentils , spinach , tofu, beans, and many more.

8. Edamame is also a great plant based source for protein and fiber!

9. Nuts which are a delicious healthy fat and packed full of minerals.

10. Carrots and Peppers are full of beta carotene which converts to Vitamin A and helps with the babies eyes.

I hope this information helped everyone realize what your body actually needs in terms of healthy weight gain during pregnancy. Always remember to feed your body and baby nutritious foods before and after pregnancy to help prevent complications and also to have a healthy growing baby



This week the ADOFitness trainers will be addressing some of the most common things we get asked about. Coach Suzie explains why alcohol and achieving your fitness goals don’t mix.


It’s Thirsty Thursday and you just smashed your lift in the gym, you PR’d on almost all your exercises and your gym partner says “hey, let’s go out and celebrate our gains and get lit!” You high five and head out to go to the bars.

Fast forward to the bar. You order a double shot because your favorite song came on and you’re still feeling amazing from your lift. You throw it back and order another double…and now we take a magic school bus ride down your esophagus and follow what that alcohol is actually doing to those gains you (thought you) made today.

Alcohol does not have any nutritional value but it does have calories, empty calories. It has 7 calories per gram, so that double (3oz) you just slammed of 80 proof vodka has nearly 200 empty calories in it. If you’re trying to lose fat and you’re drinking you’re slowing down your own progress. Aside from the empty calories you are consuming which will push the number on the scale up, alcohol slows down metabolism because it cannot be stored (it’s a toxin) in the body. Because the body can’t store alcohol it must metabolize it right away, which means the body won’t metabolize sugars and fats as efficiently. This is how alcohol can cause your metabolism to slow down (and fat to be stored). Along these same lines, one of the key functions of metabolism is to keep blood sugar levels stable in the body, but it can’t metabolize sugar efficiently while it’s trying to rid your body of alcohol so blood sugar levels drop causing hypoglycemia which is especially dangerous in diabetics.

Beyond slowing your metabolism and dropping your blood sugar to potentially dangerous levels, alcohol dehydrates the body, which includes your muscle cells. Hydrated muscle cells are important because they create an anabolic environment which encourages muscle growth. If your cells aren’t holding water then they won’t trigger the multiple anabolic reactions needed to grow muscle including increased amino acid transportation and protein synthesis. In fact, alcohol can lower protein synthesis by 20% as well as block the absorption of important nutrients like calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, iron and potassium. These are key to muscle contraction, relaxation and growth but perhaps not as key as testosterone is to muscle growth (that’s right I said it, the T word).

Now I’ve got your attention because I said the T word and nobody messes with your gains, I better explain myself. Alcohol continues to block your gains by LOWERNG testosterone and INCREASING estrogen. In one study, at the most intoxicated state, testosterone levels dropped by 25%. Another study done with rats found alcohol reduced Insulin like Growth Hormone-1 (IGF-1) by up to 42% (that’s huge). If you don’t know what any of that means, I will make it simple, those BIG drops in testosterone and IGF-1 mean no gains for you.

Keep in mind this is of course temporary and we do promote balance! But if you’re slamming alcohol daily you may want to reconsider. You can of course enjoy a drink in moderation here and there and still reach your goals, but the research should make you reconsider overdoing it if you’re serious about your fitness goals.



This week the ADOFitness trainers will be addressing the importance of self-care for recovery in all circumstances.  Coach Tara discusses some important strategies for recovery that everyone should be incorporating into their normal routine.

Recovery and self-care are so much more important for your body than most people think and also one of the most neglected aspects when it comes to health and fitness. Whether you are someone who is trying to build, lean out, or even if you are someone like me who has lost muscle due to an illness and just wants to move easier. Making sure you are stretching regularly, getting massages, foam rolling, seeing a chiro, practicing yoga, and using a fascia blaster are just a few of the tools you can use for recovery and to improve your overall health. It doesn’t matter where you are in your training, self-care and recovery should stay at the top of your todo list and here’s why:

Breaking down scar tissue is one of the top reasons for you to start foam rolling and getting regular massages. Scar tissue and muscle adhesions are the result of previous injuries or trauma that you might not even realize you have. This trauma can affect muscles, tendons, and ligaments that can lead to inflexible tissues that are prone to injury. When foam rolling try to target the pressure points in your fascia and release triggers points where you feel pain. IT band syndrome is a perfect example which can lead to knee pain and injuries if it isn’t continually being released properly.

Another reason recovery is so important is increased tissue permeability. Deep tissues massage, fascia blasting, and deep tissue foam rolling cause the pores in tissue membranes to open which enables nutrients to pass through. This will help remove waste products such as lactic acid and allow nutrients to pass that aid in quicker muscle recovery.

You also have benefits like improving tissue elasticity that is important for all ages and especially as you get older, less mobile, or are just someone who trains really hard! Training puts a lot of strain on your tissues which can make them hard and inelastic. It is important to increase blood flow to these ares and dilate blood vessels so nutrients and oxygen can pass to help repair damage. This can be done through massage or deep tissue foam rolling. This is also going to help with pain reduction by eliminating waste products and releasing the bodies natural endorphins.

Yoga is an amazing way to practice self-care through stretching and myofascial release, but also for the psychological effects as well! As you go through your practice some relaxation is induced and anxiety levels are reduced. Here you are able to incorporate deep breathing exercises and meditation for stress relief and overall well being. You will be able to sweat out toxins, improve your digestion, and also improve your core and posture. These are just a few of the benefits yoga has to offer and the best part is you can do all of these in the comfort of your own home! I love to utilize youtube or for the perfect yoga session in my living room.

Throughout your fitness journey, whether you are just starting out or at the peak of your training do not forget to incorporate the little things. Even just spending 15 minutes a day on muscle recovery can help improve mobility, mental clarity, and overall well being. Even if you are someone suffering from an illness make it a point to continue to do the little things until you can get back to your regular training. I know at times it seems impossible, but even getting in 15 minutes of light stretching or a 30 minute massage will pay off when you are able to get back in the gym. No matter where you are always make its point to move EASIER and prevent injuries!



This week the ADOFitness trainers will be addressing how you can hit protein without eating animal products. Coach Trista discusses a few options for plant based protein sources.

Whether you’re vegan, vegetarian, pescatarian, or just looking into starting more of a plant based diet, there are many options to get your protein in, it just requires a bit more creativity! Here are 10 really great sources of protein dense foods:

1. Lentils- found in a variety of colors and part of the legume family. 1 cup of cooked lentils has 18g of protein and 16g of fiber. The protein and fiber in lentils is also linked to better blood sugar control, lower blood pressure and cholesterol, reduced risk of heart disease and colon cancer. Lentils
are super versatile and go well in salads, sandwich wraps, veggie burgers, soups, stews/curry dishes, hummus, or eating them as a side dish.

2. Quinoa- often thought to be a whole grain, but is actually a seed, 1 cup of cooked contains 8g of protein. Its gluten-free so it’s a good choice for people who are allergic to wheat. Quinoa goes well into green salads, stir fry, sandwich wraps,or used as a substitute for rice in any dish.

3. Seeds Hemp- contain heart-healthy fats, mainly omega-3 fatty acids. 3 tablespoons of hemp has about 10g protein. You can add hemp to smoothies, in soups/stews, or even bake into your meals/desserts

4. Chia seeds- absorb water and turn into a gelatinous substance which is why they are great for constipation are pure fiber! Along with omega 3’s and 4g protein per 2 tablespoons great addition to oatmeal, and smoothies

5. Spirulina- one of the few sources of plant-based protein that is mostly protein by dry weight (about 70%) 2 tbsp contain 8g of protein. You can mix into a glass of juice, or in a smoothie.

6. Nutritional yeast- a staple food item in plant-based diets for its versatility, high amounts of B vitamins, and protein content. Nutritional yeast contains no dairy or active yeast, and it’s found in a powder/flake form that creates a paste when mixed with liquid, it’s great for making dairy-free sauces and dressings 3 tbsp contain 12g of protein.

7. Beans- all beans ranging from black beans to garbanzo beans are a great source of protein with 12-18g of protein per cup. – also high in fiber, magnesium, and iron. Another versatile option for a meat substitute in burgers.

8. Ezekiel bread- contains all of the essential amino acids. It’s also usually made from sprouted grains, a process which increases the bread’s fiber and vitamin content, as well as its digestibility 4g protein per 2 slice serving.

9. Soy – Tempeh 15g per 1/2 cup, organic tofu 10g per 1/2 cup, edamame 17g per 1 cup- all complete protein sources containing all amino acids. These sources also carry fiber and healthy fats as well as the protein.

10. Organic plant based protein powder, there are several great tasting supplemental plant proteins however I recommend Garden of Life organic meal. Goes great with almond milk or even water. 20g protein per scoop!
You can also incorporate veggie patties, burgers, protein bars, and cereals (especially puffed kamut 6g protein per cup! For only 100 cals)

A common misconception about plant protein is that you will develop a deficiency from incomplete proteins. However the truth is If you eat a variety of nutrient-rich, whole foods, your body will store what it needs to function optimally in regards to essential amino acids. Nearly all whole foods (including greens and veggies) contain protein, and nearly all forms of protein contain all protein-forming amino acids in some quantity.

Think of a 400lb gorilla. What do they eat to grow that strong muscular body? Leaves, stems, roots, seeds and fruit. Relatively, our bodies are capable of doing the same with plant protein. All of the small changes with choosing the right protein rich plant foods will add up, and you may find you actually have no problem getting in protein at all!



This week the ADOFitness trainers will be addressing the side effects of artificial sweeteners that so many of us consume in our daily diets. Coach Joey Guz  will be discussing the topic this week.

Whether you are tracking your macros, trying to eat less sugar, or watching your caloric intake in any way it may seem like a no brainer to choose to sweeten your meals and drink things with an artificial sweetener added to them. Artificial sweeteners give you the sweetness you are craving and they come at the cost of ZERO CALORIES… why wouldn’t you be using them daily?!

According to Harvard Health, the American Heart Association (AHA) and American Diabetes Association (ADA) have even made statements that the use of artificial sweeteners (instead of sugar) can help combat the problems of obesity, diabetes, metabolic syndrome, and risk factors for heart disease. From the sound of it, there really is no down side to the use of these sweeteners… except there is. I always go with the saying “if it seems like it’s too good to be true, it probably is”, and just like everything else in the world, unfortunately there is always a negative side to things when consumed in excess.

The FDA has only approved five artificial sweeteners for use in the products we buy: accharin, acesulfame, aspartame, neotame, and sucralose. Besides these artificial sweeteners, there are also other kinds of “sugar substitutes” that are used in many of the foods and drinks we consume daily. There are also sugar alcohols (Erythritol, Xylitol, Sorbitol), novel sweeteners (Stevia, Truvia), and natural sweeteners (agave nectar, date sugar, molasses, maple syrup). Even these substitutes, some that claim to be “all natural”, are processed and refined.Your body will respond differently to each of these sweeteners and they have a complex effect on your body and brain. There are a few concerns associated with sugar substitutes:

1. You may replace your calories with other food or drink choices, even if it’s subconscious. It’s the common story you hear of someone getting a large fry because they ordered a Diet Coke… we use this as a way to justify making unhealthy choices just because we made a “healthy” choice, too.

2. Artificial sweeteners may change the way we taste. Because artificial sweeteners are so potent, it only takes a very small amount to create the same amount of sweetness we taste in regular sugar. This could increase your tolerance to sweet foods and cause other foods you eat to taste less sweet.

3. I’m sure you’ve heard before that using artificial sweeteners actually makes you crave sweets MORE! The reason this is a concern is due to the fact that they have sweetness with no caloric intake – your body begins to disassociate sweetness with calories, causing us to choose sweet foods over more nutritious foods, and therefore gain weight.

4. It could be addictive. Certain studies with rats that have been exposed to cocaine have shown that the rats will actually choose oral sweeteners over injectable cocaine! Scary!!

5. Digestive issues, like water retention and bloating, are also common with artificial sweeteners. Depending on your body, you could have digestive symptoms with as little at 10g of sugar alcohol! The majority of people will have symptoms with 50g or more. In these amounts, sugar alcohols have a laxative effects and can cause bloating, gas, and diarrhea.

If you are trying to reduce your intake of artificial sweeteners and sugar substitutes, check the labels of your food and drinks for all of the substitutes mentioned above. Watch out for labels that say, “sugar free” or “low sugar”, as these typically have a TON of sugar substitutes in them. Fill your plates with whole nutritious foods to make sure you are getting your macro and micronutrients in. Foods with natural sugars, like fruits, can help fulfill your sweet tooth while feeding your body with vitamins and fiber!

As with everything moderation is KEY. Having some sugar substitutes will not cause you to have all of these negative side effects. But make sure you sure you are mindful with your food choices and not taking in too many of them to cause these effects and you will be just fine!