Training fuel, aspartame & weight loss

 Another tough weight watching week this week. I thought I had been good, but 0.5 on. On-off-on-off – getting a bit fed up with this. I asked for some nutrition advice. Becky White from asked me to fill in a food diary for three days. I explained I was struggling to maintain training and weight loss at the same time. She came up with some very interesting results. Not at all what I expected. I recently cut back on what I eat – understandably. She told me I ought to double the size of my breakfast – that it should be the biggest meal of the day. AND… I should try and do some training BEFORE breakfast – to maximise fat burning. Sounds tough stuff to me! Dinner also should be my lightest meal. Gosh, that’s going to take some changing!!

The most interesting thing, though, was her take on artificial sweetener. Apparently research suggests that that ‘the two are linked because the body doesn’t know how to digest these artificial substances and therefore stores them as fat. Opt for ‘full fat yogurts and sugar added drinks or none at all!’

So I went looking for this so called research.

Here, they suggest that the aspartame suppresses the natural feeling of fullness, and therefore you overeat, but backed up with no direct links to research findings:

This article also links aspartame to weight gain, but says that it’s because of the links to the effects on your metabolism. It does include research references:

This article refers to the same research, but deems it inconclusive, and in need of even more research!

It does mention that the theory is not one nutritionists agree with. Hmmm. This nutritionist is the one that brought it to my attention, and she is also the one that asked me did I tend to carry excess weight around my middle. I just want to add, she has never even met me!

This article, again, does not back up its claims with evidence, but I am beginning to think that the case and point here is the argument between low SUGAR and low CALORIE. Maybe someone needs to separate them out in a piece of research!

Finally I stumbled upon a research abstract that sums it up beautifully!

So, I think I conclude that although current research does not establish a CONCRETE link between aspartame and weight gain, there are a lot of causal factors that still need further investigation! That’s not all that helpful! But it does give me something to think about!

So what am I going to do about all this?

Well, I think I will start by consuming the diet stuff I already have, then we’ll see what happens next. I’ll have to come up with a list of replacement alternatives while my head embraces this whole ‘full fat’ idea. It just doesn’t seem right or logical to me!! Better get to work on that list! I do have a sweet tooth, this will be HARD!

I’ll try the double the breakfast half the dinner idea… well it can’t do any harm trying something new, the weight watchers thing doesn’t really work for this hard at work athlete at this moment in time. But, I think I need to find a balance. I see the weight watchers points logic; it’s a way of simply labelling all the things that are good and bad for you in a clear understandable way. So does that mean more veg? I guess so!

Finally, I think I need to see food more as fuel, an think carefully about when I am eating in relation to when I am training – that WILL be hard, because I am meant to do all training JUST BEFORE a main meal! That sounds like a logistical nightmare in the making!

I’ll let you know how I get on!

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