Following the Trim Healthy Momma diet seems to be the newest trend in dieting. So many of my friends seemed to like it, so I picked the book up at the library. After all, a diet that tells you that you can eat bacon and still lose weight sounds like a miracle, doesn't it? And, many of my friends have been amazed that they could lose weight quickly, sometimes within days. The Trim, Healthy Momma diet even claims that you will get the added benefits of lower cholesterol, blood pressure and triglycerides.
So, I opened the book and began to read. The first thing that struck me was the heavy use of Truvia. I have not tried Truvia, to tell the truth, but my body has not done well on other artificial sweeteners over the years, so it made me take a second look at it. I remember back about twenty-five years ago when I bought some Stevia leaves at a Renissance Faire and I enjoyed brewing the leaves along with my tea for sweetner, so perhaps Trucia, a zero-calorie natural sweetener derived from the stevia plant, according to Cargill's website, would be a good thing. However, upon researching it, I found out that the only reason Truvia can mention anything about Stevia is because Rebiana, one of the three ingredients of Truvia, is derived from a Stevia plant.. First of all, only half of one percent of Truvia is Rebiana, and secondly, Rebiana is not the same thing as Stevia. It is only a molecule of the stevia plant. Furthermore, Rebiana is actually 400 times sweeter than sugar, but you’ll notice that Truvia is only twice as sweet as sugar.
The primary ingredient of Truvia is actually Erythritol, which is a sugar alcohol which is made by processing genetically modified corn, so instead of Truvia being thought of as refined stevia, it should be thought of a refined sugar alcohol. Sugar alcohols are notoriously known for their unpleasant side effects. Our bodies do a poor job at digesting sugar alcohol, which is why they are low in calories, but because they aren’t completely digested, they hang out in our intestines where they are fermented by colonic bacteria. The by-products of fermentation include gastric distress, diarrhea, cramping, gas and bloating, which not coincidentally, are the main side effects of Truvia.
The last ingredient of Truvia is listed as "natural flavors." What does that mean? That’s a good question, and your answer is as good as mine. As you may already know, the term “natural” is not FDA-regulated, therefore there are no standards when using this word.
Truvia may be perfectly harmless for the vast majority, but there is no evidence that Truvia is either natural or safe, according to the Regulatory Affairs unit of the Public Health and Medical Fraud Research Cooperative. For me, I would rather cut out or at least reduce my refined sugar instead of just replacing it with Truvia. For some, honey, in moderation, or perhaps using the actual stevia plant leaves would be better than switching to Truvia.
Okay, so I may or may not have convinced you of taking a second thought when switching to Truvia. Let us go on to the next thing I noticed when looking over the Trim, Healthy Momma book, the low carb and high fats. This is not a new concept, as it was popularized back in the early 1970's with the Adkin's diet (Diet Revolution). The track record of that diet is that people found out that it turned out to be less effective and less healthy than originally claimed. Often the weight returned, as did the problems with high blood pressure. The Trim, Healthy Momma states that it is different in that it allows small amounts of carbohydrates and that they include sources of healthier fats, such as fish and olive oil, as well as the saturated fats. Are those changes enough?
When carbohydrate consumption falls below 100 grams, the body responds by burning muscle tissue for the glycogen, or stored glucose, it contains. When those glycogen stores start to run out, the body resorts to burning body fat, but that is a very inefficient, complicated way to produce blood sugar. The body only tries to do this when it absolutely has to, like when its starving. Turning fat into blood sugar produces a bi-product called ketones. My oncologist specifically stated at my first meeting with him that I was not to go on a weight loss diet that encouraged the production of ketones. So, in my particular case, it is very important that I don't reduce my carbohydrates that low, but since it is a function that begins when the body is starving, it makes sense to me that it wouldn't be good for anyone. According to the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences, the human brain requires the equivalent of 130 grams of carbohydrate a day to function optimally, and that is just a minimum. I would like to assert that I think it is at least as important to look at the type of carbohydrates we are getting rather as the amount.
Many of the weight loss advantages of a low-carb diet may in fact be due to the extra protein. As I have said before, protein can really help with weight control. They curb hunger and so people consume fewer calories and lose more weight Two major studies of low-carb diets, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, looked at obese men and women who stuck with either a low-carb, high-fat diet or a low-fat, high-carb diet. Both diets were low in calories. In one study, which lasted six months, the low-carb diet seemed to win hands down, and that part of the study is what a lot of people who are looking at the diet are looking at. The people on it lost nearly 13 pounds; the low-fat dieters shed just 4 pounds.
The second study reveals more information, however. This study lasted six months longer, revealed that results of this type of diet really don’t last. This study found that the low-carb dieters lost more weight in the first six months, but in the second half of the year, the weight came roaring back. By the end of a year, there was no significant difference in weight loss between the two groups.
In another study, researchers at the University of Washington School of Medicine in Seattle gave volunteers a diet that got 50 percent of its calories from carbohydrates. To start, the volunteers got only 15 percent of their calories from protein and 35 percent from fat. Then they switched. Carbs stayed the same, but fat was decreased to 20 percent of calories, and protein was doubled to 30 percent. The participants were allowed to eat as much as they wanted— but they ate less. Over 14 weeks, they lost an average of 11 pounds, including 8 pounds of body fat, thanks to the extra protein.
And about the butter and bacon, saturated fats directly impair the body’s ability to react to insulin, so following a low-carb, high-saturated-fat diet may help you lose weight in the short term, but it may also speed the development of insulin resistance. Eventually, that can lead to metabolic syndrome, diabetes, and heart disease. So, it seems that you can't have your butter and bacon and have weight loss and good health at the same time.
I am not a health professional, and what I learn is just from my own research, so don't take my word for it. I am also still overweight, so I cannot say that I am in any way an expert in weight loss. I can only tell you what I have learned and what I feel. Make your own reasonable and informed decision, but don't just take the word of one source. I can only tell you what I have learned that might be a better way, which I will outline next time, and why I will not be a Trim, Healthy Momma.