A diet high in sugar can lead to weight gain – not to mention a slew of other negative health issues. So, we replace sugar with artificial sweeteners. After all, these sugar-free alternatives are usually calorie-free. But even though artificial sweeteners aren’t high calories, they can alter the bacteria in your microbiome, and this makes it harder to avoid weight gain.

The microbiome influences weight gain

We often think that weight gain boils down to how many calories we eat and how many calories we burn (or don’t burn). However, it’s not always that simple. 

After all, researchers already know that non-nutritive sweeteners (artificial sweeteners) are connected with changes in body weight and our body’s ability to tolerate glucose (sugar). Therefore, weight gain isn’t just about calories in and calories out. 

But how do artificial sweeteners impact weight gain? It all boils down to gut health and your microbiome, which plays an important role when it comes to healthy body weight.

Artificial sweeteners change gut bacteria related to weight gain

In a study published last month, researchers discovered that non-nutritive sweeteners had a strong influence on bacteria in the gut.

These non-nutritive sweeteners (NNS) included acesulfame potassium, saccharin, sucralose and rebaudioside A, an active ingredient in Stevia.

In particular, this group of NNS prevented healthy gut bacteria from reproducing. What’s worse, these artificial sweeteners increased the amount of Firmucutes – a type of gut phyla which is connected with weight gain in prior studies. 

Therefore, if you’re trying to maintain a healthy body weight, or you’re aiming to lose weight, it may be a good idea to avoid artificial sweeteners. Sure, they’re low in calories, but their impact on the microbiome can actually make it harder to prevent weight gain. 

Just the idea of running in the winter makes you shiver. After all, who wants to step out in low temps for a bit of cardio? Can’t you exercise without making it an outdoor activity? Of course, but for those of us who don’t want to abandon our running shoes, you’ll be happy to hear that you can make winter running more enjoyable and easier, too. 

Show Full Article

How to soothe eye strain after too much screen time

Most people spend a lot of time looking at screens every single day. We use computers for work,  plus we clock in a lot of screen time on our smart phones and all the other smart devices we have. The only problem is, all this screen time is very hard on the eyes, making eye strain a common complaint. So, if you use a computer every day, and you’re starting to notice eye discomfort, here are five ways to get some much-needed relief. 

Show Full Article