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Health at Every Size - these are the buzz words around the internet these days. Are you healthy? Do you want to be healthier?

What is health? The World Health Organization defined health in its broader sense in 1946 as "a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity". Being healthier doesn't mean losing weight. To you it might mean:

We would like to introduce you to a blog series on Intuitive Eating. This blog is written by Danielle Lithwick M.A., founder of Move Out Of Madness. With over a decade of combined education and experience in nutrition, yoga, psychology, addiction counselling, mindfulness, and personal training, she believes that how we move and how we eat should nourish not only our bodies but also our minds. Her mission is to teach people how to take the simpler and saner approach to exercise and eating using a personalized, skills-based, and compassionate approach to change. Her coaching services are rooted in non-diet and weight-neutral approaches to health and in the values of education, empowerment and enjoyment. She lives in Ottawa, ON Canada.

To read the series of blogs click the links below:

We are very happy to announce that we have a Registered Dietician on staff who will be writing our Health At Every Size series as well as answering a reader's question each month. You can read about Shari's philosophy and experience on our staff page. If you have a question for Shari, please email us at

Disclaimer: This advice is not intended to be a substitute for, nor does it replace, professional medical, health or nutritional advice.

The 5 worst sweeteners

"Sugar is a poison. It causes weight gain and will make you diabetic. And damage your ticker!"

The list goes on but you get the point. We've been bombarded with messages that sugar is bad for us. And that, instead, we should use other type of sweeteners.

But are the supposedly healthy sweeteners good for you? Or worse than sugar? Keep reading to find out.

1. Artificial sweeteners

Examples (the 'bolded' ones are the worst) :

Non-nutritive sweeteners have long been (and are still) recommended to people with diabetes. Not a good idea.

In a 2017 study, researchers found that Canderel (made from maltodextrin, aspartame, acesulfame K, and maltol) could have negative effects on the pancreas' beta cells. [The beta cells make insulin, a hormone that helps control blood sugar levels.] Plus, this sweetener could also increase insulin resistance and "put the consumer at risk of developing diabetes or pre-diabetes".

2. Sugar alcohols


The body can't really absorb sugar alcohols, and this can cause bloating, gas, cramping, and diarrhea. In fact, these sweeteners are often added to over-the-counter laxatives because they have potent laxative properties.

But my main beef with sugar alcohols is that they disproportionately feed bad bacteria. Plus, they make the gut more permeable. And, in doing so, they contribute to autoimmune diseases (which are on the rise worldwide).

3. Stevia

Stevia gets its sweet taste from components known as steviol glycosides and which have a hormone structure.

There is strong evidence that steviol glycosides can act as endocrine disruptors (chemicals that interfere with hormones) and adversely affect progesterone levels.

[Yes, progesterone is the hormone needed to maintain pregnancy. But that's not all it does. Some of its other functions include maintaining a healthy libido, promoting muscle growth, regulating detox enzymes and so on.]

4. High fructose corn syrup

This one causes SO many health issues that it got its own article last month (March 2019). Check it to find out (i) why you want to avoid it, (ii) how to avoid it, (iii) what its aliases are.

5. Agave syrup or nectar

The 'agave nectar' you see in grocery stores would be more accurately labeled 'agave syrup'. And it has nothing to do with the traditional Mexican sweetener.

Some websites talk about the health benefits of agave. But what they grossly overlook is that production of agave syrup involves heating the sap extracted form the plant. And the heating process destroys all the agave's health-promoting properties.

The issue with agave syrup is that it is extremely rich in fructose. In other words, it can contribute to insulin resistance which is the driving factor in type 2 diabetes. Plus, insulin resistance will also worsen hormonal imbalances, PCOS, autoimmune issues, and heart disease.

So, what sweeteners can you use? I'll cover this in next month's article ??. (But in the meantime, note that it's a wiser choice to use sugar than the sweeteners mentioned in this article.)

Submitted by: Shari

Feel free to post about your own journey with Health At Every Size, any questions you may have or suggestions for future topics on our Facebook page or our Forums. Shari also has her own Facebook page .

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