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Physician urges moderate use of sugar and artificial sweeteners for weight loss

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You've read all the news and studies urging you to eliminate sugar and artificial sweeteners from your diet, right? And yet...you're craving the sweet stuff. Now a physician is coming to your rescue by contending that you can incorporate both sugar and artificial sweeteners in your diet while losing weight, reported the Wichita Eagle on Jan. 20.

If you think that the consumption of sugar in this nation isn't a problem, consider these sour statistics from the USDA: Americans gulp down more than 22 teaspoons a day, which is twice as much as recommended. Studies link too much sugar to weight gain, diabetes, metabolic syndrome, heart attack and stroke.

But what if you really love the sweet stuff?

"Save your sweet budget for things that taste great, like dessert," says Jacob Teitelbaum, a physician and author of "Beat Sugar Addiction Now" and "Beat Sugar Addiction Now! Cookbook: Recipes That Cure Your Type of Sugar Addiction and Help You Lose Weight and Feel Great" (click for details).

Here are his tips for having your cake and losing weight too:

  • Allow but limit sugar. The American Heart Association recommends that women consume six or less teaspoons of sugar, while men get a maximum of nine.
  • Sugar is sugar - and that includes natural honey and agave nectar.
  • Despite numerous studies linking artificial sweeteners to weight gain, Teitelbaum suggests using saccharin. “There’s a very long safety record with Sweet’n Low,” he said, while recommending zero-calorie natural ones such as stevia when possible.
  • Go for quality in those indulgences. "But instead of eating a pound of M&Ms, get the best-tasting chocolate you can find and let it melt in your mouth."
  • And at breakfast, lose the Lucky Charms. "Have eggs for breakfast and you’re less likely to have an energy crash an hour later,” he said.

However, before you dash to get that chocolate fix, consider whether you might be a sugar addict. Because if you are, according to Dr. Nicole Avena, you need to kick the sugar completely in order to take control of your weight and health.

Based on her work at New York Obesity Research Center, Columbia University and St. Luke's-Roosevelt Hospital, Nicole discovered that for some individuals, "cutting sugar and carbohydrates resulted in dramatic improvements in several aspects of life."

Sugar addiction is very real, contends Nicole. And for those trying to win at weight loss, allowing sugar may make that goal impossible.

She cites cases of individuals who "feel compelled to overeat certain types of foods, and can't give them up no matter what they try to do." Find out more about her research and get tips on what to do if you think you might be a sugar addict by clicking here.

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