Thursday, January 14, 2021

What are some tips to get back on track with my diet after the holidays?

The time between Thanksgiving and New Years day presents some real challenges for those trying to eat healthy and lose weight. The holidays are great and it is a lot of fun to eat and drink a bit more during this time. Just about everyone puts on a few pounds by New Years Day. The Covid-19 pandemic, with it’s high levels of stress and social distancing, is adding to the problem this year.

However, for many of us, the unhealthy eating continues well into January and even February. This is mostly due to swings in blood sugar that result in increased hunger and cravings for refined carbohydrates, which were likely consumed in large amounts over the last several weeks. The more we eat bread, pasta, white rice and sugar, the more we want these foods.

A couple of extra cheat meals and a few pounds gained during the holiday season are not much of a problem. But if the disordered eating lasts for months, you will put on some serious weight. Even my most successful and dedicated clients will struggle during and after the holidays. Here are a few strategies that help them get back on track:

1) If you have eaten more refined carbohydrates during the holiday season, you will have an increase in cravings for them. You will also be more hungry in general. Step one is to mentally realize this. Tell yourself that you will be hungry for the wrong foods, but will not give into them. Getting your head right and understanding the origin of the cravings is very helpful.

2) Write down your food for 2 weeks. It adds a layer of accountability that gets you back on the right track.

3) Go to the grocery store and load up on all of the right foods. Make it easy to eat healthy. 

4) Plan your meals ahead of time. Think about what you will eat for breakfast, lunch and dinner for the next few days or even a week.

5) Try to limit eating out at restaurants for the first week or two. Although most of us are doing take out during Covid, restaurant meals usually have a lot more calories, fat, salt and sugar.

After a week or two of eating right, you will find that your blood sugar has stabilized and the hunger and cravings for the wrong foods will start to calm down.


Wednesday, January 13, 2021

Non-nutritive Sweeteners And Blood Sugar

The Study

Non-nutritive sweeteners can be a useful tool for those trying to eliminate sugar from their diet. However, some believe that despite being calorie free, they may still have a negative impact on blood sugar and insulin levels. The fear is that artificial sweeteners may stimulate the gut or initiate a systematic response due to their sweet taste. 

This investigation is a systematic review and meta-analysis of 26 trials examining the glucose and insulin raising effect after consuming a non-nutritive sweetener preload.  Over 450 subjects were included in these trials. The conclusion of this comprehensive study is that there is no negative impact on blood glucose or insulin levels after consuming non-nutritive sweeteners.  Interestingly, the non-nutritive sweeteners actually improved blood glucose levels in diabetic subjects. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 2020; 112:1002-14.  

Take Home Message

Non-nutritive sweeteners, like Splenda and Equal have been shown to be quite safe in the research literature. This is particularly true when consumed in moderation. This study lends further support to this idea. The key here is moderation. Daily use of non-nutritive sweeteners is not a great idea. The big problem that I have found with them is that they can perpetuate cravings for sweets and refined carbs. However, when consumed just a few times per week, these sweeteners are great because they allow you to have a soda or dessert, yet stay away from sugar. 

Early Time Restricted Feeding And Insulin Sensitivity

The Study

There has been a lot of popular interest in intermittent fasting in the last few years. However, most of the research that I have seen paints a fairly negative picture of the benefits and health consequences of this dietary practice. This article uses a much gentler version of energy restriction. In this investigation, 16 healthy young men were assigned to one of 2 groups. Eight subjects had their energy restricted to the hours of 8:00 AM and 4:00 PM. The other 8 subjects could eat all day, but had a similar caloric restriction. After 2 weeks, weight loss was the same in the 2 groups, but the energy restricted group had a significant improvement in insulin sensitivity. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 2020 112:1015-28.

Take Home Message

This is a very interesting study. Eating from 8:00 AM to 4:00 PM is a very mild form of energy restriction and appears to improve insulin sensitivity. This style of eating allows one to consume a breakfast, lunch and early dinner. I think that these three meals are important to ensure that blood sugar is stable and adequate nutrients are consumed. The researchers believe the benefit to insulin sensitivity was due to the fact that glucose tolerance is higher earlier in the day, when most food was consumed by the energy restriction group.

Fitbit Inspire Hr Heart Rate And Fitness Tracker Review

A fitness tracker can be a very useful tool when looking to lose weight, improve your fitness and improve your health. They can provide a lot of useful data and be quite motivating. Today I review the Fitbit Inspire HR Heart Rate And Fitness Tracker.


1) This heart rate monitor is comfortable to wear and not too big. This is a plus for me because I don’t like wearing big watches.

2) It has a touch screen and you can easily toggle through the different display options.

3) It measures steps, distance traveled and heart rate.

4) It also has a sleep tracker. I have not used this feature yet, but sleep is an important part of our health and it is useful to learn more about your sleep habits.

5) It is easy to charge this watch on your computer.

6) It has long battery life. A charge last for 5 days.

7) It has a really useful app for your phone that keeps track of everything.

8) It also has a stop watch and countdown timer which can come in handy.


1) The font on the watch is a little small, which can make it difficult to read for people who wear reading glasses.

2) It was not super easy to set up. It took a while for my phone and the Fitbit HR to link up. In fairness, this may have been an issue with my phone’s Bluetooth.

Do I Recommend the Fitbit Inspire HR Fitness Tracker?

Absolutely. This is a useful tool to help you analyze your steps, sleep and heart rate. Since increasing physical activity and losing weight is a major New Year’s resolution, this little gadget can come in handy right about now. You can pick one up for $79.95 on Here is the link for anyone interested.

Disclosure: I am not affiliated with the company that makes the Fitbit Inspire HR and make no money if you buy it.