At Elevation Medical Weight Loss we tend to take a somewhat relaxed approach to meal planning, as a result we are often asked a wide range of questions regarding the finer details of our recommended diet. I am going to address a couple of the more common questions that seem to come up at least once a week.
Does it matter when or how often I eat?
Yes, and no. Generally speaking, what matters most for weight loss is a consistent calorie deficit; however there are a few instances where timing your meals can be beneficial. If you have adopted an intense exercise routine, then you may find it beneficial to eat directly after your workout. Eating after exercise helps to limit the negative effect that carbohydrates may have on you, because your body will use them to replenish your muscles rather than to add to your stored fat. That being said, aside from affecting and being affected by your workouts, meal timing is a personal matter and your ability to mentally stick with you diet matters far more than any minor impact made by a poorly timed meal.
Do artificial sweeteners count as carbs?
Yes artificial sweeteners (AS) are processed by your body in a similar way to sugar, what makes them different is that a calorie worth of AS can be 2-200x sweeter than a calorie of sugar. That means that it takes a lot more AS to have the same impact on your body as sugar. Despite this, we do advise you to avoid AS where possible since not only can consuming excess AS cause you to retain water, but also because in some people merely tasting sweetness can induce an insulin surge, even in the absence of sugar (this is called a psychosomatic effect, and it is believed that as your insulin sensitivity improves you become less susceptible to this effect).