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The other day I saw yet another one of those scare-tactic articles that claimed drinking diet soda will cause you to gain weight. It seems like the media just can’t get enough of these stories! Everyone wants to prove that weight management is impossible, and that all attempts to control one’s food intake will merely backfire.
So first things first: the only way a human being can gain weight is to take in more calories than they are using. A zero calorie soda cannot physiologically cause you to gain weight, period. And conversely, there are no foods you can eat that, in themselves, will cause you to lose weight.
It’s calories in -minus- calories out. The end.
What happens, of course, is that we sometimes make food choices that either leave us feeling deprived, or else can trigger excess eating desire and/or hunger. Eliminating foods (”I’m giving up sugar!”) only works while you can stand doing it. The moment you stop, it’s ice cream and candy with cookies on top.
A lot has been written about how highly processed foods can literally become addicting. Brain chemistry becomes highly attuned to the triggers set off by these foods, and we are sometimes almost zombie-like in our pursuit of them.
Yet there is important and good news. The human brain is so powerful and crafty, that with practice, assistance, education, reinforcement, and time, we can retrain ourselves to make better choices, more often.
I’m not saying it’s easy. I’m saying it’s possible