The SparkPeople Blog

The Best Diet for Long-Term Weight Loss Success

By: , – Becky Hand, Licensed and Registered Dietitian
9/9/2014  12:00:00 AM   :  16 comments   :  30,321 views

Are you bombarded in the break room by the latest diet adventures of your co-workers? Are you thinking about starting that metabolism-boosting diet splashed on the cover of your magazine? You’d love to lose 30 pounds. But where do you begin? Eliminate carbs, reduce your fat, count points, track calories, push protein, use prepared meals? Is your head spinning from all these choices? 

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Are Low- and No-Calorie Sweeteners Really Safe?

By: , – Berna Magnuson, PhD.
9/5/2014  12:00:00 AM   :  8,943 views

Have you ever wondered why just about everyone likes sweets? Stop wondering.  The fact is we are born with an innate desire for sweet taste. And we begin to enjoy sweet taste as soon as we taste mother’s milk or infant formula. Some believe that desire was nature’s way of leading us to foods that had calories for survival.

As rates of obesity continue to rise in many countries, we know that too often we eat more sweet foods than we need for survival!  The problem occurs when we overindulge in our desire for sweets and consume more calories than we burn off. But there is a way that we can have our cake and eat it, too--by choosing foods and beverages sweetened with low- and no-calorie sweeteners. That’s one reason why these ingredients were initially developed--to allow us to enjoy sweet things with fewer calories. Another reason is to provide sweetness without sugar that increases blood glucose, so that diabetics could enjoy these foods. However, as an expert in food ingredient safety, I am often asked:  are sugar substitutes such as aspartame or sucralose safe? 

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Get SparkPeople Community & Coaching On the Go!

By: , SparkPeople Blogger
9/2/2014  12:00:00 AM   :  37 comments   :  15,200 views

When we released the new, FREE version of our Nutrition Tracker app earlier this year, we asked for feedback about what would help YOU get more out of SparkPeople. You gave us some great ideas,  so we took the most popular suggestions and built them into the app.

Starting today, you can update your app and enjoy these new features:

  1. Take the SparkPeople Community with you! We’ve built mobile chat boards right into the app for easy access wherever you are. You can also easily check your SparkPage on the go.
     
  2. Want to set a small reminder to help you reach your goals? Check out the new (free!) SparkPeople Coaching Center. Here, you can get small reminders, coaching notifications, and great advice from our SparkPeople food, fitness, and motivation experts.
     
  3. Connect your favorite fitness tracking device with our app! Set up your Fitbit, Jawbone Up, or RunKeeper app to feed your step data into your SparkPeople account from your mobile phone.

These updates are available now for both Android and iPhone users. If you’re new to our Calorie Counter and Weight Loss app, you can download it at Google Play, the Apple App Store, or the Amazon App Store. Give it a try and tell us what you think! Thanks and SparkCheers!

Sculpt Your Legs in 8 Minutes (at Home!)

By: , – Jessica Smith, Certified Personal Trainer
8/31/2014  12:00:00 AM   :  7 comments   :  20,104 views

No equipment? No problem! This quick set of exercises is guaranteed to fry your thighs using just your body weight and a small amount of space (making this routine perfect for travel!). Try this lower-body circuit as its own workout (1, 2 or 3 times through depending on how much time and energy you have), add it to your strength routine or try it after a cardio session for one short, but serious, lower body sculpting session.
 
Keep an eye out for Peanut the French bulldog, who also joins us for this workout (well, sort of)!



Leave me a comment below and let me know if you tried the workout. What was your favorite (or least favorite!) move?
 
Want more? Click here to try more of our lower body routines on JESSICASMITHTV!
 
Like this workout? Be sure to subscribe at Youtube.com/JessicaSmithTV to access a full library of over 200 FREE full-length workout videos. New episodes air every Saturday at noon EST!

About the Author
Jessica Smith is co-author of the Thin in 10 Weight Loss Plan (Sunrise River Press, 2012), and a certified wellcoach, personal trainer and group fitness instructor. Having started her own fitness journey more than 40 pounds ago, Jessica knows how challenging it can be to lose weight (and keep it off). Recently named one of Sharecare's Top 10 Online Influencers, she loves finding and sharing the latest info on weight loss, fitness, and healthy lifestyle habits. The star of several best-selling exercise DVDs, Jessica has over 13 years of experience in the industry, and holds a bachelor's degree in Communications from Fordham University.

Join SparkPeople On the Road This Fall!

By: , SparkPeople Blogger
8/29/2014  12:00:00 AM   :  29 comments   :  11,135 views

Big news! This fall, SparkPeople will be sponsoring several races across the country—and we're going to be there to cheer you on! SparkPeople representatives are hitting the road to attend six different national events, kicking things off in our hometown of Cincinnati at the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure on Sunday, Sept. 14, 2014 at Coney Island Park.  Chris Downie (SparkPeople Founder, CEO and author of The Spark) will also be with us at the Cincinnati race to autograph your book, answer questions and do what he does best: provide motivation! We are excited to take our show on the road to support fellow health enthusiasts as they come together to reach their goals. 

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5 Reasons Why It's Okay to Drink Diet Beverages

By: , – John Peters, PhD.
8/28/2014  12:00:00 AM   :  8,940 views

If you’re feeling confused by all of the headlines about diet beverages, you’re not alone. There’s a growing amount of misinformation about diet beverages. Here are some of the facts that we tell our patients who ask about drinking these popular drinks:   
 
1. They help satisfy your sweet tooth.
 
Diet beverages can help fulfill our innate desire for sweet – but without adding calories. In fact, University of North Carolina researchers8found that drinking diet beverages didn’t increase appetite or desire for sweets. Diet soda drinkers in their study actually ate less dessert.
 
2. Diet soda doesn’t raise blood sugar levels.
 
That’s a big deal for the 29 million Americans who have diabetes, not to mention the 86 million more with pre-diabetes. No wonder that the American Diabetes Association9recommends that people with this disease consume foods and beverages sweetened with low- and no-calorie sweeteners. 

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