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Food for Thought: GenoPalate November Newsletter

Many people turn to the sugar-free or diet substitutes for their favorite treats and drinks when trying to lose weight. A recent study found that the switch to a sugar-free option may not actually benefit weight loss efforts. 


Artificial sweeteners, also known as nonnutritive sweeteners, are typically used as an alternative to satisfy cravings for sweets without the added calories. While this may sound like an ideal swap, studies have actually found mixed results. This recent study aimed to determine the impact of switching to the nonnutritive sweetener sucralose. 


Subjects were asked to drink either a beverage sweetened with table sugar, sucralose (an artificial sweetener), or water. Two hours after, MRIs were used to check how particular regions of the participants’ brains reacted after being shown photos of highly palatable foods, such as burgers and donuts. 


What the researchers found was that subjects that were female or had obesity were potentially more sensitive to the artificial sweeteners. These groups had increased activity in the brain areas related to appetite and food cravings after drinking the sucralose beverage. Additionally, these groups consumed more calories at the provided snack buffet afterwards and it is hypothesized that artificially sweetened drinks may trick the brain into thinking it is hungry. 


While this was a small study and more research will need to be done, it may help to determine whether artificial sweeteners actually work for you! You can read the full study here



Fast Fact: 


Many of us already know that walnuts are nutrient-packed nuts filled with omega-3s, antioxidants, and fiber. However, did you know that a diet enriched with walnuts could help lower cholesterol levels and reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease?



You’ve Got Questions? We’ve Got Answers! 


Q: Should I be intermittent fasting if I want to lose weight?


A: The term fasting generally refers to the abstinence from food or drinks for a particular period of time. This would mean that when you go to sleep, you would technically be fasting during that time. Intermittent fasting, on the other hand, involves cycling between periods of eating and fasting. There are many different varieties, such as fasting for 12 hours each day, alternate-day fasting, or even up to days at a time. Fasting has been shown to have some potential health benefits - from weight loss to decreasing inflammation markers. However, it is not a necessary practice to lose weight, but instead simply a tool to manage calories. 



Trends for Foodies


Discover the hottest trends in the food industry that affect the way we look at—and eat—food!


While this trend may not be entirely new, the use of vertical or urban farming has really blown up as of late! Vertical farming is an indoor farming technique that allows crops to grow without soil. The crops are stacked in layers, so it also requires less space. This practice has become more popular as urban populations continue to grow and the land available for growing crops decreases. This is an eco-friendly option for people that want to start growing their own food! 



Fast Fact: 


When many of us think of improving iron levels, we often think of feasting on a nice steak. However, have you ever tried millet? A new study finds that regular millet consumption may actually help improve iron deficiency! 



What’s Cooking?


Each month, we will be highlighting a few seasonal recipes. Happy cooking!


While butternut squash is in season, there is no better time to get creative and use it in a new recipe! Butternut squash is a low calorie carbohydrate option that is packed with vitamin A, vitamin C, magnesium, and potassium! This recipe would be the perfect dish to cozy up with on a cold night! 


Nutrition Analysis for 1 serving:

Total Calories: 315 kcals

  • Carbohydrates: 39.5 g
  • Fiber: 6.3 g
  • Total Fat: 7.5 g
  • Protein: 26.9g


This dish puts a fun spin on adding butternut squash to your salad! 


Nutrition Analysis for 1 serving:

Total Calories: 650 kcals

  • Carbohydrates: 49 g
  • Fiber: 12 g
  • Total Fat: 46 g
  • Saturated Fat: 6 g
  • Protein: 19g
  • Sodium: 610 mg




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Photo of Frankie O'Brien

Medically reviewed by:

Frankie O'Brien, MS, RD, LDN

Registered Dietitian

Frankie is a registered and licensed dietitian who received her Master’s Degree in Nutrition and Dietetics from the University of Illinois at Chicago, where she also completed her dietetic internship. Frankie is passionate about helping others with mindful eating, lifestyle changes, weight management, and performance nutrition. She focuses on helping clients improve their relationship with food and navigate the misinformation in the media. Frankie has experience helping others make sustainable changes to help them reach their long-term goals. During her career, she has helped others find a healthy relationship with food so they feel empowered to ditch diets and trust their bodies.

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