3 Weight Control Questions You’ve Been Wondering About

by Molly Hembree, MS, RD, LD

Last Updated: May 20, 2021

We know managing your weight can be hard. There are so many different strategies, products, and programs you may have tried and haven’t worked. Our dedicated and friendly team of dietitians wants to help ease up your concerns related to calorie control, starting with some clarity about sugar, cleanses, and calorie balance.
  1. I’m trying to cut back on sugar consumption. I see a lot of products that say “no sugar,” and they have stevia as an ingredient. Is stevia healthy?
    Kudos to you on dialing back on added sugars! Professional health organizations like the American Heart Association (AHA) and the Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics have identified added sugars (found in beverages and foods like soda, candy, juices, and granola bars) as a top public health concern in our eating patterns. Specifically, the AHA recommends consuming no more than 25 grams of added sugar for women and no more than 36 grams of added sugar for men each day. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2020-2025, however, have set a more flexible goal: aim for no more than 10% of our calories as added sugar, which equates to 50 grams of added sugar if you are following a 2,000-calorie diet.

    Stevia is a “nonnutritive” sweetener, meaning it offers little to no calories or sugar. Stevia is GRAS (Generally Recognized as Safe) by the FDA and is safe to consume in the amounts present in many of our favorite treats and sweet-tasting beverages. Stevia is a terrific option to sweeten a morning brew or in a favorite baked good recipe.
  2. Do cleanses actually work? If so, what’s a healthy approach?
    Seen as a way to “purify” our body’s natural detoxification system and “spur on weight loss,” dietary cleanses seem to hold promise in setting some untold refresh button on our physiology. Although this Marie Kondo-style of decluttering our body chemistry sounds credible, our liver, intestines, and kidneys, if healthy, are doing a fine job filtering through excess waste and toxins from our diet.

    Instead, a focus on regular bowel patterns from adequate daily fiber (25 grams for adult women, 38 grams for adult men), fluid (11.5 cups for adult women, 15.5 cups for adult men), and regular consumption of fruits like pomegranate and berries and vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, onions, and Brussels sprouts should do all the gentle cleansing we need. Keep in mind that fluid does not have to just be water! Aim for half or more total beverage intake as water, with the rest mostly as low-calorie drink choices such as unsweetened or lightly sweetened: teas, coffees, enhanced waters, and juices.
  3. If I am eating healthy and exercising 3-4 days a week, why am I not losing weight?
    Weight loss is ultimately a direct reflection of our body’s net calorie balance. If we can achieve a calorie deficit through increased calorie expenditure with physical activity and/or reduced calorie intake through food beyond our calorie needs, we should expect to see weight loss.

    Many factors influence whether we are gaining, losing, or maintaining our body weight. Things like age, height, gender, concerns like hypothyroidism, sleeping habits, emotional stress, or even stages of our life such as menopause all factor into the weight control equation. Oftentimes there could be something amiss in our guesses with diet and exercise: did our favorite veggie burger have more calories than we accounted for? Was that handful of nuts more like ¾ cup than the proper ¼ cup? Was my dance class more low impact than I gave it credit for? Did I not account for the extra helping of mashed potatoes on Wednesday night? A lot of inaccurate estimates could add up to why things are off. We also tend to recognize our habits as the choices we make during the workweek, thereby not accounting for all the “loose” food decisions we might make on weekends where things could be less structured.

Your weight loss journey begins with a personalized approach. Connect with a dietitian at www.kroger.com/dietitian for a 1:1 telenutrition visit to discuss an eating approach that fits your lifestyle and needs.

Disclaimer: This information is educational only and not providing healthcare recommendations. Please see a healthcare provider.

Molly Hembree, MS, RD, LD

Molly Hembree, MS, RD, LD

Molly can help you simplify eating, all while building excitement around good food and freeing up time for all the things that really matter in your life. With a knack for food labeling and regulations, weight management, food intolerances, and plant-based eating, Molly is ready to help you make sense of food again. When not on the clock, Molly can be found hip-hop dancing, cuddling up with her two mischievous cats, playing trombone, or honing in on her food photography skills.