Weight Loss

4 Important reasons why diet plans fail

By Kim Crawford, M.D. Last updated: February 10, 2019
why diet plans fail

First, Understand What May be Sabotaging your Diet plans

There are a plethora of reasons why diet plans fail. However, cravings fall into what I discuss below. And any GI tract “issue” is covered in another section. As  a weight loss doctor who has helped literally tens of thousands of people shed pounds and keep them off, I’ve compiled what I see as the top four things you need to correct. So let’s get to #1 which is actually super easy to correct! Let’s talk about the reason diet plans fail and how to make YOU succeed. Here’s a very common #1.

(1) Artificial Sweeteners Inhibit Weight Loss and nuke diets:

There are currently 18, yes 18 different toxic artificial sweeteners on the market. Note pure STEVIA is not on the banned list. It is a long political story but pure stevia, without the additives, doesn’t appear to cause the problems I’ll discuss here. If you are trying to shed pounds, the last thing you want to do is use foods or beverages with artificial sweeteners. I know you have likely heard this, but now I’ll tell you exactly WHY artificial sweeteners will sabotage your diet.

The one you’re most likely to encounter is aspartame, which also tends to be the worst of them all. However, the others have this same “profile,” so I’ll just focus on aspartame for the sake of brevity.

Contrary to the food industry claims that all of these products are totally safe, there is research over the last 30 years including several large-scale studies which have shown otherwise. To illustrate artificial sweeteners stimulate appetite, increase cravings for carbohydrates, and produce a variety of metabolic dysfunctions that promote weight gain, an increase in body fat and a decrease in lean body mass.

This has surprised many researchers, and so the food industry (no surprise here), as well as the Weight Loss Industry, suppresses this information. Artificial sweeteners are added to about 6,000 different beverages, snacks, and food products, making label-reading an ever pressing necessity. Disturbingly, food industry groups are now trying to hide the presence of artificial sweeteners in certain foods.

The truth about the “diet’ aisle

Aspartame and other artificial sweeteners are primarily marketed to diabetics and those individuals who wish to lose weight. Look in the freezer at the grocery store in the “diet section.”

You will see name brand Diet Plans and Weight Loss Programs selling foods FULL of these artificial sweeteners! Further, they do this despite the fact that artificial sweeteners have repeatedly been shown to produce the exact opposite effects of what they SAY they want to accomplish.

Well, you know how I feel about the “diet industry”; they want you to keep coming back!

You are a much better customer to them if you are overweight and have gained after losing on their diet plans. Why would they want you to eat regular, healthy non-processed foods such as what I recommend? They wouldn’t! That’s the answer. They want you to purchase lots of their processed, toxic, artificially-sweetened foods, so you’ll remain a customer for life!

Research shows that aspartame worsens glycation and insulin sensitivity MORE than sugar! Artificial sweeteners have also been found to promote weight gain, in more ways than one. So, not just appetite which is bad enough, right? But lots more. I’ll give you the whole story, so you will stop ingesting what is making your blood sugar worse, appetite more voracious, sugar cravings MORE prominent and diet plans “ditched.”  You really have to look closely at the ingredients in everything. As I keep recommending, the more you eat and drink natural, real foods, and beverages, the better it is for your weight, your “total” health, your GI tract, your immune system and your brain health.

Artificial Sweeteners Confuse your Metabolism:

One big reason why artificial sweeteners do not help you lose weight is because the sweet taste does not fool your body without the accompanying calories.

When you eat something sweet, your brain releases dopamine, which activates your brain’s reward center. The appetite-regulating hormone leptin is also released, which eventually informs your brain that you are “full” once a certain amount of calories have been ingested. why diet plans fail

However, when you consume something that tastes sweet but doesn’t contain any calories, your brain’s pleasure pathway still gets activated by the sweet taste, but there’s nothing to deactivate it since the calories never arrive.

Artificial sweeteners trick your body into thinking it’s going to receive sugar (calories), but when the sugar doesn’t come, your body continues to signal that it needs more. As a result, cravings for sugar and carbohydrates increase.

Artificial sweeteners cause serious health issues

Besides worsening insulin sensitivity and promoting weight gain by basically destroying your diet plans, aspartame, and other artificial sweeteners also promote other health problems.

To begin, it causes cardiovascular disease, strokes, and short term memory loss leading to Alzheimer’s disease. While poor diet is a major factor in the development of  Alzheimer’s in general, one of the key mechanisms of harm appears to be methanol toxicity. This is a tremendously ignored problem associated with aspartame in particular. Yes, aspartame causes methanol toxicity which fries your brain.

There are well-known links between aspartame and methanol toxicity and the formation of toxic formaldehyde. Formaldehyde has been implicated in Alzheimer’s and other neurological conditions. It is being researched as cause or component of the symptoms of Gulf War Syndrome.

Note if you are hooked on artificial sweeteners with the associated sugar and carbohydrate cravings, you very well might benefit from using metabolism boosting supplements, natural appetite suppressant supplements, and leptin/ghrelin normalizers. The good news is that stevia (pure!) doesn’t cause issues.

(2) Your current diet may be the main problem!

A big reason for unexplained weight gain in Americans is the composition of our diets in general. This means what you eat, not necessarily how much you eat. The more you purchase from your clean eating grocery list, the better weight control, health and even skin appeal you will have. If you follow my anti-inflammatory diet plan, don’t take pharmaceuticals and DO reap the health and weight loss benefits of probiotics for your GI tract, your weight loss diet will run considerably more smoothly. I’ll discuss getting your GI tract in shape in a bit if you DO take pharmaceuticals or you have eaten “unwisely.” I’m also hoping I don’t need to remind you about controlling inflammation and oxidative stress but if this is a question for you, just read my book. However, next up, you must understand leptin and ghrelin and what throws these hormones off balance. First- a quick word about antibiotics and you’ll quickly understand why.

(3) Antibiotics really seriously mess up all diets!

I’ll bet that you just read that and thought WHAT? How can antibiotics mess up my diet ? Okay, I’ll explain. First, you need to understand the two hormones the media continues to mention, but never really explains. I’ll do that for you so then you can be a real smarty pants with your friends. Then, I’ll get back to the topic of antibiotics.

Understanding Hunger hormones: Ghrelin and Leptin- why diet plans fail right and left:

Ghrelin and leptin are the two “hunger hormones” in the mucous membranes of your stomach. Levels of ghrelin should fall after a meal. This drop in ghrelin signals to your brain that you’re full.  An increase, on the other hand, tells your brain to continue eating, which will tend to lead to overeating and therefore weight gain. Many people with “unbalanced GI tract microbiomes” resulting from poor diets and pharmaceuticals, and one BIG culprit I’ll discuss in a moment, have increased ghrelin levels after a meal. That’s why many people feel as if they are “always hungry.” If this is how you feel, I can fix this! Contact me. One down and one to go. Clear, right?

The way your body stores fat is a highly regulated process that is controlled, primarily, by leptin. If you gain excess weight, the additional fat produces extra leptin that should alert your brain your body is storing too much fat and needs to burn off the excess. To do this, signals are sent to your brain to stop being hungry and to stop eating. When you become leptin-resistant, your body can no longer hear these messages, so then you remain hungry and your body stores fat.

Overexposure to high levels of the hormone (leptin) can lead to “leptin resistance,” which means your body is unable to hear leptin’s signals properly. So, again, you keep eating and gaining weight. This happens with GI issues and also if you are eating an inflammatory diet, or you are overweight.

More details on leptin:

You can easily become leptin-resistant by eating a diet full of sugar (particularly fructose and really particularly high fructose corn syrup), refined grains and processed foods, as these too will upset the balance of bacteria in your G.I. tract. Sugar feed pathogenic yeast and fungi and processed foods tend to have a very detrimental effect on beneficial bacteria.

Together, these create the perfect environment for health-harming, weight-packing bacteria to thrive. And leptin has been discovered to be closely linked to your BDNF level. In fact, low BDNF makes you fat! Amp up your BDNF with brain boosting supplements and you’ll lower your leptin to lose weight at the same time. It’s amazing. But, let’s get back to an extremely common reason for leptin issues-antibiotics. Truly one of the epidemic reasons why diet plans fail.

What totally messes up the leptin and ghrelin picture? Antibiotics! Ever take any?

Research shows that as long as 18 months after antibiotics are used there is a:

6-fold increase in the release of ghrelin (the “hunger hormone”) after a meal.

20 percent increase in leptin levels (remember leptin is the hormone produced by fat tissue).

5 percent increase in BMI (body mass index)=you are gaining weight!

To emphasize, the entire problem with antibiotics and/or a poor diet is what is happening in your GI tract. You don’t even have to have one symptom of any gastrointestinal problem whatsoever for all of this to happen, and THAT is important for you to know.

What is going on with antibiotics in your G.I. tract?

Taking antibiotics wipes out the normal healthy bacteria lining your G.I. tract and then replaces them with toxic bacteria, often E.Coli. By doing this, you will affect the two hunger hormones discussed above. Not only THAT, but it has been recently shown toxic bacteria slows metabolism, and good bacteria speeds up metabolism. Note I will teach you how to add the good bacteria to you G.I. tract. It is a triple whammy! Further, there are usually no symptoms (at least not for a while), you just gain weight!

How to Optimize Your G.I. tract to reverse the Ghrelin and Leptin Issues:

The first and easiest way to start to optimize your G.I. tract bacteria called “flora” is through your diet. Most people need to reduce non-sprouted grains and sugar drastically. In addition, avoid genetically engineered ingredients, processed foods, pasteurized foods, and chlorinated tap water. Markedly, pasteurized foods can harm your good bacteria, and sugar promotes the growth of pathogenic yeast and other fungi.

Grains containing gluten are particularly damaging to your GI tract flora too. Chlorine in your tap water not only kills pathogenic bacteria in the water, but beneficial bacteria in your gut. So, what do you do to finish off this process, get your GI tract in shape and get your weight on the right track? An easy GI tract overall. And a quick side note to those of you who think you might have leaky gut issues-you will need more “overhauling” so please circle back to that linked article.

GI tract overhaul: Detox, prebiotics, then probiotics and you’re good to go!

FIRST, let’s do a quick check about clearance of toxic bacteria and yeast (candida) with the detox system I use and recommend to patients and AWS annual consultation members. It is indeed the easiest detox in the world and is so much cheaper than getting chelation! In fact, all of the best weight loss programs should be promoting a good detox from the world of toxins we live in-as we do.

I recommend a Nano-ACS-Silver spray and a Zeolite spray. With both, you’ll clear out GI tract candida, pesticides, flouride and a lot more.

Yes, you DO need to detox! Here is why:

This is real. This will help your weight loss, mood, immune system, and brain health! Additionally, there are all sorts of articles on this website and the internet about how the GI tract holds the keys to successful weight loss and much more.

SECOND, you need to set up an environment where good bacteria can take over the bad bacteria.
This is the prebiotic phase, and you can take a prebiotic supplement or bar and consume fermented foods to accomplish this step. Without  good prebiotics, the good bacteria can’t take over. So, if you are taking probiotics and think that’s “enough,” it isn’t, and that’s why you’re not losing weight.

THIRD, part three of the healing process for your lower GI tract issues is the use of proper probiotics. This means refrigerated, and with 10B+ different “good” bacterial strains.

Finally, after you have done this and see you are losing weight, you can just switch to a combo pre/probiotic daily capsule. It needs to be pharmaceutical grade as is everything I recommend. You owe yourself good, certified supplements so always keep that in mind.

Again, this is for more than just your weight. It will boost your immunity which means fewer colds and flu and even a decreased risk of cancer. It will also protect your brain; a long and involved topic which you can read about on this website. Further, you WILL lose weight!

To Sum It Up

Did you find it surprising that artificial sweeteners caused weight issues? What about HFCS? What about un-sprouted grains and gluten? Not to mention, antibiotics?

Let me remind you that if you do NOT take care of your sluggish metabolism and your leptin-ghrelin issues that you will continue to yo-yo. Amp up your BDNF and your SIRT1 pathway too and get that leptin down where it needs to be!


  1. Great info in this article! I’m amazed ppl aren’t commenting. Lucky me I ran across your site by chance
    (stumbleupon). I have bookmarked it for later! Really high quality blogs here. Pretty cool!

  2. You are reading my mind John G! I am getting older, brain foggier and fatter and this blog led me right to the BDNF blog and to a few purchases-that resveratrol seems like the magic supplement!

  3. Love the leptin info and just read the BDNF blog-this is my problem I’m sure!

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