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How Sweet It Is

I just read an article about how sugar intake has increased, to the point that 10% of people in the U.S. are sugar addicts. The problem isn’t just ice cream and cake, but all the sugar added to other foods. A trip to my pantry confirmed that a jar of marinara sauce, supposedly healthy cereal and bread all contained levels of added sugar I hadn’t planned on consuming.

What the article didn’t talk about was how natural sugars, like the ones found in fruit (and organic, cold-pressed Living Juice), provide nutrients that keep us healthy and help prevent disease. Unlike the sugar in processed food, which mostly just adds calories, fruit has vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, as well as water and fiber that slow the release of sugar into the bloodstream and prevents insulin spikes.

But back to my pantry. I quickly learned that I’m not the only one oblivious to sugar content in many foods. I asked Sarah Wragge, who in her holistic wellness practice teaches people about the connection between nutrition and well-being, if she finds that people don’t know how much of the sweet stuff they’re consuming. “YES!” said Sarah. “There is sugar in almost everything. Most of my clients think they are doing pretty well, until they keep a food diary and it very quickly reveals how much sugar they are actually consuming.”

Not that all sugar should be eliminated. “Sugar from fruit, in moderation, is the healthy kind,” said Sarah. “Ideally you want to eat fruit that has a low GI – like berries, citrus fruit, pears and dates.”

Cutting refined sugar from your diet is a great way to lose weight, of course, but Sarah points to other benefits, like more consistent moods, clear skin and sustained energy. But how does she wean clients off sugar? “It’s all about the education and creating visuals of what sugar does,” says Sarah. “Sugar gets into the bloodstream and processes immediately as fat. Who wants that? Plus it takes you UP then DOWN making you wired and buzzy, then exhausted. I talk about an acidic verse an alkaline system and when your body is balanced you don't crave sugar anymore - so I work on getting them to that point!”

As a substitute for clients with a sweet tooth, Sarah recommends peppermint tea, and if that doesn’t do the trick she’ll whip up a chocolate Vega plant-based protein smoothie as a “milkshake.” Raw dark chocolate is also a great option.

Bottom line: There's a big difference between natural and added sugar. Life should be sweet - enjoy those blueberries and pears. But don't let your marinara sauce fool you.

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