I’ve spent the past year traveling the US and it continually amazes me how many people either don’t want to believe that there is such a thing as gluten free sugar addiction OR they chose to ignore it. I honestly don’t think that any of us who care deeply for our health are in the position to claim that sugar isn’t a problem.
Even if you don’t eat gluten-free desserts… enjoying a more gluten free carb-dense diet (think gluten-free bread, gluten-free pasta, etc.), you’re still dealing with a gluten free sugar addiction.
Part of the problem is that leaders in our community shrink away from this controversial topic because it will conflict with their sponsors. They don’t want to anger companies with whom they’ve developed relationships and risk losing the support (and possibly money) they get for saying that certain items are healthy when they are SO not.
Granted that word… “HEALTHY” really doesn’t mean much these days. Everyone under the sun applies it to their recipes and treats to the point where it literally means whatever you want it to mean. And sadly, the term “healthy” is used for products loaded with sugar (yes, the natural stuff is still sugar) and carb-centric (which also gets turned into sugar).
I asked famed nutritionist JJ Virgin to join me back on the podcast to have an honest dialog about what’s going on and how we each can start breaking the cycle of gluten free sugar addiction. No nonsense… no beating around the bush. Just straight-forward, honest information that’s what so many in our community don’t want you to know.
Gluten Free Sugar Addiction: Is it real? Very!! with JJ Virgin
The following points were discussed in during the podcast:
00:20 — Introducing celebrity nutritional fitness expert and author, JJ Virgin.
01:42 — The science behind how sugar consumption impacts our health.
03:46 — Surprising health problems related to sugar addiction, which increases the risk of heart disease, diabetes, cancer, and more…
06:56 — How the glycemic index is an outdated model.
09:20 — JJ’s formula for rating sugar impact, how her program eliminates sugar cravings (it’s not painful, we promise!) and calling out the great big elephant in the gluten-free room.
12:46 — The truth about agave and apple juice.
15:10 — Retraining your taste buds to appreciate spicy and savory foods.
16:40 — JJ reveals the secret to burning stored fat and belly fat (and the shocking truth about fat).
20:03 — The role stress play in sugar addiction and how to become more stress-tolerant and stress-resilient.
24:48 — The revolutionary science behind getting rid of your sweet tooth, and why going cold turkey just doesn’t work.
26:03 — JJ’s program is created to be simple and budget-friendly (and you don’t spend hours reading labels!)
30:54 — All the goodies and bonuses JJ has put together for you HERE and closing thoughts.
Then take a moment and leave a review on iTunes sharing what you’ve learned and why others would benefit from subscribing as well!
Jennifer: Welcome back to the Gluten Free School Podcast. I’m your host, Jennifer Fugo. Today, we’re going to talk about sugar and more specifically, sugar addiction.
Now, I have a really special guest who’s come back to talk on the podcast. You may remember her from earlier this year when we talked about how food intolerances can cause weight gain. Her name is JJ Virgin. She’s a celebrity nutrition and fitness expert who helps clients lose weight fast by breaking fast from food intolerance.
She is the author of New York Times’ bestselling books, The Virgin Diet: Drop 7 Food, Lose 7 lbs. in Just 7 Days and The Virgin Diet Cookbook: 150 Easy & Delicious Recipes to Lose Weight and Feel Better Fast.
JJ is also a bestselling author of Six Weeks to Sleeveless and Sexy, a Huffington Post blogger, Creator of the 4 x 4 Burst Training Workout and co-star of TLC’s Freaky Eaters. And she is the author of the upcoming, very soon to be released Sugar Impact Diet: Drop 7 Hidden Sugars, Lose Up To 10 Pounds in Just 2 Weeks.
JJ, welcome back to the podcast.
JJ: Thank you. Great to be here. I love your audience!
Jennifer: Well, we love you. Thank you for coming back.
JJ: We’re all so simpatico, you know?
Jennifer: I know! We’re on the same page with this. This is the right time. We’re walking into this whole period where we’re just going to be bombarded by sugar and this seems like the best fit.
So why don’t you tell us a little bit about what the science are of a high sugar impact when you eat a lot of sugar.
JJ: Here’s the issue. So on the Virgin Diet, the no. 1 question I got asked was about sugar. It seemed like people were either controlled by it and consumed by their cravings or they were just confused, “Can I have artificial sweeteners?” – no, by the way – “Can I have agave?” There’s so much misinformation out there.
And then you take it a step further (and I know your crowd knows this so well), it’s like it’s really not just about sugar because we talk a lot about added sugars and it’s not just about hidden sugars. It’s also about carbs because all carbs turn to sugar, which doesn’t mean, “Hey, you have to dump all carbs.” You just have to know which choose and which to lose. I mean, gluten is a great example. It’s one of the things that really raises blood sugar and insulin.
So the first thing I like to do with people is just look at two things. Number one, what’s the impact? I started looking at sugar differently, not just at sugar, but the impact that sugar is having on your body. I’ve created a whole new framework and a whole new scale rating system on looking at sugar impact and how you can know if this is an issue for you or some common things.
In the big world, you can look at cancer, heart disease, diabetes, dementia, but those things take a while to develop. What doesn’t take a while to develop is what it does to you every day in terms of how is your energy, what about cravings, what about your hunger, how is your mood and focus, gas and bloating? You can’t lose weight or you’ve got this belly fat, this increasing waist line.
Those are really signs on a daily basis that you’ve got a higher sugar impact, that it’s sneaking in somewhere and that you need to do something about it before you go down that path of diabetes and heart disease and cancer and dementia that are all directly linked to high sugar impact.
Jennifer: Argh, it just sounds awful the more and more we talk about it. So I’m curious. Why don’t you tell everybody – we’ve kind of mentioned some stats here, but what exactly is sugar doing to our health? And we’re all ladies listening to this. I know plenty of ladies love the chocolate, you love that candy and they love to have their gluten-free cake and their cupcakes and things like that.
JJ: Yeah, we’ll talk about all that. And by the way, here’s the good news. Where I see people doing it wrong and I went through and I looked at all of these books on sugar, I went, “You know what? No one’s giving you a program that really works.” You can’t just say, “I’m not going to eat any of that anymore.” I mean, you know how that works. It doesn’t work for a minute…
JJ: …because we’re all used to eating the sugar, so we’re addicted to it. So you have to taper off of it. But the health problems are insane. And what’s even more insane is for most of us, we’re not adding table sugar anymore. Who adds table sugar to their food, right?
Jennifer: No one.
JJ: No one does, but we’re eating more sugar than ever. The average person now eats 22 teaspoons of sugar a day. That’s five ice cream cones worth of sugar. It’s crazy! And that’s when we’re trying to make good choices. We just don’t realize it is sneaking into the marinara sauce, into the pickle relish and into the balsamic vinegar. We don’t realize it. We think we’re doing a great job.
And so then that sets up – I mean, look at cancer. Cancer is fed by sugar. They use sugar in the test because it lights up the cancer cells when you’re doing a PET scans. Heart disease, another clear one and really important for women because heart disease is the no. 1 cause of death for women and depending on how much sugar you’re eating, it doesn’t take much, it doubles your risk. It’s crazy, crazy stuff.
And also, it’s going to feed candida and the bad bacteria in your gut, which is going to make you crave more sugar and store more fat. Yikes! It raises your stress hormones, which makes you store more fat on your waist line. And of course, diabetes.
What’s scary about diabetes is there’s 29 million diabetics now in the United States. Of those 29 million, 8 million don’t even know they’re diabetic. It’s just crazy, walking around diabetic. And then there’s apparently another 86 million who are pre-diabetic.
Jennifer: That’s really scary.
JJ: I know! It’s just crazy. And these things, you don’t go from being fine one day, then diabetic the next. This is a process. All these things are a process. And that’s why I bring too like what’s going on with energy and cravings and mood because those are all your body’s way to say, “Hey, it’s not normal to totally crash and burn in the afternoon and go running for a cookie and a latte. It is not normal to sit there having this mood that goes up and down. If you have a cookie, everything is fine again. It’s not normal to just keep continuing to gain weight around your waist.”
So what is going on with you that your body is telling you that it’s going to keep turning up the volume, tell you to listen? You don’t want the volume to turn up so much that all of a sudden, you’re diabetic. You got to stop the process now.
Jennifer: A lot of people talk about using the glycemic index as a way to gauge what is okay to eat and what’s not and you believe that it’s failed us. How has that happened?
JJ: Yes, a big reason that we now have the problems we have is because of that glycemic index. I was going to say something a little off and I was like, “I’ll just call it ‘the glycemic index’ and not swear at it.”
The challenge with the glycemic index is that first of all, it takes a 50g. serving of a food, which is totally reasonable for a potato and totally unreasonable for carrots and it looks at your blood sugar response to that food, which makes one type of sugar –
Because all carbohydrates break down into two different sugars. They’re going to break down into glucose or fructose. Those things are very different.
So if you eat something that’s got a bunch of fructose in it, it doesn’t raise your blood sugar like agave. Agave is nearly all fructose. So you eat it and it looks like it’s great on the glycemic index because it doesn’t raise blood sugar because fructose doesn’t raise blood sugar.
We used to think this was good, but the challenge is fructose doesn’t raise blood sugar, so it doesn’t set off this cascade of hormonal responses that trigger satiety to tell your body that you’ve eaten so you don’t need to eat anymore.
Instead, it goes straight to the liver where it tells your body to make fat. Now, ideally, a little bit of it when it gets to the liver turns into glucose and gets stored as energy as glycogen in the liver. But the liver is not a very big place. There’s not a lot of room there.
And so the majority of it goes to being turned into fat. And what happens with that, that’s how we get fatty liver. We have children who have fatty liver. This is a bizarre thing. This used to be a disease alcoholics had. It makes you insulin-resistant. It can raise your blood pressure. It elevates your triglycerides. And it’s more aging than any other type of sugar and it’s more sweet, so it makes you crave more sweet, which is why they like to use fructose as a sweetener because it’s super sweet.
So all of these crazy things start to happen with this and the glycemic index makes this sugar look great. It also makes a carrot look like it’s the same as a potato.
I’ve been looking at that for a while and I went, “No wonder we’ve got such problems. We’re basing our decision on an outdated model that’s not serving us. It’s not calling out the villains.”
So what I did was I looked at glycemic load, which takes into account how much of a food you’ve eaten. Carrot juice is problematic, carrots are not. I looked at glycemic load, I looked at fructose grams and then I offset them with fiber that’s going to slow down the blood sugar response and nutrients, high vitamin and mineral content that can offset that. I created a new rating scale where I took foods and I rated them as either high sugar impact, medium sugar impact or low sugar impact.
And then I created a program that helps you taper from high to medium sugar impact for a week or two depending on how you fall on the sugar impact quiz so that your body can start adjusting because most of us are unfortunately sugar burners. We have to eat every two hours or three hours. Otherwise, we crash because our body is so used to using sugar for fuel and it can’t access stored fat.
Then once you get through that, you actually take a couple of weeks where you eat all low sugar impact and this makes it so that your body no longer is good at transporting fructose to the liver. So you get bad at making fat and you also get more sugar sensitive. So when you eat sweet foods, they actually taste too sweet.
And then at the end of that, we go and we check you out. We have you eat some medium sugar impact foods and test out a high sugar impact food. You know what’s crazy? I ran 700 people through this. The average person lost 10 lbs. in two weeks.
But that wasn’t the cool thing. The cool thing was I wanted to see if I could re-train people’s taste buds to appreciate savory and spicy and actually if foods tastes too sweet again because we’ve dulled our taste buds with all these artificial sweeteners and fructose.
So the 700 people that I took through this program were the 700 people who were sugar addicts. They were people who had went through the Virgin Diet and went, “I still have trouble with sugar” and people who were like self-proclaimed sugar addicts. So it wasn’t like I took an easy group.
JJ: I took the hardest people because I wanted to prove this. The average person, again, they lost 10 lbs., but the big thing they told me was food now tastes too sweet. They lost their cravings.
Jennifer: Wow! That’s incredible!
JJ: I know! Yeah! It could be done. I knew it could be done. And I knew the big way to do it was to really get fructose down to almost zero, which means for two weeks, you actually cut out fruit and to really focus on –
It’s actually a really great, balanced diet with loads of non-starchy vegetables and some squash. I love squash. It’s one of the most amazing foods. If someone’s not a Paleo dieter, I’d put in quinoa and legumes. If someone is a vegan, just like the Virgin Diet, this lays over however anyone eats.
We really look at foods that are creating problems that people wouldn’t suspect.
And I know in the gluten-free community – I got to call it out, Jennifer…
Jennifer: You should.
JJ: Yes, there’s that gluten-free junk food. Just because it’s gluten-free, doesn’t mean it’s healthy. Just because it’s in the Whole Foods – I love Whole Foods so much and I love my friends there at Whole Foods, but just because it’s in Whole Foods (they’ve got agave in there), it doesn’t make it healthy. So you have to still make the right choices.
A lot of these gluten-free things – I mean, a cupcake is a cupcake. You pull those things out for a couple of weeks. And by the way, then when you go to eat them again, you’re like, “Argh! I don’t even want this.”
Jennifer: Well, I wanted to ask you because you mentioned agave a couple of times at least already and I get emails, “Oh, I’ve switched to agave, I’m making a better choice.” Why don’t you tell everybody what’s wrong with agave?
JJ: I already kind of hit on fructose. And if you look at where fructose comes in – obviously, high fructose corn syrup is a problem, but high fructose corn syrup is kind of half fructose, half glucose. Agave actually is 70% to 90% fructose depending on how it’s processed. It’s higher than any of the fruits.
The highest fruits in fructose are apple and pears. Apple juice, by the way, is worst for you than a coke because it’s got more fructose.
Jennifer: Oh, my gosh! And that’s we give little kids.
JJ: Yeah, I know. That’s why we’ve got little kids with diabetes and fatty liver. Honestly, it’s the apple juice. Sugar is clearly our no. 1 drug of choice. Little kids are not smoking and drinking. They’re having juice and cookies.
And so we’ve got to be very aware of it because exposure equals preference. And the reason that fructose has become so prevalent is no. 1, it looked like it was great on the glycemic index because it didn’t raise blood sugar, which is the problem with it.
It doesn’t trigger any satiety signals, goes straight to the liver and starts making fat along the way. It creates a lot of aging and can make you hypertensive and insulin-resistant, et cetera.
But it’s also super sweet just like your artificial sweeteners and so now you are starting to crave progressively sweeter and sweeter foods. The more sweet you eat, the more sweet you want. So it totally dulls your taste buds.
And so you look at it, you go, “We figured out how to make high fructose corn syrup cheap,” and now everybody knows that’s bad, but in reality, agave is worse than high fructose corn syrup. I know that’s like a crazy thing to say, but it’s true because it’s higher in fructose.
And so if you’ve been using agave thinking you’re doing better, I want you to march straight over right now. I wouldn’t even tell you to give anyone this because it’s like giving someone a drug that’s going to make them sick over time. I mean, maybe if you have an enemy, go give them the agave. But other than that…
Jennifer: Yeah, it’s really bad.
JJ: It’s that bad. It’s like some of these things, I’m like, “Well, clean out your closet, give it to a food bank.” No! Do not do that. The last thing you want to do is give someone who’s already struggling agave.
Now, ideally, you’re retraining your taste buds to appreciate spicy and savory. That’s why I love cinnamon and vanilla because they actually help balance blood sugar. It can raise serotonin. But xylitol and erythritol and stevia and monk fruit and inulin and chicory are going to be the things that are way better choices there if you do have to do sweet. And those are all low sugar impact.
But again, when you eat sweet, you crave more sweet. So you really want to try to step away from those things and not keep your taste buds all fired up for sweets.
Jennifer: Yeah, and you’ve got to look at all the gluten-free products too because there are companies – and I get samples from food companies all the time that include agave and I’m like, “Really?” Don’t people know already that this is not a good sweetener?
JJ: No, they don’t. They don’t!
Jennifer: It just amazes me. And they’re like health food conscious companies. It’s just shocking to me that people don’t know this by now. So everybody, agave, in the trash. Do not continue to use it.
JJ: And here’s another one because I literally just got off the phone with someone I’m helping. This is extremely high profile person with a huge – I know who the doctor is. They gave her this product. They gave her a product that actually was supposed to help balance your blood sugar and the sweetener that there’s 17 gram is crystalline fructose…
JJ: …which is worse than agave. The only thing worse than agave is straight fructose. Right, right. But we just didn’t know, you know?
Jennifer: Yeah, you got to get rid of the fructose. And here’s the thing, you talked about this idea that the liver becomes fatty and that the body is really just totally stuck as a sugar burner. And in your book, you talk about becoming a fat burner, so flipping the switch and starting to go in the fat burning direction.
I think for women, any time we hear the word ‘fat’, we get scared. So why don’t you tell everyone what is a fat burner and how and why would they want to become one?
JJ: Oh, we want to be a fat burner. If you’re burning sugar for fuel, you’re going to always be sniffing out your next meal. Your energy will be totally erratic because you’ll have good energy when you eat some carbs and then, boom! It’ll crash and you’ll need it again.
What happens when we eat a higher carbohydrate, higher sugar impact diet is that we become insulin-resistant, we have higher cortisol, higher insulin. Both those things tell our body to store fat.
When you eat every couple of hours (especially when you’re eating higher sugar impact), your blood sugar comes up, it triggers the release of insulin. Insulin basically tells your fat cells, “Hey, you don’t need to release anything. I’ve got incoming food. I’m good.”
And so your fat cells are locked and you can’t access stored fat for fuel.
Then your blood sugar comes down because that’s the rule of insulin and you’re hungry again because you can’t use stored fat for fuel, so you need to eat again.
So if you’re having to eat every two or three hours, you’ve created a system where you’re a sugar burner. Insulin doesn’t ever have a chance to come back down to fasting levels because if you eat every two to three hours, it’s a slow acting hormone. It’s staying up. And if it’s up, it’s locking the doors of fat cells.
Ideally, you should be able to use stored fat for fuel. We want to burn off our belly fat and our baby fat, right?
JJ: That’s what we want to do. If you said to me, “You want to go eat something and burn it off or you want to burn your stored belly fat?” Let’s get the belly fat off.
So the way you have to do that is be very insulin sensitive so that when you eat, your blood sugar is stable, you don’t have a big increase in insulin, your body can access stored fat for fuel. That is critical.
The way you do that is so different than what – and I’m amazed this is still out there. Fat doesn’t make you fat. You need fat to burn fat. And when you look at it, fat and protein are very satiating and they will help you with your sweet tooth.
If you eat more protein with some good fat, it’s going to help much more with your whole reward circuitry so that you don’t want the sugar. A lot of times, the reason we’re craving sugar is because we’re protein deficient. So again, whether you’re a vegan or a paleo or anywhere in between, you want to make sure you’re getting good protein sources.
The challenge with vegans is they tend to be eating a lot more carbs, so you’re going to have to go focus more on the higher fat there. But you want to make sure they’re getting clean, lean protein sources and healthy fats that will help you burn off that stored fat. Those are things like avocados and olive oil and walnuts and seeds. Coconut oil is a huge one to help with fat-burning and it won’t raise insulin like the carbs do especially those high sugar impact carbs of which most of those flours are. Most of the gluten-free flours are high sugar impact. They are very glycemic. They are going to massively raise blood sugar and insulin.
Jennifer: For a woman that is maybe new to the gluten-free lifestyle who is listening to this and going, “My goodness! I had no idea what I was doing to myself and I’m stressed out. My life is stressful. I don’t feel well. I’m completely addicted to sugar. I need sugar in order to survive,” what can she do?
I think a lot of times, we think it’s just the food, but we don’t realize that stress plays a role in this vicious cycle as well.
JJ: Oh, my God! It’s huge! It’s so huge.
JJ: And first off, I think what we have to do is go breathe and realize that hey, you’ve already made a massive, giant step in the right direction by getting gluten out. Celebrate that.
The big challenge I have with a lot of the gluten-free diets is they pull gluten out and then put crap in there. So you don’t have the gluteomorphin issue that you have with say the glutens, but you still have the insulin and cortisol issue, which is not what you want to do. You don’t want to substitute one bad thing for another bad thing.
Now, the challenge is you could be doing everything right and be under chronic stress and you will still struggle because chronic stress does a couple of major things.
Number one, it lowers serotonin, which is going to make you crave more sugar. So it’s a key thing that will happen. It also raises stress hormones, which then can also raise blood sugar and raise insulin and make you store more fat, which is why stress can make you fat around your waistline.
And it makes your gut more permeable and disrupts the good flora in your gut. The more permeable gut makes you have more food reactions. A lot of people that react to gluten also react to dairy and soy. So you’ll start to have more food intolerances as well.
So it’s one of those things that – I’ve been under crazy amounts of stress in my life and there’s just situations that you can’t control. So what I tell people is it’s not about pulling the stress out of your life. Obviously, that’s step one. If you can get rid of stress, cool! That’s great. But that’s usually unrealistic. What are you going to do? Give your kids away. It’s like, “You two, out of here.”
So for people who know me, they know that during the Virgin Diet book launch, as it was being published, I was in the hospital with a son who had been run down by a car. He was in the ICU. He was in a coma. I’m the sole financial support for my family.
So I pay all the bills. I’ve got this son in a coma and this book has to work. It wasn’t now just the mission to get the information out. It’s also like I’ve got millions of dollars of hospital bills. Crazy stuff! Thank God for insurance.
But it was really a matter of how to control my stress because I couldn’t get sick and stress lowers your immune system too.
And so it’s really about becoming more stress-tolerant, more stress-resilient. That means getting good sleep. Vitamin C is an amazing under-utilized nutrient for stress because it lowers cortisol. I mean, if I have to pick one thing for stress, it’d be get your vitamin C up. B Complex helps too, but vitamin C is a huge one there.
But sleep, exercise, burst style exercise to help you handle stress better. I was running the hospital stairs and eating well and eating on track.
One of the things stress does is lower your digestive enzymes, especially the enzymes that help you digest protein. And so all of a sudden, you’ll be hungry when you shouldn’t be, you’ll feel bloated when you shouldn’t be, you become more food intolerant because you’re not digesting your food well.
So looking at some digestive enzymes and making sure you’re eating when you need to eat so you won’t be having low blood sugar and craving all those carbs and sugar helps too.
Jennifer: Well, it sounds like sugar and stress go hand-in-hand. They’re BFF’s in essence.
JJ: They are! When you’re under stress, you don’t go, “Gosh! I really want some brussels sprouts.”
Jennifer: No, you’re like, “Where are the cookies? Where’s the cake?”
JJ: It just never happens. Latte and a muffin, which is a cupcake. So you know that, so plan for it. I think we’ve got to be really good to ourselves during those times too.
One of the challenges I think we, women do is that we don’t take care of ourselves. We take care of everybody else. And so whatever it is that you can do, a hot bath, a pedicure, whatever the heck you can do to build that stuff in, ten minutes of some uplifting books or something so you’re doing something for yourself as opposed to doing for everybody else.
Jennifer: Yeah. And it sounds like your approach to sugar now is something that’s rather revolutionary. You could literally get rid of your sweet tooth, yeah?
JJ: Yes, you absolutely can. And again, I thought it would work because there’s this thing called the GLUT-5 transport system that makes your body able to transport fructose better to the liver, which is not what you want to do. You don’t want to get better at transporting fructose at all.
It elevates if you eat a lot of fructose and it goes down if you don’t. So I thought, “Ah! I bet you, since exposure equals preference and the more sweet you eat, the more sweet you want that all I have to do is show people…” – again, do a taper week because that is where people get in trouble. They get cold turkey. They’re a sugar burner. Their energy drops. Their sweet tooth pops up and they want more. I thought, “Well, what if you just taper down from higher sugar impact medium, give yourself a week or two if you need it to start that transition to a fat burner and get really dialed in with what you should be eating” because most people are not eating enough at their meals and eating a balanced meal, so all of a sudden, they’re craving the sugar. And then take those couple of weeks for you to literally get rid of your sweet tooth. And it’s crazy! It doesn’t take long.
Jennifer: I was going to say too, you’ve got recipes and meal plans and all sorts of stuff so that no one is going to get lost in the process of this whole week one, week two…
JJ: Yes, shopping lists and meal plans. I always like to make things so easy to do and not weird food.
It was interesting, I went to the store. So one of the things I like to do is I went to the store and I built this whole – like I went through and did this whole thing of cleaning out the kitchen.
So first, I had to buy all the crap to put in the kitchen (because I don’t have it in my kitchen). So I went and got all this stuff. And then, I had to stock up some of the stuff that I was missing on my site.
All of the stuff that I got, that would’ve been – I don’t know, I guess like a week’s worth of stuff for someone eating the stuff, it was like $300. I’m going, “Oh, my gosh! This is just crap. There’s nothing here.” It is so expensive to eat a higher sugar impact diet versus the stuff I was buying that was like – I don’t know, $50. It was nothing. It was so cheap.
But I went through and I show, “Okay, if you’re used to having, say, vitamin water, have hemp water. Let’s say you’re doing rice pasta, do spaghetti squash. If you’re doing balsamic vinaigrette, do red wine, vinegar and olive oil.”
So I just went through it and I went, “This is simple. Here’s what you have in place… this in place… this in place… this…” and made simple swaps so that people could see it.
And honestly, these are easy foods to find at any grocery store. And I took my son with me to the grocery store to buy all this stuff and he was sitting there shocked, blown away when I’d flip over labels and show him the low fat strawberry yoghurt that had 26 grams of sugar, the Green Machine green drink that said “no sugar added” that had 56 grams of sugar in it because you can put fruit juice purees and fruit juice concentrates in products and say “no sugar added.” It’s acceptable. Why that’s acceptable? I have no idea.
Jennifer: It’s misleading marketing and the idea that there’s no sugar in fruit juice is ridiculous.
JJ: Yes! But the worst part is this one says ‘Green Machine’, Green Machine with a green boost. So you think it’s green and you flip over the label and it’s mango puree and apple juice concentrate. You’re like, “This isn’t a green drink. It’s a fruit punch with some spinach in it for color.”
Jennifer: Kind of like that fruit juice with green in it. It really is a joke of how misleading many of the companies’ products are out there. And unfortunately, many of us fall victim to these food labels and marketing claims on products that do not support our health at all.
JJ: Exactly! That is one of those things I’m out there to fix, but I also knew that people don’t want to all of a sudden spend five hours in the grocery store looking at every label. So I just made simple lists. It’s like, “Buy this… not this… buy this… not this…”
The biggest place is I identified seven categories – roots, fruits, grains, dairy and diet foods, drinks, dressings and sweets. But obviously, the big places that I think people are getting duped are a lot of the drinks and dressings and packaged foods because that’s where it’s all snuck in.
JJ: It’s not snuck into broccoli.
Jennifer: No. Nobody put – well, I guess if you put maple syrup and all sorts of stuff on like I was thinking brussel sprouts, all those pan-roasted brussel sprouts and things. But we can get away from that. You don’t necessarily need to add sugar every single vegetable out there to make it edible. There’s plenty of…
JJ: People add sugar to vegetables seriously? Yikes!
Jennifer: Yes, carrots, brussel sprouts.
JJ: Why would anyone have to add sugar to vegetables?
Jennifer: I don’t know. I don’t know.
JJ: My mother used to add sugar to – I was raised on Pop Tarts. So my nickname, growing up was Poppy. So see, anyone can change. I literally was raised on Captain Crunch, Coco Pops and Pop Tarts.
My mother who has a massive sweet tooth (we always had cookies and cakes, all the stuff in the house, she still does) would literally put sugar on the strawberries. I’m like, “What are you doing? Just stop it.”
Jennifer: Yeah, it really is crazy. That’s why I was so excited to talk to you and get to the bottom to some of this stuff because the amount of sugar and those who have sugar addiction especially in the gluten-free community, it’s alarming to me. I’m at least one of the few people that’s willing to come forward and say, “We have a big problem, folks.” A lot of gluten-free women and men are really struggling with this and we’re deluding ourselves by pretending like it’s not happening, but it is. It’s a big, big problem.
So JJ, you’ve put together a nice, little link for us that everybody can go to, sugarimpactdiet.com/Jennifer. Could you tell everybody if they go there what will they get?
JJ: Yes! To get you started – and just one more heads up. If you’re beating yourself up about being addicted to sugar, sugar is a drug. It is so clearly a drug.
There was a study in Connecticut College done on Oreos and morphine. They found that the rats liked them both the same, but they found that the Oreos were more pleasurable. So if they had to choose, they chose the Oreos, but they both lit up the same areas in their brain. I mean, that’s crazy stuff.
So if you’re addicted to it, it’s not your fault. Sugar is addictive, just like gluten. And if you got off gluten and actually ended up eating more sugar because you start all these gluten-free phony health foods, now it’s just going to the next level.
So I want to make it easy for you to go to the next level. What I did was I created training videos that walk you through the program, the sugar impact quizzes there, my sneaky sugar inventories. They’re all free. When you go to sugarimpactdiet.com/Jennifer. I’ve put all of those things there, so you can get started right away, no excuses.
And again, you’re going to find these are simple foods. It’s easy to do even if you are right now feeling like you are a die-hard sugar addict freaking out as you’re hearing all these. This is an easy thing to do. We practically hold your hand doing this and walk you through it. You will be blown away at how you feel in a matter of weeks.
Jennifer: Well, thank you, JJ so much for giving us hope that we can actually do this. I look forward. I’m challenging to go to www.sugarimpactdiet.com/Jennifer and let’s do this together. I think this is a really important thing for many of us to do especially before the holidays.
Jennifer: Let’s get into that savory taste and get rid of the sugar. Let’s get rid of the cravings for the sugar and start feeling better. So JJ, thank you so much for joining us. I really appreciate it.
JJ: My pleasure! It’s always great to talk to you. I love what you’re doing.
Jennifer: Thank you, likewise. So remember, everybody, please stay in touch with JJ. Go visit her. Check out this new book, www.sugarimpactdiet.com/Jennifer.
You can also go and visit her amazing website at JJVirgin.com. She’s on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube. I’m going to put all of her links below in case you’re driving, you’re doing something where you’re not at the computer. You’ll have easy access to everything when you go over to the blog.
Thank you, guys so much for joining us. Please remember to subscribe, rate and review this podcast. Leave us any questions or comments below. Thank you so much for joining us. I look forward to seeing you guys the next time. Bye bye.
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The links referred to in this episode are:
JJ’s website – www.jjvirgin.com
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