“You can create a sweet tooth,” says JJ Virgin celebrity nutritionist and author of the New York Times bestseller, The Virgin Diet: Drop 7 Foods, Lose 7 Pounds, Just 7 Days (affiliate link to the book on Amazon). She goes on to say, “The more sweet you eat, the more sweet you want, especially if you’re eating higher fructose sweeteners, because they’re sweeter, or you’re doing artificially sweetened sweeteners. They’re 300 hundred times sweeter. It keeps you wanting sweeter and sweeter food so you get trapped there.”
This creates a cycle that trains the body. “You’ve got your biochemistry going. You’re raising blood sugar, raising insulin and you begin to become insulin resistant. You can’t access stored fat so you become a sugar burner and you have to have those higher impact foods just to keep your energy up.”
The perpetual cycle is set in place. “You get stuck having to have sugar,” Virgin says.
The effect becomes a deeper source of damage. JJ says, “The stress of all this lowers your serotonin, you actually need to have the sugar to drive serotonin up into your brain to keep that sugar high going, it’s like an opiate effect.”
It also affects other factors. “Then you’ve got the whole dopamine driven rewards system this feeds into. The more you get, the more you want. It just gets worse and worse and worse,” Virgin says.
This settles into one fact she says, “It’s clearly addiction.”
Eating just sugar isn’t the problem.
The worst sweeteners on the spectrum are artificial sweeteners like sucralose and aspartame, which Virgin says, “Those should never be touched.” The next level down in the spectrum would be date sugar, xylitol, and other processed sweeteners. Sugar, from the cane, is just as damaging but the processed sweeteners are sweeter than sugar causing dopamine and serotonin strain.
“There’s added sugar, there’s fruit juice, there’s white bread. There’s a whole lot of stuff out there that’s going to have the same impact. Even if you don’t think of it as sugar it’s all got the same fate,” she says.
Breaking the cycle involves taking these forms of sugars out and replacing them with nutrient dense whole foods in their natural state.
Virgin recommends keeping a food journal with the goal of tapering out the sugars and switching in fruit and then stepping back to savory, vanilla and cinnamon. She recommends a gradual change with substitutions in an effort to “reclaim your taste buds.”
Virgin adds, “Gluten, dairy, salt, sugar, fat, these are all creating drug-like effects on your brain. You will get hooked to them and you’ll want more and more and more of them. Once you break free of them, and you have to break free of them just like any other drug, and you taste them again you’re like ewwww!”
She adds, “When you read things that say ‘no sugar added’ yet they have fruit juice concentrates. We’re getting duped. When you’re eating a lot of sweet it basically dulls your senses to anything else.”
One thing to beware of is agave. “Agave is worse than anything out there, it’s worse than high fructose corn syrup because it’s higher in fructose,” Virgin says. “Fructose is the worst of all because it’s metabolized differently. It’s going to go straight to the liver. If there’s no room for it to move into glycogen storage basically it’s going to turn into fat. Fructose equals fat.”
Even more alarming is the need for more food when you eat these sweeteners. “It bypasses your satiety signals because it doesn’t trigger the blood sugar response, the insulin response or the leptin response. So your body doesn’t know you ate and it’s making fat. So you’re still hungry and you’re making fat. That’s a horrible place to be,” she says.
The upsetting part of the food industry for Virgin is the health food scam. She says, “What frustrates me the most, as a mom, is when they look healthy, they seem like they have the health halo, where the moms feels like she’s doing a good job. The fruit juice sweetened little fruit snack, the cereals that say whole grain or have some sort of American Heart Association stamp of approval on them, it’s crazy stuff!”
Foods that are sold as health foods are the tricky ones where the consumer needs to be savvy and educated. The perfect example is milk vs full fat raw milk. “Milk does a body good,” and “You need milk for strong bones” are both advertising campaigns funded by the dairy industry, not the farmer.
Virgin says, “The nurses health study showed that the nurses who drank the most milk had the highest cases of osteoporosis. Walter Willet found the kids who drank the most skim milk, as opposed to whole fat milk or no milk, had the highest rates of obesity. There’s a lot of misinformation out there.”
She recommends grass-fed, grass finished whole milk that’s been cultured into yogurt, kefir or sour cream as a healthful source of dairy. These products are teaming with probiotic strains that feed the good bacteria in your intestinal tract. This feeds and nourishes your body. While store-bought milk is pasteurized, it has no life. The beneficial bacteria is dead while pathogens remain.
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*Nourishing Plot is written by a mom whose son has been delivered from the effects of autism (asperger’s syndrome), ADHD, bipolar disorder, manic depression, hypoglycemia and dyslexia through food. This is not a news article published by a paper trying to make money. This blog is put out by a mom who sees first hand the effects of nourishing food vs food-ish items. No company pays her for writing these blogs, she considers this a form of missionary work. It is her desire to scream it from the rooftops so that others don’t suffer from the damaging effect of today’s “food”.
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