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Sugar addiction: The weaker self has a sweet tooth

Sugar has now become the arch-enemy of the health-conscious, replacing the fat that had held this title since the 1990s. At that time, “light” or “low fat” products were in vogue, which today tend to be ridiculed and even harshly criticized. Today, “Low Carb” or “Low Sugar” are the new seals of approval. But what is the point of this new conviction Is this again just a short-lived trend, or is it based on new fact-based findings of the food industry?

Is sugar bad for the body?

The general statement “Sugar is bad” is far too superficial and does not do justice to the complexity of the issue, because all sugar is not equal. Even the simple distinction of foods into “good” and “bad” is too faceless and tempts the consumer to categorically reject entire food groups, which in the worst case can even become unhealthy. So instead of condemning all sugar, we should rather look at its quality, origin and form of administration. An industrially produced sweet made from refined sugar certainly has different effects on our body than a wonderfully ripe, juicy peach or a dried date.

Sugar 101

There are many different types of sugar. Two of the most common are glucose and fructose:

Glucose is the chemical name for dextrose and an important energy source. It is absorbed through food and enters the bloodstream through the intestinal walls, either directly or after the carbohydrates have been broken down by intestinal enzymes. Therefore the glucose level in the blood is increased after eating. Normally it drops again within a few hours, as the body cells absorb the glucose from the blood with the help of insulin, which is released at the same time. Conversely, the liver releases stored or self-produced glucose into the blood when the body needs energy. This can be the case during sports, physical work or even when nothing has been eaten for a longer period of time.

Fructose is a simple sugar that occurs in many foods, especially in fruit and starchy root vegetables, and gives them sweetness. Only the liver can metabolize fructose. Therefore it is more similar to a fatty acid than to a typical carbohydrate. Fructose is also found in household sugar (sucrose), and is bound to glucose (dextrose), which is why it often has a bad reputation.

Can you get addicted to sugar?

You may have heard that you can become as addicted to sugar similar to drugs and alcohol. This sounds extreme, but on a biochemical level it is true. Sugar activates the reward centers of our brain, where it releases a flood of the feel-good hormone dopamine. As you constantly increase your sugar intake, your dopamine receptors begin to down-regulate, making you less sensitive to dopamine and blunting the effect of sugar over time. A tolerance for sugar is built up, and over time, as is usual with an addiction, increasing dosage is needed to reach the same “happiness high” again.

What about the sugar in fruit?

Some anti-sugar purists place fruit in the same category as sweets. We find it grossly exaggerated. Yes, fruits do contain sugar, but that is not all: They are also an ideal source of fibre, water, vitamins and cell-protecting antioxidants. And it is precisely the dietary fibres contained that have a considerable effect on the absorption of sugar. The main problem with refined sugar in processed foods is that it is metabolized so quickly. And, if the body cannot burn it directly, it is stored for later use as a fat reserve, the feeling of hunger remains. Fibres counteract this too fast absorption. They slow down the metabolism, prevent the harmful and rapid increase in blood sugar and at the same time ensure that a feeling of satiation is achieved.

Additionally, various types of fruit have very different glycemic indexes. If you’re worried about your blood sugar levels rising too quickly, choose fruits with a low GI such as berries and apples, and be careful with high GI fruits such as pineapples, grapes and bananas.

To ensure that the fruit sugar content in our juice cures is not too high, we limit the fruit content in PURE DELIGHT to a maximum of 50 per cent, in the Cleanse variants Super Green Delight and Pure Veggie Delight even to only 30 and 5 per cent respectively. The basis of all juices is always low-sugar vegetable juice.

Do I have to remove sugar from my diet?

Complete renunciation is hardly completely feasible in practice, is no fun and is not really necessary. However, it makes sense to restrict sugar consumption considerably, as there are many negative effects of an excessively sugary diet. In addition to the most obvious and well-known consequences such as weight gain and diabetes, blood pressure, cholesterol levels and the risk of heart disease and certain types of cancer also rise. Sugar is also the nutritional basis for the Candida yeast and favours its excessive growth. This can cause inflammation, which can manifest itself from acne to autoimmune diseases, and also weakens the immune system.

I suspect I have a fructose intolerance – what now?

A part of the population in this country suffers from the relatively common fruit sugar intolerance. This “fructose malabsorption” means that the body can only absorb a limited amount of fruit sugar at once in the intestine. If affected persons consume too much fructose with their food, this typically leads to flatulence, abdominal pain and diarrhoea. The family doctor can determine whether there really is intolerance by using a breath test. Anyone who is sensitive to fructose must find their individual limit at which they can eat fruit or fruit juice without any problems. However, a completely fructose-free diet is not recommended.

Fructose intolerance, however, occurs very rarely. In this disease, affected people can absorb fructose through the intestines, but cannot break it down due to a lack of an enzyme. They are therefore intolerant of fructose and must avoid it completely. The disease is serious and usually occurs in babies. The doctor can diagnose the intolerance with a special blood test.

For all those who suffer from fructose intolerance, we have developed the “Pure Veggie Delight” cleanse program. This specially designed juice cure contains almost no fructose and is therefore easy to enjoy.

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