Radiant Body Summit Lisa Garr the Aware Show

JJ virgin

"If you cannot go 4-6 hours before you need to eat again," says JJ Virgin, my guest today on the Radiant Body Summit, "you have trained your body to be a sugar burner."

What Is a Sugar Burner?

When your body assumes there will be a constant intake of sugar, it will rely on new sugar for energy, instead of burning fat for fuel - and you will always feel hungry. 100 years ago, the average person got 5 pounds of sugar in their diets every year, and only 1% of the population was obese. Now we average 150 pounds of sugar per person per year, and we have 39% obesity. We need a new solution to break our sugar addiction.

Sugar Addiction and Immunity

"Sugar is the #1 recreational drug of choice," JJ says. Sugar can hijack the brain's pleasure center, and has been described as a harder addiction to break than heavy narcotics. Sugar also crashes your immune system - it competes with Vitamin C to enter the cells, and it increases the effects of aging through a process called glycation. JJ likens glycation to a crust of bread. Sugars bond with protein and form a crust around your cells. (Fructose, she noted, glycates at a rate 7 times higher than the rate of sugar.) This crust keeps your cells from being able to absorb the good nutrients and vitamins in your bloodstream. "The simplest thing you can do to take back your health is to lower your sugar impact," she says.

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Squash is an amazing food that she highly recommends. Instead of eating potatoes, which JJ classifies as having a 'high' sugar impact, she recommends eating yams, which have a 'medium' sugar impact, or even better, pumpkin and other squashes, which have a 'low' sugar impact. Her bestselling book "The Sugar Impact Diet" helps people lower the impact that sugar has on their bodies, which can help with a whole host of issues. There are 70 different diseases that can be linked to sugar, because it feeds the bad bacteria in your gut, which enables certain diseases to take advantage of your weakened body.

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Removing Sugar From Your Diet

Sugar is really difficult to get out of your diet, but not just because of it's addictive properties; sugar hides in many different ingredients in processed food. JJ has a long history of working with people who thought they were doing everything right, but sugar was still sneaking in. "Balsamic vinegar is just a sugar syrup," she said, and I was totally surprised! She really doesn't like prepared salad dressings - they typically contain a teaspoon of sugar for every tablespoon of dressing.

Imagine going out to eat at a restaurant, and you want to order something healthy, so you order a salad. It's got raw greens on the plate, sure - but there are also glazed nuts, and dried fruit, and with the dressing, you've got a plate of greens covered in sugar.

JJ's favorite salad dressing is a very simple mix of lemon juice, sea salt, and macadamia nut oil. (I can't wait to try this one!) It's a more expensive oil, but when you compare it to the cost of a bottle of salad dressing, it's much cheaper. Her coaching program helps people swap out high-sugar choices for low-sugar foods, and get comfortable with simple cooking - it's actually not that hard to do. JJ says just start with really good oils, and really good ingredients. Cook a vegetable, cook a protein, add salt and pepper. That's dinner!

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"The idea that we combine fruits and vegetables into one category is ridiculous," she said, "and starchy and non-starchy vegetables are not the same thing." Broccoli is not the same as orange juice! They interact with the body in very different ways. "When you drink the juice you're not getting the fiber - and fiber is one of the biggest nutrition heroes out there that we don't use."

This interview was full of practical tips on cleaning out your pantry and making better eating choices. If you're ready to lower the impact that sugar has on your body, I highly recommend you watch this one!