The sugar big debate

sugar debate


Much of the concern stems from media hype, comparing the natural sugars in juiced fruits and vegetables to chocolate bars and donuts. Does anybody really believe the highly refined sugars used in products like this are comparable to the natural sugars in natures finest produce?

It is vitally important to understand the difference between added sugars and natural sugars.

The average Briton consumes 238 teaspoons of ‘added’ sugar each week.

This is almost a KILOGRAM of sugar and it is often consumed without us knowing it. Food companies put added sugar in pretty much everything and research suggests that too much sugar doesn’t just lead to weight gain, but also depression, anxiety and stress.

NHS guidance suggests that “added sugars shouldn’t make up more than 10% of the energy (calorie intake) you get from food and drink each day.”

But here is the other key point from the NHS guidance: “You shouldn’t cut down on fruit, as it’s an important part of a healthy, balanced diet.”

Let’s face it, comparing the naturally occurring sugar in fresh fruits and vegetables with the processed sugars added to most foods is as simplistic as comparing the calories of a carrot with those in a can of fizzy drink or a a biscuit. You cannot judge foods on just one component.

The problem comes when we start messing with nature. Scientists have extracted natural sugars and intensified them to produce a highly processed, almost pharmaceutical, sweetness. The food industry takes these sweeteners and put them in EVERYTHING.

This process is comparable to how coca leaf is refined into cocaine and just as cocaine has been shown to increase depression, anxiety and panic attacks evidence now suggests refined sugar does the same.

But doesn’t juicing intensify the sugars and cause a sugar rush?

I recently read an article that said how juicing is like taking a syringe and injecting yourself with sugar. Are they serious?

When we juice fruits and vegetables, we separate the juice (which contains all the nutrients needed by our bodies) from the fibrous part of the plant. It is true that fibre slows down the absorption of sugar, so when we juice fruits and vegetables, removing the fibre, this is likely to mean we absorb the sugars more quickly. This may result in a blood sugar spike (post-meal hyperglycemia), but this is fairly common even when eating the whole food and is typically not dangerous.

Here’s the thing. If juicing was giving such a ridiculous amount of sugar, surely it would be responsible for weight gain, a rise in obesity and an increase in type II diabetes? Yet, through my Natural Juice Junkie courses and working with coaching clients I see the opposite, with juicing helping many people to shed excess weight and in some cases, reduce diabetic medication and improve blood sugar levels.

It is important to note that I am not talking about bottled fruit juices. These are typically heat pasteurised and often highly processed. I am talking about freshly extracted, unprocessed juice, where best practice is to focus on 70-80% vegetables with 20-30% fruit. For those with concerns about blood sugar, i.e. diabetics, it is advisable to minimise the amount of fruit and stick to a high proportion of vegetables.

Thanks to Natural Juice Junkie for this article. Find out more about Neil’s journey back to health at

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The sugar big debate Thrive Health & Nutrition Magazine

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