The Sweet Thing about Bitters

Why we need them back in our Diet

Bitter flavors tend to deliver the strongest response by the body. Many of us even react  with a shudder when something bitter hits our tongue. Our tongue is loaded with taste receptors designed to analyze the nutrients in food, including those called T2Rs which detect the bitter taste. When these receptors in your mouth are stimulated, a cascade of nerve signals reaches areas in the brain which prepare a plan of action for how the body should respond.

Information travels to our salivary glands, stomach, pancreas, liver and gallbladder, encouraging the production and release of digestive juices and enzymes. This obviously has beneficial effects, helping your body fully go into digestion mode and make more of its own digestive enzymes thus increasing your ability to get more nutrients from the food you eat. This means not only more saliva breaking down your food in the mouth, but also better breakdown of proteins in the stomach from the proper amount of stomach acid, restored regulation of muscles closing off the acid in your stomach, good breakdown of all foods by your pancreatic enzymes, and better-lubricated bowel movements from proper bile flow. Eventually, the tissues in your gut may be restored, so no more leaky gut!

Down along the gut, we find more T2Rs. Here, when stimulated by bitter compounds, cells studded with T2Rs directly stimulate tissues to secrete hormones into our bloodstream that contribute to feelings of fullness and satiety*. In fact, feeling satisfied though eating less is a huge benefit from including bitters in your lifestyle. This also tends to curb the cravings for carbs.

In nature most sweet things have had a bitter component balancing the metabolic reaction to sugars. Think wild apples and oranges, concord grapes, carrots that aren’t orange-colored, unrefined stevia and licorice. The problem is that in the last 100 years or so, agricultural companies have hybridized crops to breed the bitterness out of our foods to make them sell better. Also, food processing companies routinely reduce any bitterness, and add excess sugars and salt, substituting these more acceptable flavors.

Adding bitters back into our life can aid our digestion and elimination, lessen heartburn and nausea, restore the leaky gut, and help break the hold sugars and carbs have on our lives.






How best to add Bitters to your Diet

One way would be to add bitter greens into your salads, organic chicory, dandelion, arugula, radicchio.  Bitter tasting roots, such as dandelion or burdock, can also be included in stir-fries or soups.  But in today’s busy life the most convenient way is to use a bitters tincture –  several sprays into your mouth, or a dropperful right under your tongue or in in a little water.

At Southern Botanicals we stock the finest specialty  organic bitters. The product line has several flavors: Original, Maple, Citrus, Healthy Liver, and Apple Cider Vinegar (with no alcohol or glycerin). All are certified organic with ingredients sourced domestically, from small farms whenever possible. Some of the extract ingredients include the following:

Dandelion Root and Leaf (Taraxacum officinale), Artichoke leaf, Angelica Root (Angelica archangelica), Burdock Root (Arctium lappa), Yellow Dock Root (Rumex crispus), Gentian Root (Gentiana lutea), Orange Peel (Citrus aurantium), Fennel Seed (Foeniculum vulgare), Ginger Root (Zingiber officinale), Organic Essential Oils

Best of all – they are on sale!   Check our website  to see all ingredients and choose a formula that suits you.


Note: Taste receptors are the target of current research seeking new discoveries about how they work and benefit the human body. For example, bitter receptors, T2Rs, have been found in other tissues in the body, including the lungs and upper airways, where  recent studies have shown they seem to be involved in immune response and also create a surprising relaxation of the airway muscles.*  Some studies to start with follow:

Gut. 2014 Jan;63(1):179-90. doi: 10.1136/gutjnl-2013-305112. Epub 2013 Oct 16.  Taste receptors of the gut: emerging roles in health and disease. Depoortere I.

Int J Biochem Cell Biol. 2016 Aug;77(Pt B):197-204. doi: 10.1016/j.biocel.2016.03.011. Epub 2016 Mar 23.Bitter taste receptors: Extraoral roles in pathophysiology. Shaik FA1Singh N1Arakawa M2Duan K1Bhullar RP2Chelikani P3.

Trends Endocrinol Metab. 2013 Feb;24(2):92-100. doi: 10.1016/j.tem.2012.11.006. Epub 2012  Nutrient sensing in the gut: new roads to therapeutics? Janssen S1Depoortere I. Dec 21.

Nutrient sensing and signalling by the gut.  Rasoamanana R1Darcel NFromentin GTomé DProc Nutr Soc. 2012 Nov;71(4):446-55. doi: 10.1017/S0029665112000110. Epub 2012 Mar 27.

Is Exercise Before Breakfast Best?

What a great question!

Growing up we were always told the best way to start a day is with a good breakfast. But when it comes to your morning exercise, is it the first important element of your morning routine?  Jeffrey N. Berube, DC of North Reading Chiropractic, shares some insight with us on this topic. See below an article from his December Health Beat News Letter.

“Is Exercising Before Breakfast Best?                                                                                                                                          By Editorial Staff, Health Beat News Letter

You may think you need to fuel up with a good breakfast before doing any physical activity first thing in the morning, but research suggests doing the opposite may actually be beneficial from a health perspective.

For example, research summarized in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism suggests people who exercise first and then eat breakfast have better control over their blood sugar levels  and burn more fat compared to people who eat first and then exercise. The six-week study involved overweight  / obese adult men assigned to one of three groups for comparison. One group ate breakfast first and then exercised; the second group exercised first and then ate breakfast; and the third group made no lifestyle changes.

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Results showed that exercising first and then ate breakfast positively impacted lipid and insulin characteristics compared to doing the opposite. Specifically, exercising first increased fat utilization (i.e., burned more fat) and reduced the insulin response to eating – both important consequences for overweight individuals who may also be experiencing related blood sugar / insulin issues that could eventually manifest as diabetes.

Interestingly, both groups lost a similar amount of weight and increased their fitness levels similarly during the study period. However, as stated, fat and blood sugar utilization were markedly increased merely by participating in exercise before breakfast, during the “fasting state” between bedtime and the first meal of the day.”

Dr. Jeffrey N. Berube's professional office is located in North Reading, MA.
Health Beat News Letter   Website:  North Reading Chiropractic

Lifestyle is the most important means of maintaining health!


Healthy Lifestyle Checklist

  • Sunshine and time outdoors in nature (the Japanese call it “forest bathing” for health and balance)
  • Sleep, especially maintaining your Circadian rhythm by sleeping in the dark and waking in the natural light
  • Clean, whole foods unadulterated with chemicalshealth freedom's salad recipe
  • Clean water and adequate hydration, using both water and fresh, naturally high-liquid plant-based foods (fruits, green vegetables)
  • Use of wider variety of foods, especially plants, in the diet to properly feed the microbiome and maintain healthy gut flora
  • Circulation, through movement, your favorite exercise, massage, and also appropriate circulation-boosting herbs
  • Natural remedies including light, water, clean air, foods, herbs, sleep, circulation – and spiritual connection.
  • Reducing stress
  • Doing things that align your life with your purposes.
  • Doing things you enjoy. This includes spending time with people who help you appreciate life and your healthy lifestyle.
  • Contribute to a better life – find ways to help others in some way.



        Steps for Improvement:

  1. Look over the list.
  2. Note which are your strongest points contributing to a positive, healthy lifestyle.
  3. Decide which points you most want to change.
  4. Decide which points would be easiest for you to improve.
  5. Decide what you can do now to start in the direction you want for a healthier life.
  6. Implement something you can do now to make a difference, no matter how small.
  7. Make a longer term plan of actions you want, and get more information about how to, if needed.
  8. Work on it now and over time, checking off steps of successful improvement.
  9. Seek more information, support or fellowship for points you’d like help with.
  10. Keep on going. Try more things to improve. Don’t give up.


The Miracle isn't that I Finished. The Miracle is that I had the Courage to Start. John Bingham


Dangers Lurking in Your Medicine Cabinet

How many people do you know complain of back pain, knee pain, aches from old sports injuries or just overdoing it on occasion? It’s common practice for most people to reach for an over-the-counter-pain reliever.

It’s equally common for health care providers to prescribe Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs, or NSAIDs for short, to be used long-term and daily. These are sometimes prescribed even for other conditions like the ‘daily aspirin therapy’ for heart attack prevention that many people just accept as the norm as they grow older. NSAIDs are also often used or prescribed for menstrual cramps, headaches, colds and the flu.

I bet you could name at least 3 NSAIDs right off the top of your head. I can: ibuprofen, naproxen and aspirin are the most common. Considering there are so many common painful discomforts we want to avoid, a person may not take into account the number of doses consumed in any given day/week/month and their cumulative effect.

It’s even more rare to actually stop to consider the potential health risks that may accompany these pain relievers. After all, if it was that dangerous why would they sell it on every drugstore shelf? Why would my doctor prescribe a daily dose to me and not warn me if there were potential risks involved? Surely if the FDA approved it, it can’t be that big a deal…

That’s where we would all be wrong. Studies have shown on multiple occasions that there can be serious and potentially deadly health risks to taking these types of pain killers. According to the New England Journal of Medicine:

“It has been estimated conservatively that 16,500 NSAID-related deaths occur among patients with rheumatoid arthritis or osteoarthritis every year in the US. This figure is similar to the number of deaths from the acquired immunodeficiency syndrome and considerably greater than the number of deaths from myeloma, asthma, cervical cancer and Hodgkin’s disease.”

“If deaths from gastrointestinal toxic effects from NSAIDs were tabulated separately from the National Vital Statistics reports, these effects would constitute the 15th most common cause of death in the US. Yet these toxic effects remain mainly a “silent epidemic” with many physicians and most patients unaware of the magnitude of the problem.”

This is not the only published finding of these effects. A quick search around the internet will show you that from Harvard Health to Mayo Clinic there are warnings about the potential health risks of long term use which is defined as 3 days for fever and 10 days for pain.

The FDA itself even issued this update to its warnings in 2015:

“Based on our review and the advisory committees’ recommendations, the prescription NSAID labels will be revised to reflect the following information:

  • The risk of heart attack or stroke can occur as early as the first weeks of using an NSAID. The risk may increase with longer use of the NSAID.
  • The risk appears greater at higher doses.

  • NSAIDs can increase the risk of heart attack or stroke in patients with or without heart disease or risk factors for heart disease. A large number of studies support this finding, with varying estimates of how much the risk is increased, depending on the drugs and the doses studied.
  • In general, patients with heart disease or risk factors for it have a greater likelihood of heart attack or stroke following NSAID use than patients without these risk factors because they have a higher risk at baseline.
  • Patients treated with NSAIDs following a first heart attack were more likely to die in the first year after the heart attack compared to patients who were not treated with NSAIDs after their first heart attack.
  • There is an increased risk of heart failure with NSAID use.”

Even though medical doctors often suggest acetaminophen for aches and pains associated with the flu, there is evidence that they can actually make your illness worse and easier to spread to others.

A double-blind, placebo-controlled study published in the Journal of Infectious Diseases, determined that when they infected participants with a flu virus and then treated them with aspirin, acetaminophen, ibuprofen or placebo, the aspirin and acetaminophen groups had a longer duration virus shedding than the other groups. The aspirin and acetaminophen actually made the patients contagious for a longer period of time than they would otherwise have been.   –view abstract here

These are something to be aware of regards these anti-inflammatory pain pills. Vitamins, herbs and natural remedies are becoming more frequently asked about for a reason, as people are growing disenchanted with the “side effects” of many pharmaceuticals. Nutrition is not taught in medical schools, but changing your diet and improving your lifestyle may make your life easier and help you to stay healthy!

A New Year- Fresh Start

Jan 2020 Specials on Cleansing Kits

This is the time of year when we look to re-focus on our health. We may have overindulged during the Holiday Season  and it took its toll. We notice a few extra pounds, an overall sensation of not feeling our best, and it seems we’re either getting sick or fighting off a seasonal bug. New Year’s Day is our favorite day to plan to make changes – eat better, exercise more, and lose weight.  But, what will give the right jump start you need to be successful with your new goals?

An internal body cleanse may be just what you need to restore your body’s health. Internal cleansing results in clean, well functioning intestines which increase nutrient absorption and allow other organs to function better. You can empower the body to heal itself naturally by freeing it from the burden of reabsorbed toxins. Other organs, like the liver, gallbladder, kidneys and bladder can do their natural cleansing better when you have a detoxified intestinal and supporting herbs.

To help you with your new health goals, Southern Botanical’s is offering all our Cleanse & Detoxify Kits at great savings to you!

If you are a beginner, we have shorter cleanses that will give you a powerful boost in a shorter time. Our most popular short time cleanse in price and power boost is the 10 Day Liver and Intestinal Cleanse . The herbs featured in this cleanse program provide your body with nutrients that make it easier for your kidneys, bladder and intestines to gently release old toxins and waste without interruption much to your normal routine.  The 10 Day Intestinal Cleanse Kit is also quick acting and a great price. With this cleanse the liver breaks down excess hormones circulating in the body, as well as breaking down most of the toxic substances in the blood. A great option to get you ready for success, clearing the system for better diet and habits, reducing cravings and generally helping one get off to a fresh, healthy start.

If you want to keep it simple try the Kidney Cleanse Duo . Some of the benefits of the  easy duo are: flushes the urinary tract, soothes irritated tissues in the kidneys, bladder and urinary tract, tones the urinary tract for better bladder control, increased energy and supports kidney function and a healthy prostate.

If you are experienced and have made cleansing a part of your yearly routine, we have classic Cleanse kits for detoxification to thoroughly address what you want – be it a small system or whole body. The Total Intestinal Body Cleanse draws toxins from every organ in the body. The cleanse is done in 4 steps starting with the digestive system and the intestines. The Whole Body Parasite Cleanse *Program is a full body detox cleanse, addressing the following body organs and systems – digestive tract (from stomach to colon), liver and gall bladder, kidneys and urinary tract, blood and lymph, lungs and skin.

 All Southern Botanical Cleanse kits are discounted 5%-20% until Jan 31, 2020.

Please feel free to email or call us if you want advice on choosing the right cleanse for you. These are great cleanses with potent, high quality herbs so you can feel a difference.

Order Today and get started on your healthier you! 

Cleanse Kits include instructions that start you out gradually on intestinal cleanse steps, and allow you to maintain healthy bowel movements without feeling like you need to know where every bathroom is located all day “just in case”. Herbs in our formulas can actually strengthen tone and support the intestinal tract, helping to balance.

Note: When doing any cleanse that involves tea, the increased fluid intake may require more frequent trips to the bathroom if you are not used to drinking several cups of water a day. When doing a Kidney Cleanse, those herbs in the kit encourage urine production and work to flush your urinary system, so you may need to go to the bathroom more for the kidneys.


Inspiration to start your work week…

"The miracle isn't that I finished. the miracle is that I had the courage to start." John Bingham

"The miracle isn't that I finished. the miracle is that I had the courage to start." John Bingham

Our staff who work here can attest to this. We believe in miracles!

“This week my grandmother celebrated her 93rd birthday! After 5 weeks in a neck brace from cracking a bone in a fall, she is still feisty and independent, and still takes no drugs of any kind. She kept hoping for the best, and yesterday started driving again. If she can survive it all and carry on, so can we all!”

“When I look at all I’ve had to do recently, this quote is particularly apt. Since my husband is no longer working, I’ve had a steep learning curve for parts of the business I never took care of before – the finances. The uncertainties have been tough, but it is starting to settle down. I’ve become experienced and can look forward with a smile.”

“My family & I are experiencing an average of three miracles a day. Some say it is our Sainted Mother & Grandmother looking over us. Others say our rewards come from how we treat other people & in return receiving what we give to others. My daughter & son will note the stars & planet alignment. Me… I just pray it keeps up”..


International Herb Association Herb of the Year 2018- Hops!

According to the American College of Healthcare Sciences, “Each year the International herb Association  releases a new addition to their annual anthology series, Herb of the Year™. This year, it’s Hops, Herb of the Year 2018: Brewing and Beyond.

Hops are the green seed cones around the female flowers of Humulus lupulus. The first documented cultivation of hops and use in beer occurred in Germany  in the early 8th to 11th centuries. First used as a flavoring agent in beer, it was later used in herbal medicines. It is most noted in modern times for its relaxing properties, calming tensions and irritability, and it may make one sleepy.

We use hops in some of our formulas…

Nerve Ease Concentrate (*Organic, +Wildcrafted): Valerian Root*, Passion Flower, Lobelia*, Hops Flower*, Black Cohosh*, Blue Cohosh+, Wild Yam Root+ and Skullcap in a base of distilled water and certified organic GMO-free alcohol. Learn More  

Female Tonic Ingredients Ingredients: (*Organic, +Wildcrafted): Dong Quai Root*, Wild Yam Root+, Chaste Tree Berry*, Licorice Root*, Damiana Leaf+ and Hops Flower* in a base of distilled water and certified organic GMO-free alcohol. Learn More

Saw Palmetto

Saw palmetto

Saw Palmetto grows naturally here in Florida and was used in several forms of traditional medicine.  The Seminole Tribe relied on saw palmetto berries as food while the Mayans drank it as a tonic. Many Native American Medicine Men also kept a medicine bag of Saw Palmetto with them to make topical antiseptic,  a tonic, & to treat a wide variety of aliments which included impotence, inflammation & infertility. See our formulas containing Saw Palmetto.

From an article about Saw Palmetto found on

“Saw palmetto contains a multitude of constituents. These include beta-sitosterol and its related glucoside; various tannins; alkaloids; a number of resins; capric, palmitic, lauric, oleic and caprylic acids, carotenoids; lipase and others.

“… Because Saw palmetto contains a variety of naturally present phyto-compounds, it inhibits 5α-reductase without producing hormonal imbalances. This is confirmed by the fact that Saw palmetto is also used by traditional herbalists as an aphrodisiac. Saw palmetto also contains phytonutrients that help neutralize oxidation, thereby reducing oxidative stress. …

“… Because our Western pharmacology education and biochemical research focuses upon finding that single “active” phytochemical, we miss the very essence of why natural compounds have provided healing benefits for thousands of year to billions of people around the world: Their synergy of related phyto-compounds. A traditionally trained herbalist will therefore typically recommend only whole herbs or whole herb extracts.

“… Holistic practitioners often prescribe herbal combinations that might include Saw palmetto together with other herbs, as well as dietary and lifestyle recommendations. This approach may not be conducive to large-scale clinical (“single bullet”) studies, but it has worked for billions of people over thousands of years.”

See our formulas containing Saw Palmetto.

Can Chewing Help Your Endocrine System?

In our fast paced society there is no time for chewing, we devour our food without giving it a second thought. What if chewing is needed by the body for more than just breaking down food?

This is an excerpt from Lino Stanchich’s Power Eating Program book where he explains how chewing saved his dad’s life under dire circumstances. You’ll learn why paying attention to a simple thing like chewing can make a real difference to your health!

Surprisingly, even if you don’t have time to eat or prepare healthy foods, your body will be able to survive better just by how you chew. Your body receives messages not only from the food you put in your mouth, but the action of chewing itself! Chewing stimulates the endocrine system, putting glands and organs into communication with each other. It also sends oxygen to the brain and helps maintain short term memory. Most of us are so often rushed in life, that we swallow down our food quickly and our digestion suffers, but also our connection with our whole body. Read on…

“In 1943, during World War II, my father, Antonio Stanchich, was taken prisoner in Greece and sent to a concentration camp connected to a German factory, where all the prisoners were forced into hard labor.

That winter was bitterly cold. The barracks were poorly heated, clothing inadequate, and the food substandard. My father told me, “I was cold most of the time and hungry all the time.”

In the morning he was given a cup of chicory coffee and a slice of bread. For lunch and dinner he had a bowl of soup made of potatoes and some other vegetable, a grain or bean, and occasionally a bit of meat. Inmates died of starvation daily. Deaths from exposure to the elements increased constantly. Life was a constant fight for survival.

When my father was thirsty, he kept the cold water in his mouth to warm it and intuitively “chewed” it for a while, ten to fifteen times, before swallowing. One day, when the water was especially cold, he chewed it fifty times! And he discovered something that would save his life.

Aside from quenching his thirst, the water actually seemed to give him energy. At first he felt it must be his imagination. Eventually he realized that chewing water fifty times or more did indeed give him more energy. Puzzled, he asked himself how plain water could impart such a miracle. It took forty years to clarify this mystery.

My father experimented by chewing his food fifty times a mouthful. Then he tried 75, 100, 150, 200, even up to 300 times or more. He determined that the magical minimum number of chews was 150 and the more he chewed, the more energy he had. The morning and noon meals were restricted in time, but the evening meal was not. In the evening he could chew water as much as he liked.

My father’s technique was simple: Put one tablespoon of food, either liquid or solid, in the mouth, and count your chews. Most of his friends scoffed at his discovery. But two men became interested in these experiments and joined my father in his chewing sessions, Comparing notes, they both concluded that this technique did give them more energy. And they also felt warmer and less hungry.

In 1945, after two years in the concentration camp, the prisoners were liberated by the U.S. Army. In time my father, skinny but alive, came home to us in Fiume-Rijeka, formerly part of Italy, now Yugoslavia. Of his crew of thirty-two from the concentration camp, only three survived: my father, and the two men who joined him in his practice of chewing.

The following year, when I was 14, while on a family picnic, my father told me of his experience. He attributed his survival exclusively to chewing. He gave me some important advice, saying: “If you are ever weak, cold, or sick, chew each mouthful 150 times or more.” I never forgot those words, even though we had plenty of food and I was in good health.

Nineteen forty-nine found Yugoslavia in political turmoil. The communist government forbade Italian citizens to enter Italy. Many who opposed the government tried to escape Yugoslavia. I was one of them. On March 10, 1949, I was captured at the border and sentence to two years of hard labor. Now, at 17, I too became a prisoner.

My prison experience was extremely difficult, if not as horrible as my father’s. The diet was similar to the one he had described: one bread roll with chicory coffee in the morning, a bowl of soup, usually with barley and beans, at noon; and the same in the evening. Once a week the soup included some meat. If there were twenty beans in the soup, I considered the meal a good one. Like my father, I was hungry most of the time.

I was allowed one small package a month from home. Because parcels often failed to arrive, I asked my mother to send me raw onions, salt, and dry whole wheat bread. I reasoned that no one would steal such things, and sure enough, I received each one.

This supplementation made a big difference. I sliced the onion into wedges, dunked them in salt, and chewed them along with some bread. This was followed by one or two glasses of water, which filled me up. When properly chewed, the water gave me great energy and a strange feeling of confidence and courage.

I chewed as my father had taught, 150 times or more, but I introduced an important feature: I chewed with my eyes closed. This way I could “escape” my depressing surroundings. Closing my eyes also internalized my energy. By not looking outward, my energy went inward, strengthening me more.

The next year my family was allowed into Italy, and in 1953 we immigrated to the United States, where food was so plentiful. I went into the restaurant business with my brother. Without any fear of starvation, I abandoned my chewing regime.

The years passed and in 1969, I began to suffer the effects of my high-stress life. I was startled to realize that I was digging my own grave with my fork! Nutrition and health foods became my main interest. I tried many diets, from raw foods to fruit-only, from high-protein to lacto-vegetarian. The years passed and in 1969, I began to suffer the effects of my high-stress life. I was startled to realize that I was digging my own grave with my fork! Nutrition and health foods became my main interest. I tried many diets, from raw foods to fruit-only, from high-protein to lacto-vegetarian. All worked temporarily. Then I discovered macrobiotics, which I enthusiastically studied and adopted. I was once again determined to survive. Through what we consume, we change the quality of our mind, body and spirit. Each of us is responsible for his or her own destiny. We are our own masters, and no one else can chew for us.” – End of excerpt

Chewing your food more, while savoring the taste or texture or just the sheer pleasure of being alive, can enhance your health. 

Ideally, for food you want the food in your mouth to reach a rather soupy consistency. Even if you’re having juice, a smoothie or stew, if you chew well, your body can start making and using its digestive enzymes, and the endocrine glands will go into communication with each other.

So why not test this out at your next meal or even between meals? Try more chews and see how you feel.

You can learn more about Lino Stanchich and his valuable insights into natural health and a macrobiotic diet, which is famous for chewing discipline, from his book available on called Power Eating Program.

While we are not macrobiotic, we appreciate the wisdom Lino has passed on.
Read our What To Eat Page for more to consider about proper diet.

How Much Sugar Is In Your Food? Artificial Sweeteners and 3 Good Sweeteners

Is Sugar to blame for how you feel?

Yes, sugar is often primarily to blame for the lack of energy, hunger, stupor, illnesses, and pain.  We, unfortunately, have  gradually acclimated ourselves, to having low energy and pain. We accept it as normal and for a quick fix we take medicine or over-the-counter drugs, rather than looking for the real answers, like detoxifying foods and herbal solutions. Our society is addicted to sugar; it slowly and silently crept up on us.

How much sugar is in your food and drink?

Here is the truth. Remember that one teaspoon of granulated white sugar is equal to 4.2 grams. For comparison, there are 42 grams of sugar in a can of coke. That comes to 10 teaspoons of sugar per can of coke.

Fruit Drinks:  4 teaspoons (15 grams) of added sugar in 1 cup

100% fruit juice is a very concentrated source of fructose (naturally occurring fruit sugar). Fruit drinks, on the other hand, are often packaged and marketed to look like “wholesome” fruit juice but are mostly a mixture of added sugar and water. While 100% fruit juice does contain some vitamins and minerals, fruit drinks usually don’t. To avoid these hidden sugars, read the ingredients label. Anything other than “100% fruit juice” is likely to include added sweeteners.

Flavored yogurt: 5 teaspoons (19 grams) of added sugar in 6 oz.

Yogurt might be synonymous with “health food” for many, it’s a great source of protein, calcium, and cultures–but unless you’re buying “plain” yogurt, that dose of dairy may contain 20 grams of added sugar or more!

Spaghetti Sauce: 2 teaspoons (7 grams) of added sugar in 1/2 cup

Sure, the bulk of a pasta sauce’s ingredients are tomatoes and other veggies, but did you know that various forms of sugar (or corn syrup) are often added to your favorite red sauce? Manufacturers add sweeteners to tomato-based sauces to help cut down on the acidity of the tomatoes for a more widely appealing taste. But not all spaghetti sauces are created equal–some brands have 2-3 times the sugar of others!

Sports Drinks: 3.5 teaspoons (14 grams) of added sugar in 8 oz.

Many people turn to sports drinks during the hot summer months to stay hydrated or replace lost electrolytes from sweating. There are definitely some situations in which sports drinks are warranted: running a marathon or prolonged athletic training, to name a couple. Going for a brisk walk or a leisurely bike ride on a hot summer day is not one of these situations. Sports drinks pack in as much sugar as soda and essentially contribute empty calories that wreak havoc on our blood sugar and waistlines.

Chocolate Milk: 1.5 teaspoons (6 grams) of added sugar in 8 oz.

Chocolate milk and other flavored milk get their sweetness from 6 grams of added sugar.

Coffee Drinks: 8-15 teaspoons (30-60 grams) of added sugar per 16 oz.

Black coffee by itself is naturally sugar-free, but some flavored coffee drinks can pack more than 60 grams per 16-ounce serving. When shopping for your morning cup of Joe, avoid flavored or mixed coffee drinks that add in the sweeteners, flavored syrups, whipped (sweetened) creams, and other sweeteners.

Ketchup: 1.5 teaspoons (6 grams) of added sugar in 1 oz.

One of America’s favorite condiments, this seemingly innocent tomato-based sauce can pack as much as 6 grams of added sugar in a single ounce. High fructose corn syrup is usually added to ketchup to give it its sweet and savory flavor.

Sweetened Teas: 12 teaspoons (48 grams) of added sugar in 16 oz.

Like coffee, tea is naturally sugar-free. However, in some regions, tea comes sweetened with (lots of) sugar unless you specifically ask for unsweetened tea. This added sugar can rack up to over 48 grams for 16 ounces of tea.

Instant Oatmeal: 3 teaspoons (12 grams) of added sugar in 1 packet

Oatmeal has long been praised as a healthy breakfast of whole grains and fiber, which may help to lower cholesterol, regulate blood sugar, aid in weight loss, and keep you full.  While oats themselves are free of added sugar, the instant, flavored oatmeal that you buy in individual packages have 10-12 grams of sugar per packet. We have to read labels.

Protein Bars: 4 teaspoons (15 grams) of added sugar in 1 bar

Protein bars certainly sound healthy and many people choose them as an afternoon snack, post-workout recovery meal, or on-the-go meal replacement. Of course, these bars run the gamut when it comes to actual ingredients and nutrition profile, but one thing is for sure: They tend to be heavily sweetened. While they may have some protein, most of these bars have enough sugar to make a candy bar look like health food.

Coleslaw: 14 grams = 3.5 teaspoons per cup

Coleslaw can vary widely in its added sugar content, depending on the ingredients used. Some recipes actually call for adding up to one full cup of sugar…

Artificial Sweeteners

These mimic the flavor of sugar with virtually no useful energy. There are five dangerous sugar substitutes approved for consumer use: saccharin, neotame, acesulfame potassium, aspartame, and sucralose. Of these, the really dangerous ones are sucralose and aspartame. While they are not generically sugar, they are chemically created artificial substances to replace it. There is a lot of talk about them. What is true?

The real badass pair, Sucralose, and Aspartame

Sucralose is marketed under the name Splenda. To make it, they chlorinate sucrose, changing the structure of sugar molecules in it. Yes, I said “chlorinate,” adding chlorine atoms. Chlorine is a known carcinogen. Even so it has been approved by the FDA in 1999 for human consumption there are recently concerns about it’s safety.

Aspartame is marketed under the names Equal and Nutrasweet. There are over 6000 products using it, including yogurt, sodas, pudding, tabletop sugar substitutes, chewing gum, to name a few. Searle Company falsified reports of its danger, and lawsuits were delayed by clever legal maneuvering. When the statute of limitations ran out and the product was up again for the review, many discrepancies came to light between reported and actual findings.

How toxic is it? Flying Safety, an official United States Air Force publication reported that US Air Force pilots were warned not to consume Aspartame in any amounts at all. Why? Because it is being investigated for having caused brain tumors, mental retardation, birth defects, epilepsy, Parkinson’s Disease, Fibromyalgia, and Diabetes. The FDA has made no move to regulate this toxic substance.

Saccharine: Sweet and Low, Some reported side effects, for those with sulfa allergies, saccharin may cause nausea, diarrhea, skin problems or other allergy-related symptoms. Some concerns are: Early safety studies of saccharin caused bladder cancer in rats. The FDA recently lifted the requirement that saccharin is labeled as a probable carcinogen on food packaging. On the birth of Aspartame, there was a war between the two and Aspartame out-politicked saccharin, which had been investigated more than any other sweetener, and saccharin lost. To date, there is no connection between saccharin and bladder cancer in humans. Aspartame just ran roughshod over saccharin back in the eighties when Aspartame backers used every tool they had to destroy saccharin so Aspartame could take a foothold in the sweetener business.

Acesulfame Potassium is found in many products in protein powders and “reduced-sugar products.” These sweeteners have reduced calories but there is evidence they promote hunger, just as sugar and HFCS do in suppressing the hormone that tells you have had enough to eat. They cause headaches, weight gain, and more cravings, gastrointestinal problems, toxicity to liver and kidneys.

Dr. Oz says Aspartame and Sucralose create what is called metabolic syndrome. Metabolic syndrome is a combination of factors that multiply a person’s risk for heart disease, diabetes, and stroke. Almost 35% of American adults are affected, which is now epidemic, causing high blood pressure, excess belly fat and insulin resistance. Natural health solutions would solve many of these problems in short order.

Truvia: This is NOT stevia-based as marketed. The name Truvia suggests truth, but it is just the opposite, it is a lie. The ingredients are Erythritol, Rebiana and Natural Flavors. 99.95% of Erythritol is a sugar alcohol made by processing genetically modified (GMO)) corn, the rest is Rebiana, a laboratory-produced extract of one-half of 1% of the Stevia plant, just enough to say it is a stevia product. Truvia is just another product, which  mainly consists of  sugar alcohol made from GMO corn!

Xylitol is another favorite of the food industry.  It is made primarily from GMO corn. Commercially available xylitol is produced by the industrialized process of sugar hydrogenation. In order to hydrogenate anything, a catalyst is needed, and in this case, Raney nickel is used which is a powdered nickel-aluminum alloy.

On being asked if he considered Xylitol a “natural product”, Shane Ellison, Organic Chemist, says: “I don’t consider anything natural if it’s processed with man-made chemicals.” He said, “Xylitol will rip up your insides, namely the digestive tract. It’s being touted as a natural product, most likely so that it can bypass regulation. Thus, very little studies exist on its side effects.” He further said it is a “Franken-chemical.”

What is a good sweetener?

Fresh fruit of all sorts makes the best sweeteners to add to your food, snack, drink. Dates are also often used.

The only truly raw and unprocessed plant-based sweetener on the market is Stevia, a natural product made of leaves of a South American plant that is 400% sweeter than sugar. It has all of the good sweetening properties that provide a sweet taste with none of the dire effects caused by any of the others. Sweetleaf Stevia is the only product that has pure stevia at this writing. Check the ingredients of other “stevia” products, and you will see they have other sweeteners in them. There are many products calling themselves stevia when they are actually sweetened by other sugar alcohol-based chemicals such as maltitol, sorbitol, isomalt, and xylitol. When you see these in the ingredients, you know you are still looking at sugar. For example, the ingredients of some of these fake stevia products contain maltitol which has high glycemic qualities and causes major intestinal difficulties.

Unprocessed stevia, the green or brown leaf or liquid  retains the healthy properties of the plant: it feeds the pancreas, and actually aids in keeping blood sugar balanced.


Organic Dark Robust Maple Syrup, Maple Valley

Another good plant sweetener choice is Maple syrup, rich Dark Robust variety. Dark Robust is the term for what used to be called Grade B, and before that, Grade C Maple Syrup. But the industry decided that all of its product should really be called Grade A, so now the term Dark Robust is used onstead, for late season maple syrup which has more minerals and is darker in color and richer in flavor.   Our Maple Valley Maple Syrup is 100% pure and organically produced Dark Robust.

Finally, unheated, unfiltered pure raw honey, like our Stakich Raw Honey,  is unprocessed, not blended with syrups as most commercial honey is to get the water content specified by the FDA.–>
How can you avoid sugar? It’s easy to say “stop eating it “,which is true but sugars are hidden in many packaged food products. To avoid sugars and their artificial counterparts, start reading labels!

Even more, start eating whole unprocessed nutritious foods. Once you switch over and your body get used to getting real nutrition, you will find your taste buds change and you  the sugar-laden foods you used to eat don’t even taste good anymore!

Eat foods that give you sustained energy, detoxifying foods, exercise, drinking lots of water, and discovering herbal nutrition will help you find your way back from sugar addiction.