Understanding Sugar

Kerry Roberts

At Everipe, we love food. All kinds. The kind that fuels our bodies and the kind that celebrates holidays and birthdays. We were created based on the idea that we're all just trying our best and everything-in-moderation is a balanced approach to nutrition.  But we know the information around sugar can be a complicated. So, we wanted to break things down a bit and shed some light on the great sugar debates. This isn’t about villainizing foods, it’s about making more informed choices. Knowledge is power, right?

We are going to talk about sugar in two ways here: added sugars and naturally occurring sugar. When we say added sugar, we mean anything that was not naturally occurring in the food you’re eating, from the sprinkle of coconut sugar on a grapefruit to the drizzle of honey on a bowl of oatmeal. Here’s a breakdown of what we need to know about each to reasonably navigate a diet that helps us feel well, ward off disease, and maintain our energy. 

Just a Spoonful of Sugar Helps…What, Exactly? 

White sugar has been evicted from many-a-cupboard of health conscious people for more “natural” alternatives like coconut sugar, agave, honey, maple syrup. The benefits of these swaps are highly debated and honestly…sort of confusing. Here’s some info to help it make a bit more sense:

All sugars--from added to natural occurring, refined to fair trade—are comprised of essentially the same three simple sugars (called monosaccharides)—glucose, fructose, and galactose. And together glucose and fructose make sucrose. 

From the the sugar in that ceramic bowl on your grandma’s counter to the organic, fair trade coconut sugar you just picked up at the farmer's market, all sugar is comprised of the exact same molecular foundation, just in different ratios.

  • White refined sugar is sucrose, which is a 50-50 combination of glucose and fructose.

  • Maple sugar is about 2/3 sucrose.

  • Despite frequent claims that coconut sugar is effectively fructose-free, it’s made of 70–80% sucrose, which is half fructose.

  • Agave is often praised for being low glycemic, which it is, because it’s essentially all fructose (with levels higher than high fructose corn syrup!).   

‘Ose you still paying attention? 

The quick and dirty of it is there’s no compelling evidence to show that one type of added sugar is better for you than another…processed or not. Ultimately, our bodies utilize all sugars the same way: it's either used as energy or stored as fat (which can be turned into energy later). Maple syrup, honey, and coconut sugar are less processed than white sugar and contain more nutrition like trace minerals, vitamins, and antioxidants (which isn’t hard to do: white sugar has zero!) but there's no reason to eat them for those health benefits—the nutrition they contain can be obtained in much better ways. Leafy greens, anyone?

Whatever you decide to stock your cabinets with, remember that there is no added sugar that is going to make eating excess sugar okay when it comes to disease prevention and feeling good. It’s in the science: too much of the stuff is very much tied to cardiovascular disease and Type 2 Diabetes. 

The Case For (Cellular Intact) Fruit 

Our bodies and brains run on carbohydrates, and sugar is the smallest form of carbs.  We do need some! It’s true that all fruits have naturally occurring sugars in them made up of the same elements described above, but they also contain fiber, antioxidants vitamins, and minerals and tend to have less sugar by volume than sugar-laden treats.  

Fiber is what helps slow down the small intestine from absorbing sugar too quickly.  Because Everipe’s fruits are freeze dried, their cellular structure—and therefore their fiber content—largely remains in tact. This is a very good thing, and one advantage freeze drying has on dried fruit or powders.  Plus, our added superfoods help boost the fiber content of each smoothie to help keep you satisfied for longer and avoid that sugar crash. 

And when it comes to long term health, incorporating fruits into your diet has real health benefits, like lower risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes. But it’s always best to check with your doctor to see what’s best for you. Cheers! 

Read more →

How to Not Need a Vacation from Your Vacation: Wellness Tips to Take on the Road

Kerry Roberts

Summer is in full swing, meaning a few good things are happening: schedules are relaxed, skies are blue, and social calendars are full.  And while these are all very good things, the summer hustle can make it difficult to stay on a wellness routine. Is it possible to NOT need a vacation after your vacation? We had to know.

For some real life, I-can-totally-do-this wellness tips to take on the road this summer, we tapped Vanesssa Kahler, a Functional Nutritionist, Health Coach, and founder of Kahler Wellbeing Academy.  Here are her tips:

Stick to a morning routine.

Wake up at a set time each morning. Sleep is one of the most well researched areas of well-being and its indisputable that we all need a good night sleep to thrive. Research shows us that a lack of sleep affects heart health, immunity, diabetes, cognitive function, moods. It is recommended that we create a regular wake up time and bed time to maintain our circadian rhythm and achieve ideal 8 hours sleep each night. Recent studies show that people with a regular wake-up time reported being more satisfied overall in every area of their lives.

Wake up your mind and your body.  Before you dive into your day, aim for 5-10 minutes of stillness. Instead of jumping out of bed, give your body a few minutes to enjoy waking up. And if you’re up for it, add  5-10 minutes of stretching and/or yoga once you're upright. 

Start your day with glass of water. Water is all you need, but if you have the time and the ambition, adding lemon, cucumber or ginger  add extra health benefits and a little flavor.

Bring your smoothie ritual on the road.

A quick, healthy smoothie packed with nutrients ensures you start the day with a concentrated easy-to-digest, nutrient dense breakfast.  Here's the simple math: hydration + a low sugar, nutrient-dense breakfast = maintained mood and energy throughout the day.  Here are my picks:

Greens With Envy, a source of chlorella, spinach, and chia provides a nutrient dense start to the day. 

For an afternoon pick me up try Ripe Rebound with turmeric and ginger.  (Also great for a morning after an indulgent evening!) 

Treat Yourself.  It's Vacation! 

...and have an idea of when and how you’ll indulge so your energy levels won’t suffer.  

Be mindful of indulgences. If your afternoon involved ice cream with the kids, opt for fruit after dinner. 

Try to make 2 out of the 3 meals balanced. Opt for a balance of protein, carbs and fats to keep you feeling good throughout the day.  

Try to save the sweets for after meals. A sweet meal or snack on it's own can spike blood sugar and make it difficult to maintain your energy levels.

Whatever you’re eating, enjoy it.  Be present, eat slowly, savor, and enjoy. 

Make time to relax and restore.  

Take time to slow down while you’re away, even if that means saying “no” to a few things on your bucket list. Part of not “needing a vacation from your vacation” is taking the time to fill up your cup…both literally and figuratively. Getting good sleep and maintaining a morning routine will be a great start, but try to build in a few other practices that will help you relax, reset, and restore: 

Make time for movement.  Bring sneakers for morning walks, play tag with the kids, or sign up for a yoga class in town.  

Book a spa treatment. Even better, choose the relax or detox treatments.  And if the spa isn’t in the cards, bring some bath salts and essential oils to create a spa-like evening bath routine. Maybe with a cocktail in hand! 

Grab that beach read. Take your favorite book or audible that you have had on your list for months.

And most of all….slow down, breath deep and enjoy! 

Read more →