The Body Retreat

The Body Retreat

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Get Label Savvy To Root Out Stealth Sugar

You Want To Reduce The Sugar In Your Diet?

If you are trying to reduce the amount of sugar you and your family are consuming then you need to become label savvy.

Wether your goal is to lose weight, balance your blood sugar and energy levels or you just want to choose when and in what form you eat sugar then you need to be aware of all the sugars and sugar substitutes that are turning up in every day products.

Sugar comes in many forms and manufacturers know that those pesky health conscious shoppers are becoming wise to the sugar content of foods.   Unfortunately many manufacturers have resorted to stealth tactics to reduce the appearance of the sugar load of their products and they add several types of sugar. Often your ingredients can read like a chemical experiment so long is the list of ingredients. So picking out the sugar can be a tough call.

So how do you pick out that stealthy sugar… so first things first, remember that ingredients are listed by volume on the ingredients listing so the closer to the start of the list the more the product contains.

Sugar in All its Forms

Start by looking for the word “Sugar”… it’s a given, Its often there written in it most simple from. I would say that if you are surprised to see the word sugar in the ingredients, as I was when looking a some sausages recently, then choose another product. Also if the sugar is the second or third ingredient and the product isn’t a sweet or baked good then that’s a lot of sugar and you might want to consider an alternative.

Next look for the “Natural Sugars”, listed as Honey, Agave Syrup, Maple Syrup, Date Syrup, Concentrated Apple or Cane Juice, Raw Cane Sugar, Corn Syrup, Caramel, Molasses, Carob remember that just because its natural doesn’t mean you can consume without limit.

Now it’s the “Oses”. When you find ingredients that end in Ose it’s a good chance that these are sugars for example Glucose, Fructose, Dextrose, Maltose, Poly Dextrose, Sucralose.

Finally look for anything else on the list below…they all turn up in both savoury and sweet products all the time. Glycerin, Matodexrin, Diatase, Ehtly Maltol, Saccerides, Pectin, and some starches.

I know this seems like a long and exhausting list , but don’t despair. You don’t have to live a life without sugar, we all need a little sweetness but sugar should be consumed in moderation. With so many forms of sugar lurking in unexpected places, it’s hard even with the best intentions to limit your intake. Finding sugar on food labels is tricky, but not impossible. When you are armed with the right information and a willingness to read food labels, hidden sugars won’t sabotage your healthy eating goals.

It Only Takes A Moment

The next time you are in the supermarket just spend a few extra minutes looking at the labels of the products you buy most…you might just surprise yourself.

I’d love to hear from you about the most surprising product you found sugar or sugar alternative in. Leave me a comment in the box below.


Why our Detox Retreat Isn’t Really a Detox!!

We are currently on the last day of our Sugar Detox Retreat and in conversation around the breakfast table we were chatting about the retreat and one lady said that our detox retreat isn’t really a detox retreat. Come Again?? I nearly fell of my chair!

The Oxford English dictionary defines “Detox” as Abstain from or rid the body of toxic or unhealthy substances.

Isn’t that what we are doing here at The Body Retreat’s Detox??????

Then conversation became clearer… Having spent some time looking for a retreat many of the ladies had seen the same old detox blurb time and time again. Eat little, move less, have a few treatments then home.

What Makes a Detox Retreat a Detox Retreat?

When you think of a detox retreat what comes to mind?

Well probably a few things, depending on whether you have ever been on a detox retreat or not, but there may well be a few common threads…

Juice fasting, raw foods, herbs & supplements, yoga, mediation, lounging around in fluffy robes and perhaps even colonic irrigation or other holistic detox treatments.

On the whole this is a pretty fair overview of many detox retreats at the moment. Based on the principle that the body needs to be cleaned from the inside out, purging the body of toxic overloads that have built up from your sloppy modern lifestyle, detox retreats promise your leaving with your insides squeaky clean and everything working just as its should do.

Here’s the thing, your body comes fully prepared to detox itself …without outside intervention. Your kidneys, liver, lungs and skin are all part of your body’s waste management system, ensuring that you don’t end up in need of serious medical attention

So why do so many people claim to feel better after a detox? It may be due in part to the fact that a detox diet eliminates highly processed foods. Avoiding these high-calorie low-nutrition foods for a few days may be part of why people feel better.

Aren’t you simply making the case NOT to go to a Detox Retreat at all?

Yes and No.

Don’t go to a detox retreat expecting to be some how fixed in a few short days. It’s not the days on retreat that make the improvement in your health, but rather what you do when you return home.

Really think about what you want to achieve from your time at retreat, weight loss, kick start a new healthy eating programme or perhaps you are just looking for a break away from a hectic lifestyle?

Make sure your retreat will suit your goal.

Why Our Detox Retreat is different.

Thinking back to the common threads of detox retreats what about The Body Retreat?

Well at The Body Retreat we do have juices…but only once a day. Every afternoon we have a greens juice as it’s a great way to really blast your system with vitamins, mineral and antioxidants in a format that is really easy to digest. Juices never take the place of real clean whole foods. Yes, we agree that it can be useful to lighten the digestive load from time to time, allow your body to play catch up without overloading it with rubbish or hard to digest foods. To that end there are also some raw food dishes during the week long retreat, but as part of balanced meal plan and not the main staple of the retreat.

We also have yoga during the week, but as part of a varied exercise and activity programme. A very important part of supporting your body’s natural waste management system is movement. Movement increases circulation and lymph drainage. If you are existing on a very low calorie diet of juices then the chances are you don’t have the energy to move very much or very far. In fact to do so would be counter productive to your health as you could find yourself cannibalising muscle to give you the energy you need. At The Body Retreat we have a programme that includes walking, swimming, yoga and toning classes.

There are no colonics or enemas at The Body Retreat. We are not anti-colonic ourselves, but we feel that the decision to have a colonic is one that should not be taken lightly and should be undertaken with the support of a professional. Hosepipes and buckets and a “give it a go” approach are not for us.

Our Detox has a pretty specific purpose…its all about Sugar. Or rather it’s all about getting free from the clutches of sugar. Sugar is endemic in our food these days, hidden in the most obscure places from sausages to hummus, combine this with the over availability of sweet treats, soft drinks and processed foods and you really do have a health time bomb. Of course not all sugar is in the crap we know we should be eating less of, you can over consume sugar in an attempt to be healthy, eating too many high sugar fruits, dried fruits, smoothies even starchy veggies can all add up to a high sugar intake. Quitting sugar is hard, so our retreat is an opportunity to begin the process of detoxing the sugar from your body while at the same time detoxing your mind of the cravings, triggers and self sabotaging thoughts that can lead to over consumption of the sweet stuff.

Oh and course there are robes to lounge in, if lounging is your thing. R&R is an important part of every Body Retreat not just the Detox Retreat, so there is time every day to sleep, curl up on the sofa and read, hit the hot tub or pool, whatever your R&R is.

But the real difference with The Body Retreat’s detox is that it is not designed to be a quick fix. Yes, you will lose pounds and inches on the week, but that is only the start of the real result. You leave us with a four week at home programme that helps you to maximise your result. Having felt for yourself how your body feels eating clean whole foods, how your energy levels rebalance, how your skin tone and hair condition can have improved, you may even see improvement in some chronic conditions like reflux, eczema, IBS etc So it feels natural to want to carry on choosing to eat, move and behaviour in much the same way at home.

So there you have it…The Body Retreat’s Detox Retreat. Are we a Detox Retreat? Or might we be something more……

Ready For A Sugar Shock?

We have known for a long time that a diet that is high in processed food and refined sugar is bad for your waistline. We know now that beyond the superficial concerns about a spare tyre that sugar consumption is also linked to a host of health concerns from heart diseases, diabetes, stroke and even blindness.

Sweet treats and products made with refined sugars are not just bad for your waistline and health… sugar directly contributes to wrinkles, age spots, blemishes, lack lustre skin and cellulite!

Sugar is a major cause of AGE – Advanced Glycation End Products- which form in the body when excess sugars connect proteins, including collagen and elastin in your skin into stiff rigid bonds. The result is that your skin begins to wrinkle, sag and thin, they damage blood vessels and create free radicals and inflammation in the body…making you look and feel older than your years.

The bottom line is that Sugar is bad for your skin. Sugar steals nutrients and hydration from your skin, suppresses your immune system, feeds bad bacteria and curbs the ant aging hormones in your body. You may enjoy eating that ready meal, slice of cake or soft drink …but they are causing you long term damage, inside and out.

The only way to stop this vicious cycle is to kick your sugar habit.

Remember that sugar isn’t just the white stuff that is added to tea & coffee, nor is it resigned to sweet treats and soft drinks.  Its is entirely possible to be a sugar addict while eating a diet that is high is fruit, vegetables and grains.

On our Sugar Detox Retreat we work on Removing the Hidden Sugar, Reducing the Elective Sugars and Re-Thinking the Natural Sugars.  With a focus on health, wellness and beauty from the inside out.  You not only see the difference on the scales but you can also see the difference in your face.  You skin begins to glow, your eyes shine bright and you hair will look and feel luxurious.

Call me shallow but if there were ever single reason to cut sugar then taking years off your face is a pretty good one 🙂

The Confusing Problem With Sugar

Are you confused about the sugar you are eating?

It comes as no surprise that chocolate, fizzy drinks and sweet treats are full of added sugar. We all know that and as such many of us make the conscious decision to limit these sweet treats in our diets.   However, there are other surprising culprits that we might not associate with being a cause for concern. Many processed foods contain high amounts of hidden sugar and as we consume these foods daily  you could be unwittingly having regular sugar binges which could be playing havoc with your metabolism and insulin levels, making you store fat.

The problem with sugar is that it is highly addictive, we know now that sugar has the same chemical composition as cocaine, with the exception of nitrogen, so it is little wonder that when we consume a little we find ourselves  craving a little more then a little more.  You know how that story ends.

Thesedays more questions are being asked about where sugar is creeping in.  Consumers are slowly but surely starting to be switched on to these hidden sugars.

Just recently the photo at the top was published in a national newspaper to act as a guide for sugar consumption and on the face of it, it makes sense.  You can see clearly at a glance how much sugar is contained in various foods.  Some of which may or may not surprise you.

But this picture only adds to the confusion about sugar.  You can clearly see that for example a can of coke has less sugar than a mango.  Of course, this may be true but it ignores the fact that the coke is nutritionally empty, filled with chemical additives and preservatives which impact how our bodies systems work.  While at the same time ignores the fact that the mango contains antioxidants, fibre, vitamins and minerals.

So perhaps mixing fruits, whole foods, sweets and processed foods in the same guide is not as helpful as it could be.  Its suggests that the measure that they are presenting is the most impotent one…but of course this is newspapers…their job is to inform and to an extent educate…but mostly its to make stores that sell newspapers. If those stories add to the confusion about health then thats another story opportunity.  The only losers are the readers who buy into what they are reading.

We know that there is a lot of confusion about sugar in all its forms, we meet ladies on our Sugar Detox Retreat who have been trying to cut back on their sugar consumption but find themselves getting pulled back time and time again into the grip of the white stuff.  Intelligent, professional women who are trying to follow a healthy eating plan or support their weight loss but when they fancy a sweet treat are confused about what the best thing is to have.

Guides like this can encourage them make a choice that isn’t really a healthy one.  Follow this guide and you could be tempted to have a couple of Oreo biscuits and a can of Red Bull as your snack, after all they contain less sugar than the Mango!!  But of course once you have consumed the biscuits and drink your blood sugar levels will have spiked and crashed so quickly that you will be left feeling low and more hungry then before.  Then you end up eating more than you need.

Our ethos at The Body Retreat is that we should all look to Remove the Hidden Sugars in processed foods, Reduce the Elective Sugars in sweet treats and Rethink the Natural Sugars in whole foods.  We need to learn to listen to our own common sense about what we are eat and not blindly allow ourselves to be lead by guides, especially those printed in newspapers.

Stick as close to nature as you can and if you fancy enjoying a mango as part of a healthy balanced diet then enjoy every juicy bit of it.  (Maybe do your blood sugar levels and favour and have a little protein  or fat to help slow down the absorption and you really are onto a winner)

Tame Your Sugar Monster in Just 3 Steps

It is estimated that we now consume about 1Kg of sugar every day!  That’s around 35 teaspoons of sugar a day.

Seem like a lot?  Well actually it’s very easy to consume this and a whole lot more.

Here’s a confession…

I’m a bone fide Sugar Addict!!

I have a real sweat tooth, always have, since I was a little girl.  It’s little wonder, being brought up by an Irish grandmother there was a pudding after almost every meal, even if that was just a piece of fruit.  Then there were the sweet rewards for doing well at school, the sweet treats to celebrate high days and holidays…sweet..sweet …sweet.

As I grew into a young woman and had my own money to spend I continued the sweet treat behaviour.  By the time I was in my 30’s I was a fully fledged sugar addict.

Of course I’ve been around the diet block… I know only too well the pain and drama of the yo yo diet roller coaster.  My weight went up and my weight went down, but one thing still remained constant.  My sweet tooth!

Actually more than that..my reliance on sugar.  Cereal and sweet tea to get me going in the morning, a little something sweet mid morning, a sandwich meal deal for lunch, another little something to help me beat the afternoon slump and keep me from falling asleep at my desk, pasta for supper and of course a little something sweet to finish the meal.  My whole diet was pretty much all based on sugar in some form. I always had some sugar craving.

Something had to change. I had to get a hold of the sugar in my diet.  Beyond my little daily sweet treats, I didn’t think there was much sugar in my diet. Boy was I wrong! My Sugar Monster had a strong hold on me.

Sugar is Just Sugar isn’t it?

Its the stuff in the sugar bowl, in the chocolates, in the soft drinks. That was the sugar I needed to cut down.

Well NO.

Sugar Explained

There are many sources of sugar in our diets, some we may not even have considered as sugar before.

First there are the Natural Sugars. Sugars contained in fruits, vegetables, dairy produce and complex carbohydrates. These Natural Sugars are slower to be absorbed by your body and are a great source of natural energy.

Then we have Elective Sugars. As the name suggests these are the additional sugars you choose to add into your diet. Often in the form of sweets, chocolate, soft drinks, jam on your toast or sugar added to beverages.

Finally we have Hidden Sugars. This is probably the most dangerous of sugars…this is sugar that has been added to everyday foods like yoghurts, bread, sausages, pasta sauce etc etc to make it taste better.  The reason this type of sugar is so dangerous is that because it is hidden it can be hard to calculate how much you are eating and even harder to cut from your diet.

Not all sugar is bad, BUT, we must relearn to consume sugar in moderation. This can be hard as our taste buds have become some accustomed to tasting sweetness in almost every food that we eat.

Taste Buds Corrupted by Sugar.

Quite frankly life is too short to not have a little sweetness in it. But there is no denying that we have become a nation of Sugar Lovers.

Our taste buds have changed, for example we have become used to the sweetness of canned tomato soup, so that now a real tomato tastes bland. We are used to the sweetness of soft drinks that plain water tastes insipid and natural yoghurt is so boring with nothing to tip onto the top or discover at the bottom. You can see how this begins to escalate frighteningly quickly.

Sugar, Sugar, Sugar!

Do you remember a time when you tasted the first strawberry of summer and it tasted divinely sweet? That’s when your taste buds were uncorrupted by Sugar.

The Body Retreat’s 3 Step Plan 

At The Body Retreat we recommend the following 3 step plan to start to reclaim control of your sugar habit, break that sugar addiction for good.


Remove the Hidden Sugar, Reduce the Elective Sugar and Re-Think your Natural Sugar Consumption.

First and very importantly. Remove the Hidden Sugar.

Start to get label savvy… read the labels of the foods you consume most often. You can only avoid it if you are looking for it. Look for sugar in all its guises.  It may not be listed as just sugar, look for cane juice, brown rice syrup, agave syrup, fructose, maltose..in fact look for all the “tose’s”.  You probably already know that the ingredients are listed in order of amount, so you don’t want to see sugar in any form too high up the list of ingredients…or to many times.  Once you are savvy with your labels begin to cut out those dishes or foods with lots of added sugar.

Reduce the Elective Sugar.

Be honest, how much sugar are you adding into your daily diet?  Are there sweet treats, soft drinks, sugar in your tea.  Begin over the next week to make a concise effort to simply reduce this little by little through the week.

Re-Think Your Natural Sugar Consumption.

If you have a sweet tooth, don’t simply replace sweets and treats for fruits and other natural sugars.  You can still overcome sugar through natural foods.  For example a glass of orange juice can around 28gm of sugar, to put that into context, a can of coke has 40gm, not as much difference as you may have thought.  When you have fruits, starchy veg, cereals, grains etc…remember that they are a form of sugar so re-think the amount of these food that make up your daily diet.

Now, you might be tempted to think that you can bypass this process and simply swap your sugars for artificial sweeteners…well no. Thats a whole other unhelathy can of worms and I’m going to get into that in the next post,  Sugar Alternatives, the Good, the Bad and the Down Right Ugly!

If you want to find out more about how you can quit sugar then why not download our free 5 Day Sugar Detox Programme.

p.s We love questions here at The Body Retreat and to us there is no such thing as silly question.  So if you have a question about this post or about quitting sugar in general then please pop it in the box below.