Rise and Thrive: S1 Ep4

Essentia Rise & Thrive Podcast Featuring Dr. Michael I. Goran

EPISODE 4: Early Life Dangers of Sugar, Processed Food, and the Effect on Sleep

Dr. Michael Goran, Author of Sugarproof, joins us to discuss early age fat accumulation, risk of diabetes, heart disease, and the connection between sugar and poor sleep.

The lively conversation includes many great tips of how we can also control our sugar intake, and why it's so important to get it under control at an early age. Dr. Goran is a Professor of Pediatrics at The Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles, as well as running a full research lab called 'The Goran Lab'. The Goran Lab aims to discover how the body regulates where excess fat is deposited, how increased body fat affects our health, and how this is all regulated during growth and development across different segments of the population.

Essentia: Rise & Thrive Featuring Dr. Michael Goran, Author of Sugarproof

Dr. Michael Goran, Author of Sugarproof, joins us to discuss early age fat accumulation, risk of diabetes, heart disease, and the connection between sugar and poor sleep. The lively conversation includes many great tips of how we can also control our sugar intake, and why it's so important to get it under control at an early age. 

Dr. Goran is a Professor of Pediatrics at The Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles, as well as running a full research lab called 'The Goran Lab'. The Goran Lab aims to discover how the body regulates where excess fat is deposited, how increased body fat affects our health, and how this is all regulated during growth and development and across different segments of the population.

You can pick up Dr.Goran's Sugarproof book or grab some of his great recipes on his blog here. You can also keep up with Dr. Goran on Instagram and Twitter.

"Dr. Michael Goran trained as a biochemist and has morphed into a pediatric nutrition research powerhouse. His research elucidates how sugar can derail the process of healthy growth and development and he has developed effective ways for reducing sugar consumption in childhood.”

Robert Lustig, MD, MSL, Emeritus Professor of Pediatrics, UCSF, and author of “Fat Chance” and “The Hacking of the American Mind” 

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You can also read the full transcript of the Essentia: Rise & Thrive podcast featuring Dr. Michael Goran, author of Sugarproof, here: 

Whitney: Hello, and welcome to Rise and Thrive. This is a series where we explore some of the biggest topics in wellness and how they affect our sleep that you can learn to wake up every day, feeling rested, recharged, and ready for anything. I'm Whitney Lauritsen the moderator. And I'm joined by Jack, the CEO and founder of Essentia Natural Memory Foam.

And our special guest today is Dr. Michael Goran, professor of pediatrics at children's hospital of Los Angeles and author of the book Sugar Proof, which we are actually going to give away at the end of the session today, live on clubhouse. That's where we're recording today. We're going to have a live discussion to talk about early age fat accumulation, risk of diabetes, heart disease, the connection between sugar and poor sleep and so much more.

If you're live with us, in clubhouse, you'll have the chance a little bit later to come up on stage to ask questions of Dr. Goran, and we encourage you to visit myessentia.com/podcast. To get more information about this broadcast Jack, before we kick things off, I would love for you to introduce. Michael to tell us more about how, you know each other and why you thought he'd be a good guest for this episode.

Jack: Absolutely. Thanks Whitney. Michael, thank you very much for joining us. Like everything we've tried to do with this podcast is really not focused only on sleep, because we really know that everything's connected, nutrition, exercise, sleep. They really are codependent.

You, you don't sleep well. You don't eat well, you don't eat well, you don't sleep well. And really, I thought of your book, which I have a copy here, which thank you for this, just because I'm holding it up, that clubhouse people can't see it. I was really diving into it and tried to see some things that might take ways our cause ultimately sugar is such an evil part of our history in a sense that it's been used as a reward.

Growing up, we celebrated everything around sugar, birthday cakes. We've got an emotional tie to sugar and we know it's not good for us, but there's some really interesting things here in the book that we're going to dive into, that I have questions on because today we talk about wellness in a whole different way.

We talk about gut health and it was really amazing to see that there are millions of brain cells in our gut. And would you write about that in the book? So they're just amazing information and so I really appreciate having you. Thank you for accepting the invitation and yellow.

Let you definitely introduce yourself a little bit. But again very grateful that you're a part of this 

Michael: happy to be here, delighted to be here, Jack and Whitney, and everybody listening today. Thank you so much for bringing us onto your podcast. 

Whitney: Absolutely. And one thing that I especially love about your work, Michael, as I started to read more about you, is that you focus on children, families, and vulnerable population, and your research is based on the underserved and the understudied populations like low income, Hispanic people, black people.

I think that's so important. I found an article that you did in authority magazine. And I wanted to read this quote because this is such an important part of wellness that not enough people speak about. You said most health and wellness experts, as well as available strategies target more affluent white adults, but we need to focus on families and children.

We also need to focus on underserved segments of the population, where there are major health disparities, which can include obesity type two diabetes, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease and cardiovascular disease that can be prevented by good nutrition and exercise. And I just was so grateful to see you writing about that.

And we know that your focus is so much on families and children, but that's including people of all different backgrounds. So I thought that was a good place to start off. 

Michael: Thank you for highlighting that Whitney. Because it's not talked about a lot in, in these types of spaces, but it's been a focus of my research for over 30 years.

And I think the real issues in terms of how of chronic disease risk related to nutrition and lifestyle is by, is so much more problematic among different segments of the population that you just mentioned. And, in terms of public health and healthcare costs and all those things.

Those are where the real concerns lie. And those are the real segments of the population that we need to reach with different lifestyle interventions and different culturally appropriated interventions and strategies and techniques because they may be different types of communications and needed different types of strategies and needed.

And we're actually about to launch a brand new center little bit of a preliminary announcement. I think this is going to be publicized as of tomorrow, actually, but we will be launching a new regional center funded by the national institutes of health is going to be eight of these centers formed because.

There is a bigger realization that we need more specialized focused work in this area to bring the types of things that we talk about on this channel. And you talk about bringing that to the level translate it to the level that's needed to reach those different populations. 

Whitney: That's really wonderful to hear very exciting. And I felt like another good place to start is the basics. I think a lot of people understand that sugar isn't the best thing for them, but they may not fully understand why. And there's to your point, perhaps not enough education for all different types of people. So I, there's so many places we can begin here, but I feel like one of the places that so many people are paying attention to right now is in terms of the immune systems.

So I, I didn't realize this, but as I was looking through some of your work, you. Spoken about how it is weakening the immune system, which also increases your assessing your ability to get the viral infections. So I don't know how much you can speak on that and how much data there is there. But I'm really curious about that, given that we're in the middle of a pandemic right now.

So how is avoiding sugar supporting us in our health specifically at this time during COVID-19? 

Michael: Yeah, I think there's multiple ways that's playing out and we've learned a lot during the last 18 months about this and the important role of nutrition, but several studies now have shown that by four, one of the best predictors of severity of outcome from COVID is blood glucose levels.

And other studies have shown that a poor diet high processed food diets can also be problematic. So I think it's pretty clear that. Yeah, it might not be sugar itself. There may be some direct role of sugar, but typically sugar gets introduced him to diet from from eating a lot of processed foods, which tend to be a low and other nutrients and high, and pro-inflammatory things and low in fiber.

For example, so for sure highly processed diet is much more pro-inflammatory and can trigger some of the inflammatory responses throughout the body. Whereas the opposite of that a little process for diet, a diet rich in fruits and vegetables and low in sugar can actually strengthen the immune system can strengthen the gut microbiome, 70% of our gut health, sorry, 70% of our immune health resides in.

So I think feeding those got microbes with prebiotic nutrients with fiber fruits and vegetables can only be helpful. Producing sugar can also mean moving away from processed foods because 70% of press processed foods contain some type of added sugar. And for products targeted towards children, 80% of foods directly targeting children, contain some type of added sugar.

Jack: The whole study that you do your work, your body of work and everything that you're working on. As far as youth and development, W through these last 18 months. And obviously we're not really talking about COVID and nor want to go down that path because it's such a, but one of the things that some people have been talking about the last eight months, and it still is the case everyone's focused on just talking about the vaccine, but yet there should be a full launch.

A real push from our government to focus on health, wellness, nutrition because all things being equal it's that, that, that healthy, new, that healthy gut that's, what's going to get everyone to the next level. And that's so awesome to see this body of work coming from you, just because there's just not enough of these discussions.

Michael: Totally. Yeah. I hope David Kessler is listening. He's leading the the COVID and the vaccine launch in, in the Biden covenant, David Kessler is a former FDA commissioner who took on tobacco. And he's very much aware of this issue. So I hope maybe once we're through the worst of COVID, maybe there will be a greater focus.

I hope in taking these issues on these are huge policy level issues involving multiple aspects of the government. But, one of the reasons we wanted to raise sugar proof is because that's a huge undertaking. That's very complicated. Are we going to get there? I don't know, but there's lots of things we can do as individuals and as families.

To take that on. So that's one of the main focus focal points of the book is to get families more engaged and more fired up about making some of these changes. I hope we get to a bigger, broader macro level type of change in our food environment, but that's, that may be slow coming.

Whitney: Maybe helping people just understand, the benefits of it, which has been really helpful for me, but also something I believe that you address in your book is just taking some time away from sugar to see how you feel. And I certainly have found a profound difference. One thing that comes up a lot in your work is inflammation, as you mentioned, and that I believe is part of how it impacts your sleep.

Is that true? That when you have chronic inflammation, that's harder to get a good night's rest.

Michael: That I'm not totally a hundred percent sure, but that's interesting. Gin, do you know where that thought comes from? 

Whitney: It came from, I think one of the articles I read or maybe it was a more general article about sugar's impact on sleep. And I was fascinated by that, but I wasn't, I don't know if there was a study link to it.

Michael: I don't know if it's I don't know if studies are relating inflammation per se, but for sure, we talk about it in a book, the role of sugar and sugary beverages on disrupting sleep, wake cycles. And that's due to the immediate effect of sugar as an energy rush on the body. But another factor which is pretty relevant also for teenagers is energy drink.

Which are often taken late at night by like by teenagers becoming very prevalent in, in, in levels of consumption. Those are really high in caffeine as a soda. We have to question why is there 50 milligrams or so of caffeine in a soda? And then an energy drinks could have a hundred or 200 milligrams of caffeine.

And kids are often taking those at night to help them study and then they're expected to sleep. So there's a combination there of the sugar of the caffeine that often comes along with that. I think it's very problematic if we want to get into issues of. 

Whitney: And then it's interesting though, because I found that when I get off sugar, I have more energy.

And was this something that I saw you write about how you're the stable blood glucose means that you have more stable focus and concentration improved brain health? I'd love for you to speak on that too, because I think energy is a huge issue that people have these days.

Michael: Yeah. Yeah. It's totally true. That's been our experience working with hundreds of families doing our no added sugar. We have lots of different reports of overwhelming changes in energy levels. The problem is it takes a day or two to get there. Many families are turned off by this initial day where you go off sugar, where you were, it could be very uncomfortable and that's because we're withdrawing from an addiction.

So the first day or two can be really rough, but in vast majority of cases, once you take your body off of sugar and you don't have to go off of sugar forever, but you get the most noticeable effect. If you just do take sugar out even for just a week on her 70, no added sugar challenge fast majority of individuals and children report much higher energy levels.

We've had cases of kids starting off before the challenge of them feeling very lethargic or even then falling asleep in class. Mid-morning. But then on a note after the no added sugar challenge, there they're much more alert. And this is, excuse me, this is all to do with state better stabilization of blood sugar levels.

And you don't have to go off sugar completely to get a stable blood sugar. But that stabilization of blood sugar is just as important for kids as it is for as adults. And there's different ways you can do that. And unfortunately, breakfast per kid means a big sugar bowl is usually, and there's a bolus of sugar ingestion from juice from sugary cereals, from syrup over pancakes or whatever.

Massive rise in blood glucose. So there's a big, there's a big rise in energy levels. So you send your kids out the door, all energized and ready to go. But for kids, there's also a rapid crash because kids are very efficient in metabolizing that glucose cause they want it for their throughout their body.

And what the result of that is means is there is a crash in blood glucose and it falls below a level below acceptable levels and you get hypoglycemic, which means hangry, hungry and angry, combined and lethargic, and the body just craves more. And then you get into this cycle. What we call the roller coaster of blood sugar levels.

Jack: What about when someone has passed a certain threshold, in a sense that if someone is diabetic and right now, from what I know which on diabetes, which is very limited, but, they're always looking for, they need the sugar, they need that to compensate.

And it seems to always be sugar that resolves any of the dips in their day. Is there a sugar proof way of dealing with when somebody already has diabetes? 

Michael: What's a very different situation. If you already have diabetes because you have to avoid sugar. And certainly there's a role for it.

If there is a hypoglycemic dip, which can occur in diabetics because of. Administer too much insulin, for example. So the body can go hypoglycemic. That's a very different type of scenario. I think here, we're talking about the need for better maintaining blood glucose, because in, for most kids who are not diabetic, their bodies are actually soaking up that energy that you give them because they need it for growth and then they become hypoglycemic.

Because of those energy crashes or sugar crashes, or I just talked about 

Jack: what I've really loved about reading heroes was I was telling you earlier, I'm so used to seeing this type of attention put on athletes and, we've worked with some pro athletes and some teams, and we've seen that they put the wearables on, they put the technology, they analyze the results.

And I'd love the fact that, you went into and you had a core collaboration. Where you had 87 teens as volunteering and you, and you were tracking them with wearables, from what I understand. And and you basically split them up some with a high sugar diet, some with the a w with a low sugar diet.

And I love the fact that you're doing that because these results, all these testing that you're doing really impacts the general whole population and not just elite performance. So I love to see that, how did that come about? How did how easy it was that did get support in doing this kind of testing and analysis on, especially on children and teens, not everyone that is easy to get volunteers, I imagine.

Michael: Yeah. That's what, this is what I've been doing for the last 35 years, basically. That's where my career has been focused on doing this type of nutrition and metabolic research in. Kids now we're actually trying to do it and babies and infants to look at the even earlier life. But yeah, the technology has come a long way and we're able to apply that technology in a research setting.

It's always a challenge. I think the two biggest challenges in this research is one raising the money to do it and getting the the funding. And then once you have the funding, it's getting the volunteers, but that's what we do for a living. So we've been doing it for 30 years. So we, we work with clinics.

We work with the community. We oftentimes you get families who are very interested in participating. Sometimes you're interested in just learning more about themselves and learning more about the process. So I'm like so grateful. I've, we've probably worked with thousands of research volunteers over my career, and I'm so grateful because they're just volunteering their time to these studies.

And now we're taking it one step further. The wearables are just really changed the dynamics of this type of research. If you're able to get data in real time where people are, what they're doing, and now we're actually doing with things like glucose monitoring. So we're putting glucose monitors on kids too, so that we can look at their blood glucose response, 24, 7 over several weeks of time.

And even ultimately being able to intervene in real time is also very exciting because we can see where kids are, what they're doing. We can see when their blood glucose is rising or dipping. So ultimately the idea is to be able to intervene in real time and say, hold on your. Your blood glucose is rising very rapidly.

What are you doing? Put that soda down or choose something else you're at the grocery store. Here's a good, here's a few ideas on for you to consider. So those are the types of, this is the way it's going. I think in terms of real time interventions to, or what we call adaptive interventions that adapt to where people are and what they're doing. Throughout the day, 

Jack: I imagine it's soon, it'll be wearables with AI kind of programming on it so that it's not an actual person intervening, but a preset conditions and getting some notifications and all that kind of stuff. So yeah the technologies. Basically replaced parenting.

Michael: Maybe they'll do a better. Yeah. Maybe they'll do a better job. 

Jack: It's really interesting. Also what I read is that we all, I remember, we all know that kid growing up who ate Twinkies and sodas and never gained the weight. Now I didn't have that luxury, but maybe it's. 

Michael: Yeah, that was me. I was one of those. 

Jack: Yeah. You're one of those. Yeah. And you mentioned in your book, even someone who's a kid who's athletic, visibly healthy may be developing a fatty liver. And so that's like a big danger with parents who think that it's all okay. But it's really not, 

Michael: yeah. What we've learned from the research is that part of these chronic diseases that we're talking about type two diabetes, heart disease, fatty liver and so on, they're all Early in life, maybe even before birth in neutral, but for sure they're what we call chronic diseases.

They're chronic diseases because they develop chronically slowly over time, including when you're a child and when you're a teenager. What we're seeing is these conditions also, they're not only chronically evolving, but they're becoming manifested much earlier in life. So type two diabetes used to be called adult onset diabetes, but now can be manifested during the teenage years or in young adults, non alcoholic, fatty liver disease that wasn't even a disease 10 or 20 years ago.

Most fatty liver disease was alcoholic related fatty liver disease, because the way alcohol damages, the liver, now we have a new disease. It's called non alcoholic and not non alcoholic contributor. It's not alcohol it's fructose because fructose is damaging to the liver in exactly the same way that alcohol damages, the liver exactly the same way and has been referred to as fructose has been referred to as alcohol, without the buzz because of that damaging effect.

Whitney: Wow. And I know you were posting about this breaking news study about low calorie sweeteners. It looks like it was just a few days ago or sometime very recent about how they were being detected for the first time in cord blood and human amniotic fluid. Can you talk a little bit about what that means?

Michael: Yeah. I That's, I think there's two issues there. One is this whole issue of how sugar on here. Sugar alternatives affects development that can begin in utero. So we know for sure that women who consume a lot of sweeteners during pregnancy, their babies are born, but there's a bigger risk of premature delivery.

And then after delivery, there's a bigger risk of accelerated weight gain, such that by one year of age and two year V years of age there's can be a two to three fold increase risk of obesity development in those infants whose mothers were consuming sweeteners. So this is an important message. So if you're are pregnant or planning to get pregnant, and maybe you're trying to reduce your soda consumption or your sugar consumption.

And that, what that means is you may be tempted to go to. Cut down a road of low calorie, sweeteners, diet, sodas, and diet drinks. That's not a great solution because those compounds can also have damaging effects. And what this study showed is that there's trend transmission of these compounds into the Amnon amniotic fluid and intercore blood.

So there is a direct effect or a direct consequence. All those compounds on the developing fetus, we coined the term that we talk about in the book, second, 10 sugars in the same way that we know about secondhand smoke. If somebody smoking in that smoke will have effects on people around them. The same is true for sugar and for sweeteners, it can have damaging effects, inadvertent effects on the developing fetus.

Whitney: And that leads me to a question I want to ask about different types of sweeteners before I do, though, I wanted to pause to acknowledge our wonderful clubhouse audience. Who's listening live. I want to let anyone know if you have questions, you can raise your hand to ask it. Doesn't just have to be me and Jack asking all the questions, want to make sure that we're supporting you too.

And at the end of the clubhouse session, we will be giving away a copy of Michael's book, sugar proof. So stay around, we'll pick somebody. We might, we may pick someone based on if you ask a question. So a little incentive to come up here on stage and ask. So my question, Michael is when you're talking about these sweetener alternatives or sugar alternatives, I should say, so we've got Stevia.

We have Monkfruit, but you've also said how honey maple syrup, a Gavi, coconut sugar, raw cane sugar. Those are all still sugars, but they're often marketed. As being, healthier. But there, they might be less refined. There's still sugar. And so there's this spot that I know I get into. It's I like something sweet, so what can I have, what's safe for me.

So the drawbacks of those things and what are some better options for us to choose? Or is it about moderation? 

Michael: Yeah, I think it's a little bit about bullets. I love sweet treats. Just as much as you do, maybe even more. I don't know, but everybody does, we're not here to take those away from anybody.

I think it's about just being informed about all the different types of sugars and how they affect the body. And there are some slightly better sugars. So those less processed sugar that you mentioned, the coconut sugar. Maple syrup. Honey, for example, there, they are still added sugars.

I have them in my arsenal, in my toolbox, in my pantry. We'll use those in baking, you might want to think what are you using them for? Maybe you're adding a little bit of honey to a smoothie and honey is good. Cause you can control it a bit better in terms of adding it into a smoothie or if you're baking a cake or baking some cookies with your kids this weekend, look at the recipe.

Maybe it calls for a cup of sugar. You can easily cut that down to three quarters of a cup. Okay. We all know that's not going to effect the quality of the product it's going to affect the baking or the crystallization too much. It might be less sweet, but I don't think anybody's going to notice to them.

You can even cut it back a bit more and maybe someone has sugar is less processed. Maybe if it calls for three quarters of a cup, maybe half of that is coconut sugar and half is regular sugar or some kind of mix you can mix and match those things. So it's not all just pure sugar, coconut sugar, also a slightly better taste profile.

It's more sustainable crops. So that does have some advantages, but it is more expensive. So maybe you can just mix it up a little bit. And what we're finding is when you do that, when you cut back, most recipes just call for way too much sugar. And what you're probably noticed when you do that is you might even have a better tasting product.

You're more likely to taste the other things in there. So a good example, for example, is a blueberry muffin. Cause we have a recipe for blueberry muffin. Can you actually taste the blueberries in a blueberry mode? Probably not because they're so darn sweet and sweetness is just, it's this a very powerful taste receptor in your mouth.

And it tends to overwhelm all the other tastes. And if you make it with something like Stevia or sucralose or whatever, it's hundreds of times more sweeter. So it just basically overwhelms all of the other tastes. So it's much better to dampen down on the sugar and then you can brighten up those other tastes.

So our blueberry muffins in the book actually don't have any added sugar, so you can also bake without added sugar. So our blueberry muffins are sweetened. The blueberries themselves and a little bit of banana, 

Jack: it seems to be more of almost a Mediterranean approach. I know that when the times I've been overseas in Europe, the food is tastier, but not sweeter.

If you feel you taste the other, the intended ingredients and north America, we seem competing to the addiction. So the sweetness is the addiction, and basically they're catering to that. And, the recipe tastes good because it's completely overwhelmed with the sweetness.

So it's maybe hitting certain receptors rather than the actual best flavor of the food. 

Michael: Yeah. I, that's what we found and the you can try it out at home. Just cut, next time you're baking, just cut down the sugar by 30% and maybe next time 35% work down to half. That's what we found working with families is that there's a bed.

There's a much clearer recognition of some of the other tastes that are in the food. Yeah, 

Jack: I didn't notice in, in the book basically talking about the fructose and how it's hidden and also what stood out is how it seems to be intendant in a certain way. You've mentioned the one chapter where and this is commonly seen you go to restaurants and now they have a touch screen dispensers.

So they're getting children to be part of making their own drink, adding a few different types of syrups. And so they're very drawn to the creation of it and making the selection. But one thing that's really odd is you say that the same versions of those soft drinks have less fruitful.

In the canned version than they do in the dispensaries. Which again, why would they even do that other than feeding on this addiction and making sure that, that kids are overdrawn to it. And that's where there seems to be an issue here where I say in our society where companies are not helping the situation, they're not improving it.

They're feeding the beast to go the wrong way. 

Michael: Yeah. And in a sense, almost taking advantage of children because they, we know that kids have a higher preference for sweetness. It's supposed to be protective from an evolutionary perspective. It's supposed to favor seeking out of healthy calories and avoid eating foods that had spoiled.

That's why kids have a built-in preference for sweetness. It's almost as if food companies are hijacking. They know that they're going to have a higher preference for sweetness. So the sweeter, they make things, the more kids will like them. 

Whitney: And especially since sometimes we use these things as like a coping mechanism.

I found myself during the pandemic, especially towards the beginning, like I was stressed out and anxious and I'm like, oh, I'll just have some more sugar than usual. And then you get back into that habit. And if you're a parent, maybe you're letting your children have some sweeter treats, but it can be a slippery slope.

And then you just get stuck in that loop. So where do you go from there? Let's say for anyone who's struggling right now what's the first step that they can take towards breaking free of a sugar addiction or a bad habit that they've created? 

Michael: Yeah. We designed a couple of strategies in the book to address that the whole second half of the book.

Has a whole compilation of different strategies. One of the first things we talk about is the no added sugar challenge. So there's no right or wrong answer. We also recognize all families are different. All people are different and I'm sure every family out there at different dynamics going on.

So there's no right or wrong solution, but Manny families who we've worked with do the no attitude or challenge. If you're ready to take a leap and it's again, it's not giving up sugar forever. It's just for a week. And when you do that, you get to learn about what are all the sources of added sugar in your diet.

You're going to go through your pantry and discover that your peanut butter, your tomato sauce, your catch up your salad dressings, even perhaps the bread that you use, the crackers, they probably have added sugars. Put them to the back of the pantry, give them away, find an alternative that doesn't have added sugar.

You're going to get your kids involved with that process to get them involved. Again, will depend on how old they are, but contempt to help with that process. Talk about a plan of of a meal plan for a week that doesn't have any added sugars. And the book has step by step guidance on how to do that, including that first day or two, that will be difficult.

And Nepal point of that is to reset that addiction, that craving of sweetness that we talked about, and you can do that after a week. And you'll emerge from that with a lower level of craving or preference for sweetness. But you could, if you're not ready to do that, there's small things you can do, figure out what are the big culprits in your life.

Is it juice soda? Is it candy every day? Is it breakfast? Cereal? That's loaded with sugar. Maybe you can just find a better version of a breakfast cereal or an alternative to two serving juice with breakfast every day. Not buying soda at the home. Not saying kids can never have soda again, but just deciding not to bring it into the house.

So there's also lots of very simple day-to-day hacks breakfast. Like I mentioned is a big deal for many families with young kids. And there's lots of simple ways you can fix breakfast to cut down the sugar. 

Whitney: It's amazing that you've outlined a plan for people. And I feel like a week is doable for many.

So I'm glad it's that short versus a 30 day challenge, which can feel so daunting. Yeah. 

Michael: We do also have a 28 day challenge in which is being useful for some families, because what we've found is that No, I don't found these are ready to take that on as a seven days or mom's ready, but dad's not, or sometimes vice versa or the kids aren't ready or mum tries it and the kids rebel.

So in that situation, we have a, more of a stealth under the radar program which is more subtle. So it's longer because it's more subtle and this is a way, okay. So maybe I'm curious, there's lots of people listening in and tell us what you're dealing with at home. What is it that you'd like to resolve?

Maybe it's juice. You've gotten used to serving juice for breakfast every day. If you're on this 28 day plan, maybe you can dilute that a little bit. Chances are nobody's going to even notice. And the bubble juice will last longer. 

Jack: What I'm loving about this? I wish my mom was listening because you, she, before your book, she was doing this years ago, which was, she'd be diluting my juice every time it was odd, then the juice never tasted the same at home as at my friend's house. And, she'd be cutting down the sugar and all that. So I appreciate her for doing that those years ago. 

Michael: Did it work for you? Do you do how do you feel about that? Or do you think that was, 

Jack: I actually love it. I think I, I am, I do love food so I am coming from an Italian background.

So it's not that, but I do appreciate. More, two more flavors of other ingredients. So I'm not addicted to sugar. I'm addicted to food though, so that interesting. I am able to appreciate the dish or drink or beverage that has substantially less sugar or zero sugar at all. And then also, I guess I've developed my palette that way as well.

Michael: And that's ultimately the goal. What we're trying to do here is get kids to appreciate food for what it's supposed to be. The quality of the food, the taste of the food, the different ingredients. I think there's just been such an overwhelming addition of sugar to kids' foods. It's become so ubiquitous and they're foods that.

They're not having the opportunity to appreciate foods as much these days. And that's what we're trying to fix here. 

Jack: You really going through a lot of low, sorry, we didn't really give so many details here. Examples, recipes. But and what I related to also was the part where know how to communicate this to your child, where with empathy, rather than punishment, or with enforcing something feels like a plan.

And there's a different reaction to it. And I find these days where we're all on a roll on a race, and it seems that empathy towards understanding what your child is going through, having them understand empowering them. You mentioned about empowering them to make these decisions.

It almost seems like we're going through life too quickly and we don't have time to do those. These take a little more time, a little more investment into your child to, to, relay empathy into teach and empower. But that's the lesson they'll take for the rest of their life and make the right decisions early on.

Michael: Okay. Yeah, absolutely. We have a whole chapter in the book on that. How to talk to your kids, a lot of it is about just finding their internal motivation talking to them with using external motivation. Reward or money. It's just, it's not going to work in a long term and you don't want to go down that path, but you got to what you got to find.

What motivates them. Obviously that's going to vary depending on their situation, their age, but maybe could be better skin running faster than a football field, depending on what they're into. Learning more about what's in food and works in the body. If they're that way inclined multiple different factors could be motivating them inside internally.

And that's, what's going to drive them to to make a change long-term and be sustained. 

Whitney: Speaking of which I want to give the opportunity before we wrap up today to give away a copy of your book and for anyone in the audience to ask a question based on their specific circumstances. So for anyone who's live on clubhouse, you can raise your hands.

And if you want to enter to win we'll we'll add anybody who raises their hand into the random giveaway. So I'm going to type all your names in, and then randomly select somebody. If you do not want to come up to speak, send me a message. If you tap on my name, there's an option to send a message and just say hi or something, and I'll take that as your sign that you want to be entered, but we do have Jason Wrobel is going to come up here to ask his question. Thanks, Jason.

Jason Wrobel: Hey everyone, Jack Whitney, always great to see you both. And Michael, thank you for taking the time to share your wisdom and your education. My question is around wondering if there's any research, Michael around psychology of trauma and sugar addiction. And I'd bring this up because I have struggled with sugar addiction, not just from a perspective of the chemical reward, right?

But more so as a child when I was faced with some of the emotional and physical violence in my household, I realized that I was using sugar as a child to overcompensate for a lack of safety or a lack of trust or some other psychological factors. So what are some of the research around trauma in childhood or children?

And if they use sugary foods as a way to psychologically compensate, I'm curious if there's anything out there.

Michael: Thanks, Jason. I don't know. It's a great question. And I don't know of any direct research that looked at that. Particular question when we know that childhood trauma is related. Longer-term too poor, we're sports outcomes for health, including poor diet weight gain risk for obesity and other related conditions.

So whether or not that's specifically due to greater uptake of sugar, sugary foods during that period. I don't know, but it's very, it sounds very viable and certainly there's a reason to believe they may be connected. 

Jason Wrobel: Gotcha. And my followup question more from a culinary perspective, because I have a background as a chef and you were mentioning some of your wonderful recipes. Do you have a favorite natural sweetener that you prefer over?

Michael: Depends how hard you want to twist my arm to answer that question. Are you talking what I well we like to use in sugar proof is whole foods like we'll use dried fruits. So many of our recipes, I mentioned the, or whole food, like in the blueberry muffins, we're using banana or in our granola bars, we use dates or dried figs. So I'm not saying that we should be eating a lot of dried fruit, but used in baking.

I think you get the flavors and you get the fibers and all the natural polyphenols ending up in the end product. So that would be my preferred route. If you're talking about a specific, twisting my arm about a specific, low calorie sweetener, is that what you're getting.

Jason Wrobel: No, not so much. I was just curious about if there was one in particular that you championed more than another, but it sounds like you're using whole food, actual fruit, which is something I want to lean more into. Cause I'm still leaning more into Monkfruit Stevia and things like that. But I realized that they don't necessarily make me feel all that good after. 

Michael: Yeah. And that's was our problem and I don't like the way they taste either. And so I think that's an easy solution and we're seeing, Whitney was saying she's at a food export right now and I'm sure she's seeing a lot of products there.

I certainly seen more and more of the grocery store, but we challenged ourselves. With our recipes. There's 39 in the book and has a lot more coming out all the time. We they're all on our website. We challenge ourselves with RSPs, to you to not use any type of sweetener or added sugar just to use actual whole foods.

Can we use a whole apple grated into a muffin recipe or the whole orange and an orange cake? For, we have a chocolate pear cake, for example, that just uses the pairs. We have a mango cornbread that just sweetens the whole thing just with the mangoes. So that's our preferred strategy. And I would like to see a lot more of that being used rather than leaning on these I'll call them artificial people argue they're not, instead of, there's not artificial that monk, food's not artificial because it grows in nature.

Okay. We're still, we're talking about the purified product out of those items, those steady leaves. I would, I don't like to use them and I just don't like the way they taste or the way they make me feel either. 

Whitney: Wow. That mango cornbread sounds amazing. I want to try that.

Michael: Yeah. What page is that on? It's very simple. I hear it actually. Can you believe that? I just opened my book around. And it came up at mango cornbread. So I think you're onto something there. Page 300 new living. It's very simple. It's just basically, cutting up a mango into the mixture. And that's your sweetener as you get the taste of the mango and the sweet 

Whitney: that, I have to try that well for anyone else who wants to try that recipe or others in the book, this is your chance to get it for free.

So I just entered Jason into the giveaway. If anyone else wants to enter the giveaway, there's two ways. So you can raise your hand to come up here and ask a question before you wrap in five to 10 minutes. And otherwise if you're shy, which is okay, or you don't have a question, send me a message here on clubhouse.

You tap on my name and there's an option to send a message. Just say, hello, I'll enter you in. We'll do a random drawing and we have someone else coming up and we've got Natalie here too. Natalie. We'd love to know what questions do you have? 

Natalie: Hi Whitney. Hi Jack. Michael. Nice meeting you, Jason. I'm glad to be here and love what you guys been talking about because I believe, and I also work trying to make people understand and helping them through this journey on just letting sugar go, basically, because it's really hard and it's very addictive.

So I would like to ask Michael, when he was talking about these challenges, these are seven days, no sugar challenge. How do you work with people when they have to go through that week? Because it must be hard, especially if you are a, 

Michael: it is. Yeah. Just to clarify. Thank you, Natalie. So no added sugar challenge.

That means. Whole fruit is okay. And that the natural sugars and dairy products are also okay. But yeah, it can be tough for kids as well. We were very used to and fairly used to the types of foods they've been eating. But it is short-lived and mostly it's things like headaches.

So we talk about hydration to overcome that or nausea fatigue. So we talk about getting outside and being active as well. And typically the family's all doing it together. So you're not in a little one and the kid's not in it alone. So often that's makes it a little more comforting and easier too, because the whole family is typically doing it together.

We talk about it in advance our whole, our plan. Sets families up so they know what's coming. So it shouldn't be a big surprise, but the vast majority of your cases really it's very short-lived. There are some families who are just point blank reluctant to do it, cause you don't want to deal with it, but it is it's very short lived. And I think knowing what's what might come out of the other side is an incentive to, I think 

Jack: it's actually pretty interesting. I would almost think it's easier for children rather than adults. I'm involved with a organization called Hippocrates health Institute and they have this three week transformation program.

It's all raw vegan and the main, first thing is they're eliminating sugars. So once you check in for this three week transformation, they eliminate sugar and the adults get quite a kind of aggressive by the end of the week. But by week two, they figure if I can handle this. And then by week three, they actually have a distaste for sweeteners and sugars.

They've developed a palette and they feel better. So it's interesting how I just wonder if this is actually easier with children, just because, they what I got, I can see the, they normally eat with what's given to them. And the sugar seems like the shortcut for the parents rather than for the children.

Michael: Yeah. There's definitely ways to make it fun. Kids sometimes really get into it. And adapt really quickly. Kids are just so resilient and so adaptive. So I think it's just a perception that is going to be a big problem. And it's, it can be, it does where it works out in most cases.

Whitney: Yeah. And it's so great to have the accountability for it too. And as an adult, I wish that I had more tools as a child, as a teenager, feeling out of control with craving. So I'm really looking forward to giving it a try myself. So we have a few more minutes left before we pick a winner.

So if you haven't yet entered the live giveaway on clubhouse, I will announce the winner or I'll pick somebody at random. And again, you can raise your hand to come up to ask a question to be entered, or you can tap on my name on clubhouse to message me. And I will put you in there before he took someone.

So does anyone else in the audience have a question? And if not, Jack, do you have another question that you would like to ask before we wrap? 

Jack: I'm actually I'm actually curious to Jason when's it going to be the fees that you're going to prepare for us with the, the vegan chef and now, diverting away from from Stevia and going into a food recipe. I got to join in for that whenever you're ready for this.

Jason Wrobel: You know what, next time you're coming to LA Jack, or next time I make it to Canada, we got to talk dates because it's been years since we've seen each other in person, first of all. But I think this is a good challenge. It's a good challenge.

Because as a chef, I think over the years, I've leaned too much into, processed sweeteners, to be honest with you. And I think it would be a good challenge for me to only look at dried fruits, whole food, sweeteners, dates, bananas, mango it actually I'm really intrigued by it. And I think it would be awesome for me to challenge myself.

Michael: Yeah, I'd love. I'd love to issue a broader challenge to the culinary community to look at these options. Where, w where are you in Los Al Los Angeles. 

Jason Wrobel: I'm right near downtown LA. 

Michael: Okay. I'm in silver lake. 

Jason Wrobel: Oh, nice. Yeah. I'm actually going to, I'm going to silver lake today to to go visit a friend. So I'll be in your neighborhood bringing. Yeah, I'm coming by for some cornbread, Michael, if I come by you better have that mango corn bread ready for me. 

Michael: Okay. I will try. I'll I'll try, but if you are in the neighborhood, I'll be glad to give you a copy of this so much. That's very kind.

Jason Wrobel: Michael , I'll message you after this. Thank you so much. 

Whitney: Okay. I guess I needed to take Jason out of the giveaway then. And Jason I read in Michael's bio that he has a cat named Hugo moon. You have one cat Michael's that were. Yes. I love that name. Hugo moon. That's the right name. That's such a cool name for a cat. Jason's really into cat. So that's why I brought this. 

Jason Wrobel: I'm a fellow cat out here, Michael. So we're in good company. Okay. 

Whitney: I think we'll have time for one last question before I do the giveaway. So for anyone who hasn't entered yet, again, tap on my name. If you would like to be entered and then I'm going to randomly pick someone and it will not be Jason.

So Stephanie has come up to the stage to ask a question. Hi Stephanie. 

Stefanie Gomez: Hi everyone. Hey Jack, Whitney, Michael. Really great conversations we've been having here. I'm just going to, excuse me, take it back to earlier in the conversation we were talking about. Continuous glucose monitors.

And I know Jack alluded to this one day, there's going to be, AI will be able to track everything. There actually is a company that's coming out called levels that does this. My concern is just being able to, as a person who doesn't have diabetes and wearing one of these con glucose monitors on a daily basis and monitoring your levels, is there is there a danger to having too much of this information or how do we take this information and use it practically?

Is this something that makes sense for a person just to follow on a regular basis is more my question. 

Michael: I yeah, thanks Stephanie. I don't see a danger. I think the real intriguing thing is that we're all different, how people are different people and all people respond differently. So I think what we're going to eventually learn from all this is that we all respond differently to different foods.

We all may have different blood glucose responses. We may have different ways to maintain a more stable blood glucose. I can't see a danger in having too much information, basically. 

Stefanie Gomez: Yeah, I guess for me, it's just are we able to interpret those results properly and be able to make those adjustments without more of that training or more of somebody like you helping us interpret him, just seeing that spike, if I'm monitoring my glucose, I'm not a diabetic and I see that spike, what am I supposed to do to then pull it back?

Michael: Yeah. That's definitely a huge challenge. Is that a little computational aspects of that to first of all, summarize and understand the different responses, number one, and then number two to offset it. So that's not easy. That's a very complex computational process.

We'll ever be able to be put into an AI bot. I, I don't know. But. And it may not be perfect all the time, but I think that there are lots of situations where it could be useful. Yeah. Thank you so much. I know, personally, just having it on for me and just wearing it I'm by the way on, in, in the range of pre-diabetic, even though I'm very active and I'm not overweight, I still have pre-diabetes so I need to watch my blood glucose.

That's why I'm personally interested as well. So I think just, I don't wear one all the time, but I have worn one on several occasions and it makes me much more aware and I think twice about what I'm meeting 

Stefanie Gomez: that's true. At least even having that reminder that maybe you shouldn't have that, whatever it was that caused this bike again and just be mindful. Thank you so much. 

Michael: Yeah. Maybe I just need to put. Monitors stuck on my arm, knowing that somebody out there is monitoring me. That's, as enough, I don't know. I think a big thing 

Jack: With any type of tracking device, the big takeaway is awareness. I wear a an activity tracker and I don't need to follow it religiously, but it reminds me that I need to be more active.

It did it almost sets a competition within me that I want to be as active as I was yesterday. Or if I have a down day, it reminds me to step it up. 

Michael: Yeah. It's a subtle reminder. I'm going to say, might have a monitor that I wear every day, monitoring me towards 10,000 steps to, I get 10,000 steps every day.

Definitely not. Some days working at home, I'm lucky if I get a thousand, but it's a subtle little reminder of a jab or a poke in the back often to get a few more steps in. Does it mean I have to get 10,000 steps in every day, but it's to have that little proud of a reminder.

Whitney: Yeah, absolutely accountability goes a long way. And speaking of accountability I am going to randomly pick someone that entered our giveaway today so that they can get a copy of this book. So let's see who it's going to be. It looks like it's going to be Natalie. So Natalie came up to ask a question and random name picker picked you Natalie.

So Natalie, if you'll send me a message or yeah, send me a message and I'll get you in touch with whoever's going to send you a copy of the book and I'm excited for you to have it. 

Natalie: Thank you. I'm so excited. Thank you so much to everyone. This room has been amazing. Whitney and Jack. You're always bringing people really interesting people from this field and I'm really grateful.

Whitney: Yeah. So thank you for tuning in and being part of. Yeah. 

Jack: Thanks. Thanks for joining us, Natalie, Stephanie and Jason. Oh, I was appreciate your involvement. Thank you. 

Whitney: Yes. And this is part of a whole series that we're doing. So if you want to listen to the recording, we will have a transcript that's all over at https://myessentia.com/podcast and we will have another guest coming up soon.

So you can actually sign up to get notified. You can now listen to this podcast on apple podcasts on Spotify. So we're getting some great distribution. So if you want to go back and hear what Michael had to say or share it with anybody else, go to again, to my ascensia.com/podcast, to check out rise and thrive.

We'd love to have you back I'm clubhouse again. Thank you so much, Michael, for being here today, this was really informative. I will definitely be sharing this and I can't wait to read your book and for more information. 

Michael: Yeah, my pleasure. 

Whitney: And Michael, your people can go to sugarproofkids.com to read more. They can find sugar proof kids on Instagram and Facebook. Is there anywhere else that you would like to direct people to learn more about you and your book? 

Michael: Yeah. People want to reach out to me directly with a question. My email is michaelgoran@mac.com. So if you have additional follow-up questions, that's a good place, but yeah.

Follow us on Instagram at sugar proof kids and on our website, sugar proof kids.com where you'll get other information. 

Whitney: Fantastic. Thank you again, and thank you Jack, for bringing in another amazing guest into the series. This has been so wonderful. 

Jack: Thank you, Michael. I really appreciate you coming on here today. It's awesome. 

Michael: My pleasure. It was lovely to meet you. Lovely to talk with you all. Thank you so much. 

Whitney: All right. Thanks again, everyone have a wonderful rest of your day, and we hope to see you again for another clubhouse for a Rise and Thrive. Bye for now.