ARCH therapist Victoria Cooper in Fit and Well magazine

Fit and Well magazine recently featured Victoria here (pdf).

Daily Telegraph article – ARCH therapist Kara-Mia Vernon

Kara-Mia was featured in the Telegraph’s Lifestyle section recently:

ARCH – working for you for 30 years

ARCH 30 years conferenceIt’s thirty years since a dozen dedicated therapists first got together to form the Colonic International Association, which went on to become ARCH – the Association of Registered Colon Hydrotherapists – in 2001. Today, ARCH has grown into the UK’s largest association for the industry, and you can now find ARCH therapists across the UK, from the South West to Scotland, Liverpool to London.

We are proud to live up to our motto of delivering ‘a professional approach from approachable professionals’, to help you find a better balance in your health and wellbeing.

How does ARCH help you?

ARCH is a members association, run by members for members, but it also exists to care for clients like you too. We set the highest standards in the industry, and we work hard to ensure every one of our members upholds those standards.

We work together with therapists across the country to keep our standards high through clinic inspections, training school accreditation and peer to peer advice and guidance. We also insist that all ARCH members keep their skills right up to date, with both a minimum requirement for continued professional development, and compulsory first aid training, forming part of their membership renewal every year.

Giving you peace of mind

Because we insist on the very highest standards, you can trust an ARCH registered therapist to deliver your treatment in a safe and professional way. Our members deliver tens of thousands of treatments every year, helping their clients to deal with the symptoms of IBS and digestive problems, and to enjoy a greater feeling of wellbeing.

We very rarely have any problems, but it’s reassuring to know that when you choose an ARCH member, you will have someone to turn to in the unlikely event that you do need help, or if you have an issue with your therapist. ARCH has a range of established procedures to resolve problems quickly and fairly between you and your therapist, and you can rest assured that our committee will deal with any problems you may have promptly and professionally.

Nationally regulated for your protection

As an ARCH member, your therapist will also be registered with either the Complementary & Natural Healthcare Council (CNHC), or the General Regulatory Council for Complementary Therapies (GRCCT). These national bodies provide voluntary regulation for our sector including helping with any issues that cannot be resolved between you and your therapist, or through the ARCH complaints procedure, giving you extra reassurance.

We also insist that all ARCH members are fully insured, so you are completely covered.

Keeping you informed

At ARCH, we’re fascinated with all things to do with the gut and with health and wellbeing in general, and we’re always looking for new and interesting information to share with you through our ARCH blogs. Check back regularly and we’ll keep you informed about the latest research, news and views on everything from the gut to the microbiome, from diet and lifestyle to cutting edge science. This year alone we have covered everything from the amount of sugar in your chocolate bars, to the huge potential of fecal transplants.

An industry wide welcome

We’re celebrating our landmark with a 30th Anniversary Conference at the Burlington Hotel in Birmingham on Saturday and Sunday 10th and 11th June, and you don’t have to be a member of ARCH to join us. We’re delighted to welcome all therapists, from across the spectrum of complementary and alternative medicine, to come along for two days of world class training and education as we explore the gut microbiome.

We will be joined by one of the world leaders in FMT, Dr Mark Davis, who is flying in from the States especially for the conference, along with Prof Simon Carding, Leader of the Gut Biology Research Programme at the Institute of Food Research and Dr. Simon Goldenberg, Consultant Microbiologist at Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust.

There are still places left, so book now at Eventbrite for this unique CPD opportunity.

Lots more to come

ARCH has achieved a great deal in its first 30 years, and there is still lots to come. This year we have worked with Skills for Health in creating a National Occupational Standard for our therapy, which will formalise training and professionalise therapists across the industry.

We’re also seeing our therapy slowly become accepted by the wider medical profession, from bowel prep for colonoscopies to help dealing with the symptoms of IBS and other conditions. There is still a long way to go, but you can be sure that ARCH will continue to lead the way, as we have for the last three decades.

So here’s to the next 30 years!



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Michael Mosley on the micro biome

Recently, ardent healthy eating enthusiast, Michael Moseley, has moved on from his famous five-two fast diet to focus his energy on something ARCH colon hydrotherapists have known for a long time – that a healthy gut microbiome leads to a number of health benefits, from improved mood to weight loss, skin tone to allergy resistance.Gut microbiome

In his new book, The Clever Guts Diet, which is serialised in the Daily Mail from 22nd May, he explains the role of the gut mircobiome in everything from hormone production to disease control. His ‘revolutionary’ new diet shows you how you can feed the good bacteria with healthy, everyday foods to ensure a balanced and healthy gut.

What is the gut microbiome?

There are literally trillions of microbes that share our body, and the vast majority of these live in our guts. There are thousands of different, often competing species, and it doesn’t take much to disrupt the balance between them. Poor diet, antibiotic use and a lack of exposure to the right bacteria as a baby through c-section birth and lack of breastfeeding, can all affect the microbiome, and in turn affect our health and wellbeing.

What does the gut microbiome do?

It was originally thought that the gut bacteria did little more than help us to digest our food, but new research reveals that these microscopic workers are much more important than that. We have only scratched the surface of this vast field, but we already know that gut bacteria can affect inflammatory diseases, depression, blood sugar levels and diabetes, as well as playing a vital role in our immune system.

There is increasing evidence that the make up of your gut microbiome also affects your weight, with naturally slimmer people showing a far more diverse microbiome than people who struggle with their weight.

The gut brain link

We all instinctively know the link between our gut and our brain, because we talk about it in phrases like ‘butterflies in our stomach’, and ‘gut feelings’, and it turns out that these are more than just expressions. The gut bacteria talk directly to the brain via the vegus nerve, and the gut itself has a layer of neurons, just like brain cells, which interact with the microbiome. As Mosley reveals, there are as many neurons in the gut as there are in the brain of a cat!

Looking after your gut

Michael Mosley’s new book has lots of great advice for looking after your gut microbiome – advice that ARCH therapists have been offering for years. For a healthy mind and body, you should:

  • Eat a varied diet
  • Avoid processed foods
  • Choose fish over red meat
  • Eat plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables
  • Try to eat fermented foods, such as sauerkraut
  • Choose live yoghurt rather than sugary deserts

As Mosley says, “If you look after those friendly microbes, they will look after you.”

Give your microbiome a boost

Rebalancing your microbiome through diet alone can be difficult, especially if you are experiencing problems with wind, constipation or diarrhoea. But don’t worry; your local ARCH registered colon hydrotherapist is here to help. By gently washing out the gut, we can create a level playing field for the microbiome and then stimulate the growth of ‘good’ bacteria through probiotics, to help you to create a better balance. Our clients report our natural treatment leads to surprising improvements in both physical and mental health and wellbeing.

Find out more about the microbiome

If you are a practicing complementary therapist and would like to understand the microbiome better, then don’t miss the ARCH 30th Anniversary Conference on 10th and 11th June. From just £140, you can enjoy two full days of world class speakers, including world authority on FMT, Dr Mark Davis, Dr Simon Goldenberg from Guys/St Thomas’ Hospital and Prof. Simon Carding from the Institute of Food Research. Book now for a fascinating weekend.


Fecal Microbiota Transplant

The main theme of this year’s 30th Anniversary ARCH Conference is the gut microbiome, with our keynote speaker, Dr Mark Davis, lecturing on fecal microbiota transplantation or FMT. But what exactly is FMT, what conditions can it be used to treat and what are the benefits of FMT over more conventional treatments?



What is FMT?

FMT, sometimes known as a stool transplant, or fecal enema, uses the fecal matter of a healthy donor to replenish the gut microbiome of a patient who is suffering from an infection that has disturbed their own bacterial balance. The donor fecal matter is normally mixed with saline and then strained before being placed into the recipient’s colon via an enema, colonoscopy or endoscopy. In some cases, the stool is preserved by freeze-drying and given as a capsule for the patient to swallow.

What can FMT treat?

FMT is 85%-90% effective in treating Clostridium difficile infections in cases that have not responded to antibiotics, with most patients showing a significant improvement after just one treatment. FMT is also being investigated as a treatment for other gut problems, including colitis, constipation and IBS, as well as neurological conditions such as multiple sclerosis and Parkinson’s disease.

What are the benefits of FMT?

Not only is FMT treatment of C.diff infections highly effective, it is also cheaper than the antibiotic medicines, such as Vancomycin, which are currently used. Unlike antibiotics, which can often strip the gut of ‘good bacteria’ while fighting infections, FMT actually replenished these microbes, restoring the natural gut microbiome and enabling the body to fight the infection in the way it was designed to. Perhaps more importantly, with antibiotic resistance a growing problem in modern medicine, FMT offers an alternative to antibiotic use, reducing the high exposure levels that are prevalent with traditional treatments.

Where did the idea come from?

Using one person’s feces to treat another may seem like a strange thing to do, but it is not a new concept. Like all the best medical treatments, the idea of FMT has been around for thousands of years, and was used instinctively by early doctors based on their own observations and experiments. Its use was mentioned in the 4th century by Chinese doctors as a cure for food poisoning and the associated diarrhoea, with records talking of a yellow soup made from fermented stools. On the other side of the world, Bedouins have used fresh camel feces as a cure for dysentery for centuries.

The first formal description of FMT as a modern medical procedure came about in 1958, but the idea has only gained popularity in the last few years, with the US Food and Drug Administration only granting approval for FMT as an experimental treatment in 2013.

Want to know more?

If you are a practicing colon hydrotherapist, or a therapist in a related field, you can find out more about FMT by joining ARCH at our conference in Birmingham on June 10th and 11th. Not only will we have two keynote lectures from Dr Mark Davis, who is a world authority on FMT, we will also be joined by Dr Simon Goldenberg from Guys / St Thomas’ Hospital, who will be explaining the latest British research on FMT and C.diff. You can find out more about the conference and book your place online by clicking here.


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Microbiome Medicine Summit 2 – Free & Online Register now!

Microbiome Medicine Summit II

Microbiome Medicine 2 Summit starts on May 8th, and tens of thousands will gain the tips, strategies and secrets of microbiome medicine–it could improve your health, longevity, vitality and assist with unresolved problems!.

Will you be there?

Register for The Microbiome Medicine Summit 2. 

What you could learn at The Microbiome Medicine 2 Summit:
Enhance brain function, mood, anxiety and depression
Address gastrointestinal illnesses, including IBS, Crohn’s and colitis
Counter newly identified GI/brain syndromes
Address autoimmune diseases (at the root cause!)

If you learn even one fact from one expert that changes your life, it will be worth it!

1. Register immediately to make sure you’ll see the free talks: LEARN MORE

2. [SALES ENDS MONDAY!*] Purchase all of the expert talks and help us reach more people struggling to live healthy lives (thank you for supporting the mission!): LEARN MORE

*The online access package for all of the expert talks is $59 now through Tuesday morning at 10 A.M. U.S. eastern. After that, it increases to $79.

Your support of this event, in sharing or buying the talks, will not only help the host, but will help me continue to reach those who are in dire need of my message and expertise. Thank you!

Click here to learn more about owning this expert advice and supporting the mission: 

Register now, see you there.

P.S. Yes, simply by forwarding this post to a friend or family member can help them tremendously. The more people we reach, the more quickly we can improve the health of the world…together! Thank you!


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The fight back has begun

For many years, scientists were convinced that fat, especially saturated fat, was the biggest problem in our diets. ‘Fat-free’ and ‘low-fat’ products flooded the market, claiming a huge range of health benefits. The problem is, in order for manufacturers to decrease the fat content, they often have to increase the sugar content to maintain flavour.

However, recent research has exposed sugar as a far bigger player in the obesity epidemic than fat, which means that these so-called healthy foods are just as bad for us, if not worse.

Hidden Sugars

Hidden sugar in food. Image credit:

The obesity epidemic

Sadly, weight problems are starting younger and younger in the Western population. In England, one in 10 children is obese at the start of primary school and one in five is overweight. By the time they leave, this rises to one in five and one in three.

Of course, obesity is more than just looking fat and feeling unfit; it is a serious problem that can have a major impact on your health. Recent research by the International Agency for Research on Cancer, found causal links between obesity and as many as 36 cancers, and strong links to at least 11, including bowel and colon cancers. “If you are overweight, it causes lots of disruption to your hormonal and metabolic pathways,’ explained Dr Marc Gunter, who led the team.

The World health Organisation has described obesity as “one of the most serious public health challenges of the 21st century”. Simon Stevens of NHS England went even further, describing obesity as ‘the new smoking’.

The fight back

If you are trying to cut down on sugar, then the good news is that the fight back has begun. Now that sugar has been exposed by science as a problem in our food, many companies are working to reduce sugar levels.

Last December, Nestle announced that they had found a way to restructure sugar to dissolve more quickly, so it tastes sweeter and you need less. They say that this will ultimately allow them to reduce the sugar content of their chocolate by 40%, and have already announced a 10% reduction in sugar for KitKat, Aero and Yorkie bars.

Irn Bru makers, AG Barr have announced a cut in sugar content from 10g per 100ml to less than 5g, while Tesco have announced that they will reduce the sugar content of their own brand fizzy drinks by 5% per year.

It’s worth remembering that while these reductions are good news, these products are still high in processed sugars and you should try and avoid them completely if you can.

The ‘sugar tax’

Part of this industry action has been inspired by the Government’s ‘sugar tax’, a levy on soft drinks which will come into force in April next year. The tax will have two bands, one for drinks with between 5g and 8g per 100ml, and a higher rate for drinks above this level. It is estimated that the sugar tax will bring in £415m, which will go directly to schools for physical and mental health programmes, although the ultimate aim is to get drinks manufacturers to reduce their sugar and remove the need for such programmes in the first place.

The UK Government is not alone in legislating against sugary drinks. In France, they have gone one further, announcing a ban on ‘free refills’ or unlimited sugary drinks in restaurants, while a 10% tax on cola in Mexico reduced consumption by 6% in its first year. Unfortunately, an attempt to ban super-sized sugary drinks in New York was defeated in the courts on civil rights grounds!

Here to help

Reducing sugar in your own diet is a real challenge, but there is lots of help available to support you. Remember, you can check the sugar content of your food using the free Be Food Smart app from the NHS Change 4 Life website. You can also talk to your ARCH registered therapist for general diet and lifestyle support. Our members see hundreds of clients every year who are facing the same challenges as you are, so they know what you are up against.

In our next blog, we’ll take a look at how we became addicted to this ‘drug food’, and examine exactly why refined sugar is bad for the body.

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How many portions a day?

Fruit and veg

Recent research has suggested that we should be eating as many as ten portions of fruit and vegetables a day. Yet only last November, Dr Helen Stokes-Lampard, Chair of the Royal College of GPs, was claiming that GPs should sometimes aim lower with their patients, starting at just two portions a day. Standing in the middle, Public Health England says that five-a-day is both affordable and achievable. So just how many portions should we be eating, and what exactly is a portion anyway?Fruit and veg

How many portions should I eat?

The simple answer is, the more portions of fruit and veg you can eat, the better. Dr Stokes-Lampard was making the point that for individuals and families who currently consume little or no fruit and veg, suggesting they aim for five portions a day is like suggesting a couch potato takes up marathon running.

The good news is that even small changes to your diet can make a big difference. Introducing just two and a half portions a day will significantly reduce your risk of serious diseases:

  • Reduced cancer risk by 4%
  • Reduced cardiovascular disease by 13%
  • Reduced heart disease by 16%
  • Reduced stroke by 18%

Two and a half portions a day will also reduce your overall risk of premature death by 15%. Not bad for an apple and just a few veggies with your main meal.

The more the merrier

Naturally, the health benefits increase the more fruit and veg you eat. A recent study by Imperial College, London, combined data from 95 different studies, covering 2million people, and found that ten portions a day reduced the risk of serious diseases even further:

  • Reduced cancer risk by 13%
  • Reduced cardiovascular disease by 28%
  • Reduced heart disease by 24%
  • Reduced stroke by 33%

The study also showed that ten-a-day reduced your overall risk of premature death by 31%. The team estimated that if everyone ate ten-a-day worldwide, 7.8million premature deaths a year could be prevented.

What exactly is a portion?

A portion is quite a vague concept, so here is a quick guide:

  • A portion is classified as 80g, which is roughly a serving spoon full of veg or a single piece of fruit
  • Ideally, you need to have variety. Five apples does not count as five portions
  • It doesn’t have to be fresh; frozen fruit and veg have plenty of nutrients
  • It can be raw or cooked, the study found little difference
  • Beans and pulses count as a portion (though only one even if you have more than 80g)
  • Potatoes don’t count, but sweet potatoes do

You can find out more about what counts towards your portion count on the Live Well website from the NHS. The BBC also has a five-a-day quiz guide to see if you are reaching your five-a-day.

Why are fruit and vegetables so healthy?

Dr Dagfinn Aune, lead author of the research, thinks there are many factors involved, some of which we do not yet fully understand. “Fruit and vegetables have been shown to reduce cholesterol levels, blood pressure, and to boost the health of our blood vessels and immune system,” she says. “The complex network of nutrients they hold also contain many antioxidants, which may reduce the DNA damage associated with cancer risk.”

Different fruits and vegetables were found to benefit different health risks, for example, apples, pears, leafy veg and cruciferous veg helped reduce cardiovascular risks, while coloured vegetables, such as peppers and carrots, were particularly effective against cancer.

How can you make the change?

ARCH therapists often come across clients who have a very poor diet when it comes to eating fruit and vegetables, and this does not help their digestion, leading to constipation and other issues. It is estimated that fewer than one in three people in the UK currently manage five-a-day.

If you have a low intake of fruit and veg, then you need to introduce changes gradually, so that you can adapt to your new shopping habits and meal plans, and your body can adapt to the new input. However, as the statistics above show, the sooner you start to make those changes, the better for your health and wellbeing.

You can find easy wins by swapping your snacks, changing from crisps or chocolate to an apple or a pear. You should also try to include at least one vegetable with every meal, even if it’s just peas with your fish and chips, and if a meal out is served with a side salad, don’t just leave it on the plate, tuck in.

As you progress, try to balance your intake of fruit and vegetables, and vary the types you eat. As discussed above, the different varieties have different benefits, so you should try to ‘eat the rainbow’.

Ten a day may seem a long way off right now, but if you keep making gradual changes, and keep focused on your goal, you’ll be surprised how much easier it will become. And remember, if you need inspiration just look back at the figures above – it’s no exaggeration to say that eating more fruit and veg could actually save your life.

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The power of poo!

poo power

As ARCH registered therapists, we have no problem with poo. Talking about it, washing it out of your colon and checking it as it passes along the tube, are all in a days work as we help thousands of people across the UK to deal with the symptoms of digestive problems and help thousands more to maintain a healthy digestive system.

But even we’re impressed with the lengths some people will go to with poo, from fueling buses to providing electricity for homes and businesses. Here are just a few of the projects around the world that are harnessing the power of poo.poo power

Poo powered sewerage plants

Northumbrian Water estimate that they have saved around £15million a year by recovering methane and carbon dioxide from the waste water and sewage that they were processing anyway. The company installed two advanced anaerobic digestion plants in their processing centres and collected the gasses released as microbes digested the waste. The conversion process takes around 35 days from flush to fuel, and they then used the gas to generate the electricity they needed to run the plants, and even had some gas left over to sell to the grid.

Following the success of the Northumbria project, other water companies, such as Severn Trent and Wessex, are now following suit, and it is estimated that if all the UK’s sewage plants used the technology, they could provide fuel for up to 350,000 homes.

Biogas buses

In Bristol, they went even further with their poo power, with the launch of Britain’s first Bio Bus, appropriately on the number 2 bus route. The bus, powered by methane rich biogas, can travel 37 miles on just one person’s annual sewage and food waste. Bio-gas also helps the environment, producing 95% less carbon dioxide emissions than diesel fuel, eliminating around 44tonnes of CO2 per bus per year.

Sadly the project failed to get the government funding it needed to expand the service, and so the gas from Bristol’s waste now goes straight into the national gas grid. However, poo power has not gone from our roads, with no less than five new poo powered cars now available in the US and Norway running a fleet of poo powered buses as part of its bid to make its capital, Oslo, carbon neutral by 2050.

Human waste becomes water and power

With the United Nations estimating that the world’s human waste could provide enough power for 138million households, it was never going to be long before leading humanitarian, Bill Gates, got involved.

His foundation funded a sewage processing plant that not only produced gas for electricity generation, but also clean, safe drinking water. With 700,000 children a year dying from poor sanitation, clean water has never been so important.

The pilot project, in Senegal, used the Omni Processor to successfully treat the waste from up to 100,000 people, generating 250kw of power and 86,000 litres of clean drinking water per day. The Gates Foundation now has plans for several more units across Africa, each safely processing the waste of 200,000 people and providing clean drinking water for 35,000.

The most sustainable source

With growing pressure to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels, and cut greenhouse gas emissions, it’s good to know that there is a real alternative that will always be available in almost unlimited supply.

If the technology continues to spread, you could soon find your bathroom lights powered by your own bathroom visits.


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Sugar, sugar everywhere!

Over the festive season, we’ve all over-indulged in sugar. Let’s face it, it’s hard not to with sugar in sweets, chocolates, biscuits, Christmas cake and Christmas pud, fizzy drinks, mixers and liqueurs, plus all those processed treats on Auntie Barbara’s buffet.

Chances are, like most people, you’re starting the New Year aiming to cut back on the sugar in your diet, but unfortunately, that might not be as easy as you think.


Cutting out the obvious sugar

Some sugar is easy to see and easy to eliminate. A can of Coke, for example, has 30g of sugar – around a third your daily recommended maximum intake, and chocolate bars range from 40% sugar in dark chocolate, 50% in milk chocolate and 60% or more in white chocolate. Easy enough to see and so easy to avoid.

Counting the sugar in your tea and coffee might seem easy too, but it’s worth bearing in mind the difference between the official measure of a teaspoon, which weighs just 4g, and the actually weight of your favourite large teaspoon (you know the one I’m talking about), heaped to its mathematical maximum, which can weigh as much as 8g or more – which is twice as much.


The sugar you don’t see

However, avoiding the obvious sugar is only half the battle, because there is hidden sugar in so many of our day to day foods, even the ones we think are healthy.

For example, you’d think that tomato pasta sauce would be a healthy choice, full of natural tomatoey goodness. Yet last year, Dolmio were forced to recommend that their sauces should only be used as a once a week treat due to their high sugar and salt content. Most branded pasta sauce is around 7% sugar, which is two teaspoons per person in an average portion.

Half a can of baked beans has over 10g of sugar, tomato ketchup is almost a quarter sugar and even apparently healthy choices, like cranberry juice, can be as much as a third sugar. Even brown bread is usually around 5% sugar, which means that each slice has almost 2g and a sandwich has a whole spoonful. Add salad cream at 17.5% sugar, or spread some jam on your toast and it soon starts to add up.

Better breakfasts

One of the worst meals for hidden sugar is breakfast, with one study finding that many children are consuming their entire daily allowance of sugar in their cereal before school has even started. Frosties and Crunchy Nut Cornflakes are a huge 35% sugar, while ‘Honey Monster Puffs’ (you probably know them as the more honest Sugar Puffs) are 29%.

Even ‘healthy’ options like muesli can be surprisingly high. Original recipe Alpen is a whopping 22% sugar, which gives you almost 10g of sugar in their recommended 45g portion (and even more if you don’t measure so carefully), while the famous ‘diet’ cereal Special K is 12% sugar.

A couple of cups of tea or coffee with sugar, a bowl of muesli and a slice of toast and jam and you could be well over half of your daily allowance before you leave the house.

Finding the hidden sugar

Sugar lurks in so many of our foods that it can be hard to keep track of it. It hides in the most unexpected places, such as supposedly healthy ‘low fat’ foods. What’s more, it disguises itself under a wide variety of names that don’t even sound like sugar, such as dextrose, fructose and agave. Women’s Health magazine found no less than 56 different names for sugar in the ingredients they checked.

Nutritional information is compulsory on food in the UK, so you can always check for the sugar content on the table provided, or to make life even easier, you can download the Be Food Smart app from the NHS Change 4 Life pages and simply scan the barcode to check the healthiness of your choices.


Lose sugar, gain taste

Cutting down on sugar won’t be easy, but it comes with its own rewards. Just like cutting down on salt, you’ll discover a whole new set of flavours and tastes that have previously been hidden by the sweetness. You’ll also start to lose weight and feel great.

In our next blog, we’ll take a look at how sugar is processed in your body, why we’re so addicted to it, and the role of sugar in the frightening rise in obesity and diabetes.



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