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Refined Sugar: Not so Natural

Posted on 2009-01-29 at 1:55 a.m..

Note: Websites selling products can't be trusted at least half of the time.

What is sugar?

Sugar is a class of edible crystalline substances, mainly sucrose, lactose, and fructose. Human taste buds interpret its flavor as sweet. Sugar as a basic food carbohydrate primarily comes from sugar cane and from sugar beet, but also appears in fruit, honey, sorghum, sugar maple (in maple syrup), and in many other sources. It forms the main ingredient in much candy. Excessive consumption of sugar has been associated with increased incidences of type 2 diabetes, obesity and tooth decay.

Some brands of ketchup have more sugar per ounce than ice cream. Couple that with the fact that sugar is addictive, sugar is harmful, and ketchup is "supposed" to be healthy and you've got some digusting realities to face.

Why are you calling "natural" sugar a poison?

Sugar was never meant to be refined and eaten in large portions. Consider this fact while reading this page.

The "glycemic index" is a measure of how a given food affects blood-glucose levels, with each food being assigned a numbered rating. The lower the rating, the slower the absorption and digestion process, which provides a more gradual, healthier infusion of sugars into the bloodstream. On the other hand, a high rating means that blood- glucose levels are increased quickly, which stimulates the pancreas to secrete insulin to drop blood-sugar levels. These rapid fluctuations of blood-sugar levels are not healthy because of the stress they place on the body.

Sugar raises the insulin level, (and refine sugar raises it abnormally quickly) which inhibits the release of growth hormones, which in turn depresses the immune system. Your immune system is what fights sickness and keeps your body running. The better your immune system, the better you will feel on an hour to hour, day to day basis.

An influx of sugar into the bloodstream upsets the body's blood-sugar balance, triggering the release of insulin, which the body uses to keep blood-sugar at a constant and safe level. Insulin also promotes the storage of fat, so that when you eat sweets high in sugar, you're making way for rapid weight gain and elevated triglyceride levels, both of which have been linked to cardiovascular disease. Complex carbohydrates tend to be absorbed more slowly, lessening the impact on blood-sugar levels. (Sugar is a simple carbohydrate.)

So, where is the research?

About a year ago, clinical studies were conducted on school children which showed that sugar is okay for children. When I read the studies, I found they used a relatively small amount of sugar in the trial, 9 or 10 teaspoons of sugar daily. This represents only one quarter of children's usual daily sugar intake. If children have a sugar-coated cereal in the morning, a treat at recess, and sugar and ice cream at lunch, they can get up to 100 teaspoons of sugar a day. Testing them on merely 10 or 12 teaspoons of sugar in the morning and saying that this doesn't cause hyperactivity, that sugar is fine, is really a false premise. Additionally, they used a very small number of children, about 20 children, and studied them for only about five hours, from one to three days. Furthermore, they didn't have a control group of children, a normal comparison group who had been given a normal breakfast. In the comparison group they used, children were given artificial sweeteners rather than no sweeteners at all. We have found that artificial sweeteners such as aspartame have adverse neurological and behaviourial side effects. Children eating sugar may be expected to be hyperactive and children taking aspartame may have neurological side effects, so you don't have an experiment at all. You are just comparing two similar things. In addition, artificial colorings and flavorings were also used in the drinks and it has been shown that they have allergic effects. So all these things make it very difficult to understand how this research proves sugar is all right for children. A proper clinical trial would withhold sugar for at least seven days, then reintroduce it and see how the children react. This is what I used to do in my practice, so that the sugar could be eliminated from their systems and the effect of the sugar could be observed when it is reintroduced. Most children react very negatively when they feel the irritation and tension in their bodies and they cut back on the amount of sugar they eat and automatically limit themselves.

In a well designed study by Schoenthaler and Schauss, sugar was withheld from children for a long period of time and it was found that positive behavior was greatly enhanced . Subsequently, Schoenthaler was hired to study one million school children from 800 New York schools over a seven year period. They found a 15.7 per cent increase in learning ability compared with other schools. Of 124,000 children who were unable to learn grammar and math, 75,000 could perform these skills after dietary changes alone were introduced. In another study, 68 juvenile criminals' anti-social acts diminished by 80 per cent within seven months. In a follow-up study with 276 children, one group stayed on the junk food diet while the other group received healthy foods. And the difference in anti-social acts between the two groups was almost 50 per cent. Schoenthaler then worked with the Los Angeles probation department diet behavior program. Over 1,000 juvenile delinquents showed a 44 per cent drop in anti- social behavior on a low sugar diet. What was the result of all these studies? The California Council against Health Fraud issued a statement that a low additive low sugar diet was "ineffective, dangerous and costly". This was published in the American Council of Science and Health newsletter and Schoenthaler was allowed no rebuttal. Anyone can see that the first study I described, a study of 20 children for a day, does not compare with a study of a million children over seven years.

In 1976, the U.S. Select Committee on GRAS (Generally Recognized as Safe) substances gave their findings on the health aspects of sugar as a food ingredient. The report states that except for dental caries, there is no clear association between sugar and health problems such as vascular disease, degenerative disease or diabetes in this country. A rebuttal was finally printed in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition by Sheldon Reiser of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. He stated that the incubation time for people from primitive countries for developing degenerative conditions is 20 years. You cannot do a one year research project and find the answer. The incidence of diabetes becomes very high in certain cultures when the intake of sugar is introduced. Sucrose alone may be a very important etiological factor in heart disease and diabetes. So Reiser recommended that sugar be decreased by 60 per cent and replaced by complex carbohydrates from vegetables and cereals.

Research is very important in the area of alternative medicine even though only 20 per cent of orthodox medicine is scientifically proven to date. I remember being told in medical school that bottled milk was just as good as breast milk until the benefits of breast milk were scientifically proven! We who practice alternative medicine are told that we haven't proved that our treatments are effective scientifically. That's just means we are not backed by the food companies who are selling this garbage.

So what - exactly - does having too much sugar cause?

  • Sugar can suppress the immune system.

  • Sugar can upset the body's mineral balance.

  • Sugar can contribute to hyperactivity, anxiety, depression, concentration difficulties, and crankiness in children.

  • Sugar can produce a significant rise in triglycerides.

  • Sugar can cause drowsiness and decreased activity in children.

  • Sugar can reduce helpful high density cholesterol (HDLs).

  • Sugar can promote an elevation of harmful cholesterol (LDLs).

  • Sugar can cause hypoglycemia.

  • Sugar contributes to a weakened defense against bacterial infection.

  • Sugar can cause kidney damage.

  • Sugar can increase the risk of coronary heart disease.

  • Sugar may lead to chromium deficiency.

  • Sugar can cause copper deficiency.

  • Sugar interferes with absorption of calcium and magnesium.

  • Sugar can increase fasting levels of blood glucose.

  • Sugar can promote tooth decay.

  • Sugar can produce an acidic stomach.

  • Sugar can raise adrenaline levels in children.

  • Sugar can lead to periodontal disease.

  • Sugar can speed the aging process, causing wrinkles and grey hair.

  • Sugar can increase total cholesterol.

  • Sugar can contribute to weight gain and obesity.

  • High intake of sugar increases the risk of Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis.

  • Sugar can contribute to diabetes.

  • Sugar can contribute to osteoporosis.

  • Sugar can cause a decrease in insulin sensitivity.

  • Sugar leads to decreased glucose tolerance.

  • Sugar can cause cardiovascular disease.

  • Sugar can increase systolic blood pressure.

  • Sugar causes food allergies.

  • Sugar can cause free radical formation in the bloodstream.

  • Sugar can cause toxemia during pregnancy.

  • Sugar can contribute to eczema in children.

  • Sugar can overstress the pancreas, causing damage.

  • Sugar can cause atherosclerosis.

  • Sugar can compromise the lining of the capillaries.

  • Sugar can cause liver cells to divide, increasing the size of the liver.

  • Sugar can increase the amount of fat in the liver.

  • Sugar can increase kidney size and produce pathological changes in the kidney.

  • Sugar can cause depression.

  • Sugar can increase the body's fluid retention.

  • Sugar can cause hormonal imbalance.

  • Sugar can cause hypertension.

  • Sugar can cause headaches, including migraines.

  • Sugar can cause an increase in delta, alpha and theta brain waves, which can alter the mind's ability to think clearly.

  • Sugar can increase blood platelet adhesiveness which increases risk of blood clots and strokes.

  • Sugar can increase insulin responses in those consuming high-sugar diets compared to low sugar diets.

  • Sugar increases bacterial fermentation in the colon.

  • If you are eating sugar without the fibre from cane or beet, you are creating constipation which can lead to diverticular disease, appendicitis, colitis, gallstones, peptic ulcers, all these problems. Incubation time for this condition is 40 years. There is continued evidence that there is a high incidence of gallstones with excess sugar intake.

    High Fructose Corn Syrup vs. Sugar

    January 14, 2009 Washington, DC – Recent efforts by manufacturers of High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS) to position their product as “not different than” and “nutritionally equal” to sugar (i.e. sucrose) are false and misleading. They appear to leverage these false and misleading statements to exploit consumers’ familiarity with and trust in sugar.

    Sugar is all-natural and has been the primary sweetening ingredient worldwide for thousands of years and still is the predominate sweetener in every country, except the United States. Sugar exists naturally in almost every fruit and vegetable but most abundantly in sugar cane and sugar beets. White sugar and brown sugar however are still refined; remember: the longer the shelf life, the less healthy it is.

    HFCS does not exist in nature. It is a highly processed product that requires the ingenuity and efforts of man for its creation, and was unknown to the world until the 1970s.

    There is no established and well-accepted body of scientific research that directly compares the nutritional aspects of sugar to HFCS. Therefore, any purportedly definitive claim that the two products are nutritionally equivalent is false and misleading.

    Anyone who tells you that either are "safe" or worse; "good for you" is either telling you this because they have not done enough research or because they want to sell you something containing one of these ingredients. Don't be fooled!

    Studies show that sugar intake is related to a decrease in lymphocytes. It was demonstrated that 19 teaspoons of sugar increased insulin, which then competed for binding sites on lymphocytes and inactivated them. It jams up the lymphocytes and kind of paralyzes them. Other studies showed that sugar intake decreased antibody production and decreased macrophages which destroy foreign bodies and cancer cells. With rises in sugar intake, the antibody production decreases correspondingly.

    In other words, sugar screws up antibody production. Antibodies are like your body's policemen. Without antibodies your body riots. This does not mean you should turn to alternative sweeteners. Alternative sugars are worse. Some, such as aspartame, have even been proven to cause brain damage.

    Scary Statistics & Facts

  • The average American consumes an astounding 2-3 pounds of sugar each week, which is not surprising considering that highly refined sugars in the forms of sucrose (table sugar), dextrose (corn sugar), and high- fructose corn syrup are being processed into so many foods such as bread, breakfast cereal, mayonnaise, peanut butter, ketchup, spaghetti sauce, and a plethora of microwave meals.

  • In the last 20 years, we have increased sugar consumption in the U.S. 26 pounds to 135 lbs. of sugar per person per year! Prior to the turn of this century (1887-1890), the average consumption was only 5 lbs. per person per year! Cardiovascular disease and cancer was virtually unknown in the early 1900's.

  • Some brands of ketchup have more sugar per ounce than ice cream.

  • Many salad dressings have three times the sugar content of cola drinks.

  • Some non-dairy creamers have more sugar than a chocolate bar.

  • There are nine teaspoons of sugar in a 12-ounce can of pop, 20 teaspoons in a milk shake and about eight teaspoons in most desserts.

  • In 1816, the average sugar consumption per person was 15 pounds per year. In 1955, the average sugar consumption was 120 pounds per year. Now in 1990 it is about 180 pounds per person per year. This is equivalent to half a pound per day per person.

  • Sugar constitutes about 25 to 35 per cent of the diet and this is a problem because sugar weakens the enzymes of essential fatty acid metabolism. Sugar has no vitamins or minerals to offer in its digestion. It takes up space in our diet that should be filled with fresh fruits, vegetables and whole grains.

  • Manufacturers avoid listing sugar as the first ingredient by dividing it into different terminologies like dextrose, corn syrup solids, malt powder, etc. If you add these ingredients together, they would become the first ingredient on the product list.

  • We have been deluded into thinking that we can eat as much sugar as we want and not reap the consequences. The consequences come about when we finally find we have diabetes, hypoglycemia, heart disease, hyperactivity or even allergy to sugar. Dr. Ross Hume Hall says that "nutrition is a stagnating science since its marriage of convenience with the food industry - a lot of our nutrition departments are being funded by the food industry to promote the advantages of food refining".

  • Where are our priorities? I have a question that I ask my young patients: "Do you like sugar?" Of course they do. Then I ask them if they have animals, a puppy dog or pussy cat and if they would feed their puppy or cat sugar. No, of course they wouldn't. Many studies have been done on the effects of sugar on animals. Dr. Cheraskin studied a group of rats who ate sugar-coated cereal and another group who ate the box the cereal came in, and you guessed it, the rats who ate the box lived longer than the rats who ate the cereal.

  • It is absent in primitive communities. After 20 years of eating sugar, North American Indians, Eskimos, and populations in India and Africa develop diabetes. You do not suddenly become diabetic. It is a gradual build up over many years. The good news is, it can be reversed. How do I know? My mother. Diabetes runs in my family. My mother checks her blood sugar and goes to the doctor for tests on a semi-regular basis. Several times she's been diagnosed diabetic, and also several times she astounded doctors by coming back and checking out "normal." The correlation between the amount of sugar she eats and the amount of pain she experiences and if she's over the diabetes line or not is very clear to both her and to me. So why does she keep eating sugar at all? It's addictive, and she's over sixty and stressed out. It's time for you to make the change before you're old, stressed and addicted.

    Phoenix's Tip: When reading ingredients, find out what sorts of poisons are in the food. If the food contains "naturally milled cane sugar" it may be not too bad to have on occasion. To determine from there if the food is okay to have on occasion, see how many grams there are per serving total, and then how many grams there are of sugar per serving. If there are 3grams of sugar, (and the sugar is cane sugar) and the total serving size is 40grams, then I'd say it's safe to have a serving once a week or less. If there are, say, 10grams of sugar (and even if it's cane sugar) out of 40grams or less per seving, I'd say to either make your own at home, or look for a different brand.

    Sugar ruins your immune system.

    "We" have known this for decades. It was only in the 1970's that researchers found out that vitamin C was needed by white blood cells so that they could phagocytize viruses and bacteria. White blood cells require a 50 times higher concentration inside the cell as outside so they have to accumulate vitamin C. There is something called a "phagocytic index" which tells you how rapidly a particular macrophage or lymphocyte can gobble up a virus, bacteria, or cancer cell. It was in the 1970's that Linus Pauling realized that white blood cells need a high dose of vitamin C and that is when he came up with his theory that you need high doses of vitamin Cicon to combat the common cold. sugar and lymphocytes

    We know that glucose and vitamin C have similar chemical structures, so what happens when the sugar levels go up? They compete for one another upon entering the cells. And the thing that mediates the entry of glucose into the cells is the same thing that mediates the entry of vitamin C into the cells. If there is more glucose around, there is going to be less vitamin C allowed into the cell. It doesn't take much: a blood sugar value of 120 reduces the phagocytic index by 75%. So when you eat sugar, think of your immune system slowing down to a crawl.

    Here we are getting a little bit closer to the roots of disease. It doesn't matter what disease we are talking about, whether we are talking about a common cold or about cardiovascular disease, or cancer or osteoporosis, the root is always going to be at the cellular and molecular level, and more often than not insulin is going to have its hand in it, if not totally controlling it.

    The health dangers which ingesting sugar on an habitual basis creates are certain. Simple sugars have been observed to aggravate asthma, move mood swings, provoke personality changes, muster mental illness, nourish nervous disorders, deliver diabetes, hurry heart disease, grow gallstones, hasten hypertension, and add arthritis.

    Because refined dietary sugars lack minerals and vitamins, they must draw upon the body's micro-nutrient stores in order to be metabolized into the system. When these storehouses are depleted, metabolization of cholesterol and fatty acid is impeded, contributing to higher blood serum triglycerides, cholesterol, promoting obesity due to higher fatty acid storage around organs and in sub-cutaneous tissue folds.

    Because sugar is devoid of minerals, vitamins, fiber, and has such a deteriorating effect on the endocrine system, major researchers and major health organizations (American Dietetic Association and American Diabetic Association) agree that sugar consumption in America is one of the 3 major causes of degenerative disease.

    Are you saying that sugar can cause cancer?

    Indeed, I am saying just that.

    Of the over 4 million cancer patients being treated in the U.S. today, almost none are offered any scientifically guided nutrition therapy other than being told to "just eat good foods." Many cancer patients would have a major improvement in their conditions if they controlled the supply of cancer's preferred fuel: GLUCOSE. By slowing the cancer's growth, patients make it possible for their immune systems to catch up to the disease. Controlling one's blood-glucose levels through diet, exercise, supplements, meditation and prescription drugs - when necessary - can be one of the most crucial components to a cancer treatment program. The saying "Sugar feeds cancer" is simple. The explanation is a little more involved. German Otto Warburg, Ph.D., the 1931 Nobel laureate in medicine, first discovered that cancer cells have a fundamentally different energy metabolism compared to healthy cells. The gist of his Nobel thesis was this: malignant tumors frequently exhibit an increase in "anaerobic glycolysis" - a process whereby glucose is used by cancer cells as a fuel with lactic acid as an anaerobic by-product - compared to normal tissues. The large amount of lactic acid produced by this fermentation of glucose from the cancer cells is then transported to the liver. This conversion of glucose to lactate creates a lower, more acidic PH in cancerous tissues as well as overall physical fatigue from lactic acid build-up. Therefore, larger tumors tend to exhibit a more acidic PH. anaerobic glycolysis.

    Hence, cancer therapies should attempt to regulate blood-glucose levels through diet, supplements, exercise, medication when necessary, gradual weight loss and stress reduction. Since cancer cells derive most of their energy from anaerobic glycolysis, the goal is not to eliminate sugars or carbohydrates entirely from the diet but rather to control blood-glucose within a narrow range to help starve the cancer cells and boost immune function.


    In 1990, a study in the Lancet showed that a vegetarian diet, relaxation exercises, and giving up smoking actually reversed coronary artery lesions. This is definite proven research that should make every cardiologist say, "Here is the evidence we need. Now we can implement these methods to treat coronary artery disease." Studies showed over and over again that increased sugar intake causes elevated triglycerides, elevated total cholesterol, elevated insulin and elevated uric acid.

    Is sugar more addictive for some people?

    Sugar is addictive all by itself, but some studies have shown that addictive personalities and/or other addictions can increase sugar cravings.

    People addicted to substances like alcohol are also addicted to sugar. Many addicted people have strong withdrawal effects when they remove sugar from their diet. Researchers have found that there is a strong correlation between alcohol or other addictive drugs and a strong craving for sugar. Heroin addicts consumed staggering amounts of sugar while they were undergoing treatment and in fact the sugar seemed to diminish the withdrawal effects of heroin.

    How can I avoid this poison?

    Here are some things you're not going to hear often: how any particular food tastes is dependant on what other foods you've eaten. If you just ate a candy-bar, then a pineapple isn't going to taste very sweet to you. However, if you've just eaten a plate of string-beans, a pineapple is going to taste just pure sugarcane. In addition to the immediate effects, this also has long-term effects. If you have not eaten any refined sugars in the last two weeks, everything you eat will taste sweeter.

    How do I know? Well, aside from reading it many times, and hearing it from friends who have tried it, I've experienced it. More amazing than that, is that you stop craving sweets when you stop eating them. Isn't that a relief?

    Believe it or not, you never feel hungry. It doesn't happen. What you feel is a craving. When you suddenly feel a craving, you probably want noodles, or candy, or something sweet in general. Cravings are your body trying to tell you want you need, but unfortunately, simple-carbs hot-wire your system. The more simple- carbs you eat (like sugar - in any form) the more your cravings are spun out of whack.

    Don't believe me? I don't blame you. I didn't really believe it either until I experienced it.

    You see, after I stopped eating breads, pastas, sugars, dairy and meats, the most astounding thing happened. (Aside from the fact that I lost all my excess weight with no exercise, and the painful burps going away.) I stopped craving foods entirely. I had to remind myself to eat, because I forgot. Tomatoes suddenly had an amazing amount of flavor. Lettus suddenly became sweet instead of dull. Carrots became a treat instead of a torment.

    The truth is, you're hungry when you feel weak, tired or dizzy. When you suddenly feel like eating a hamburger, it's because you're body has been hot-wired by simple-carbs, such as sugar and white bread.

    However, since we all want to have a treat now and then, what do you do to have something special? Here is what I do:

  • Half a spoon-full of raw honey in tea in the morning.

  • One organic dark-chocolate bar on holidays such as my birthday, x-mas and Halloween

  • Bananas and/or peaches in cream once every other month or so

  • Bananas, strawberries and/or blueberries atop organic completely sugar-free (no sugar alternatives folks) granola with rice milk or almond milk once a month or so

    That's probably a little extreme for most of you. You're used to milk shakes at drivethroughs, and cream pies at your mother-in-law's house. You like to have cheese cake when you're Barnes & Noble, and ice cream when you have boy troubles. Guess what? I used to do those things too. I used to be a lot less healthy and happy, and it really is worth it to change. Perhaps not so dramatically. One step at a time. Start by quitting high fructose corn syrup and trans-fats. Those two poisons are so bad for you that it's off the charts. Once you've done that, then it's time to look at the next step. Don't overwhelm yourself; don't set your goals too high too fast.

    If you feel like changing your diet, then do. But don't count calories. Mark your success by how many sweets you turned down. Mark your success in the number of vegetable servings you ate in a day. And before you know it, those vegetables will taste great as well as make you feel great.

    Now that you've read the dirt do you want to test your knowledge or take a survey to evaluate your own health? click here.

    But don't take it from me! Go to the source if you're not convinced!

    Sources for this page:


    Dangerous Health Foods by Dr. Mark Hyman


    Consumer Health

    Sugar Co.

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