You don’t need me to tell you that refined sugar isn’t good for you. Even kids know a steady diet of sugar isn’t healthy. But few folks realize just how dangerous the white stuff actually is.
Refined sugars, such as high fructose corn syrup, aren’t just empty calories, they’re also highly addictive and, ultimately, toxic to your body. (More on that in just a moment.) And artificial sweeteners, such as aspartame, aren’t a better option since they can be even more harmful to your health.
These days sugar is dumped into everything, whether it’s needed or not. For example there was a time in our not so distant past that to make bread you used four ingredients: flour, yeast, salt and water. But now read just about any bread label and you’ll spot refined sugar (along with a bunch of other questionable ingredients).
In fact, we took a look at a couple of the most popular white breads on the market. In just about all of them two slices of bread delivered a staggering 6 grams of high fructose corn syrup!
Slowly poisoned by refined sugar
We’ve known for decades now that sugar is dangerous. In William Duffy’s book Sugar Blues he gets right to the heart of the problem with the sweet stuff.1
“Refined sugar has been depleted of its life forces, vitamins and minerals. What is left consists of pure, refined carbohydrates. The body cannot utilize this refined starch and carbohydrate unless the depleted proteins, vitamins and minerals are present. Nature supplies these elements in each plant in quantities sufficient to metabolize the carbohydrate in that particular plant. There is no excess for other added carbohydrates. Incomplete carbohydrate metabolism results in the formation of ‘toxic metabolite’ such as pyruvic acid and abnormal sugars containing five carbon atoms. Pyruvic acid accumulates in the brain and nervous system and the abnormal sugars in the red blood cells. These toxic metabolites interfere with the respiration of the cells. They cannot get sufficient oxygen to survive and function normally. In time, some of the cells die. This interferes with the function of a part of the body and is the beginning of degenerative disease.
“Refined sugar is lethal when ingested by humans because it provides only that which nutritionists describe as ‘empty’ calories. It lacks the natural minerals which are present in sugar beet or cane.
“In addition, sugar is worse than nothing because it drains and leaches the body of precious vitamins and minerals through the demand its digestion, detoxification, and elimination makes upon one’s entire system.”
Writing in 1975 Duffy was ahead of his time. He realized that acidity leads to health problems.
“Sugar taken every day produces a continuously overacid (sic) condition, and more and more minerals are required from deep in the body in the attempt to rectify the imbalance. To protect the blood, so much calcium is taken from the bones and teeth that decay and general weakening begin. Excess sugar eventually affects every organ in the body.”
Too much sugar overloads the liver & turns to fat
Initially, sugar is stored in the liver. When your liver can no longer handle the load, excess sugar, known as glycogen, is returned to the blood as fatty acids. Fatty acids are stored in organs such as the heart and kidneys. Here the tissues degenerate and turn to fat, affecting the whole body.
“The circulatory and lymphatic systems are invaded, and the quality of the red corpuscles starts to change. An overabundance of white cells occurs, and the creation of tissue becomes slower. Our body’s tolerance and immunizing power become limited. We cannot respond properly to extreme attacks, whether they be cold, heat, mosquitoes or microbes.
“When refined sugar is taken daily, these bacteria wither and die, and our stock of B vitamins gets very low. Too much sugar makes one sleepy; our ability to calculate and remember is lost.”
And, as you know, there’s also a strong link between how much refined sugar you eat and your risk for type 2 diabetes.2 Sugar-filled foods and soft drinks have led to a diabetes epidemic. In the U.S., almost 30 million people have diabetes and 86 million adults over 20 have pre-diabetes. One in four diabetic Americans have the disease and don’t even know it!3
“In 1929, in Panama, for sugar plantation owners who ate large amounts of their refined stuff, diabetes was common. However, native cane-cutters, who only chewed the raw cane, saw no diabetes.”
Big Sugar’s clever marketing got billions hooked
But sugar’s virtual takeover of our food supply wasn’t an accident. Well paid marketers and lots of major cash were the driving force behind the sugar industry’s rise to power. In fact, there are many disturbing similarities between Big Tobacco’s tactics and those of Big Sugar. Both have invested billions fool folks into thinking deadly products are harmless.
“Beginning with World War I, the sugar pushers coated their propaganda with a preparedness pitch. Dietitians have known the high food value of sugar for a long time, said an industry tract of the 1920s. But it took World War I to bring this home. The energy-building power of sugar reaches the muscles in minutes and it was of value to soldiers as a ration given them just before an attack was launched.
“Later, the sugar pushers advertised that sugar was chemically pure, being 99.9 percent pure. ‘No food of our everyday diet is purer,’ we were assured. What was meant by purity, besides the unarguable fact that all vitamins, minerals, salts, fibers, and proteins had been removed in the refining process? Well, the sugar pushers came up with a new slant on purity. ‘You don’t have to sort it like beans, wash it like rice. Every grain is like every other. No waste attends its use. No useless bones like in meat, no grounds like coffee. ‘Pure’ is a favorite adjective of the sugar pushers because it means one thing to the chemists and another thing to the ordinary mortals.”
The rebranding ruse that converted sugar into carbs
Rebranding sugar as “carbohydrates” was another clever way to influence consumers. While technically true, the soft focus creates an impression that sugars are like any other carb, such as those you find in cereal grains. The ruse was so successful that today, sugar is still listed under “Total Carbohydrates” on Nutrition Facts labels.
“The use of the word “carbohydrate” to describe sugar is deliberately misleading. Since the improved labeling of nutritional properties was required, refined carbohydrates like sugar are lumped together with those carbohydrates which may not be refined. The several types of carbohydrates are added together for an overall carbohydrate total. Thus, the effect of the label is to hide the sugar content from the unwary buyer.”
Refined sugar manufacturers often twist the word ‘natural’ to mislead the public. Saying that something is made from “natural ingredients” creates the perception of a healthy, plant-based product. In reality, “natural” has become a marketing buzzword. Consider this example: apple and maple oatmeal. It sounds like a nutritious, vegetarian breakfast made from healthy, natural ingredients. However, a popular fast food chain has this item on the menu and it contains 31 grams of sugar — not too healthy.
Toxic refined sugar does a number on digestion
You know what they say happens when you dump sugar into a gas tank on a car, right? Well let me assure you it’s supposedly NOT pretty. And much like sugar gumming up a car’s engine, it can gum up your digestive system too, interfering with digestion and the absorption of nutrients.
“When starches and complex sugars (like those in honey and fruits) are digested, they break down into simple sugars called “monosaccharides”, which are usable substances-nutrients. When starches and sugars are taken together and undergo fermentation, they are broken down into carbon dioxide, acetic acid, alcohol, and water. With the exception of the water, all these are unusable substances—poisons. When proteins are digested, they are broken down into amino acids, which are usable substances-nutrients. When proteins are taken with sugar, they putrefy; they are broken down into a variety of ptomaines and leucomaines, which are nonusable substances-poisons. Enzymic digestion of foods prepares them for use by our body. Bacterial decomposition makes them unfit for use by our body. The first process gives us nutrients; the second gives us poisons.”
The bottom line? Refined sugar is one of the most toxic, least beneficial substances you can put into your body. If sugar, or its artificial substitutes, have a hold on your life, it’s time for a change.
Sugar causes inflammation, which leads to all sorts of health problems, sugar is bad for your teeth, sugar slows digestion, sugar even has an effect on your brain. Toss the sugar-filled soft drinks and replace them with life-supporting water. Stop consuming pre-packaged snacks loaded with refined sugar or dangerous artificial sweeteners (try Stevia instead if you want to add a little sweetness). And switch to foods that don’t have a label. Oh, and, if all that sugar has left you feeling weary and like you need a boost, try one of these 10 detoxing foods.
1. Dufty, William F. Sugar Blues. New York: Warner, 1986. Print.
2. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. Causes of Diabetes. Last updated June, 2014.
3. “Diabetes Latest.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. USA.gov, 17 June 2014. Web. 25 May 2016.
Dr. Edward F. Group III has his Naturopathic Doctorate, Clinical Herbalist, Holistic Health Practitioner, Clinical Nutritionist certifications, and is a Diplomate of the American Clinical Board of Nutrition and the American Board of Functional Medicine. He founded Global Healing Center Inc. in 1998 which has earned recognition as one of the largest alternative, natural and organic health resources on the Internet.
A dynamic author and speaker, Dr. Group focuses solely on spreading the message of health and wellness to the global community with the philosophy of full body cleansing, most importantly colon cleansing, consuming pure clean organic food, water, air, exercise and nutritional supplementation. Visit GlobalHealingCenter.com to learn more about living green and healthy!
Latest posts by Dr. Edward Group (see all)
- Top 6 reasons to try kombucha tea - October 4, 2016
- Always tired? Your thyroid could be to blame - September 24, 2016
- 9 surprising uses for the chili pepper extract capsaicin - September 1, 2016