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Sugar: Sour Facts On A

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Now that preposterously inflated sugar prices have forced many people of low and limited means to reduce substantially their consumption of this hazardous drug, the Free People's Clinic feels it is an opportune moment to point out the several reasons why reduction ofone's sugar consumption is a medically sound idea. When someone says "sugar", they are generally referring to refined, white, crystaline table sugar, whose chemical name is sucrose. There are several other kinds of sugar that differ chemically from sucrose and from each other. They are: glucose, the final product of digestión of energy rich foods, which circulates in the blood and supplies nourishment to the tissues of all plant and animal life, also called blood sugar; fructose, or fruit sugar, the type of sugar that sweetens apples, raisins, plums, etc; maltose, or malt sugar; and lactose, the type of sugar found in milk and milk producís. Sugar is advertised and highly touted as a source of "quick energy." Life saver and candy bar manufacturers spend vast sums of money each year to convince people that late afternoon li&tlessness can be magically wisked away with that neat, sweet, readyto-eat, picker-upper, a piece of sugar-shot candy. However, the type of sugar found in candy (sucrose) is a different sugar entirely from glucose, the kind of sugar that provides nourishment to your body's tissues. Sucrose is sugar, sure, like noise is a kind of sound. But do you turn on a cement-mixer when you want music? Sucrose must be classified as a drug. Drugs are substances which do not provide nourishment, but which are taken into the body at times for thespecific effects they produce. "Pure" sugar is virtually 100% sucrose. Besides refining out the soil particles, sand, and sugar lice which contamínate raw sugar cane, the purification process also strips sugar of what little vitamin and mineral content it contains. Americans have been indoctrinated by the mass media advertisers to demand purity in their foods-the purer the better. Purity means that a given food, like sugar, has has all extraneous material removed from it, whether or not that material is beneficial or not. In the case of wheat flour, all 26 nutrients are milled away to yield "pure" flour. They replace 8 of them, and cali the flour "enriched". Such is the case with "pure" refined sugar. 1f sucrose is indeed a drug, what effects does it have on the body? Many-most of them undesirable, a few that are downright dangerous. There is evidence that a low protein, high sugar diet leads to near-sightedness (myopia) in rats, while a low protein, high starch diet does not. These results remain to be fully tested on humans,but the possible implications are serious since a large part of the Third World is moving, or has already changed, from a low protein, high starch diet to one that is low protein, high sugar. Dental problema are overwhelmingly due to sugar consumption. In Britain alone, 4 million teeth, weighing a total of four tons are extracted every year. As the plethora of denture cleaner ads demonstrates, a significant proportion of Americans have no teeth of their own left at all. Dentists universally recommend frequent brushing with a flouride toothpiste, daily flossing, and the reduction, preferrably the elimination of sugar-packed sweets from the diet to prevent dental problems. Sugar consumption is also linked to severe, chronic indigestión. Sucrose irritates the delicate mucous lining of the esophogus (the tube leading from the throat to the stomach), and the lining of the stomach. With a gastroscope, a device that allows you to look directly at the stomach lining, the red irritation produced by sugar can be seen easily. The irritation is worst when the stomach is empty, which is significant since most candy snacks are consumed on an empty stomach. High intake of sugar is correlated with diabetes. For the body to utilize glucose, it needs insulin, a hormone produced by cialized cells in the pancreas, the Isles of Langerhans. Diabetes is the inability to produce this insulin, or the inability of body cells to react to the insulin produced. There is a general biological observation that the effect of continuous stimulation of a tissue at first improves its activity, but after a while the tissue becomes exhausted. Think of muscles: if you use your muscles, they grow stronger, but if you put too much strain on them, they give out. There is evidence that our high consumption of sugar wears out the pancreas. One study on the relationship of sugar consumption to diabetes was done with Yemenite immigrants to Israel. Newly arriving immigrants from Yemen had an incidence of diabetes of .06%. However, Yemenites who had lived in Israel for several years had close to 5 times as much diabetes, 2.9%. The only significant difference between the diets of the new and old immigrants was that the more settled Yemenites ate ably more sugar. Bowel problems of all kinds, from colitis to rectal cáncer, have risen rapidly in the Western world in the past fifty years. There is evidence that sugar contributes to lower digestive tract and bowel disorders. Babies who are breast-fed consume lactose as their only sugar. On the other hand, bottle-fed babies drink al formula of dried cow's milk and other ingredients, usually liberally laced with sucrose. Bottle-fed babies show many more digestive and bowel problems than do breast fed babies, problems that tend to disappear when lactose is substituted for sucrose. Heart disease is our number one killer. Much of the blame for heart disease and atherosclerosis (fat deposits on artery walls) is laid to cholesterol, a substance found in animal fats, like red meat and butter, and in eggs. Heart disease is correlated with high intake of cholesterol, physical inactivity, smoking cigarettes, and heavy drinking of alcohol. However, there are several cultures throughout the world whose diets of milk and meat producís would place them in the high risk group for heart disease, who have hardly any coronaries. Two such groups are the Masai and Sumburu tribes of East África. One interesting point concerning the food these people eat is that while their diets are based on animal fats, they consume virtually no sugar. Conversely, a study was done on White sugar in a candy bar provides no vitamins or minerals whatsoever, but can give you heart disease, chronic indigestión, dental problems, diabetes or near-sightedness. the island of St. Helena, where heart disease is quite common. The inhabitants of St. Helena eat a less rich, less animal fat-based diet than Americans do, they are physically very active since the island isextremely,hilly and there is little mechanized transportation, and their cigarrette consumption is far below that of the U.S. If they eat little animal fat, are active, and don't smoke, most doctors would place them in the low risk group for heart disease. Yet, coronaries occur with considerable freiency there. One striking fact about their diet is that their intake of sugar parallels sucrose consumption in the U.S., over 100 lbs per person per year. And throughout the Third World, peoples who are consuming more sugar are suffering greater incidences of heart disease. Sugar significantly increases blood levéis of both cholesterol and triglyceride fats, both of which are correlated with heart disease. Many people have been convinced of the hazards of white sugar, and have switched to brown sugar or honey. But, there is a paradox associated with these sugar substitutes: brown sugar and honey are only infinitesmally more nutritious than white sugar. However, if you confine your sugar intake to brown sugar and honey, you will be a great deal better off. How can this be? Sugar from sugar cane is manufactured by squeezing the juice from crushed cane plants. The juice contains 1213% sugar, '3% extraneous matter, and water. The water is evaporated off, and the sugary syrup is spun in a centrifuge to yield two products: raw sugar, and raw molasses. Raw sugar is 96% sucrose, 3% extraneous matter, and 1% water. Subsequent refining produces sugar which is 99.9% sucrose. Brown sugar is made in one of two ways: either by cutting short the refining process, or by adding a little carmelized molasses to finished white sugar. If you ate 3lA ounces of white sugar, you would receive no vitamins nor minerals whatsoever. An equivalent amount of brown sugar, on the other hand, yields less than 2% of your daily needs of B vitamins, no iron, no calcium, and almost nothing else of value. The same goes for honey, which is 80% sugar, and contains only trivial amounts of vitamins and minerals. Then how can brown sugar and honey be better nutritionally? Simply because they are not as versatile as white sugar, and consequentlyare used a great deal less. The average American consumes close to one ounce of sugar per day from soft drinks alone. Try drinking an ounce of honey per day. It's an extremely difficult feat. So, while neither honey nor brown sugar are particularly more nourishing than white sugar, if you substitute them for white sugar, you will automatically be cutting down on your sugar intake. The sugar habit is a tough one to kick But there are several relatively painless ways to cut down. First and foremost, cut down on soft drinks. If you are afflicted with a heavy coke habit, winnow yourself off the stuff gradually, to allow your body and your psyche a chance to adjust. Instead of soft drinks, try fruit juices (not Hi-C or Hawaiian Punch which are loaded with sugar), tea, or water. If you crave a sweetened drink, add a dab of honey to hot or iced tea. If you drink coffee with sugar, try it with less sugar, then still less, then none. Cutting down on sugared cereals, manufactured snack foods, and between-meal candy is another effective way to reduce sugar intake--not to mention a satisfying way to foü high-pressure, capitalistic advertising schemes. Snack on nuts instead, or on fruit. A handy, cheap, sweet snack that needs no refrigeration is the combination of peanuts and raisins. Or try some delicious dried sweetened naturally with fructose, often with a little honey added, it's delicious and quite sweet. If you eat sugared cereals, try gradually moving over to granóla- use raisins and honey to sweeten it. Commercial ice cream is another big source of sugar. Try Mountain High instead, which is primarily sweetened with honey. Substituting brown sugar, sweet fruits, and honey for white sugar in baking and cooking does not demand a tremendous retooling of your kitchen nor your culinary imagination All it takes is a minimal effort to evolve awa from the white 'sugar reflex. And considering the price of white sugar today, and the ratior ing imposed by many stores, right now is the perfect time to cleanse your body and soul of the dangerous drue. white sugar.