Sugar and Sweetness - Why are They Bad?
With Easter coming up in a few days to bring us sugary eggs and sweet chocolate bunnies, perhaps this is a fitting time to talk about our collective sweet spot - sugar addiction.
Happy Easter - Image credit: Candy Addict
Personally I am keenly aware of the dangers of sugar and the craving for sweet things associated with it - I did great damage to many of my teeth before I really knew. Yet, I have not written much about this ... but this morning, I found a letter - yes, a letter, not an email - from Austin Linkinhoker, a student who asked the question: He said"I am focusing on how sugar affects the society; specifically, is it bad?"
Of course I had to answer, and since there is no well rounded single source I could point Austin to, I did a little search and found that when you really start looking, the situation may be much worse than many of us think it is. My conclusion in a nutshell:SUGAR IS POISON AND SWEETNESS PROVIDES IT WITH THE HANDLE OF ADDICTION.
Two years ago, in Food Additives, Sugar and IQ I referred to a study that assessed "The Impact of a Diet Low in Food Additives and Sugar on the Academic Performance in 803 New York City Public Schools" (see a graph of changes induced by the diet here), but there is much more to sugar than school performance.
My friend Chris Gupta has several articles on his site that discuss the dangers of the sweet stuff. Sugar negatively impacts levels of vitamin C in the human body, and we all know how important vitamin C is. Cancer cells just love sugar, but don't look for government to tell you how bad sugar is - after all, there is a powerful sugar industry that lobbies those bureaucrats.
We know that sugar has few nutrients and the calories it provides can be obtained from other, less damaging foods. But it is the sweet tooth that gets us - against all better knowledge.
Anyway, just for the record and for what it might be worth in preventing some of the future damage sugar is sure to be doing yet for some time to come, here is the letter I received and my answer:
- - -To Whom It May Concern:
Upon conducting research on the topic of sugar and artificial sweetness: its effect on our society, I came across your company's name and wanted to contact you for possible information, referrals, and/or suggestions. I am focusing on how sugar affects the society; specifically, is it bad?
I am a student in the Leander ISD, in Texas, and am conducting research for a dependant study in the QUEST (Quality Utilization and Enrichment of Student Talent) program; a program for advanced research. I have selected sugar as my area of study, focusing on the effect it has on humans. I will be making a multimedia 45-minute presentation in the month of May as a result of my findings. Therefore, it will be greatly appreciated if you could send me any informational materials and/or referrals you might be able to share on this subject.
Please use the above address, in care of my instructor, Ms. P. for any materials you may send. You may also e-mail me at my instructors school e-mail address, and she will forward your correspondence to me...
Thank you in advance for your considerations.
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A spoonful of sugar - Image and article by Mike Hunter.
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I have received your letter asking for information on "how sugar affects the society; specifically, is it bad?"
You have a worthwhile theme of research there, although you may well run into very established (financial) interests that might not like what you find. They are doing what they can to sell us sweetness as a "natural" craving.
Sugar and - by extension - sweetness probably constitute one of the most negative factors in our quest for good nutrition, good health and a long, untroubled healthy life. Starting with cavities in our teeth, the effects of sugar extend to the whole organism and in time are often the cause of premature invalidity and death.
Some sources on where to start with sugar:
THE DEADLY DIET
Circling the world in the 1920s and '30s, Dr Price and his wife found the same sinister pattern among 'primitive' populations, whether isolated Irish fishermen, tribal Africans, Pacific Islanders, Eskimos, North and South American Indians or Australian Aborigines. Those groups that followed their traditional nature-based diets enjoyed good health and vigour, and those that turned to the 'civilised' diet of processed, sugar-laden foods soon developed a variety of ills, including misshapen bones and teeth - and the situation worsened with each generation.
But it does not seem that sugar as such is to blame. It's the "sweet tooth", our desire to eat sweet things, which unfortunately is drilled into just about every child from the time they're born until it's too late to stop... Mothers are putting sugar into baby bottles, and giving sweets to kids as a "reward". They do not realize what they are doing.
Once conditioned, we think we "need the sweet". When we find out the harm sugar does, often we turn to artificial sweeteners. But there we find a whole new world of side effects that are different but perhaps not less serious than those of sugar...
Some links to start looking:
Don't take my word though when I say sugar and sweetness are bad. Do your own research and make your own decisions.
Anyway, I wish you fun on your voyage of discovery.
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Video: Big Sugar
Big Sugar explores the dark history and modern power of the world's reigning sugar cartels. Using dramatic reenactments, it reveals how ... all » sugar was at the heart of slavery in the West Indies in the 18th century, while showing how present-day consumers are slaves to a sugar-based diet. Going undercover, Big Sugar witnesses the appalling working conditions on plantations in the Dominican Republic, where Haitian cane cutters live like slaves. Workers who live on Central Romano, a Fanjul-owned plantation, go hungry while working 12-hour days to earn $2 (US).
Of course sugar gives nothing to the human metabolism - except a quick and in the long run very destructive high. Sugar lowers IQ, it kills by destroying the natural glucose metabolism, it is implicated in the genesis of cancer and it uses up important nutrients such as vitamin C. Why are we still eating sugar and why are our governments actively protecting the industry? The video (there are two parts) has some interesting historical as well as current information.
Savoury foods high sugar warning
Researchers found meals such as Tesco crispy beef with sweet chilli and Asda's sticky chilli chicken had more sugar content than vanilla ice cream. They said labelling was confusing as sugar could be classed as dextrose, fructose, glucose and sucrose.
Sugar: The Sweet Thief of Life
A very complete article discussing sugar from a nutritional point of view.
Sugar: Too Sweet to be True
(link from stephentvedten.blogspot.com - blog censored by Blogger)
It's no secret that America has a love affair with sugar — and why not? It tastes great, gives you energy and can even elevate your mood. What's not to like? This is the crux of the problem. How can something that tastes so good be so bad for us?
posted by Sepp Hasslberger on Thursday April 5 2007
updated on Monday November 29 2010
URL of this article:
Sugar Consumption and Pancreatic Cancer
Here is more evidence, as if more was needed, for a no sugar, low carb diet. "The high consumption of sweetened food and drink increases the risk of developing pancreatic cancer. According to a new study from Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, Sweden, the following picture emerges: Most at risk to develop pancreatic cancer were those men and women who consumed high quantities of added sugar, soft drinks, and sweetened fruit... [read more]
February 05, 2007 - Chris Gupta
Why Is Sugar A Problem?
...."most of the diseases that we are dealing with today are based on poor nutrition."... ...When we take the active principle out of a plant, and use it in its pure form, it becomes a drug. Sugar and coffee are the two commonest drugs in our civilization.... ....I call the gradual onset of disease from vitamin/mineral deficiency “high calorie malnutrition.”.... This post from Dr. Lonsdale further reinforces his experiences and... [read more]
November 03, 2005 - Chris Gupta
At Last - Why Sugar Kills!
..."And obviously both those things tend to be greater in diabetics but I think that what people have not emphasised is that as you get older, every time you take a carbohydrate-containing meal, your blood glucose does go up and it's a perfectly normal phenomenon, but the older you get, the higher it goes and the longer it takes to come down. And if you're looking for small cumulative changes... [read more]
November 23, 2005 - Chris Gupta
Sugar: FAO Scientific Consultation In Doubt - Financed by Sugar Industry
Sugar is a refined carbohydrate devoid of all the nutrients necessary to assimilate and metabolise it in the human body. It is a net robber of nutrients. That means, for each gram of sugar we eat our body needs to utilize vitamins and minerals obtained from other foods - just to metabolize the sugar and unlock its energy potential. Sugar, in other words, is a positively unhealthy food. Who would... [read more]
October 09, 2004 - Sepp Hasslberger
The amazing Banana
Just returned today from my weekly shopping trip to the organic food store and of course, in addition to apples, yogurt, buttermilk and a beautiful turban squash I also bought a few bananas, a little smaller than the "regular" kind we see in the markets but very tasty. Then I saw, forwarded by a friend in Canada, an article on the virtues of the amazing Banana, many of which I... [read more]
October 18, 2003 - Sepp Hasslberger
Violence And Nutrition
..."A group of healthy individuals were exposed to a thiamine deficient diet to see what kind of illness would appear. Each of these individuals developed basic changes in personality, together with symptoms that are even today regarded as psychosomatic, or psychological. They became quarrelsome, irritable and some became aggressive. Of particular importance, small stresses such as an insinuating remark would fire off an emotional reaction that was disproportionate to the... [read more]
May 30, 2005 - Chris Gupta