The Sugar Saga
People put it in their coffee and tea, spoon it onto grapefruits or over cereal in the morning, gulp it down in the form of soft drinks or munch it whole in the form of candy.
While it is true that sugar is the fuel the body and mind needs to maintain life, there is absolutely no reason to add any extra sugar to the diet. According to many medical research reports small does of sugar make some amazing and immediate changes on the body chemistry, while the continual use of sugar may probably generate some serious problems in later life..
Almost everything you eat is processed into a little sugar, even some meats can provide a tiny amount of sugar calories. Aside from meats, at least half of everything else taken into the body gets eventually converted into glucose, the body sugar. If your body runs out of food sugar it can create a some from one of two sources.
The pancreas, which produces insulin that helps the body use sugar safely (without insulin sugar would burn your body cells), also produces the artificial sugar ketose. This occurs in what is often called “starvation mode” a condition that occurs when you consume less than 1,000 calories a day in food. The Atkins diet relies on this artificial sugar processing as a kick start for their weight reduction plan.
The liver is capable of calling upon stored body fat which can be converted into glucose. Almost every person has 15% or more body fat, some people have upwards to 30% which is a very unhealthful level according to every expert working in health care. One pound of body fat can be converted into roughly two food-pounds of body fuel, which is enough the run the body for about two days.
The so-called "nutritional" breakfast of plain cereal, skim milk and orange juice is almost 70% in sugar producing carbohydrates, proving more food sugar than a candy bar at the start of the day. So, why does anyone need a candy bar?
According to Dr. Jonathan Christie, Ph.D. MFCC, one of the reasons for our craving probably comes from days long ago when mankind had to hunt far and wide to find food. Before fire, before hunting with spear and bow, we sought out plants, roots and berries to eat. Since sugar is the food of life and the brain has to help keep us alive, it identified high sugar content foods and correlated these with our taste senses. A reward and punishment process was implemented in which fatigue and cravings urged us on to scavenge out the reward of sweet stuff, which the taste buds quickly identified as a targeted substance. The brain then released endorphins after consumption of this high sugar food which creates a small euphoria and even lowers response to pain, as it is an opiate like substance.
Dr. Eliot Blass documented this process in the laboratory. A group of animals who were fed sugar exhibited a 225% percent increase in the resistance to pain over those animals tested with no extra sugar in the bodies.
Sugar, apparently, gives us a small narcotic-like blast which also adds to the craving aspect because of the addictive response from this narcotic euphoria. Prescription pills like Vicoden (given for tooth extractions) or Precodan, which one U.S. Army Doctor told me was very addictive, produce a resistance to pain. When taken on a daily basis you face a small level of physical dependence to these substances. When these narcotics are removed from the diet you go through both psychological and physical changes that are hard to handle, often known as going "cold turkey."
Sugar, of course, is not a narcotic. It is the brain that releases these endogenous opiates as a result of a sugar trigger mechanism. What Dr. Christie is saying, however, is that in today’s world we no longer have that “pressing need” for sugar like mankind did thousands of years ago in primitive times when food wasn’t found at a supermarket. Our instincts haven’t caught up with modern times. We are suck on the euphoric kick created by the body as a reward for finding food-sugars that are no longer needed for survival.
Endorphins aren’t the only substance released by the brain upon the introduction of sugar into the body. A Yale University study of children showed an increase of ten times more adrenaline after they consumed about 500 to 600 calories of sugar. That is a 1,000% change in body chemistry from, basically, a couple of cupcakes.
High adrenaline levels make it difficult to think clearly and in another study, the New York University School of Medicine shows a direct correlation between impaired memory functions and high sugar levels. Apparently high sugar content in the body shrinks the hippocampus area of the brain which has to do with short-term memory functions.
Adrenaline also increase stress levels, heart rate and respiration. This, coupled with constriction of the arteries in the body, is one of the correlation’s between high sugar levels and the risk of stroke or heart attack. According to information from Dr. Michael W. King, Ph.D, IU School of Medicine, the normal blood sugar level of 5 is considered by some experts to put the body at a higher risk for both stroke and heart attack. Higher levels of sugar may increase this risk factor.
It is felt by some cardio-vascular experts that a lower than normal blood sugar level (something around 4) would greatly reduce the risk of stroke or a heart attack that we generally face later in life.. Sugar from one candy bar shoots these levels to over 7. This is the level at which a diabetic has to start taking precautions. The levels can continue to shoot up to 12 or more, which is a very unhealthy level of blood sugar.
Insulin, of course, is then produced in abundance to aid in the distribution of blood sugar. The pancreas may have to produce ten times more insulin than normal just to handle a candy bar, which taxes an organ that is very prone to failure later in life, according to Dr. T.L. Cleve.
No one totally understands why the human pancreas ceases to produce the proper amount of insulin in some people. Not everyone faces diabetes, but as we get older the chances of contracting a mild form that require a strict diet is extremely high, especially when obesity exists.
Hereditary diabetes generally strikes during the teenage years, but it can even strike after the teenage years in some instances. One family which had this hereditary problem produced one son who needed animal insulin since middle school. One of his brothers, who was a regular drinker, had didn’t get this serious of an instance, but around the age of 30 he had to start watching his diet and cut out the drinking. He failed to heed this warning and died before the age of 40.
Drinking produces what is often called “super sugar.” People who drink a lot will saturate their livers with an overabundance of sugar. The liver either turns this sugar into body fuel, reserve energy or stored fat. The liver, like the pancreas, is subject to a breakdown in later life. Alcoholics eventually need to get a liver section or transplant due to severe breakdown of this organ caused by handling all that super sugar.
Direct sugar is now suspected to be part of the aging process, according to some experts and research, as noted by Jerry W. Shay of the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas and Anthony Cerami of the Kenneth S. Warren Laboratories in Tarrytown, N.Y.
Sugars, apparently, bind with proteins collagen in the body. Collagen is one of the active ingredients found in anti-wrinkle creams. The sugar-collagen binding process contributes to the brittle, yellowing of older age. The more of this binding in your body, the more you appear to physically age. The only way to reverse this binding process is by taking a drug that breaks the bond, and most of these drugs are experimental. Sugars of any type seem to promote the yellow, wrinkled skin of old age faster. Alcoholics, of course, often exhibit this type of condition and it is the destruction of the liver that was thought to contribute to this yellow appearance (jauntice). It is also possible that the sugar-collagen binding within the body is largely responsible for their dry, cracked, wrinkled, yellowish looking skin and the destruction of the liver tissues.
Furthermore, according to studies conducted by Okubo, Kishikawa and Araki, eye and kidney problems can result from higher than normal blood sugar levels.
The overabundance of blood sugar is continually linked or associated with the ills of the body by the medical community. Not just excessive sugar, but the normal blood sugar is suspected in contributing to a higher incidence of stroke and heart attack, therefore lower than normal blood sugar levels seem to be more prudent as a healthful measure for everyone.
Sugar in the blood can destroy or burns body cells unless removed from the blood stream. Insulin is what opens the cell doors that allows glucose sugar in the blood to pass in to the cells for use as food and for conversion to ATP for muscle power. Sugar remains in the bloodstream until used by the cells. Insulin production, on the other hand, plays a factor in destruction of the tooth surface, which is why sugar sweets are said to cause cavities.
Most foods are turned into sugars right in the mouth by acids, bacteria and saliva. These active agents decalcify teeth allowing substances to affect the fragile inner tooth surfaces. The result is eventual tooth decay, root canals, infection and extraction of teeth. Insulin is also said to contribute to the decalcification of teeth and it is because of sugar in the blood stream that brings about increased insulin production. So, directly or indirectly sugar plays a part in the process of tooth decay.
Not only will the teeth decalcify, but sugar seems to play a part in removing bone calcium. Studies of children and teenagers have shown a higher incidence of broken or fracture bones in those who consume soft drinks on a regular basis as opposed to those who don’t drink sugar sweetened sodas. This has alarmed some parents and experts to the point where school systems are closing off access to soft drink vending machines at lunch time. The Center for Disease Control has been a leader in bringing the ills of sugar soda drinks as a major problem in teenage health and obesity to the light of day.
Since women are said by experts to need more calcium than men on a regular basis, so the potential decalcification caused by sugar sodas and forms of sugar is even more important for their overall health concerns.
Sugar plays a strong part in stomach distress by increasing the production of strong acids in the stomach. Some dieters who have purged sugar totally from their diets have noted a total reversal in stomach acid reflex symptoms and the renewed ability to eat other foods, such as onions, which no distress. The need to take anti-acid pills or acid reducers such as Pepsid AC is reduced or totally eliminated by some who no longer consume added sugar.
For those people with exposed stomach linings (ulcers) raw table sugar (sucrose) will pass directly into the blood stream without being converted into the sugar used by the body (glucose). Researchers in Canada, Australia and New York State are, in fact, using sugar sweetened drinks to test for the presence of an ulcer by checking for sucrose in the blood stream. Sugar in this form plays no part in producing body energy, it simply becomes a body toxin that must eventually be purged from the body. For sugar to be used by cells as food it must have the correct chemical structure (i.e. be glucose or fructose) and sucrose (table sugar) passed directly into the blood stream without being converted into glucose by the stomach is not a directly usable sugar, but is instead a toxin.
The body needs a consistent, but low level supply of the correct chemical sugar to feed the cells and create energy for muscles. This should not be in the form of an excessive sugar spike caused by candy, sodas or teaspoons of sugar in coffee or cereal. The effects of sugar on some, if not all, parts of the body appears to be accumulative, based on the binding processes that have been discovered. These, it would seem, eventually lead the premature destruction of parts of our body. The level of sugar we should maintain all the time is between 4 and 5, the level from one candy bar has been shown to put the body well over that limit.
From the recommended 2,000 calorie diet we consume each day between 50 and 70% of this is usually in the form of a sugar converted from carbohydrates (fruits, grains and vegetables). This is considered to be totally sufficient to feed and maintain the body, yet many people consume over this 2,000 calorie amount, even without sugar sweets, so the addition of sugar in the diet makes our blood sugar levels higher and higher. High blood sugar is demonstrated over and over by medical experts to be hazardous to our health, if not immediately destructive, it certainly seems to contribute to aliments in later years.
Sugar is a paradox. You need some to keep living, but even the "normal" amount (a relative term, as we have the power to reduce "normal" levels by changing our habits) seems to lead to eventual harm within the body. Doing more sugar than you really need serves no useful purpose. According to Dr T.L. Cleave, it is the speed at which the pancreas has to respond to control vast amounts of sugar that puts a stress on that organ. Cleave, among others, have demonstrated that cultures who consume more sugars than other cultures have a higher instance for contracting diabetes.
It has also been shown that it takes weeks, not days, for the body to return to a normal state of both glycogenic response (or sugar energy storage in tissues) and insulin response after the introduction of direct sugar into the diet. The distribution of energy units to muscles and cells changes. The regulation of insulin distribution which is required to safely pass the sugars to the body changes. It then takes a while, it seems, for the body to return to business as usual. Thus, cheating on a diet just once doesn’t mean that only a few more dead calories are put into your system. It means you have altered your whole metabolism and it could be weeks before the body equalizes. Such a change could even stall a diet out for several weeks. To a weigh trainer or athlete it could mean reduced efficiency for muscle power and reserve energy storage, which can affect performance over a period of time.
Breaking the addiction to sugar is a matter of willpower and mind power. One must remember that Dr. Christie and others believe these cravings are instincts that are no longer needed to survive in a modern world. We have to teach ourselves to “just say no” when body when it demands sugar that it doesn’t really need.
Living without adding sugar and treats won’t kill you, but it’s certainly being demonstrated medically that using sugar, even to a small degree, can do some immediate damage your state of normal well-being and possibly create far more ills over a lifetime of use.