Sugar

Sugar

Picture of sugar being sprinkled on a donut

Sugar Love

(A not so sweet story)

By Rich Cohen
Photograph by Robert Clark

Bottom of the Drink
They had to go. The Coke machine, the snack machine, the deep fryer. Hoisted and dragged through the halls and out to the curb, they sat with other trash beneath gray, forlorn skies behind Kirkpatrick Elementary, one of a handful of primary schools in Clarksdale, Mississippi. That was seven years ago, when administrators first recognized the magnitude of the problem. Clarksdale, a storied delta town that gave us the golden age of the Delta blues, its cotton fields and flatlands rolling to the river, its Victorian mansions still beautiful, is at the center of a colossal American health crisis. High rates of obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease: the legacy, some experts say, of sugar, a crop that brought the ancestors of most Clarksdale residents to this hemisphere in chains. “We knew we had to do something,” Kirkpatrick principal SuzAnne Walton told me.

Walton, Clarksdale born and bred, was leading me through the school, discussing ways the faculty is trying to help students—baked instead of fried, fruit instead of candy—most of whom have two meals a day in the lunchroom. She was wearing scrubs—standard Monday dress for teachers, to reinforce the school’s commitment to health and wellness. The student body is 91 percent African American, 7 percent white, “and three Latinos”—the remaining 2 percent. “These kids eat what they’re given, and too often it’s the sweetest, cheapest foods: cakes, creams, candy. It had to change. It was about the students,” she explained.

Take, for example, Nicholas Scurlock, who had recently begun his first year at Oakhurst Middle School. Nick, just tall enough to ride the coaster at the bigger amusement parks, had been 135 pounds going into fifth grade. “He was terrified of gym,” Principal Walton told me. “There was trouble running, trouble breathing—the kid had it all.”

“Of course, I’m not one to judge,” Walton added, laughing, slapping her thighs. “I’m a big woman myself.”

I met Nick in the lunchroom, where he sat beside his mother, Warkeyie Jones, a striking 38-year-old. Jones told me she had changed her own eating habits to help herself and to serve as an example for Nick. “I used to snack on sweets all day, ’cause I sit at a desk, and what else are you going to do? But I’ve switched to celery,” she told me. “People say, ‘You’re doing it ’cause you’ve got a boyfriend.’ And I say, ‘No, I’m doing it ’cause I want to live and be healthy.’”

Take a cup of water, add sugar to the brim, let it sit for five hours. When you return, you’ll see that the crystals have settled on the bottom of the glass. Clarksdale, a big town in one of the fattest counties, in the fattest state, in the fattest industrialized nation in the world, is the bottom of the American drink, where the sugar settles in the bodies of kids like Nick Scurlock—the legacy of sweets in the shape of a boy.

Mosques of Marzipan
In the beginning, on the island of New Guinea, where sugarcane was domesticated some 10,000 years ago, people picked cane and ate it raw, chewing a stem until the taste hit their tongue like a starburst. A kind of elixir, a cure for every ailment, an answer for every mood, sugar featured prominently in ancient New Guinean myths. In one the first man makes love to a stalk of cane, yielding the human race. At religious ceremonies priests sipped sugar water from coconut shells, a beverage since replaced in sacred ceremonies with cans of Coke.

Sugar spread slowly from island to island, finally reaching the Asian mainland around 1000 B.C. By A.D. 500 it was being processed into a powder in India and used as a medicine for headaches, stomach flutters, impotence. For years sugar refinement remained a secret science, passed master to apprentice. By 600 the art had spread to Persia, where rulers entertained guests with a plethora of sweets. When Arab armies conquered the region, they carried away the knowledge and love of sugar. It was like throwing paint at a fan: first here, then there, sugar turning up wherever Allah was worshipped. “Wherever they went, the Arabs brought with them sugar, the product and the technology of its production,” writes Sidney Mintz inSweetness and Power. “Sugar, we are told, followed the Koran.”

Muslim caliphs made a great show of sugar. Marzipan was the rage, ground almonds and sugar sculpted into outlandish concoctions that demonstrated the wealth of the state. A 15th-century writer described an entire marzipan mosque commissioned by a caliph. Marveled at, prayed in, devoured by the poor. The Arabs perfected sugar refinement and turned it into an industry. The work was brutally difficult. The heat of the fields, the flash of the scythes, the smoke of the boiling rooms, the crush of the mills. By 1500, with the demand for sugar surging, the work was considered suitable only for the lowest of laborers. Many of the field hands were prisoners of war, eastern Europeans captured when Muslim and Christian armies clashed.

Perhaps the first Europeans to fall in love with sugar were British and French crusaders who went east to wrest the Holy Land from the infidel. They came home full of visions and stories and memories of sugar. As cane is not at its most productive in temperate climes—it needs tropical, rain-drenched fields to flourish—the first European market was built on a trickle of Muslim trade, and the sugar that reached the West was consumed only by the nobility, so rare it was classified as a spice. But with the spread of the Ottoman Empire in the 1400s, trade with the East became more difficult. To the Western elite who had fallen under sugar’s spell there were few options: deal with the small southern European sugar manufacturers, defeat the Turk, or develop new sources of sugar.

In school they call it the age of exploration, the search for territories and islands that would send Europeans all around the world. In reality it was, to no small degree, a hunt for fields where sugarcane would prosper. In 1425 the Portuguese prince known as Henry the Navigator sent sugarcane to Madeira with an early group of colonists. The crop soon made its way to other newly discovered Atlantic islands—the Cape Verde Islands, the Canaries. In 1493, when Columbus set off on his second voyage to the New World, he too carried cane. Thus dawned the age of big sugar, of Caribbean islands and slave plantations, leading, in time, to great smoky refineries on the outskirts of glass cities, to mass consumption, fat kids, obese parents, and men in XXL tracksuits trundling along in electric carts.

Slaves to Sugar
Columbus planted the New World’s first sugarcane in Hispaniola, the site, not coincidentally, of the great slave revolt a few hundred years later. Within decades mills marked the heights in Jamaica and Cuba, where rain forest had been cleared and the native population eliminated by disease or war, or enslaved. The Portuguese created the most effective model, making Brazil into an early boom colony, with more than 100,000 slaves churning out tons of sugar.

As more cane was planted, the price of the product fell. As the price fell, demand increased. Economists call it a virtuous cycle—not a phrase you would use if you happened to be on the wrong side of the equation. In the mid-17th century sugar began to change from a luxury spice, classed with nutmeg and cardamom, to a staple, first for the middle class, then for the poor.

By the 18th century the marriage of sugar and slavery was complete. Every few years a new island—Puerto Rico, Trinidad—was colonized, cleared, and planted. When the natives died, the planters replaced them with African slaves. After the crop was harvested and milled, it was piled in the holds of ships and carried to London, Amsterdam, Paris, where it was traded for finished goods, which were brought to the west coast of Africa and traded for more slaves. The bloody side of this “triangular trade,” during which millions of Africans died, was known as the Middle Passage. Until the slave trade was banned in Britain in 1807, more than 11 million Africans were shipped to the New World—more than half ending up on sugar plantations. According to Trinidadian politician and historian Eric Williams, “Slavery was not born of racism; rather, racism was the consequence of slavery.” Africans, in other words, were not enslaved because they were seen as inferior; they were seen as inferior to justify the enslavement required for the prosperity of the early sugar trade.

The original British sugar island was Barbados. Deserted when a British captain found it on May 14, 1625, the island was soon filled with grinding mills, plantation houses, and shanties. Tobacco and cotton were grown in the early years, but cane quickly overtook the island, as it did wherever it was planted in the Caribbean. Within a century the fields were depleted, the water table sapped. By then the most ambitious planters had left Barbados in search of the next island to exploit. By 1720 Jamaica had captured the sugar crown.

For an African, life on these islands was hell. Throughout the Caribbean millions died in the fields and pressing houses or while trying to escape. Gradually the sin of the trade began to be felt in Europe. Reformers preached abolition; housewives boycotted slave-grown cane. In Sugar: A Bittersweet History Elizabeth Abbott quotes Quaker leader William Fox, who told a crowd that for every pound of sugar, “we may be considered as consuming two ounces of human flesh.” A slave in Voltaire’s Candide, missing both a hand and a leg, explains his mutilation: “When we work in the sugar mills and we catch our finger in the millstone, they cut off our hand; when we try to run away, they cut off a leg; both things have happened to me. It is at this price that you eat sugar in Europe.”

And yet there was no stopping the boom. Sugar was the oil of its day. The more you tasted, the more you wanted. In 1700 the average Englishman consumed 4 pounds a year. In 1800 the common man ate 18 pounds of sugar. In 1870 that same sweet-toothed bloke was eating 47 pounds annually. Was he satisfied? Of course not! By 1900 he was up to 100 pounds a year. In that span of 30 years, world production of cane and beet sugar exploded from 2.8 million tons a year to 13 million plus. Today the average American consumes 77 pounds of added sugar annually, or more than 22 teaspoons of added sugar a day.

If you go to Barbados today, you can see the legacies of sugar: the ruined mills, their wooden blades turning in the wind, marking time; the faded mansions; the roads that rise and fall but never lose sight of the sea; the hotels where the tourists are filled with jam and rum; and those few factories where the cane is still heaved into the presses, and the raw sugar, sticky sweet, is sent down the chutes. Standing in a refinery, as men in hard hats rushed around me, I read a handwritten sign: a prayer beseeching the Lord to grant them the wisdom, protection, and strength to bring in the crop.

The Culprit
“It seems like every time I study an illness and trace a path to the first cause, I find my way back to sugar.”

Richard Johnson, a nephrologist at the University of Colorado Denver, was talking to me in his office in Aurora, Colorado, the Rockies crowding the horizon. He’s a big man with eyes that sparkle when he talks. “Why is it that one-third of adults [worldwide] have high blood pressure, when in 1900 only 5 percent had high blood pressure?” he asked. “Why did 153 million people have diabetes in 1980, and now we’re up to 347 million? Why are more and more Americans obese? Sugar, we believe, is one of the culprits, if not the major culprit.”

As far back as 1675, when western Europe was experiencing its first sugar boom, Thomas Willis, a physician and founding member of Britain’s Royal Society, noted that the urine of people afflicted with diabetes tasted “wonderfully sweet, as if it were imbued with honey or sugar.” Two hundred and fifty years later Haven Emerson at Columbia University pointed out that a remarkable increase in deaths from diabetes between 1900 and 1920 corresponded with an increase in sugar consumption. And in the 1960s the British nutrition expert John Yudkin conducted a series of experiments on animals and people showing that high amounts of sugar in the diet led to high levels of fat and insulin in the blood—risk factors for heart disease and diabetes. But Yudkin’s message was drowned out by a chorus of other scientists blaming the rising rates of obesity and heart disease instead on cholesterol caused by too much saturated fat in the diet.

As a result, fat makes up a smaller portion of the American diet than it did 20 years ago. Yet the portion of America that is obese has only grown larger. The primary reason, says Johnson, along with other experts, is sugar, and in particular fructose. Sucrose, or table sugar, is composed of equal amounts of glucose and fructose, the latter being the kind of sugar you find naturally in fruit. It’s also what gives table sugar its yummy sweetness. (High-fructose corn syrup, or HFCS, is also a mix of fructose and glucose—about 55 percent and 45 percent in soft drinks. The impact on health of sucrose and HFCS appears to be similar.) Johnson explained to me that although glucose is metabolized by cells all through your body, fructose is processed primarily in the liver. If you eat too much in quickly digested forms like soft drinks and candy, your liver breaks down the fructose and produces fats called triglycerides.

Some of these fats stay in the liver, which over long exposure can turn fatty and dysfunctional. But a lot of the triglycerides are pushed out into the blood too. Over time, blood pressure goes up, and tissues become progressively more resistant to insulin. The pancreas responds by pouring out more insulin, trying to keep things in check. Eventually a condition known as metabolic syndrome kicks in, characterized by obesity, especially around the waist; high blood pressure; and other metabolic changes that, if not checked, can lead to type 2 diabetes, with a heightened danger of heart attack thrown in for good measure. As much as a third of the American adult population could meet the criteria for metabolic syndrome set by the National Institutes of Health.

Recently the American Heart Association added its voice to the warnings against too much added sugar in the diet. But its rationale is that sugar provides calories with no nutritional benefit. According to Johnson and his colleagues, this misses the point. Excessive sugar isn’t just empty calories; it’s toxic.

“It has nothing to do with its calories,” says endocrinologist Robert Lustig of the University of California, San Francisco. “Sugar is a poison by itself when consumed at high doses.”

Johnson summed up the conventional wisdom this way: Americans are fat because they eat too much and exercise too little. But they eat too much and exercise too little because they’re addicted to sugar, which not only makes them fatter but, after the initial sugar rush, also saps their energy, beaching them on the couch. “The reason you’re watching TV is not because TV is so good,” he said, “but because you have no energy to exercise, because you’re eating too much sugar.”

The solution? Stop eating so much sugar. When people cut back, many of the ill effects disappear. The trouble is, in today’s world it’s extremely difficult to avoid sugar, which is one reason for the spike in consumption. Manufacturers use sugar to replace taste in foods bled of fat so that they seem more healthful, such as fat-free baked goods, which often contain large quantities of added sugar.

It’s a worst-case scenario: You sicken unto death not by eating foods you love, but by eating foods you hate—because you don’t want to sicken unto death.

In the Beginning Was the Fruit
If sugar is so bad for us, why do we crave it? The short answer is that an injection of sugar into the bloodstream stimulates the same pleasure centers of the brain that respond to heroin and cocaine. All tasty foods do this to some extent—that’s why they’re tasty!—but sugar has a sharply pronounced effect. In this sense it is literally an addictive drug.

This raises the question, however, of why our brains would evolve to respond pleasurably to a potentially toxic compound. The answer, Johnson told me, lies deep in our simian past, when a craving for fructose would be just the thing our ancestors needed to survive.

I paraphrase Johnson in a voice borrowed from the fables, for what are even the best theories, if not the old stories told again in the language of science? Some 22 million years ago, so far back it might as well be the beginning, apes filled the canopy of the African rain forest. They survived on the fruit of the trees, sweet with natural sugar, which they ate year-round—a summer without end.

One day, perhaps five million years later, a cold wind blew through this Eden. The seas receded, the ice caps expanded. A spit of land emerged from the tides, a bridge that a few adventurous apes followed out of Africa. Nomads, wanderers, they settled in the rain forests that blanketed Eurasia. But the cooling continued, replacing tropical groves of fruit with deciduous forests, where the leaves flame in autumn, then die. A time of famine followed. The woods filled with starving apes. “At some point a mutation occurred in one of those apes,” Johnson explained. It made that ape a wildly efficient processor of fructose. Even small amounts were stored as fat, a huge survival advantage in months when winter lay upon the land and food was scarce.

Then one day that ape, with its mutant gene and healthy craving for rare, precious fruit sugar, returned to its home in Africa and begot the apes we see today, including the one that has spread its sugar-loving progeny across the globe. “The mutation was such a powerful survival factor that only animals that had it survived,” Johnson said, “so today all apes have that mutation, including humans. It got our ancestors through the lean years. But when sugar hit the West in a big way, we had a big problem. Our world is flooded with fructose, but our bodies have evolved to get by on very, very little of it.”

It’s a great irony: The very thing that saved us could kill us in the end.

The Healthy Chef
Though just 11, Nick Scurlock is a perfect stand-in for the average American in the age of sugar. Hyperefficient at turning to fat the fructose the adman and candy clerk pump into his liver at a low, low price. One hundred thirty-five pounds in fifth grade, in love with the sweet poison endangering his life. Sitting in the lunchroom, he smiled and asked, “Why are the good things so bad for you?”

But this story is less about temptation than about power. At its best, the school can help kids make better decisions. A few years ago Pop-Tarts and pizza were served at Kirkpatrick. Now, across the district, menus have improved. The school has a garden that grows food for the community, a walking track for students and the public, and a new playground.

In a sense the struggle in Clarksdale is just another front in the continuing battle between the sugar barons and the cane cutters. “It’s a tragedy that hits the poor much harder than it does the rich,” Johnson told me. “If you’re wealthy and want to have fun, you go on vacation, travel to Hawaii, treat yourself to things. But if you’re poor and want to celebrate, you go down to the corner and buy an ice-cream cake.”

When I asked Nick what he wanted to be when he grew up, he said, “A chef.” Then he thought a moment, looked at his mom, and corrected himself. “A healthy chef,” he said.

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Split Pea Soup

By    |   Posted on February 27, 2014 

 

Split Pea Soup 570x299 Split Pea SoupThis is my family’s favorite pea soup. My mom has been making this version for over 25 years. This tastes even better the next day and is great over baked potatoes or brown rice.
adobe pdf icon Split Pea Soup

Ingredients:

• 1 cup green split peas
• ½ cup dried baby lima beans
• ¼ cup barley
• 8 cups low-sodium vegetable stock
• 2 bay leaves
• 1 teaspoon celery seed
• 1 onion, chopped
• 2 carrots, chopped
• 2 potatoes, chopped
• 2 celery stalks, chopped
• 2 tablespoons parsley flakes
• 1 teaspoon basil
• 1 teaspoon paprika
• 1/8 teaspoon white pepper
• freshly ground black pepper to taste

Instructions:

Place split peas, lima beans, barley and stock in a large pot, bring to a boil, reduce
heat and add bay leaves and celery seed. Cover and cook over low heat for 1 hour. Add remaining ingredients and cook for 1 additional hour.

If you want to make this without the lima beans, increase the split peas to 2
cups and reduce the initial cooking time to ½ hour. This recipe freezes and reheats well. For a delicious smoky flavor, try adding a couple drops of liquid smoke to the soup about 15 minutes before the end of the cooking time.
adobe pdf icon Split Pea Soup

Heather McDougall

Heather McDougall

Heather McDougall is the director of the McDougall Program in Santa Rosa, California. Heather also develops healthy, family-friendly recipes for theMcDougall Newsletter.

Study ties sugar to heart trouble

Study ties sugar to heart trouble

Study ties sugar to heart trouble 2:05

(Note: CBC does not endorse and is not responsible for the content of external links.)

Consuming too much sugar can increase the risk of premature death from heart disease, a finding that is fuelling calls for the Canadian and U.S. governments to offer dietary limits on sugar.

For an adult consuming 2,000 calories a day, drinking the equivalent of a bottle of pop sold in vending machines would exceed the level that a new U.S. study suggests raises the risk of death from cardiovascular disease (CVD).

hi-ice-cream-sugar-852-cp-r

Excess sugar added not only to desserts but many other processed foods isn’t as benign as once thought. (Canadian Press)

“A higher percentage of calories from added sugar is associated with significantly increased risk of CVD mortality,” lead author Quanhe Yang of the U.S. Centers of Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta and co-authors conclude in this week’s issue of the journal JAMA Internal Medicine.

The researchers analyzed national health and diet surveys between 1988 and 2010 of more than 30,000 Americans with an average age of 44. They found the fatal heart risk became elevated once added sugar intake surpassed 15 per cent of total calories.

“Too much sugar does not just make us fat; it can also make us sick,” said Laura Schmidt, a health policy specialist at the University of California, San Francisco, who wrote a commentary accompanying the study.

Previously, sugar used in processed or prepared foods, such as sugar-sweetened beverages, dairy desserts, candy, ready-to-eat cereals and yeast breads, has been linked to increased risks for non-fatal heart problems and with obesity. Naturally occurring sugars in fruit aren’t included.

Sugar is hugely important to the trillion-dollar processed food industry, said Michael Moss, a journalist in New York and author of the book, Salt Sugar Fat.

“They’re a very powerful lobby,” Moss said in an interview Tuesday.

“It’s very frustrating for consumers, especially when you go in and buy a product, look at the label and there’s a blank spot next to sugar. There is no government recommendation on how much sugar you should be capping yourself on and consuming in a day.”

The Canadian and U.S. governments don’t provide dietary limits for added sugar and there isn’t a consensus on how much is too much.

“What we really need as Canadians is more information,” said Dr. Yoni Freedhoff, an obesity doctor in Ottawa. “We need food labels that don’t allow for sugar synonyms and actually list the amount of added sugar there.”

To get a sense of sugar amounts, Freedhoff suggests that consumers take the number of grams of sugar on a package and divide by four to get the number of teaspoons.

Yang’s findings add to a growing body of rigorous studies that demonstrate added sugar “is not as benign as once presumed,” Schmidt said.

“Proponents of sugar taxes and sugar controls have a new arrow in their quiver and it’s this linkage to deadly heart disease,” Moss said. “That’s a very powerful tool in the hands of policymakers.”

Schmidt notes that the American Heart Association recommends no more than 25 grams a day or six teaspoons of sugar for women (five per cent of a 2,000-calorie a day diet) and 38 grams or nine teaspoons a day for men (7.5 per cent of daily calories).

In 2005, a panel at the Institute of Medicine, which advises the Canadian and U.S. governments, recommended added sugar make up less than 25 per cent of total calories. The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends less than 10 per cent.

Expert committees from the Institute of Medicine have concluded there’s no evidence of harm attributed to current sugar consumption levels, the Canadian Sugar Institute said in a statement to CBC News.

A spokeswoman for the trade group said Canadian sugar intakes are about 11 per cent of total calories. “There is no magic number because our age, gender and activity levels are all different.”

In the study, 831 people died from heart disease during the 15-year followup. The researchers took
other factors that contribute to heart problems, including smoking, inactivity and excess weight into account

Added sugars in diet linked to heart disease deaths

Added sugars in diet linked to heart disease deaths

Heart fatality findings welcomed by proponents of sugar taxes and controls

CBC News Posted: Feb 04, 2014 5:04 PM ET Last Updated: Feb 04, 2014 10:08 PM ET

Study ties sugar to heart trouble

Study ties sugar to heart trouble 2:05

Consuming too much sugar can increase the risk of premature death from heart disease, a finding that is fuelling calls for the Canadian and U.S. governments to offer dietary limits on sugar.

For an adult consuming 2,000 calories a day, drinking the equivalent of a bottle of pop sold in vending machines would exceed the level that a new U.S. study suggests raises the risk of death from cardiovascular disease (CVD).

hi-ice-cream-sugar-852-cp-rExcess sugar added not only to desserts but many other processed foods isn’t as benign as once thought. (Canadian Press)

“A higher percentage of calories from added sugar is associated with significantly increased risk of CVD mortality,” lead author Quanhe Yang of the U.S. Centers of Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta and co-authors conclude in this week’s issue of the journal JAMA Internal Medicine.

The researchers analyzed national health and diet surveys between 1988 and 2010 of more than 30,000 Americans with an average age of 44. They found the fatal heart risk became elevated once added sugar intake surpassed 15 per cent of total calories.

“Too much sugar does not just make us fat; it can also make us sick,” said Laura Schmidt, a health policy specialist at the University of California, San Francisco, who wrote a commentary accompanying the study.

Previously, sugar used in processed or prepared foods, such as sugar-sweetened beverages, dairy desserts, candy, ready-to-eat cereals and yeast breads, has been linked to increased risks for non-fatal heart problems and with obesity. Naturally occurring sugars in fruit aren’t included.

Sugar is hugely important to the trillion-dollar processed food industry, said Michael Moss, a journalist in New York and author of the book, Salt Sugar Fat.

“They’re a very powerful lobby,” Moss said in an interview Tuesday.

“It’s very frustrating for consumers, especially when you go in and buy a product, look at the label and there’s a blank spot next to sugar. There is no government recommendation on how much sugar you should be capping yourself on and consuming in a day.”

The Canadian and U.S. governments don’t provide dietary limits for added sugar and there isn’t a consensus on how much is too much.

“What we really need as Canadians is more information,” said Dr. Yoni Freedhoff, an obesity doctor in Ottawa. “We need food labels that don’t allow for sugar synonyms and actually list the amount of added sugar there.”

To get a sense of sugar amounts, Freedhoff suggests that consumers take the number of grams of sugar on a package and divide by four to get the number of teaspoons.

Yang’s findings add to a growing body of rigorous studies that demonstrate added sugar “is not as benign as once presumed,” Schmidt said.

“Proponents of sugar taxes and sugar controls have a new arrow in their quiver and it’s this linkage to deadly heart disease,” Moss said. “That’s a very powerful tool in the hands of policymakers.”

Schmidt notes that the American Heart Association recommends no more than 25 grams a day or six teaspoons of sugar for women (five per cent of a 2,000-calorie a day diet) and 38 grams or nine teaspoons a day for men (7.5 per cent of daily calories).

In 2005, a panel at the Institute of Medicine, which advises the Canadian and U.S. governments, recommended added sugar make up less than 25 per cent of total calories. The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends less than 10 per cent.

Expert committees from the Institute of Medicine have concluded there’s no evidence of harm attributed to current sugar consumption levels, the Canadian Sugar Institute said in a statement to CBC News.

A spokeswoman for the trade group said Canadian sugar intakes are about 11 per cent of total calories. “There is no magic number because our age, gender and activity levels are all different.”

In the study, 831 people died from heart disease during the 15-year followup. The researchers took
other factors that contribute to heart problems, including smoking, inactivity and excess weight into account.

Trans Fat in Animal Fat

February 27, 2014 by Michael Greg

pork

Trans fats are bad. They may increase one’s risks of heart disease, sudden death, diabetes—and perhaps even aggression. Trans fat intake has been associated with overt aggressive behavior, impatience, and irritability.

Trans fats are basically found in only one place in nature: animal fat. The food industry, however, found a way to synthetically create these toxic fats by hardening vegetable oil in a process called hydrogenation, which rearranges their atoms to make them behave more like animal fats.

Although most of America’s trans fat intake has traditionally come from processed foods containing partially-hydrogenated oils, a fifth of the trans fats in the American diet used to come from animal products—1.2 grams out of the 5.8 total consumed daily. Now that trans fat labeling has been mandated, however, and places like New York City have banned the use of partially hydrogenated oils, the intake of industrial-produced trans fat is down to about 1.3, so about 50 percent of America’s trans fats come now from animal products.

Which foods naturally have significant amounts of trans fat? According to the official USDA nutrient database, cheese, milk, yogurt, burgers, chicken fat, turkey meat, bologna, and hot dogs contain about 1 to 5 percent trans fats (see the USDA chart inTrans Fat In Meat And Dairy). There are also tiny amounts of trans fats in non-hydrogenated vegetable oils due to steam deodorization or stripping during the refining process.

Is getting a few percent trans fats a problem, though? The most prestigious scientific body in the United States, the National Academies of Science (NAS), concluded that the only safe intake of trans fats is zero. In their report condemning trans fats, they couldn’t even assign a Tolerable Upper Daily Limit of intake because “any incremental increase in trans fatty acid intake increases coronary heart disease risk.” There may also be no safe intake of dietary cholesterol, which underscores the importance of reducing animal product consumption. See my video Trans Fat, Saturated Fat, and Cholesterol: Tolerable Upper Intake of Zero.

There’s been controversy, though, as to whether the trans fats naturally found in animal products are as bad as the synthetic fats in partially hydrogenated junk food. The lateststudy supports the notion that trans fat intake, irrespective of source—animal or industrial—increases cardiovascular disease risk, especially, it appears, in women.

“Because trans fats are unavoidable on ordinary, non-vegan diets, getting down to zero percent trans fats would require significant changes in patterns of dietary intake,” reads the NAS report. One of the authors, the Director of Harvard’s Cardiovascular Epidemiology Program, famously explained why—despite this—they didn’t recommend a vegan diet: “We can’t tell people to stop eating all meat and all dairy products,” he said. “Well, we could tell people to become vegetarians,” he added. “If we were truly basing this only on science, we would, but it is a bit extreme.”

Wouldn’t want scientists basing anything on science now would we?

“Nevertheless,” the report concludes, “it is recommended that trans fatty acid consumption be as low as possible while consuming a nutritionally adequate diet.”

Even if you eat vegan, though, there’s a loophole in labeling regulations that allows foods with a trans fats content of less than 0.5 grams per serving to be listed as having—you guessed it—zero grams of trans fat. This labeling is misguiding the public by allowing foods to be labeled as ”trans fat free” when they are, in fact, not. So to avoid all trans fats, avoid meat and dairy, refined oils, and anything that says partially hydrogenated in the ingredients list, regardless of what it says on the Nutrition Facts label.

Refined Sugar – The Sweetest poison of All…

 

Article Written by William Dufty

Why Sugar Is Toxic To The Body

In 1957, Dr. William Coda Martin tried to answer the question: When is a food a food and when is it a poison? His working definition of “poison” was: “Medically: Any substance applied to the body, ingested or developed within the body, which causes or may cause disease. Physically: Any substance which inhibits the activity of a catalyst which is a minor substance, chemical or enzyme that activates a reaction.”1 The dictionary gives an even broader definition for “poison”: “to exert a harmful influence on, or to pervert”.

Refined Sugar

Dr. Martin classified refined sugar as a poison because it 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.”2

Refined sugar is lethal when ingested by humans because it provides only that which nutritionists describe as “empty” or “naked” calories. It lacks the natural minerals which are present in the 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. So essential is balance to our bodies that we have many ways to provide against the sudden shock of a heavy intake of sugar. Minerals such as sodium (from salt), potassium and magnesium (from vegetables), and calcium (from the bones) are mobilized and used in chemical transmutation; neutral acids are produced which attempt to return the acid-alkaline balance factor of the blood to a more normal state.

Sugar taken every day produces a continuously overacid condition, and more and more minerals are required from deep in the body in the attempt to rectify the imbalance. Finally, in order 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. Initially, it is stored in the liver in the form of glucose (glycogen). Since the liver’s capacity is limited, a daily intake of refined sugar (above the required amount of natural sugar) soon makes the liver expand like a balloon. When the liver is filled to its maximum capacity, the excess glycogen is returned to the blood in the form of fatty acids. These are taken to every part of the body and stored in the most inactive areas: the belly, the buttocks, the breasts and the thighs.

When these comparatively harmless places are completely filled, fatty acids are then distributed among active organs, such as the heart and kidneys. These begin to slow down; finally their tissues degenerate and turn to fat. The whole body is affected by their reduced ability, and abnormal blood pressure is created. The parasympathetic nervous system is affected; and organs governed by it, such as the small brain, become inactive or paralyzed. (Normal brain function is rarely thought of as being as biologic as digestion.) 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 becomes more limited, so we cannot respond properly to extreme attacks, whether they be cold, heat, mosquitoes or microbes.

Excessive sugar has a strong mal-effect on the functioning of the brain. The key to orderly brain function is glutamic acid, a vital compound found in many vegetables. The B vitamins play a major role in dividing glutamic acid into antagonistic-complementary compounds which produce a “proceed” or “control” response in the brain. B vitamins are also manufactured by symbiotic bacteria which live in our intestines. 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.

SUGAR: HARMFUL TO HUMANS AND ANIMALS

Shipwrecked sailors who ate and drank nothing but sugar and rum for nine days surely went through some of this trauma; the tales they had to tell created a big public relations problem for the sugar pushers. This incident occurred when a vessel carrying a cargo of sugar was shipwrecked in 1793. The five surviving sailors were finally rescued after being marooned for nine days. They were in a wasted condition due to starvation, having consumed nothing but sugar and rum. The eminent French physiologist F. Magendie was inspired by that incident to conduct a series of experiments with animals, the results of which he published in 1816. In the experiments, he fed dogs a diet of sugar or olive oil and water. All the dogs wasted and died.3

The shipwrecked sailors and the French physiologist’s experimental dogs proved the same point. As a steady diet, sugar is worse than nothing. Plain water can keep you alive for quite some time. Sugar and water can kill you. Humans [and animals] are “unable to subsist on a diet of sugar”.4 The dead dogs in Professor Magendie’s laboratory alerted the sugar industry to the hazards of free scientific inquiry. From that day to this, the sugar industry has invested millions of dollars in behind-the-scenes, subsidized science. The best scientific names that money could buy have been hired, in the hope that they could one day come up with something at least pseudoscientific in the way of glad tidings about sugar.

It has been proved, however, that (1) sugar is a major factor in dental decay; (2) sugar in a person’s diet does cause overweight; (3) removal of sugar from diets has cured symptoms of crippling, worldwide diseases such as diabetes, cancer and heart illnesses. Sir Frederick Banting, the codiscoverer of insulin, noticed in 1929 in Panama that, among sugar plantation owners who ate large amounts of their refined stuff, diabetes was common. Among native cane-cutters, who only got to chew the raw cane, he saw no diabetes. However, the story of the public relations attempts on the part of the sugar manufacturers began in Britain in 1808 when the Committee of West India reported to the House of Commons that a prize of twenty-five guineas had been offered to anyone who could come up with the most “satisfactory” experiments to prove that unrefined sugar was good for feeding and fattening oxen, cows, hogs and sheep.5

Food for animals is often seasonal, always expensive. Sugar, by then, was dirt cheap. People weren’t eating it fast enough. Naturally, the attempt to feed livestock with sugar and molasses in England in 1808 was a disaster. When the Committee on West India made its fourth report to the House of Commons, one Member of Parliament, John Curwin, reported that he had tried to feed sugar and molasses to calves without success. He suggested that perhaps someone should try again by sneaking sugar and molasses into skimmed milk. Had anything come of that, you can be sure the West Indian sugar merchants would have spread the news around the world. After this singular lack of success in pushing sugar in cow pastures, the West Indian sugar merchants gave up.

With undaunted zeal for increasing the market demand for the most important agricultural product of the West Indies, the Committee of West India was reduced to a tactic that has served the sugar pushers for almost 200 years: irrelevant and transparently silly testimonials from faraway, inaccessible people with some kind of “scientific” credentials. While preparing his epochal volume, A History of Nutrition, published in 1957, Professor E. V. McCollum (Johns Hopkins university), sometimes called America’s foremost nutritionist and certainly a pioneer in the field, reviewed approximately 200,000 published scientific papers, recording experiments with food, their properties, their utilization and their effects on animals and men. The material covered the period from the mid-18th century to 1940. From this great repository of scientific inquiry, McCollum selected those experiments which he regarded as significant “to relate the story of progress in discovering human error in this segment of science [of nutrition]”.

Professor McCollum failed to record a single controlled scientific experiment with sugar between 1816 and 1940. unhappily, we must remind ourselves that scientists today, and always, accomplish little without a sponsor. The protocols of modern science have compounded the costs of scientific inquiry. We have no right to be surprised when we read the introduction to McCollum’s A History of Nutrition and find that “The author and publishers are indebted to The Nutrition Foundation, Inc., for a grant provided to meet a portion of the cost of publication of this book”. What, you might ask, is The Nutrition Foundation, Inc.? The author and the publishers don’t tell you. It happens to be a front organization for the leading sugar-pushing conglomerates in the food business, including the American Sugar Refining Company, Coca-Cola, Pepsi-Cola, Curtis Candy Co., General Foods, General Mills, Nestlé Co., Pet Milk Co. and Sunshine Biscuits-about 45 such companies in all. Perhaps the most significant thing about McCollum’s 1957 history was what he left out: a monumental earlier work described by an eminent Harvard professor as “one of those epochal pieces of research which makes every other investigator desirous of kicking himself because he never thought of doing the same thing”.

In the 1930s, a research dentist from Cleveland, Ohio, Dr. Weston A. Price, traveled all over the world-from the lands of the Eskimos to the South Sea Islands, from Africa to New Zealand. His Nutrition and Physical Degeneration: A Comparison of Primitive and Modern Diets and Their Effects,6 which is illustrated with hundreds of photographs, was first published in 1939. Dr. Price took the whole world as his laboratory. His devastating conclusion, recorded in horrifying detail in area after area, was simple. People who live under so-called backward primitive conditions had excellent teeth and wonderful general health. They ate natural, unrefined food from their own locale. As soon as refined, sugared foods were imported as a result of contact with “civilization,” physical degeneration began in a way that was definitely observable within a single generation. Any credibility the sugar pushers have is based on our ignorance of works like that of Dr. Price.

Sugar manufacturers keep trying, hoping and contributing generous research grants to colleges and universities; but the research laboratories never come up with anything solid the manufacturers can use. Invariably, the research results are bad news. “Let us go to the ignorant savage, consider his way of eating and be wise,” Harvard professor Ernest Hooten said in Apes, Men, and Morons.7 “Let us cease pretending that toothbrushes and toothpaste are any more important than shoe brushes and shoe polish. It is store food that has given us store teeth.” When the researchers bite the hands that feed them, and the news gets out, it’s embarrassing all around. In 1958, Time magazine reported that a Harvard biochemist and his assistants had worked with myriads of mice for more than ten years, bankrolled by the Sugar Research Foundation, Inc. to the tune of $57,000, to find out how sugar causes dental cavities and how to prevent this. It took them ten years to discover that there was no way to prevent sugar causing dental decay. When the researchers reported their findings in the Dental Association Journal, their source of money dried up. The Sugar Research Foundation withdrew its support. The more that the scientists disappointed them, the more the sugar pushers had to rely on the ad men.

SUCROSE: “PURE” ENERGY AT A PRICE

When calories became the big thing in the 1920s, and everybody was learning to count them, the sugar pushers turned up with a new pitch. They boasted there were 2,500 calories in a pound of sugar. A little over a quarter-pound of sugar would produce 20 per cent of the total daily quota. “If you could buy all your food energy as cheaply as you buy calories in sugar,” they told us, “your board bill for the year would be very low. If sugar were seven cents a pound, it would cost less than $35 for a whole year.” A very inexpensive way to kill yourself. “Of course, we don’t live on any such unbalanced diet,” they admitted later. “But that figure serves to point out how inexpensive sugar is as an energy-building food. What was once a luxury only a privileged few could enjoy is now a food for the poorest of people.”

Later, the sugar pushers advertised that sugar was chemically pure, topping Ivory soap in that department, being 99.9 per cent pure against Ivory’s vaunted 99.44 per cent. “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. When honey is labeled pure, this means that it is in its natural state (stolen directly from the bees who made it), with no adulteration with sucrose to stretch it and no harmful chemical residues which may have been sprayed on the flowers. It does not mean that the honey is free from minerals like iodine, iron, calcium, phosphorus or multiple vitamins. So effective is the purification process which sugar cane and beets undergo in the refineries that sugar ends up as chemically pure as the morphine or the heroin a chemist has on the laboratory shelves.

What nutritional virtue this abstract chemical purity represents, the sugar pushers never tell us. 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.” The sugar pushers have been harping on the energy-building power of sucrose for years because it contains nothing else. Caloric energy and habit-forming taste: that’s what sucrose has, and nothing else. All other foods contain energy plus. All foods contain some nutrients in the way of proteins, carbohydrates, vitamins or minerals, or all of these. Sucrose contains caloric energy, period.

The “quick” energy claim the sugar pushers talk about, which drives reluctant doughboys over the top and drives children up the wall, is based on the fact that refined sucrose is not digested in the mouth or the stomach but passes directly to the lower intestines and thence to the bloodstream. The extra speed with which sucrose enters the bloodstream does more harm than good. Much of the public confusion about refined sugar is compounded by language. Sugars are classified by chemists as “carbohydrates”. This manufactured word means “a substance containing carbon with oxygen and hydrogen”. If chemists want to use these hermetic terms in their laboratories when they talk to one another, fine. The use of the word “carbohydrate” outside the laboratory-especially in food labeling and advertising lingo-to describe both natural, complete cereal grains (which have been a principal food of mankind for thousands of years) and man-refined sugar (which is a manufactured drug and principal poison of mankind for only a few hundred years) is demonstrably wicked. This kind of confusion makes possible the flimflam practiced by sugar pushers to confound anxious mothers into thinking kiddies need sugar to survive.

The use of the word “carbohydrate” to describe sugar is deliberately misleading. Since the improved labeling of nutritional properties was required on packages and cans, refined carbohydrates like sugar are lumped together with those carbohydrates which may or 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. Chemists add to the confusion by using the word “sugar” to describe an entire group of substances that are similar but not identical. Glucose is a sugar found usually with other sugars, in fruits and vegetables. It is a key material in the metabolism of all plants and animals. Many of our principal foods are converted into glucose in our bodies. Glucose is always present in our bloodstream, and it is often called “blood sugar”. Dextrose, also called “corn sugar”, is derived synthetically from starch. Fructose is fruit sugar. Maltose is malt sugar. Lactose is milk sugar. Sucrose is refined sugar made from sugar cane and sugar beet. Glucose has always been an essential element in the human bloodstream. Sucrose addiction is something new in the history of the human animal.

To use the word “sugar” to describe two substances which are far from being identical, which have different chemical structures and which affect the body in profoundly different ways compounds confusion. It makes possible more flimflam from the sugar pushers who tell us how important sugar is as an essential component of the human body, how it is oxidized to produce energy, how it is metabolized to produce warmth, and so on. They’re talking about glucose, of course, which is manufactured in our bodies. However, one is led to believe that the manufacturers are talking about the sucrose which is made in their refineries. When the word “sugar” can mean the glucose in your blood as well as the sucrose in your Coca-Cola, it’s great for the sugar pushers but it’s rough on everybody else.

People have been bamboozled into thinking of their bodies the way they think of their check accounts. If they suspect they have low blood sugar, they are programmed to snack on vending machine candies and sodas in order to raise their blood sugar level. Actually, this is the worst thing to do. The level of glucose in their blood is apt to be low because they are addicted to sucrose. People who kick sucrose addiction and stay off sucrose find that the glucose level of their blood returns to normal and stays there. Since the late 1960s, millions of Americans have returned to natural food. A new type of store, the natural food store, has encouraged many to become dropouts from the supermarket. Natural food can be instrumental in restoring health. Many people, therefore, have come to equate the word “natural” with “healthy”.

So the sugar pushers have begun to pervert the word “natural” in order to mislead the public. “Made from natural ingredients”, the television sugar-pushers tell us about product after product. The word “from” is snot accented on television. It should be. Even refined sugar is made from natural ingredients. There is nothing new about that. The natural ingredients are cane and beets. But that four-letter word “from” hardly suggests that 90 per cent of the cane and beet have been removed. Heroin, too, could be advertised as being made from natural ingredients. The opium poppy is as natural as the sugar beet. It’s what man does with it that tells the story. If you want to avoid sugar in the supermarket, there is only one sure way. Don’t buy anything unless it says on the label prominently, in plain English: “No sugar added”. use of the word “carbohydrate” as a “scientific” word for sugar has become a standard defense strategy with sugar pushers and many of their medical apologists. It’s their security blanket.

CORRECT FOOD COMBINING

Whether it’s sugared cereal or pastry and black coffee for breakfast, whether it’s hamburgers and Coca-Cola for lunch or the full “gourmet” dinner in the evening, chemically the average American diet is a formula that guarantees bubble, bubble, stomach trouble. unless you’ve taken too much insulin and, in a state of insulin shock, need sugar as an antidote, hardly anyone ever has cause to take sugar alone. Humans need sugar as much as they need the nicotine in tobacco. Crave it is one thing-need it is another. From the days of the Persian Empire to our own, sugar has usually been used to hop up the flavor of other food and drink, as an ingredient in the kitchen or as a condiment at the table. Let us leave aside for the moment the known effect of sugar (long-term and short-term) on the entire system and concentrate on the effect of sugar taken in combination with other daily foods.

When Grandma warned that sugared cookies before meals “will spoil your supper”, she knew what she was talking about. Her explanation might not have satisfied a chemist but, as with many traditional axioms from the Mosaic law on kosher food and separation in the kitchen, such rules are based on years of trial and error and are apt to be right on the button. Most modern research in combining food is a labored discovery of the things Grandma took for granted. Any diet or regimen undertaken for the single purpose of losing weight is dangerous, by definition. Obesity is talked about and treated as a disease in 20th-century America. Obesity is not a disease. It is only a symptom, a sign, a warning that your body is out of order. Dieting to lose weight is as silly and dangerous as taking aspirin to relieve a headache before you know the reason for the headache.

Getting rid of a symptom is like turning off an alarm. It leaves the basic cause untouched. Any diet or regimen undertaken with any objective short of restoration of total health of your body is dangerous. Many overweight people are undernourished. (Dr. H. Curtis Wood stresses this point in his 1971 book, Overfed But undernourished.) Eating less can aggravate this condition, unless one is concerned with the quality of the food instead of just its quantity. Many people-doctors included-assume that if weight is lost, fat is lost. This is not necessarily so. Any diet which lumps all carbohydrates together is dangerous. Any diet which does not consider the quality of carbohydrates and makes the crucial life-and-death distinction between natural, unrefined carbohydrates like whole grains and vegetables and man-refined carbohydrates like sugar and white flour is dangerous. Any diet which includes refined sugar and white flour, no matter what “scientific” name is applied to them, is dangerous.

Kicking sugar and white flour and substituting whole grains, vegetables and natural fruits in season, is the core of any sensible natural regimen. Changing the quality of your carbohydrates can change the quality of your health and life. If you eat natural food of good quality, quantity tends to take care of itself. Nobody is going to eat a half-dozen sugar beets or a whole case of sugar cane. Even if they do, it will be less dangerous than a few ounces of sugar. Sugar of all kinds-natural sugars, such as those in honey and fruit (fructose), as well as the refined white stuff (sucrose)-tends to arrest the secretion of gastric juices and have an inhibiting effect on the stomach’s natural ability to move. Sugars are not digested in the mouth, like cereals, or in the stomach, like animal flesh. When taken alone, they pass quickly through the stomach into the small intestine. When sugars are eaten with other foods-perhaps meat and bread in a sandwich-they are held up in the stomach for a while.

The sugar in the bread and the Coke sit there with the hamburger and the bun waiting for them to be digested. While the stomach is working on the animal protein and the refined starch in the bread, the addition of the sugar practically guarantees rapid acid fermentation under the conditions of warmth and moisture existing in the stomach. One lump of sugar in your coffee after a sandwich is enough to turn your stomach into a fermenter. One soda with a hamburger is enough to turn your stomach into a still. Sugar on cereal-whether you buy it already sugared in a box or add it yourself-almost guarantees acid fermentation.

Since the beginning of time, natural laws were observed, in both senses of that word, when it came to eating foods in combination. Birds have been observed eating insects at one period in the day and seeds at another. Other animals tend to eat one food at a time. Flesh-eating animals take their protein raw and straight. In the Orient, it is traditional to eat yang before yin. Miso soup (fermented soybean protein, yang) for breakfast; raw fish (more yang protein) at the beginning of the meal; afterwards comes the rice (which is less yang than the miso and fish); and then the vegetables which are yin. If you ever eat with a traditional Japanese family and you violate this order, the Orientals (if your friends) will correct you courteously but firmly. The law observed by Orthodox Jews prohibits many combinations at the same meal, especially flesh and dairy products. Special utensils for the dairy meal and different utensils for the flesh meal reinforce that taboo at the food’s source in the kitchen.

Man learned very early in the game what improper combinations of food could do to the human system. When he got a stomach ache from combining raw fruit with grain, or honey with porridge, he didn’t reach for an antacid tablet. He learned not to eat that way. When gluttony and excess became widespread, religious codes and commandments were invoked against it. Gluttony is a capital sin in most religions; but there are no specific religious warnings or commandments against refined sugar because sugar abuse-like drug abuse-did not appear on the world scene until centuries after holy books had gone to press.

“Why must we accept as normal what we find in a race of sick and weakened human beings?” Dr. Herbert M. Shelton asks. “Must we always take it for granted that the present eating practices of civilized men are normal?… Foul stools, loose stools, impacted stools, pebbly stools, much foul gas, colitis, hemorrhoids, bleeding with stools, the need for toilet paper are swept into the orbit of the normal.”8

When starches and complex sugars (like those in honey and fruits) are digested, they are broken down into simple sugars called “monosaccharides”, which are usable substances-nutriments. 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-nutriments. 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 nutriments; the second gives us poisons.

Much that passes for modern nutrition is obsessed with a mania for quantitative counting. The body is treated like a check account. Deposit calories (like dollars) and withdraw energy. Deposit proteins, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins and minerals-balanced quantitatively-and the result, theoretically, is a healthy body. People qualify as healthy today if they can crawl out of bed, get to the office and sign in. If they can’t make it, call the doctor to qualify for sick pay, hospitalization, rest cure-anything from a day’s pay without working to an artificial kidney, courtesy of the taxpayers. But what does it profit someone if the theoretically required calories and nutrients are consumed daily, yet this random eat-on-the-run, snack-time collection of foods ferments and putrefies in the digestive tract? What good is it if the body is fed protein, only to have it putrefy in the gastrointestinal canal? Carbohydrates that ferment in the digestive tract are converted into alcohol and acetic acid, not digestible monosaccharides. “To derive sustenance from foods eaten, they must be digested,” Shelton warned years ago. “They must not rot.” Sure, the body can get rid of poisons through the urine and the pores; the amount of poisons in the urine is taken as an index to what’s going on in the intestine. The body does establish a tolerance for these poisons, just as it adjusts gradually to an intake of heroin. But, says Shelton, “the discomfort from accumulation of gas, the bad breath, and foul and unpleasant odors are as undesirable as are the poisons”.9

SUGAR AND MENTAL HEALTH

In the Dark Ages, troubled souls were rarely locked up for going off their rocker. Such confinement began in the Age of Enlightenment, after sugar made the transition from apothecary’s prescription to candymaker’s confection. “The great confinement of the insane”, as one historian calls it,10 began in the late 17th century, after sugar consumption in Britain had zoomed in 200 years from a pinch or two in a barrel of beer, here and there, to more than two million pounds per year. By that time, physicians in London had begun to observe and record terminal physical signs and symptoms of the “sugar blues”.

Meanwhile, when sugar eaters did not manifest obvious terminal physical symptoms and the physicians were professionally bewildered, patients were no longer pronounced bewitched, but mad, insane, emotionally disturbed. Laziness, fatigue, debauchery, parental displeasure-any one problem was sufficient cause for people under twenty-five to be locked up in the first Parisian mental hospitals. All it took to be incarcerated was a complaint from parents, relatives or the omnipotent parish priest. Wet nurses with their babies, pregnant youngsters, retarded or defective children, senior citizens, paralytics, epileptics, prostitutes or raving lunatics-anyone wanted off the streets and out of sight was put away. The mental hospital succeeded witch-hunting and heresy-hounding as a more enlightened and humane method of social control. The physician and priest handled the dirty work of street sweeping in return for royal favors.

Initially, when the General Hospital was established in Paris by royal decree, one per cent of the city’s population was locked up. From that time until the 20 century, as the consumption of sugar went up and up-especially in the cities-so did the number of people who were put away in the General Hospital. Three hundred years later, the “emotionally disturbed” can be turned into walking automatons, their brains controlled with psychoactive drugs. Today, pioneers of orthomolecular psychiatry, such as Dr. Abram Hoffer, Dr. Allan Cott, Dr. A. Cherkin as well as Dr. Linus Pauling, have confirmed that mental illness is a myth and that emotional disturbance can be merely the first symptom of the obvious inability of the human system to handle the stress of sugar dependency. In Orthomolecular Psychiatry, Dr. Pauling writes: “The functioning of the brain and nervous tissue is more sensitively dependent on the rate of chemical reactions than the functioning of other organs and tissues. I believe that mental disease is for the most part caused by abnormal reaction rates, as determined by genetic constitution and diet, and by abnormal molecular concentrations of essential substances. Selection of food (and drugs) in a world that is undergoing rapid scientific and technological change may often be far from the best.”11

In Megavitamin B3 Therapy for Schizophrenia, Dr. Abram Hoffer notes: “Patients are also advised to follow a good nutritional program with restriction of sucrose and sucrose-rich foods.”12 Clinical research with hyperactive and psychotic children, as well as those with brain injuries and learning disabilities, has shown: “An abnormally high family history of diabetes-that is, parents and grandparents who cannot handle sugar; an abnormally high incidence of low blood glucose, or functional hypoglycemia in the children themselves, which indicates that their systems cannot handle sugar; dependence on a high level of sugar in the diets of the very children who cannot handle it. “Inquiry into the dietary history of patients diagnosed as schizophrenic reveals the diet of their choice is rich in sweets, candy, cakes, coffee, caffeinated beverages, and foods prepared with sugar. These foods, which stimulate the adrenals, should be eliminated or severely restricted.”13

The avant-garde of modern medicine has rediscovered what the lowly sorceress learned long ago through painstaking study of nature. “In more than twenty years of psychiatric work,” writes DR Thomas Szasz, “I have never known a clinical psychologist to report, on the basis of a projective test, that the subject is a normal, mentally healthy person. While some witches may have survived dunking, no ‘madman’ survives psychological testing…there is no behavior or person that a modern psychiatrist cannot plausibly diagnose as abnormal or ill.”14 So it was in the 17th century. Once the doctor or the exorcist had been called in, he was under pressure to do something. When he tried and failed, the poor patient had to be put away. It is often said that surgeons bury their mistakes. Physicians and psychiatrists put them away; lock ’em up.

In the 1940s, DR John Tintera rediscovered the vital importance of the endocrine system, especially the adrenal glands, in “pathological mentation”-or “brain boggling”. In 200 cases under treatment for hypoadrenocorticism (the lack of adequate adrenal cortical hormone production or imbalance among these hormones), he discovered that the chief complaints of his patients were often similar to those found in persons whose systems were unable to handle sugar: fatigue, nervousness, depression, apprehension, craving for sweets, inability to handle alcohol, inability to concentrate, allergies, low blood pressure. Sugar blues!

DR Tintera finally insisted that all his patients submit to a four-hour glucose tolerance test (GTT) to find out whether or not they could handle sugar. The results were so startling that the laboratories double-checked their techniques, then apologized for what they believed to be incorrect readings. What mystified them was the low, flat curves derived from disturbed, early adolescents. This laboratory procedure had been previously carried out only for patients with physical findings presumptive of diabetes. Dorland’s definition of schizophrenia (Bleuler’s dementia praecox) includes the phrase, “often recognized during or shortly after adolescence”, and further, in reference to hebephrenia and catatonia, “coming on soon after the onset of puberty”. These conditions might seem to arise or become aggravated at puberty, but probing into the patient’s past will frequently reveal indications which were present at birth, during the first year of life, and through the preschool and grammar school years. Each of these periods has its own characteristic clinical picture.

This picture becomes more marked at pubescence and often causes school officials to complain of juvenile delinquency or underachievement. A glucose tolerance test at any of these periods could alert parents and physicians and could save innumerable hours and small fortunes spent in looking into the child’s psyche and home environment for maladjustments of questionable significance in the emotional development of the average child. The negativism, hyperactivity and obstinate resentment of discipline are absolute indications for at least the minimum laboratory tests: urinalysis, complete bloodcount, PBI determination, and the five-hour glucose tolerance test. A GTT can be performed on a young child by the micro-method without undue trauma to the patient. As a matter of fact, I have been urging that these four tests be routine for all patients, even before a history or physical examination is undertaken. In almost all discussions on drug addiction, alcoholism and schizophrenia, it is claimed that there is no definite constitutional type that falls prey to these afflictions.

Almost universally, the statement is made that all of these individuals are emotionally immature. It has long been our goal to persuade every physician, whether oriented toward psychiatry, genetics or physiology, to recognize that one type of endocrine individual is involved in the majority of these cases: the hypoadrenocortic.15 Tintera published several epochal medical papers. Over and over, he emphasized that improvement, alleviation, palliation or cure was “dependent upon the restoration of the normal function of the total organism”. His first prescribed item of treatment was diet. Over and over again, he said that “the importance of diet cannot be overemphasized”. He laid out a sweeping permanent injunction against sugar in all forms and guises.

While Egas Moniz of Portugal was receiving a Nobel Prize for devising the lobotomy operation for the treatment of schizophrenia, Tintera’s reward was to be harassment and hounding by the pundits of organized medicine. While Tintera’s sweeping implication of sugar as a cause of what was called “schizophrenia” could be confined to medical journals, he was let alone, ignored. He could be tolerated-if he stayed in his assigned territory, endocrinology. Even when he suggested that alcoholism was related to adrenals that had been whipped by sugar abuse, they let him alone; because the medicos had decided there was nothing in alcoholism for them except aggravation, they were satisfied to abandon it to Alcoholics Anonymous.

However, when Tintera dared to suggest in a magazine of general circulation that “it is ridiculous to talk of kinds of allergies when there is only one kind, which is adrenal glands impaired…by sugar”, he could no longer be ignored. The allergists had a great racket going for themselves. Allergic souls had been entertaining each other for years with tall tales of exotic allergies-everything from horse feathers to lobster tails. Along comes someone who says none of this matters: take them off sugar and keep them off it.

Perhaps Tintera’s untimely death in 1969 at the age of fifty-seven made it easier for the medical profession to accept discoveries that had once seemed as far out as the simple oriental medical thesis of genetics and diet, yin and yang. Today, doctors all over the world are repeating what Tintera announced years ago: nobody, but nobody, should ever be allowed to begin what is called “psychiatric treatment”, anyplace, anywhere, unless and until they have had a glucose tolerance test to discover if they can handle sugar. So-called preventive medicine goes further and suggests that since we only think we can handle sugar because we initially have strong adrenals, why wait until they give us signs and signals that they’re worn out? Take the load off now by eliminating sugar in all forms and guises, starting with that soda pop you have in your hand. The mind truly boggles when one glances over what passes for medical history. Through the centuries, troubled souls have been barbecued for bewitchment, exorcised for possession, locked up for insanity, tortured for masturbatory madness, psychiatrised for psychosis, lobotomised for schizophrenia. How many patients would have listened if the local healer had told them that the only thing ailing them was sugar blues?


This article is extracted and edited from the book, Sugar Blues, © 1975 by William Dufty. The book was first published by the Chilton Book Company, Padnor, PA, USA. Warner Books, Inc., NY, published an edition in 1976 and reissued it in April 1993.

Is Soy Bad For You? Good? Get the Facts

Is Soy Good For Me?Is soy bad for you? Good? There are indeed heart-health benefits to eating soy foods, especially if you’re eating them instead of animal protein like red meat and fatty dairy products. Whole soy foods like tofu, soymilk, tempeh, and edamame can help lower LDL (bad) cholesterol and total cholesterol.

Whole soy foods may also enhance weight loss, improve blood sugar control, and reduce insulin levels. Some literature also suggests that soy foods (not soy supplements) may protect against breast cancer.

The Best Soy Choices When Grocery Shopping

When choosing products made from soybeans, stick to:

  • Soybeans

    Available in most grocery store freezer sections, often described as edamame.

  • Soymilk

    Vanilla, original, or unsweetened.

  • Tofu

    Unflavored/unmarinated – found in refrigerator cases.

All the above are great choices for your cholesterol profile and overall health.

Soymilk vs Other Milks

There are a lot of different types of milks in grocery stores now, such as almond, rice, and coconut milks. These milks do not have the cholesterol-lowering power of soymilks. In fact, some, like coconut milk, may actually raise cholesterol levels because they contain saturated fat.

Some of these nondairy milks may also be full of added sugars. And certainly, more sugary drinks are the last thing our obesity-besieged society needs. Before putting these milks in your shopping cart, always turn the label around and read the Ingredient List to see if the product contains added sugar. And remember that sugar has many names, including barley malt, honey, molasses, corn syrup, fruit juice concentrate, and words ending in “-ose” (sucrose) and “-ol” (sorbitol). Also check out the calorie count. Some of these milks contain as many calories as soft drinks.

Equally worse, some of these milks do not contain calcium, or have very little.

Is Soy Bad For You? Can I Eat Or Drink Too Much?

“It’s possible. As with much of life, moderation is a good idea,” says Dr. Gayl Canfield, Director of Nutrition at the Pritikin Longevity Center.

Enjoy soybeans and soy-rich foods like soymilk and tofu. They may help lower total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, blood sugar, and insulin levels.

But steer clear of richly concentrated soy products and supplements, like soy protein isolate. They’re far from moderate in their amounts of soy protein. “Products like these are so concentrated that they’re almost pharmaceutical,” warns Dr. Canfield. “I’d much rather see people eating real food. With food, you’ll get plenty of isoflavones and other nutrients – but not too much.”

Bottom Line: Is soy bad for you? Potentially, if it’s soy that comes in concentrated pill or powder form. Stick to whole food sources like soymilk, tofu, soybeans (edamame), and tempeh (an Asian food made from fermented soybeans).

Keep in mind, too, that the health-promoting chemicals in soybeans that have gotten so much attention in recent years – the isoflavones – are plentiful in all beans: pinto beans, black beans, lentils, red beans, and so on. And these beans generally derive a mere 3 to 9% of their calories from fat. Soybeans, by contrast, are 37% fat – and therefore more likely to promote weight gain.

But all beans, including soybeans, are full of nutritional riches – and are a very healthy, protein-packed alternative to meat or poultry. Instead of increasing our cholesterol levels, like animal protein, beans lower it.

A Simple, Tasty Tofu Recipe

A novice to tofu? Try this super-simple recipe from Pritikin’s award-winning Executive Chef Anthony Stewart. ”This is one of my favorites, I must admit,” he laughs.

Chef Anthony takes a block of firm tofu (firm tofu is the type that sits in a container of water in the refrigerated section of your grocery store), and picks it up and squeezes it with both hands to let some of the water out.

Then, as if he’s cutting up a loaf of bread, he slices his tofu into about four ¾-inch-thick slices, and marinates his slices in balsamic vinegar, chopped garlic, and dried oregano for 4 to 5 minutes.

He heats a large nonstick skillet over a high flame, and, using tongs, places his tofu slices in the skillet. When the side facing the skillet is darkened, he flips the tofu to the other side and darkens it, too, about 4 minutes per side.

When the tofu slices are nicely browned on both sides, Chef removes them from the skillet, and slices each into bite-size squares.

“I store them in a baggie in the refrigerator, and I use them for everything,” smiles Chef. “You know how people say, ‘Oh, I’m having a salad, but I need some protein like chicken or fish for it.’ Well, animals aren’t the only source of protein. Tofu is packed with protein, and so easy! You just toss these little tofu squares into your salad, and you’re getting plenty of rich, chewy, filling protein, but with none of the cholesterol and saturated fat of animal protein.”

Chef also enjoys his mighty little tofu squares as a snack. And he adds them to soups, marinara sauces, and whole grain dishes, like quinoa.

“Tofu is definitely a product you should stock up on in your refrigerator,” encourages Chef Anthony.

Pritikin Weight Loss Spa

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New Blood Pressure Guidelines – The Pritikin Perspective

New Blood Pressure Guidelines

Last week, updated recommendations for the management of hypertension, or high blood pressure, were released by the expert panel appointed to the Eighth Joint National Committee (JNC 8).1

Two key recommendations that differ from the previous JNC 7 guidelines, released in 2003, were:

  • Americans aged 60 or older should only take blood pressure drugs if their blood pressure exceeds 150/90. The 2003 panel recommended drugs if blood pressure was higher than 140/90.
  • Diabetes and kidney patients younger than 60 should be prescribed drugs at the same point as everyone else that age, when their blood pressure exceeds 140/90. The prior treatment goal was 130/80.

Why the changes?

Clinical trials had not shown convincing evidence that the lower treatment goals produced more benefits than risks.

Although the blood pressure drugs in the trials pushed blood pressure lower, they often caused harm via adverse side effects, and they sometimes dropped blood pressure too much, which could also negatively impact patients’ overall well being.

The control of hypertension with drugs always comes at a price. The fact is, all drugs, including those to lower blood pressure, are themselves toxic, too often causing adverse side effects.

Bottom Line: Driving blood pressure lower than 140/90 in people over 60 by using drugs, and down to 130/80 or less in younger people with diabetes and kidney problems, had not been proven to provide better health outcomes than the less ambitious guidelines released this week.

“The control of hypertension with drugs always comes at a price. The fact is, all drugs, including those to lower blood pressure, are themselves toxic, too often causing adverse side effects,” points out Dr. Jay Kenney, Nutrition Research Specialist at the Pritikin Longevity Center.

All over social media last week Americans themselves agreed. Many wrote about their own struggles with blood pressure medications (“The pills I was on made me feel like a big lump… I could barely exercise”) or that of family members (“My mother was turned into a zombie”). Many were searching foralternatives to high blood pressure medication.

“Controlling blood pressure – or cholesterol levels or blood sugar – with drugs is generally neither as safe nor as effective as doing so with a healthier diet and exercise,” asserts Dr. Kenney.

Lifestyle changes

The value of lifestyle change was affirmed by the expert panel who created the new blood pressure guidelines. Led by Paul James, MD, of the University of Iowa and Suzanne Oparil, MD, of the University of Alabama, the panel stressed the need to implement healthy lifestyle interventions as the first line of treatment.

“For all persons with hypertension, the potential benefits of a healthy diet, weight control, and regular exercise cannot be overemphasized,” the scientists wrote. “These lifestyle treatments have the potential to improve blood pressure control and even reduce medication needs.”

The American Heart Association and American College of Cardiology have not yet reviewed the new recommendations. But the AHA expressed concerns that the panel’s conclusions to relax the thresholds at which medications are prescribed might mean that more people would have inadequately controlled blood pressure, which could lead to more heart attacks, strokes, and other cardiovascular events.

Catch 22

Yes, it’s a Catch 22. People don’t take medications because they often cause nasty side effects. But what they’re left with – if they don’t change their lifestyle – is blood pressure readings that are scary.

Very scary.

The risk of death from cardiovascular events begins to rise as blood pressure increases above the optimal range of 110 to 115/70 to 75. It roughly doubles for each 20/10 increase in blood pressure.2

Calculates Dr. Kenney: “The risk of dying from a cardiovascular event for someone with a blood pressure of 150/90 is about four times greater than it is for someone the same age who is maintaining a blood pressure of 110/70 with a healthy lifestyle like the Pritikin Program.

“Smoking a pack of cigarettes a day increases the risk of dying from a cardiovascular event by about 2.3 times. So yes, having a blood pressure of 150/90, whether it’s medically controlled or not, is likely more dangerous for promoting cardiovascular events than smoking a pack of cigarettes every day.”

So here’s where we come to the dilemma that the expert committee of the new blood pressure guidelines had to wrestle with: How high must blood pressure be before the benefits of drugs are more likely to outweigh the harm?

“The sad fact is that the risk of having or dying from a cardiovascular event like a heart attack or stroke must increase about 4-fold before the benefits of reducing high blood pressure with drugs has been shown to reduce cardiovascular disease and total mortality,” says Dr. Kenney.

The solution

Optimal blood pressure achieved by healthy diet and exercise, not drugs, is likely no more than 110 to 115/70 to 75. It’s at this level, research has found, that people have the lowest risk of strokes, heart attacks, heart failure, and dying.

What they’re doing is living a lifestyle that naturally helps maintain blood pressure at healthier lower levels throughout life – a lifestyle that involves daily physical activity and a diet rich in whole unprocessed foods that are naturally low in salt, sugar, and fat.

The Pritikin Program of diet and exercise mimics this lifestyle, and studies on people taking hypertension drugs who came to the Pritikin Longevity Center have confirmed its benefits. Within two to three weeks, the Pritikin Program often eliminated or dramatically reduced the need for blood pressure medications.3

So if lifestyle changes like the Pritikin Program are so effective for blood pressure control, and devoid of the risks caused by drugs, why do most doctors prescribe drugs?

“Probably because it’s quicker than detailing how to eat and exercise to better control blood pressure, and it’s certainly easier to take a few pills than make changes to your diet and lifestyle,” surmises Dr. Kenney.

“But these drugs, while they lower blood pressure to less dangerous levels, often cause negative side effects. That’s why experts are left trying to figure out how high a patient’s blood pressure must be before the benefits are more likely to outweigh the harms.”

Summing Up…

It’s good that the expert panel’s recommendations for the new blood pressure guidelines recognize the problems and impotence of pharmacological treatments for hypertension, particularly among older patients and those with diabetes and kidney problems.

It’s also good that the panel states that diet and lifestyle changes should be a priority.

“It would be much better if medical organizations admitted that drugs are not nearly as safe or as effective as healthy lifestyles like the Pritikin Diet and Exercise Program for dealing with not only hypertension but many other metabolic issues like high blood sugar, insulin resistance, atherosclerosis, obesity, and chronic inflammation,” notes Dr. Kenney.

“What we need more than anything else is medical and governmental leadership that recognizes that the best way to deal with our epidemic health problems isn’t with drugs or surgery. The real solution to diet- and inactivity-promoted ills is in fact a healthy lifestyle that prevents these problems from ever happening in the first place.”

Key guidelines of the Pritikin Program for preventing and controlling hypertension include:

  • Providing at least 5 servings of vegetables and 4 servings of fruits daily, which help ensure that you eat plenty of foods that are full of stomach-filling volume yet are low in calories, enhancing your weight-loss efforts. Losing excess weight is one of the most effective ways to lower blood pressure in the short term. Eating plenty of nutrient-rich fruits and vegetables also means you’ll be eating rich sources of potassium, magnesium, and calcium. Many studies have found that foods rich in these minerals help blunt some of the toxic effects of sodium.
  • Cutting back on calorie-dense foods loaded with fat, sugar, and/or refined grains to enhance weight-loss efforts.
  • Limiting the consumption of sodium to a healthy level – less than 1,500 mg daily for people under 50 years, less than 1,300 mg daily for those 50 to 69 years, and no more than 1,200 mg daily for people 70 years and older.
  • Exercising daily.
  • Discouraging excess alcohol drinking (which has been shown to increase hypertension when consumed in excess of 3 drinks daily).
  • Getting an adequate intake of calcium, omega-3 fatty acids, and vitamin D by consuming moderate amounts of nonfat dairy milk or soymilk, fish, and a little sunshine.

1 2014 Evidence-Based Guideline for the Management of High Blood Pressure in Adults. Report From the Panel Members Appointed to the Eighth Joint National Committee (JNC 8). Journal of the American Medical Association, 2013; DOI: 10.1001/jama.2013.284427.

2 Prospective Studies Collaboration. Age-specific relevance of usual blood pressure to vascular mortality: a meta-analysis of individual data for one million adults in 61 prospective studies. Lancet, 2002; 360: 1903.

3 Roberts, Christian K and R. James Barnard. Effects of exercise and diet on chronic disease. Journal of Applied Physiology, 2005; 98: 3.