Historically Speaking Sugar Is Primed For A Comeback
"We were born with a preference for sweet because that has fostered the survival of not only Homo sapiens, but mammals in general, for perhaps as long as there have been mammals. Breast milk — and I trust no one is foolhardy enough to suggest that breast milk is evil! — is a sugar-sweetened beverage.
We like sweet because mammals who like sweet are more apt to survive than mammals who don’t. Period. " ~ David L. Katz, MD, MPH, FACPM, FACP, FACLM is the founding director of Yale University’s Yale-Griffin Prevention Research Center, and current President of the American College of Lifestyle Medicine.
Most will agree that the typical American diet is too rich in junk, processed food and deficient in fruits, vegetables, Omega 3s, and fiber. it's true that nearly 40% of the energy consumed by 2- to 18-year-olds comes in the form of "empty" calories or junk food. While all that is true, some today tend to get carried away with demonizing certain foods before stopping to look at the evidence. Before jumping on a boycott bandwagon of food, or something naturally found in food, remember the wise words Winston Churchill once said, "Those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it" So before you decide to go gluten, I mean fat, I mean sugar-free...
Fat-free public health disaster
The "vilification" of saturated fats (butter) dates back to the 1950s when research suggested a link between high dietary saturated fat intake and deaths from heart disease.
But out of the data from 22 countries, the study author drew his conclusions on data from just 6 countries, choosing to ignore the data from a further 16, which did not fit with his hypothesis.
More recently, the biggest ever study in this area has found no clear association between higher intake of saturated fats (like butter) and death for any reason. Nor did they find any links to the consumption of butter and coronary heart disease, cardiovascular disease, ischemic stroke or type 2 diabetes.
In contrast, consumption of industrial trans fats trans-fats, found in processed foods like margarine raises the risk of death by 34 % a 28% increased risk of death from coronary heart disease and a 21 % increase in the risk of cardiovascular disease.
In spite of the flawed research from decades ago, the new research supporting the old research was flawed, the new evidence against trans-fats like margarine, as well as leading heart scientist Dr James DiNicolantonio of Ithica College, New York, calling for health guidelines on saturated fats to be changed in an article in the British Medical Journal, for some reason you'll still today find some heart organization websites sadly recommending margarine over butter.
Moderation of the right fats is key. Healthy fats are key. Omega 3s contain essential fats which our bodies can't produce and we need to consume to stay healthy. Butter from healthy, grass-fed cows raised on pasture is an excellent source of numerous nutrients including linoleic acid, an essential fatty acid, vitamin A, selenium, iodine, vitamin K2.
So while nobody is saying to eat a bowl of butter with a spoon, nothing wrong with having some butter in your diet, and we are learning there may be many things right about that.
Germ-free public health disaster
Judging from the hand sanitizers, antibacterial soaps, and other germ-ﬁghting products that have now become standard nearly everywhere, many people think of all bacteria as pathogens—invisible organisms that cause disease. In fact, even the healthiest among us carry about the same amount of bacterial cells as human ones.
Tufts University School of Medicine, Boston, Massachusetts, USA The recent entry of products containing antibacterial agents into healthy households has escalated from a few dozen products in the mid-1990s to more than 700 today. Antibacterial products were developed and have been successfully used to prevent transmission of disease-causing microorganisms among patients, particularly in hospitals. They are now being added to products used in healthy households, even though an added health benefit has not been demonstrated.
The FDA has announced that it is formally reconsidering “antibacterial” soaps and other personal-care products, charging that the antibacterial ingredients confer no benefit over regular soap and water while carrying extra risks.
The “hygiene hypothesis” is supported by epidemiologic studies demonstrating that allergic diseases and asthma are more likely to occur when the incidence and levels of endotoxin (bacterial lipopolysaccharide, or LPS) in the home are low.
And speaking of the hygiene hypothesis, a new study just published in the journal Pediatrics, the official journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics, says that there may actually be benefits to children sucking their thumb, or chewing their nails...in general having their fingers in their mouth...germs!
As part of the Dunedin Multidisciplinary Health and Development Study, researchers in New Zealand followed about a thousand people born in 1972-1973 out until their 38th birthday. When they were 5, 7, 9 and 11 the researchers asked their parents if they sucked their thumbs or bit their nails.
When they tested at 13 for allergies to common things such as dust, grass, cats, dogs, and molds, they found that 38% of those who had an “oral habit” tested positive — whereas 49% of those who didn’t suck their thumbs or bite their nails tested positive. This “protection” was still there at 32.
This fits with the “hygiene hypothesis,” which says that when children are exposed to germs early in life, their immune system gets trained to attack germs, rather than attacking itself as we see in allergies, asthma, and eczema
So while nobody is saying to eat a bowl of dirt with a spoon, nothing wrong with having some dirt in your life, and we are learning there may be many things right about that
Meet our little friends
Sugar Free Movement
Of course, sugar is addictive, but food in general is addictive for general survival reasons.
"Sugar, concentrated into the nectar of flowers, fuels the flight of hummingbirds. It is, in fact, the sole food source of these marvels of both aviation, and metabolic intensity. How evil can hummingbird fuel be? Clearly not evil at all for hummingbirds! But that may not say much about us. So enough about hummingbirds; let’s talk about you and me."We were born with a preference for sweet because that has fostered the survival of not only Homo sapiens, but mammals in general, for perhaps as long as there have been mammals. Breast milk — and I trust no one is foolhardy enough to suggest that breast milk is evil! — is a sugar-sweetened beverage " ~ David L. Katz, MD, MPH, FACPM, FACP, FACLM is the founding director of Yale University’s Yale-Griffin Prevention Research Center, and current President of the American College of Lifestyle Medicine.
The fact that sugar is intrinsic to our first, best food tells us something about the sweet tooth with which we are all born before ever we have teeth…Considering that our cells depend on sugar for energy, it makes sense that we evolved an innate love for sweetness.
Sugar a Prebiotic
Probiotics need particular forms of sugar to thrive. If you ever made kefir or kombucha at home you know the importance of adding honey or cane sugar for the bacteria to consume. In order to make a cultured food, the probiotics need sugar to feed on. With yogurt, the probiotics consume the lactose (a type of sugar) within the milk.
We like sweet because mammals who like sweet are more apt to survive than mammals who don’t. Period."~Dr. David Katz of the Yale Prevention Research Center
Before agriculture, our ancestors presumably did not have much control over the sugars in their diet, which must have come from whatever plants and animals were available in a given place and season. Around 6,000 BC, people in New Guinea began to grow sugarcane, chewing and sucking on the stalks to drink the sweet juice within. Sugarcane cultivation spread to India, where by 500 BC people had learned to turn bowls of the tropical grass's juice into crude crystals. From there sugar traveled with migrants and monks to China, Persia, northern Africa and eventually to Europe in the 11th century.
Organic cane sugar has the full-bodied taste of sugarcane and is much less processed, retaining a lot of the nutrients present in cane juice. Unrefined cane sugar contains 17 amino acids, 11 minerals, and 6 vitamins, including antioxidants that may help reverse oxidative damage. It is made up of sucrose, fructose, and glucose.
For more than 400 years, sugar remained a luxury in Europe—an exotic spice—until manufacturing became efficient enough to make "white gold" much more affordable..Interestingly enough at one point sugar was used as folk medicine "Reported to be antidote, antiseptic, antivinous, bactericide, cardiotonic, demulcent, diuretic, intoxicant, laxative, pectoral, piscicide, refrigerant, and stomachic. It is a folk remedy for arthritis, bedsores, boils, cancer, colds, cough, diarrhea, dysentery, eyes, fever, hiccups, inflammation, laryngitis, opacity, penis, skin, sores, sore throat, spleen, tumors, and wounds (Duke and Wain, 1981). Powdered sugar is used as a 'drawing' agent for granulations and "proud flesh" (Hartwell, 1967–1971) and, in a 1:3 solution in water, for gonorrhea and vaginal discharges (Watt and Breyer-Brandwijk, 1962). The pulped sugar cane is used to dress wounds, and the cane for splints for broken bones; the Malay women use it in childbirth. A decoction of the root of the race of 'tebu lanjong' is used for whooping cough; and the cane juice is given for catarrh. It is used in elephant medicine; the juice is used to 'make an elephant sagacious', and in a poultice for sprains (Burkill, 1966). In India, the plant as well as its juices are used for abdominal tumors."
When it comes to sugar you can look at both quality and quantity. Today, Americans eat most of their sugar in two main forms: table sugar and high-fructose corn syrup.
A molecule of table sugar, or sucrose, is a bond between one glucose molecule and one fructose molecule—two simple sugars with the same chemical formula, but slightly different atomic structures. In the 1960s, new technology allowed the U.S. corn industry to cheaply convert corn-derived glucose intro fructose and produce high fructose corn syrup, which—despite its name—is almost equal parts free-floating fructose and glucose: 55 percent fructose, 42 percent glucose and three percent other sugars. Because fructose is about twice as sweet as glucose, an inexpensive syrup mixing the two was an appealing alternative to sucrose from sugarcane and beets.
Regardless of where the sugar we eat comes from, our cells are interested in dealing with fructose and glucose, not the bulkier sucrose. Enzymes in the intestine split sucrose into fructose and glucose within seconds, so as far as the human body is concerned sucrose and high-fructose corn syrup are equivalent. The same is not true for their constituent molecules. Glucose travels through the bloodstream to all of our tissues, because every cell readily converts glucose into energy. In contrast, liver cells are one of the few types of cells that can convert fructose to energy, which puts the onus of metabolizing fructose almost entirely on one organ. The liver accomplishes this primarily by turning fructose into glucose and lactate. Eating exceptionally large amounts of fructose taxes the liver: it spends so much energy turning fructose into other molecules that it may not have much energy left for all its other functions
Virtually all plants have glucose, fructose and sucrose—not just one or another of these sugars. Although some fruits, such as apples and pears, have three times as much fructose as glucose, most of the fruits and veggies we eat are more balanced. Pineapples, blueberries, peaches, carrots, corn and cabbage, for example, all have about a 1:1 ratio of the two sugars.
"There is no evidence that were we to eliminate all sugar from our diets, presumably leaving the rest of the diet the same, we could rid ourselves of disease and restore our health disease." ~ T. Colin Campbell, Ph.D. has been at the forefront of nutrition research for over forty years. His legacy, the China Project, has been acknowledged as the most comprehensive study of health and nutrition ever conducted. Dr. Campbell is the Jacob Gould Schurman Professor Emeritus of Nutritional Biochemistry at Cornell University. He is also the founder of the highly acclaimed, Plant-Based Nutrition Certificate and serves as the Chairman of the Board for the T. Colin Campbell Center for Nutrition Studies.
",,,there isn't much difference between white table sugar and other natural sugars including honey, maple syrup (my personal favorite), molasses and sorghum. To the body they are all sugar to be converted to glucose for metabolic fuel.
My feeling is that while sugar does have a place - in moderation - in a healthy diet, we all should pay attention to the amount we eat in desserts, snacks, fruit juices, fruits, prepared foods and beverages. According to a U.S. Department of Agriculture survey Americans consume about 64 pounds of sugar per person per year." ~Andrew Weil, M.D., world-renowned leader and pioneer in the field of integrative medicine, a healing oriented approach to health care which encompasses body, mind, and spirit. Director of the Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine at the University of Arizona, where he also holds the Lovell-Jones Endowed Chair in Integrative Rheumatology and is Clinical Professor of Medicine and Professor of Public Health.
"Instead of emphasizing one nutrient, we need to move to food-based recommendations. What we eat should be whole, minimally processed, nutritious food—food that is in many cases as close to its natural form as possible." ~Dariush Mozaffarian, dean of the Friedman School of Nutrition, Tufts University and adjunct associate professor of epidemiology
So while nobody is saying to eat a bowl of sugar with a spoon, nothing wrong with having some natural sugar in your diet, and appears we are currently on the road to find out what's right about that.
Lisa Geng got her start as a designer, patented inventor,and creator in the fashion, toy, and film industries, but after the early diagnosis of her young children she entered the world of nonprofit, pilot studies, and advocacy. As the mother of two “late talkers,” she is the founder and president of the nonprofit CHERAB Foundation,co-author of the acclaimed book, The Late Talker, (St Martin’s Press 2003), and is instrumental in the development of IQed, a whole food nutrition meal replacement. Lisa currently serves as a parent advocate on an AAN board for vaccines, and is a member of CUE through Cochrane US. Lisa is currently working on a second book, The Late Talker Grows Up and serves as a Late Talkers, Silent Voices executive producer. She lives on the Treasure Coast of Florida.