4. The Cousins of Sugar
Often in “health” food recipes, you’ll see the use of raw sugar or brown sugar in place of white sugar. These two sugars have a bare minimal amount of vitamins and minerals—almost none, actually, but still more than white sugar. Brown sugar is just white sugar colored with a little molasses and raw sugar is simply white sugar that may be missing one of the many refining steps that all sugars go through. Another partially refined sugar is turbinado sugar.
All of these “cousins” are also sucrose—the same as white sugar, and the differences between all of them are so slight as to be indistinguishable. It’s like arguing what will get you the least drunk—whiskey or scotch. The use of these sugar cousins is usually confined to those people who already know better than to use white sugar in the first place, but they attempt to assuage their guilt by using these equally harmful substitutes.
4.1 Sugar From Corn: Dextrose and Corn Syrup
Made from cornstarch, dextrose (also known as glucose) is a leading contributor to the adulteration of food. Dextrose is mixed into a wide variety of processed foods. As early as the 1920’s, Dr. Harvey Wiley stated that flooding the stomach with dextrose creates an artificial situation that would require an additional half-dozen pancreases for our body to cope with it. The sugar refining interests influenced Congress so that dextrose (or glucose) was allowed to remain a legal food additive.
The liquid sugar form made from cornstarch is called corn syrup. It, too, is a widely popular food additive used in items such as frozen vegetables, pancake syrups, wines, and even aspirins.
Corn syrup is usually added along with salt, sodium citrate, citric acid, algin derivative, and artificial flavorings and colors, so the consumer gets a triple-deadly dose of food additives.
4.2 Fructose—the Sugar From Fruits
Fructose is commonly known as “fruit sugar” and is the predominant sugar in fresh and dried fruits. Along with grape sugar, dextrose, and levulose, fructose is classified as a monosaccharide carbohydrate with the chemical formula C6H12O6.
Fructose is a natural sugar, and it is found in many fruits along with wholesome nutrients such as vitamins, minerals, enzymes, etc. It is the energy component of fruits, and the liver converts it to glucose which is then either used for immediate fuel needs or is stored as glycogen for later energy use.
For each molecule of fructose, the body forms one molecule of glucose, and thus the energy needs of the body can be efficiently met by natural fruit sugars.
Fructose when it is consumed in whole fruits is a wholesome fuel. When it is made into a refined powder or separated from the sucrose of which it is a part, fructose is a disruptive toxin.
In recent years, fructose has increasingly been refined and made into a fine white powder and sold as a “safe”, sugar substitute. While fructose use is promoted because of its presence in fruits, it is no different from white sugar because it is refined from white sugar.
In its refined state, fructose is a concentrated and toxic carbohydrate that has been stripped of all vital nutrients. It is a fuel devoid of nutrients, and is certainly not “health promoting.”
Refined fructose is very soluble and is absorbed by the mucosal cells of the intestinal tract at a rapid rate. This quick absorption fructose, without any co-existing nutrients, can cause the same harm as sucrose, or common white sugar.
Refined fructose intake can result in several toxic effects, such as: disrupted liver protein synthesis, acute hypoglycemia, elevation of blood fats, and general metabolic disturbances.
When you eat fructose along with other nutrients in the form of fruits, you are receiving a high-quality and complete body fuel. When refined and stripped of nutrients, “pure” fructose becomes a disruptive toxin in the body.
4.3 Maple Syrup
If it comes from a tree, it must be okay for you to eat, right? Wrong. While maple syrup comes from a natural source (like fructose and sucrose for that matter) and it does contain some nutrients, it still is a nutritionally unbalanced food. It undergoes high-heating and adulteration in its processing and manufacture.
Besides being concentrated and deadened by high heat, maple syrup may also be contaminated by paraformaldehyde which is used during the tapping process to destroy bacteria. Formaldehyde compounds are poisonous and certainly should not be eaten in food.
Maple syrup is rarely a pure food; other sugars and sweeteners may be mixed in and added without telling the consumer. Sugar, corn syrup, and other refined sugars can be used to stretch out the more expensive maple syrup. Maple syrup is not a pure and unprocessed product; high heating alone makes it inferior and undesirable in an optimum diet. The sugars present in the syrup have become concentrated beyond their natural strength by the introduction of heat in its manufacture. Maple syrup seems to be especially popular with vegans (people who eat no animal products, such as honey), however, they should be aware that maple syrup is still a refined sweetener that has no proper place in the human dietary.
Molasses is another highly heated sweetener like maple syrup. This food item is discussed in detail in another lesson as an example of a “junk food” product, so we will not go into detail in this lesson about it. Its use is chiefly promoted because it is a concentrated source of minerals (usually iron); however, the same process which concentrates the minerals (high heat, etc.) also destroys them. Further, pesticides and chemicals used in growing and processing are concentrated in the product. It becomes a heated, dead food that is a storehouse of toxic chemicals as well as toxic minerals. In addition, the high-sugar content of molasses is caramelized. It is poorly handled by humans. Molasses has no benefits. It is pathogenic from other nutritive aspects.
4.5 Honey—How Healthy Is It?
What could be more natural than honey? Health seekers have sung its praises for years, and it is promoted as a beneficial, healing food. Is honey a perfect food, easily digested, and toxin-free as so many writers would have us believe?
Actually, honey is little better than most of the other refined sweeteners and sugars. True, it can be had with little processing and no heating, but does that make it a natural food for man? The truth is that honey contributes to tooth decay, obesity, diabetes, and other diseases that white sugar use has been linked with.
Honey is defended as a wholesome food because it has been used for a long period, much like milk and dairy products. Like milk, honey is a food that is produced by an animal to feed its own species. It is not a natural food for man—it is a natural food for bees.
Honey is produced by the bees modifying the nectar of flowers with formic acid produced within their bodies. The bees regurgitate the honey after mixing. Water is evaporated from the honey by air currents generated by the wings of worker bees. The nectar is usually vomited up several times before it is mixed enough with the bees’ own preservative secretions.
The honey is also produced with various enzymes to meet the special needs of the bees themselves; consequently, the changes that occur in the production of honey are not amicable to man’s metabolism.
Bees are often robbed of their food product and forced to live on sugared water by their keepers. Often, poison sprays such as carbolic acid and benzaldehyde are sprayed into the hives (and onto the honey) to chase the bees away so that they may be robbed.
Most commercial honey is heated, filtered and processed. Even bees cannot live on heated honey for long. If fed such honey, the bees sicken and die. Honey may also be adulterated with white sugar syrup, corn syrup and other additives, so honey is rarely the “pure” product it’s advertised to be.
Honey is almost pure sugar and water. There is a minute amount of mineral material in honey, and it is this mineral content that health enthusiasts point to as a justification for using honey instead of white sugar. This argument is faulty because the mineral content is so low that you would need to eat 200 tablespoons of honey a day to meet your calcium requirements, 91 tablespoons for your potassium needs, and 267 tablespoons to satisfy your phosphorous needs. Obviously honey has minimal nutritional value for humans.
Honey has also been shown to destroy teeth even faster than white sugar. A study at Oregon State University demonstrated that some honeys may contain cancer-causing substances that the bees have extracted from certain flowers. Other honeys have been associated with botulism, an often fatal form of food poisoning.
Honey is not for the health-seeker; indeed, it is not for any human being. Honey is not for the birds either—it’s for the bees. They made it, let them eat it.
4.6 Sugars From Coal: Cyclamates and Saccharin
All the sweeteners discussed so far have been derived from plant sources either directly (corn syrup, white sugar, maple syrup) or indirectly (honey). Two popular sugar substitutes, however, come from coal-tar.
In 1879, a substitute for sugar was discovered that was 300 times as sweet as white sugar. Called saccharin, a pill the size of a pinhead can sweeten a cup of coffee.
In 1970, researchers at the University of Wisconsin reported a link between saccharin use and cancer of the bladder. Based upon this and other studies, the F.D.A attempted to ban the sweetener in 1977. A public uproar developed, however, because with the removal of saccharin from the market, there would be no way for diabetics and other people on a sugar-restricted diet to obtain concentrated sweeteners (or so the reasoning went). Congress therefore imposed a ban outlawing the removal of saccharin but required stores to post a notice indicating that products containing saccharin were sold there.
Needless to say, this artificial sweetener is dangerous enough to be banned, and should be avoided by ail people.
A relative of saccharin is a group of sweeteners known as cyclamates. Cyclamates were promoted in the 1950’s as a way for obese Americans to satisfy their sweet tooth without paying the price in calories. Cyclamates are 30 times sweeter than sugar and had been manufactured as early as 1937.
By 1969, about 175 million Americans were consuming 20 million pounds of cyclamates every year. In the next few years, medical reports stated that injury to fetuses, diarrhea, and damage to kidneys, the liver, the intestinal tract, the adrenal glands, and thyroid could be traced to cyclamate use.
Cyclamates were finally banned in 1969, about 14 years after their harmfulness was first revealed. Unfortunately, the refined sugar products, equally dangerous in their own way, are still allowed to be sold. Perhaps in a few more years, an enlightened public will demand the removal of white sugar and other sweeteners from their foods as well.
- 1. Introduction
- 2. Refined Sweeteners
- 3. Sugar: Where Does It All Come From?
- 4. The Cousins of Sugar
- 5. Some Final Thoughts about Sugars
- 6. Questions & Answers
- Article #1: Why Honey Is A Harmful Food By T.C. Fry
- Article #2: More About Honey By T.C. Fry
- Article #3: Blackstrap Molasses: Super Junk Food By T.C. Fry