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Dr. Kennedy, sugar addictionby Ron Kennedy, M.D.
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Addiction to Sugar

E-mail, sugar addiction, healing sweet tooth

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"Sugar" is a term applied loosely to any of a number of chemical compounds. They all are simple carbohydrates, soluble in water, colorless, odorless and form crystals at room temperature. Sugars come in molecules with as few as three carbon atoms per molecule, to as many as nine carbon atoms per molecule. These are known by the family names trios, tetrose, pentose, hexose, heptose, octose and nonose. In each case, the carbons are formed in the shape of a ring with the "last" carbon atom being attached to the "first." Sugars come as single-ring, double-ring and triple-ring molecules called "monosaccharides," "disaccharides" and "trisaccharides," respectively.

Although all these forms are found in nature, by far the most common are the hexoses: six carbon structures with the empirical formula C6 H12 O6, which simply indicates the presence of six carbon atoms, twelve hydrogen atoms and six oxygen atoms.

The most important of the hexose sugars in human metabolism are glucose and galactose. One other "-ose" is important: the five carbon molecule (pentose) called "fructose" (also known as "fruit sugar").

The human body manufactures these simple sugars in the so-called "Kreb's cycle" (also known as the "citric acid cycle"), which is designed to release the energy which is the driving force of life. Glucose is the major source of energy for the muscles and nervous tissue of the body. The body knows very well how to maintain a perfect balance of glucose unless it is presented with unnatural amounts.

Sugar is not ordinarily ingested into the body in the form of these simple monosaccharides, but rather as the disaccharide sugars maltose, lactose and sucrose. The body treats these disaccharides with enzymes and acid and quickly breaks them down to their component parts: two molecules of glucose in the case of maltose, one glucose and one galactose in the case of lactose and one glucose and one fructose in the case of sucrose. Sucrose is ordinary table sugar. The major source of lactose is milk and milk products and the major source of maltose is barley grain.

In human nutrition, the major source of concern for a person who wants to live a healthy life is sucrose and, to a lesser degree, lactose and maltose as all three frequently are used as food additives in processed foods.

As a basic foodstuff, sucrose supplies approximately thirteen percent of the energy derived from food. This is an average figure, of course, with some foods having more sucrose than others.

Food in natural form presents no metabolic problems when consumed in variety. Consuming a variety of fruits and vegetables, for example, presents no metabolic problems a normal body cannot readily deal with.

Sugar Extraction

Sucrose is present in limited quantity in many plants including various palms and the sugar maple. However, sugar beet and sugarcane are the only commercially important sources with sugarcane being the more important of the two. Sugar is extracted in similar manner from sugar beets and sugarcane, and this extraction technique is less than 200 years old. In both cases, the plant is crushed to produce juice in a process called "grinding." During grinding, hot water is sprayed over the crushed material to dissolve out additional sucrose. Lime is added, and the mixture is heated to boiling.

During this heating, organic acids form insoluble compounds with the lime, and this is then filtered off along with other solid impurities. The juice is then treated with gaseous sulfur dioxide to bleach it and passed through further filtration. The resulting clear juice is heated to evaporate off the water content. All of this is done in a partial vacuum. The sugar becomes sufficiently concentrated to crystallize. The part which does not crystallize is called "molasses," and it is forced out through rapidly spinning the entire mixture in a large centrifuge, leaving what is called "first sugar." This first sugar is sprayed with water to remove any molasses still present, then redissolved, decolorized and recrystallized.

The final product is table sugar. Not only is this product at a concentration unknown in nature, even in the sugar beet or the sugar cane, it also is stripped of any redeeming nutritional value that may have been present in the original plant.

The Impact of the Sugar Extraction Industry

The purpose of outlining this process for you is to allow you to see for yourself just how unnatural commercial sucrose — table sugar — really is. It would be a miracle if the body were prepared to deal with this stuff, given that nothing like it exists in nature.

The unfortunate fact of life is that this stuff also adds good taste to whatever it is added to and, to make matters even worse, it is strongly addicting. It can be no surprise that sucrose is used as an almost universal constituent of processed foods, all with government approval as long as the package is clearly marked to indicate the presence of sucrose. This is a classic example of the government's hands-off attitude toward the food industry: caveat emptor — let the buyer beware.

When this process of purification of sucrose was first invented, it was carried out by hand and only small quantities of table sugar could be made. It was so expensive, only royalty and other very rich people could afford to consume it as regular fare. Degenerative diseases were once the privilege of the rich. Now everyone can afford them.

To make matters worse, all food manufacturers know of the taste and addiction qualities of sucrose, and almost all of them are willing to use sucrose, or its breakdown product glucose, as a food additive without discrimination to increase their sales of processed foods. Glucose is used as a cheap filler and tastes less sweet than sucrose, disguising from your taste buds the large amount of simple sugar you are introducing into your body. On the label, all this masquerades as "syrup," usually "corn syrup." Thus your mind is deceived, along with your sense of taste.

The Effect of Simple Sugars on the Human Body

The key to health is the moderate consumption of complex carbohydrates — from natural food sources, such as fresh vegetables and, to a lesser extent, cooked vegetables — balanced with intake of protein from a clean source, such as organically grown soy products. Anything less than this is a compromise and will eventually affect your health and/or longevity. While it is true that this stuff breaks down to simple sugars in a few hours, if you take your carbs in this fashion, the quantity will be tolerable, and it will come with other nutrients.

It is very likely that you are addicted to sugar. A sugar addict can find ways to rationalize the addiction. Sugar addiction is so common in industrialized Western nations as to be unrecognizable. If you grew up in a culture where everyone — every single person from the time a cigarette could be held in the hand — smoked and where practically nothing was said about it, you would come to accept it as a natural fact of life. (Europe is almost such a place.) You would not think of yourself as addicted to tobacco, as there would be no one in your environment with whom to compare yourself. They would all be busy smoking, just like you. Thus, it is with sugar. Fish in the ocean ask no questions about dry land.

Probably, you are saying to yourself, "Yea, I eat a little sugar but not too much." This is what I call "addict's logic": "I can smoke a cigarette here and there without becoming a smoker again"; "I can have just one drink without becoming an alcoholic again"; "I will just have a little cake, or a candy bar here and there." Certainly, and then revert to sucking down large quantities of hidden sugar in processed foods. Just because it's in the grocery store does not mean it is good to eat. Caveat emptor! Let the buyer beware!

Degenerative diseases caused by regular sugar consumption include the following.

hypoglycemia diabetes
chronic constipation       chronic stomach upset
intestinal gas arthritis
asthma headaches
osteoporosis heart disease
obesity chronic Candida infection
tooth decay inflammatory bowel disease
This is not a complete list of the diseases believed to be caused by chronic long-term sucrose consumption, but these are the diseases in which it is easiest to see a relationship. Other diseases in which the consumption of sugar is implicated are:

psoriasis cancer
multiple sclerosis      canker sores
gall stones cystic fibrosis
You can have any of these degenerative diseases and be unaware of it for years.

Your point of view may be "Okay, Dr. K., but I do not have any of these diseases." Right, you may not, and if not, it is only because you are young and have not yet done sufficient damage to the systems of your body. The diseases people ordinarily die from are degenerative diseases, and it requires at least several years to create a clinically symptomatic degenerative disease. Degenerative diseases exist long before they become obvious. If you are a sugarholic, you are somewhere to be found in the degenerative disease process.

Here is a list of the minerals required to digest sugar: calcium, phosphorus, chromium, magnesium, cobalt, copper, zinc and manganese. These minerals are the so-called "co-factors" necessary for the proper functioning of the enzyme systems, including the enzyme systems required to metabolize sugar. These minerals have been stripped away in the refining process which produces sugar. Also, the mechanisms which produce glucose from complex carbohydrates, proteins and fats simply shut down from disuse when you continue a steady diet of simple sugars. If you don't use it you lose it.

Thus, you become dependent on an outside source of glucose, i.e., addicted. This source usually is sucrose. Also, you lose the ability to metabolize sugar and keep it in a healthy range within the cells. You may have a normal blood sugar and a normal glucose tolerance test. Under these conditions, your doctor will tell you "no problemo." Don't believe it! A normal blood glucose and/or glucose tolerance test only proves that your pancreas is still healthy enough to shunt a large load of sugar to inside the cells. It is within the cells themselves where sugar does its damage.

The evolution of our enzyme systems required millions of years, and throughout those millions of years purified sugar was not available. Therefore, your body simply is not programmed to handle anything more than the quantity of simple sugars present in, for example, a couple of peaches or a couple of apples. Those peaches or apples, by the way, come with their mineral supply — and loads of other nutrients — intact. You can even overdose on natural foods and take a large hit of sugar from fruit, for example, especially dried fruit. It also is easy to juice six apples or six oranges and gulp your juice down in ten minutes whilst thinking what a wonderful thing you are doing for your body.

The first enzyme systems of your body which are upset by refined sugar are your digestive enzymes, because these are the first encountered by the sugar you put in your mouth. Because these enzymes are disabled by abnormal concentrations of sugar, food passes through your digestive tract in an undigested or a partially digested state.

Some of these large molecules enter your body through the walls of your small intestines in this undigested or partially digested state. Your body recognizes these large molecules as foreign tissue and makes antibodies to them. Thus, do food allergies develop.

Most people get twenty percent of their calories from refined sugar, an average of 130 pounds (59 kilos) per year. This is a massive and continuing upset for the body.

The usual calcium/phosphorus ratio in the serum is 10:2, a ratio of ten mg. calcium for every two mg. phosphorous per liter of serum. The ingestion of sugar alters this ratio by decreasing the phosphorus and increasing the calcium. Because calcium and phosphorus work together in the enzymatic systems of the body, a phosphorus deficiency is sensed by the body as a calcium deficiency as well as a phosphorus deficiency. The body has no readily available source of phosphorus; however, it certainly does have a ready source of calcium. Therefore, your bones and teeth are robbed of calcium to deal with this imbalance, and the result is osteoporosis of bones throughout the body and weakened tooth structure.

This extra calcium, without a complement of phosphorus to balance it, is toxic. Calcium can be in deficient supply, even though the concentration may be above normal, because insufficient phosphorus is present to enable the body to use it. Therefore, the odd situation arises of toxicity from calcium, which also is in deficient supply as far as availability to the enzyme systems is concerned.

This is called "nonfunctioning calcium," and it leads to kidney stones, arthritis, hardening of the arteries, cataracts and plaque on the teeth. In extreme imbalance, massive calcium tumors may form in the body.

Calcium caseinate, along with oxidized cholesterol, is a major component of atherosclerotic plaques found on blood vessel walls in people with hardened arteries. This is the major cause of heart attack, and this situation can develop at a very young age thanks to degenerative illness driven by habitual simple sugar ingestion.

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Symptoms of Sugar Addiction:

  • hypoglycemia
  • diabetes
  • chronic constipation
  • chronic stomach upset
  • intestinal gas
  • arthritis
  • asthma
  • headaches
  • osteoporosis
  • heart disease
  • obesity
  • chronic Candida infection
  • tooth decay
  • inflammatory bowel disease

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The information in this article is not meant to be medical advice.
Treatment for a medical condition should come at the recommendation of your personal physician.

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