Vegucation Over Medication
Dr. Bobby Price
Plant-Based Pharmacist; Fitness & Nutrition Expert
Sugar addiction. We have a bittersweet relationship with sugar. Most of us wouldn’t disagree that sugar is bad for our health, yet Americans consume an average of 160 pounds of added sugar every year. Let me help put that in perspective: two hundred years ago, the annual consumption per person was 18 pounds. Next time you’re in the grocery store, grab 18 pounds of sugar and hold it in your hand if you can just to get a better perspective. Then imagine yourself carrying around 160 pounds up and down the aisles. It would be a huge understatement to say Americans are in love with sugar, and probably more appropriate to say there’s an obsession or borderline addiction. To some extent, we’re programmed to want sugar; after all, glucose is the primary form of fuel our bodies need for energy to perform the majority of our biological functions. However, the added sugar we’re eating by the pounds is more of a poison than a love potion. Sugar addiction.
Sugar addiction. Throughout this chapter, I’ll explain how sugar is directly related to obesity, heart disease, cancer, lowered immunity, metabolic syndrome, tooth decay, and how food companies have cleverly hidden sugar in many of the foods we eat to feed our addiction. I also explain the dark history of our deep-seated fascination with our sweet tooth. First, let me give you some foundation of my philosophy. I take a holistic approach to every aspect of life, not just healing. Instead of examining just the part of a whole to treat, like traditional medicine does, I look at the whole to see how all the parts work in unison so that I can see how nature heals itself. So when I hear the word ‘sugar,’ I understand it in context, not as just a part. In nature, sugar does not exist alone. It is always taken from a whole. In very much the same way if I were to remove your heart from your body, you would cease to exist, and your heart would lose purpose and function. Sugar addiction.
Sugar addiction. When we refer to sugar as a form of nutrition, it is called glucose. In nature, you will only find glucose as part of a carbohydrate matrix. Glucose is produced as the by-product of carbohydrates being broken down during digestion and is transported in the blood to the brain, muscles, and other critical cells to be utilized as energy. These molecules are called carbohydrates because they contain carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen in the same ratio as water (H2O), which comprises roughly 75% of the earth and our bodies. Despite this evolutionary propensity towards a sweet tooth, humans did not develop an obsession for the taste of white sugar until the American continents established the sugar industry via slave trade in the Caribbean. In 1537, the first sugar refinery was established in Germany, primarily for sugar cane. Up until the middle of the 18th century, sugar was considered a luxury and commonly referred to as ‘The White Gold.’ By the 1700s, the average person consumed four pounds of sugars annually; by the 1800s, about 18 pounds; and then in the 1900s, it spiked to 90 pounds. By the year 2009, Americans were gorging themselves on 170 pounds of sugar annually. That’s nearly 1/2 pound of sugar daily! This increase has been marked by similar trends in health decline and disease. Sugar addiction.
Sugar addiction. In 1660, Britain discovered that sugar was so profitable it passed the Navigation Act of 1660 preventing transport of sugar outside of British territories, and by 1662, they were importing 16 million pounds of sugar. Just three years later, London was swept by the bubonic plague, and over 68,000 people died. In 1674, the first case of diabetes mellitus was mentioned in the British Pharmaceutice Rationalis. By 1792 the Anti-Saccharite Society had been formed in Europe to educate society on the dangers of sugar to the public’s health. In 1812, Napoleon Bonaparte awarded Benjamin Delessert with the Legion of Honor for discovering how to process beets, a root vegetable, into sugar to replace the dependency on sugar cane, which was the primary source of sugar coming from British colonies in the Caribbean. Sugar cane cannot be grown in harsh weather conditions that are prevalent in Europe because it requires a tropical environment as compared to the beets. By 1900, America took the lead in worldwide sugar consumption, overtaking Britain. At the turn of the century, the top two killers of Americans were influenza and pneumonia at number one, and tuberculosis at number two. Sugar addiction.
Sugar addiction. In 1918, between 50 and 100 million people died worldwide during the influenza pandemic, making it one of the deadliest natural disasters in history. Here’s another sweet moment in history. In 1970, due to the political climate and trade restrictions in cane sugar producing countries, high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) was introduced to the US food system. It had been invented in Japan by a scientist, Yoshiyuki Takasaki, in 1966. In an attempt to win political points with voters, Richard Nixon instructed his secretary of agriculture to come up with ways to make food cheaper. HFCS made its way into the American food supply because it was cheaper and sweeter than table sugar. Then in the 1980s, in response to the fat-free fad pushed by the American Heart Association and USDA, it was added to virtually every processed food to compensate for the removal of fat. But everyone failed to do the necessary research to determine what was this Franken-sugar we had decided to add to everything. What is important for you to know is the fructose in HFCS is nothing like glucose, the sugar your body uses for energy. Sugar addiction.
Sugar addiction. It can’t even be compared to the fructose in fruits. No form of added sugar can be compared to sugars in whole foods. Whether added sugar is extracted from cane or beets or created in a lab like HFCS, it always requires chemical processing. What may be more confusing is when we look at the sugar composition of most fruits, which is typically 42% to 50% fructose, and the remaining is glucose, while table sugar, by comparison, is 50/50, so it appears no harm no foul because the ratios are so similar. But I can assure you all sugar isn’t created equal, especially HFCS. HFCS is extracted from ‘dent’ corn, which is not edible unless it goes through a refining process. This industrial food product is far from natural. The process by which HFCS is extracted from corn stalks is so secret that Cargill and Archer Daniels Midland refuses to allow investigative reporters to review the process. The word ‘high’ refers specifically to the high concentration of fructose compared to glucose in an unbound form.
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