Sugar is made from white beets (the same family as beetroot) or cane. The beet is cut into chips and is kept in hot water for an hour. The water (now a juice) is retained and the pulpy beet chips are squeezed of excess water which is added to the juice. The pulp is dried and set aside for animal feed. The juice must now be cleaned by growing pieces of chalk in the solution. When the chalk is removed, non-sugar elements are removed as well because these have become ‘stuck’ to the chalk. The liquid sugar is now very dilute and needs concentrating by evaporation. The final stage is to boil the residue in a large pan until crystals form.
Cane sugar follows a similar process except that the left over pulp from cane is not subjected to the chalk and the resulting molasses is a nutritious and edible human food.
At this point the sugars have not been subjected to a bleaching process.
The use of sulphites is ubiquitous in the food industry including sugar and does not have to be declared if under a certain percentage. It is the manufacturing industry’s big confusing secret and why it is possible to produce and store all food stuffs from anywhere in the world because if under 10 parts per million (ppm) it doesn’t have to be declared on the label. Most sugars unless organic have had sulphites added to them according to the University of Florida’s article on sulphites. There are many individuals who are sensitive to minuscule doses of sulphites and this could be the reason why small amounts of sugar causes the problems it does in some people.
Sensitivity to added sulphites produces an immune system reaction, which causes inflammation in the body. If this source of inflammation is not addressed it will cause disease, arthritis being one of them and obesity another. It may not be the sugar that is the cause of disease but the allergic reaction to sulphites.
Do we need sugar?
The body to be able to operate must have glucose, it is the body’s fuel. Sugar is broken down to glucose in the body. It is found in grains, root vegetables and fruit. It can also be in milk and meat products. Glucose from sugar is the brain’s fuel and the energy for every cell including the muscles to operate.
Glucose is expected in the body which is why there are important systems for the sugar from food to be broken down, transported and utilised. Insulin unlocks the cell to allow glucose in where it is required. Insulin is a hormone and is made from animal fats and minerals.
How does the body obtain the fuel it must have?
The body gains its glucose and all nutrients by breaking down the food source to smaller particles. Protein is broken down to amino-acids, grains and vegetables are broken down to their various sugars including glucose and fructose and other sugars like inulin.
In grains the phytic acid which acts like armour plating to protect the nutrients in the grain, must be broken down by an enzyme phytase, which is reduced or lost when the grain is finely ground. Phytic acid if not broken down can play havoc in the gut causing disease. When the gut is upset, it cannot adequately absorb nutrients from food.
There are two types of fibre to consider, the harsh outer fibre or insoluble fibre that needs phytase to break it down so that the digestive system can get to the nutrients inside the grain, vegetable or fruit, and the soluble fibre that is inside the food source. This fibre is not as we would imagine a fibre to be, it is a variety of different ‘sugars’ which dissolve hence the word soluble.
Grains traditionally were always fermented to break down the phytic acid and this has been conveniently by-passed with the adoption of mechanical processes, and is one reason why wheat flour is so bad for us; another is the amount of chemicals used on the wheat grain from seed to flour enhancement.
The harsh outer fibre of root vegetables must always be peeled and discarded for the same reason as breaking down the phytic acid, the gut cannot process this fibre and it causes gut disease. Unlike all advice, fibre is bad for the gut and is the cause of constipation.
Ideally the body should gain the sugars it needs from grains, seeds, nuts, pulses, vegetables and fruits as well as from meat and fats. However the processing of these foods and the chemical usage can upset the digestion processes and we may not be getting the nutrients nor the sugars the body must have from our food.
Complications of too much sugar
If we consume too many glucose containing foods from any source including sugar, the liver stores the resulting glucose as glycogen, a store of energy for the immediate future. If there is too much glucose waiting to be stored, the glycogen that was previously stored, if it can’t be used as energy is taken to various sites to store it as fat.
This poor quality fat from sugars is also used as a healing methodology by the body, therefore if the arteries are showing signs of wear and tear, the fat will build up in the arteries to heal, which is why heart disease is thought to be caused by fat. The wear and tear in the arteries is actually caused by a lack of animal fats, gristle and oils (plant and fish), and a lack of minerals. The fat required for repair is from the fat and gristle of animals, oils from fish and mussels, and extra virgin olive oil.
Organic natural unrefined sugar is not a source of ill-health although one school of thought is that cancer cells are fed by sugar, therefore those with cancer should refrain from eating sugar. This is a massive complication because the substances that convert to glucose in the body is found in some of the very foods that cancer patients are advised to eat – fruit and vegetables.
Another study found that adding sugar to an antibiotic medicine, caused the pathogenic bacteria to feed off the sugar and take in the antibiotic so killing the pathogen; whereas previously the pathogenic bacteria had learned to go to sleep in the presence of antibiotics and wake themselves up weeks later to re-infect.
So how does one address the sugar issue? It would seem that small amounts of sugar products grown organically and made without sulphites or chemicals are not necessarily bad for you but over consumption is.
For energy we need the constant flow of sugar in the form of glycogen from the liver. Glycogen is the product of glucose which is the product of sugar from sugar itself, or grains, or vegetables or fruits.
Consumption of sugar provides immediate energy and the brain looks for this source first before the liver releases the glycogen. Therefore when consuming sugar there may be an energy dip and more sugar is consumed to supply the energy gap. Therefore the best form of food for a constant supply of energy is from fermented grains and peeled and cooked vegetables and fruits.
What is healthy?
Eating the odd tea-spoonful of organic, unrefined and non-sulphited sugar to provide some energy at a low energy ebb is not going to cause disease. If disease is present then it makes sense to avoid sugar.
As with all foods these days it appears to be that it isn’t the actual food that is the problem but the way it is grown, the chemical usage and the way it is processed.
A new study is now suggesting that we should eat 10 portions a day of 3 ounces each. The WHO [World Health Organisation] who originally suggested 5 portions have yet to comment. Canada and the US have always stated 9 portions. But 3 ounces a portion appears to be far too much especially when one considers the sugars the body would have to process.
However there appears to be a flaw in the study. The study compares those eating the fruit and veg to those not eating any fruit and veg. This begs the question: What were those who didn’t eat fruit and veg eating instead? Bread, pies, biscuits, crisps, snacks, macdonalds? They would surely get ill eating that lot. Another point is that the reduction to disease from eating 5 fruit and veg to eating 10 was not that big a reduction in some cases just a 13% reduction in cardio vascular disease. If eating so much fruit and veg was so healthy why didn’t the study show higher percentages?
Universities do teach that the body can heal itself. It is designed to do this and most cells heal or renew within 2 to 7 years. The criteria to heal comes from what we eat, what we do and what we think in other words: the right nutrition, the right movements and the right thinking. Which is what I did to heal myself from CFS/ME.
An interesting and very informative article about all Beets, the good, the bad and the ugly can be read at the Wellbeingsecret website.