The human body is a precise balance and a very very delicate machine. Of course, we abuse it almost from the start, not realizing until later that we have taken it for granted. An anonymous comment from one of our readers concerning the blog on HFCS asked if cane sugar might be OK. As well, the reader commented that there was perhaps something added to the HFCS that created something in our bodies that led us to never be fully satiated - leading to larger and larger quantities. Unless somebody can prove differently, I can only tell you that it is the 'sugar' that creates this habit of wanting more. It is psychological. Like any harmful drug that feels or tastes good - you want more and more. If a manufacturer creates a larger size, then the average consumer might assume that this OK - and it is not!
As for Cane Sugar, the question is not that it is bad for you - but is it necessarily good? Well, the answer is that it is not good for you, but neither is it like a potent drug either - unless you consume it frequently and in large doses. I suggest doing without it if you can.... but who can these days? So, it might be worth noting that humans really need sugar as much as they might need the nicotine in cigarettes. The information is confusing though - primarily because there's much money riding on its consumption .... typical!
Let's start with some of the sugars out there that are usually similar but different nonetheless and see if that helps us:
Glucose: a naturally occurring sugar found commonly in our fruits and vegetables. It is a key material in the metabolism of all plants and animals. Many of the foods we consume are converted into glucose in our bodies. It is always present in our blood streams (hence the term blood-sugar).
Maltose: malt sugar
Lactose: milk sugar
Dextrose: a corn sugar derived synthetically from starch
Fructose: fruit sugar
When we hear about sugar we are usually confused (sometimes on purpose) between the naturally occurring and the synthetic - between the glucose (naturally occurring) and the sucrose (the synthetic). We mentioned the content of glucose in the blog on HFCS - so we won't go into here. As well, you need to beware of any time a manufacturer boasts that something is 'made FROM natural ingredients' especially if the label is not also telling you that there are no additives, etc. We say this because even REFINED sugar is made FROM natural ingredients. Pure cane sugar (especially the organic) is a natural source of sweetener when it is considered in its purest form - in the cane. It does contain some natural sources of vitamins and minerals. But, generally it is still a sugar and it's benefits are limited. When we talk about refined sugars (the white or brown stuff) we are usually talking about something far less beneficial - something that can even be considered 'naked' , or a more exact word: 'empty'.
Refined sugar is especially degenerative because in refinement it has been depleted of its natural life forces, vitamins, and minerals. What is left after refinement, even in brown sugar, is a product that contains pure, refined carbohydrates. The body naturally does not really need this product because the refined starch and carbos in it are without any natural proteins, vitamins, or minerals, and, as such, it does nothing for you in the longer term. Nature normally supplies these elements in the original source (the cane in this case) sufficient only to metabolize the carbo in that particular plant.
Worse, when the sugar is ingested it can act more like a leach because instead of adding anything meaningful to the body it can
act in the reverse - draining the body of its natural and precious vitamins and minerals through the demand its digestion, detoxification, and elimination makes on the entire system. The body REACTS to the sugar rather than harmonizes with it. It throws off the bodies natural balance. This means that the body mobilizes its minerals (such as sodium, potassium, and magnesium, and calcium) in defense. The body generally produces neutral acids to return the bodies blood supply to a normal balance of acid-alkaline. This requires the body to use energy and, of course, then depletes it!
At its worst sugar consumption can lead to the depletion of calcium (from your teeth and bones). From there, if sugar is taken in continually, it can affect the liver, which initially stores the excess in the form of glucose. The liver, when its had enough, will then return the overflow to the blood system which then deposits the fatty acids to the most inactive parts of the body like the tummy, the breasts, the thighs, and the buttox!!! Eventually, if this continues, then even those parts of the body start to distribute it to other parts - which leads to the active organs like the heart and kidneys. Over time, the by-product of the sugar degenerates the tissues of these organs into fat! It isn't long before the body starts to act abnormally and is weakened. A weak central core affects all the correlating entities - and then you've got problems! The body becomes weak, destabilized, and vulnerable to illness and disease. And, then there is the brain. Gradually depleted of its natural vitamins you become sleepy - the normal functioning is altered.
For most, if not all, people the ingestion of sugar won't kill you outright. It is more that the body is, over time, weakened by it. It is not a pretty picture, even if it looks sweet in the short term.
Sugar, as a product and an industry, is a very big subject to tackle and in this article we can only touch much of the surface. It is hard to escape and harder still to do completely without. But, if you really are concerned, then you should at least consider cutting the consumption levels down - especially for your kids. There are many arguments now for the adverse effects that sugar can have on our children - some might even seem radical. But, to us here at Nonchalant Mom, the links are becoming more and more sound. Sugar, especially refined sugar, has NO natural benefits to us humans.... even if it makes things seem to taste better!
We strongly recommend reading William Dufty's (in)famous book called 'Sugar Blues'. At Nonchalant Mom we strongly believe that at some point in the future sugar will be considered in the same light as cigarette smoking is now..... and that's no joke!