REFINED WHITE SUGAR

Updated: May 7

A report for school that was written by our very own Elsie:


There are many negative effects from refined white sugar, but literally no benefits. So why is it so plentiful in the grocery stores today? That’s a very good question. Today we will explore the reasons for that, as well as the way it is processed in our bodies, health problems created by it, how it’s processed in the factory, history surrounding it, related chemicals, and natural alternatives.

There are a few reasons that it is so common and overused in our American culture today. One: it tastes good! Two: it’s cheap. (look at the price of regular white sugar compared to natural sweeteners like honey or maple syrup!) And three: it is addictive…once you start eating it, it’s hard to stop!

The way it works in your body: You have a fat storage hormone in your body called insulin. When you eat sugar, your insulin is disrupted and spikes, which can lead to lower levels of important protein known as SHBG (sex hormone binding globulin). This binds excess estrogen and testosterone in the blood…but when insulin is low, these hormone levels increase. With high insulin and low SHBG, you have more free, active testosterone and estrogen in your bloodstream, causing infertility and hormone imbalances. Insulin increases production of testosterone, which is then converted into even more estrogen by fat tissue in the belly. This means the ratio of estrogen to progesterone (which keeps us calm and happy) is too high; leading to irritability, anxiety, and insomnia. Symptoms worsen when you reach menopause; including hot flashes and night sweats. Insulin also causes glucose levels to spike and plummet. Unstable blood sugar can give you mood swings, fatigue, headaches, and more.

There are so many health problems related to sugar consumption! The most obvious one is obesity. The reason being what we discussed in the paragraph about insulin. This can be seen even in children in our society. How depressing! This all stems from poor gut health. Have you ever heard the term “all disease begins in the gut?” It would make sense then, that since sugar destroys the gut, it also leads to many diseases and health issues. Some more are mood swings, nervousness, irritability, and depression…which are all because of the estrogen-progesterone ratio that we discussed earlier. Inflammation, suppressed immune system, tooth decay, food allergies, headaches (including migraines), are a few more. With such a long list of issues directly related to sugar, you’d think fewer people would be consuming this poison!

Maybe you’d like to hear more! It also feeds cancer cells, upsets mineral relationships in your body, provides an acidic digestive tract, lowers enzymes’ ability to function, can exacerbate the symptoms of PMS, induces salt and water retention, and also can increase the amount of food a person thinks they need. It is no wonder that those who avoid sugar report having fewer cravings while overall feeling more emotionally balanced and energized.

How it’s processed…It gets it’s pure white color from the carbon filtration and ion exchange. The molasses has been removed which is why it is not brown, and also why there are no health benefits in it.

In the 18th century, sugar was a luxury and, due to the profit it made, was referred to as “White Gold”. Because of the suitable climate of the Caribbean, the sugar industry was started by the American Continents.

Here are a few statistics that explain why obesity, diabetes, and other health issues are so much more prevalent in America today than they were 100 years ago. In the early 1900’s an average person consumed five to seven pounds of sweeteners per year (natural sweeteners, of course). Nowadays, the average American consumes almost 152 pounds in one year. This is equal to 3 pounds (or 6 cups) in one week, and ¼ - ½ pound every single day!

Notice the people that eat fast food regularly. You are likely to see individuals that are overweight, move slowly, have terrible skin, little energy, and don’t look happy or thriving in life. Of course, we all know that eating well is not the complete road to happiness… and also there are exceptions to that statement since outward appearances do not always reveal what’s going on inside someone’s body. But, because of all the facts we heard earlier, that stereo-type just makes perfect sense.

I used to work in the factory of a manufacturing company. A typical picture of an individual walking by would be: tired face, slow waddle, a can of soda in one hand, and bag of chips in the other. Just think how much more work would get done in that factory if everyone ate food that gave them energy and improved their moods!

To further prove my point, I want to give another example where real food could improve a situation: I recently sang with a group of friends at an assisted living facility and happened to notice something very disturbing. Here are many elderly people in the last few years of their lives who are suffering from brittle or broken bones, dementia, arthritis, Alzheimer’s, bruises, and many other aches and pains. I always feel so sorry for these poor people, but this time I paid attention to what they were being fed. A can of sprite, packaged chocolate pudding, canned soups, and on and on. They’re hurrying these people right along to their graves! I realize that they’re going to die before long anyway, but can’t they at least make the remainder of their lives a bit less miserable by preventing or helping weak bones, confused minds, and low energy levels?

With all the reasons we have already listed for why you should stop eating sugar, it may surprise you that there are some other chemicals that are actually just as bad or even worse for you than sugar. One example for this is white flour. When it reaches your bloodstream, it acts just the same as white sugar. Another would be high fructose corn syrup: without a doubt, this is tge processed food industry’s sweetener of choice because it is very sweet and also very cheap. And one that is far worst is Aspartame… this is a chemical used to substitute for sugar so that items can be labeled “sugar-free” in the grocery store. But in the end this should be avoided even more carefully than real sugar!

Here is a quote from Wardee Harmon of the Traditional Cooking School in her book “Fundamentals II”.

“Sugar makes us fat because when you eat it, your blood sugar levels rise. Your pancreas sends out insulin to grab up the extra sugar in the blood, converting it to glycogen for fuel, instead of transferring fat out of your cells.”

If you are interested in avoiding sugar now that you know how dangerous it really is, here are a few natural sweetener options and healthy alternatives. Sucanat, rapadura, stevia, coconut sugar, real maple syrup, raw honey, blackstrap molasses, dates and date sugar.

I hope you enjoyed this report on refined white sugar. I also hope it convinced you to maybe eat a little less of it and reap the health benefits of your efforts.


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