Like refined grains, Refined sugar is considered one of the most harmful foods consumed today.
In 1915, the national average of sugar consumption per year was 15 to 20 pounds per person. On average, we now consume our weight in sugar each year, plus over 20 pounds of corn syrup. Some people consume much less than the average figure, which means that there is a percentage of the population that consumes a great deal more refined sugar than their body weight each year. This large amount of refined carbohydrates causes considerable damage in the body.
Sugar is refined by a process of extraction or separation. Refined sugar, such as white table sugar or confectioner’s sugar, is commonly made from sugar cane or sugar beets. Through heating and mechanical and chemical processing, every nutrient is removed until only the sugar remains.
The sugar cane and sugar beets are first harvested and then chopped into small pieces. Then the juice is squeezed out and mixed with water. This liquid is then heated and lime is added. Moisture is boiled away, and the remaining fluid is pumped into vacuum pans to concentrate the juice.
At this point, the liquid starts to crystallize and is ready to be placed into a centrifuge machine where any remaining residues or byproducts, like molasses, are spun away. The crystals are then boiled and passed through charcoal filters. After the crystals condense, they are bleached—usually by the use of pig or cattle bones.
During the refining process, 64 food elements are destroyed. All the potassium, magnesium, calcium, iron, manganese, phosphate, and sulfate are removed. Vitamins A, D, and B are destroyed. Amino acids, vital enzymes, unsaturated fats, and all fiber are removed.
All refined sweeteners such as syrups undergo similar destructive processes. Sometimes processing itself leaves harmful substances in the finished product. High fructose corn syrup (HFCS) has been found to contain heavy metal residues from processing.
In 1957, Dr. William Coda Martin tried to determine when a food is a poison and when it is a true food. Here is his definition of poison:
Medically: Any substance applied to the body, ingested or developed within the body, which causes or may cause disease.
Physically: Any substance which inhibits the activity of a catalyst which is a minor substance, chemical or enzyme that activates a reaction.
And the Merriam-Webster Dictionary gives this definition for poison: “a substance that through its chemical action usually kills, injures, or impairs an organism.”i
Dr. Martin classified refined sugar (a refined carbohydrate) as a poison because it has been depleted of its nutritional co-factors. He wrote that what is left after the “refinement” process, our bodies can’t use, because we can’t digest it.
Your body needs the vitamins and minerals that are stripped away when sugar is made. Without those co-factors, your body cannot safely use refined sugar.ii Refined sugar is “more of a pharmaceutical drug than it is a nurturing food.”iii
Sir Frederick Banting, who discovered insulin, noticed in 1929 that sugar plantation owners in Panama who ate large amounts of their refined crop commonly had diabetes. The hired cane cutters got to chew only the raw cane, with no incidence of diabetes among them.iv
When we eat refined sugar—or refined carbohydrates in general—our bodies take nutrients from healthy cells to metabolize this incomplete food. However, the body is not designed to store extra minerals, enzymes, vitamins, and proteins. Instead, we were given sound minds so that we would make wise whole food choices! Therefore, when we eat refined sugars, our supply of nutrients such as calcium, sodium, potassium, and magnesium are depleted in order to make the sugar usable by our bodies.
It doesn’t take long until mineral deficiencies and mineral imbalances result, and those problems bring on physical disorders such as diabetes and osteoporosis.
Dentist Melvin Page discovered one type of mineral imbalance caused by eating refined sugar. Appalled by the widespread occurrence of dental cavities and jaw bone deterioration in his patients, Dr. Page began analyzing patient blood samples and found that those patients who had abnormal calcium to phosphorus ratios in their blood also had cavities and bone loss.
GreenFacts Digest, an independent, non-profit organization that summarizes scientific reports on various topics for the general public and reports the consensus, concurs with Dr. Page’s findings about sugar and cavities:
Sugars are the most important dietary factor in the development of dental caries. Worldwide studies on human populations show…a strong correlation exists between both the amount and frequency of sugar consumption and the development of caries, even in countries that use preventative measures such as water fluoridation. In addition to solid foods, consumption of sugary drinks also increases the risk of developing dental cavities. Studies have shown that starches are generally a much lower risk factor in developing dental caries than sugars. However, when starches are cooked or combined with sugars, the risk is greater.
What about fruit? Does eating fruit also cause tooth decay?
As part of a normal mixed diet, there is little evidence that fruit causes caries or diabetes. Animal studies have shown that when fruit is consumed in very high frequencies (e.g. 17 times a day) it may induce caries.v
In the 1930s, a research dentist named Dr. Weston A. Price traveled all over the world to study primitive people groups—those isolated from the so-called advances of civilization. His findings and photographs were published in his book Nutrition and Physical Degeneration: A Comparison of Primitive and Modern Diets and Their Effects. He found that many people groups who live in what some of the world considers primitive conditions eat natural, unrefined food from their own locale. They had excellent teeth and wonderful general health.
But physical degeneration became apparent in the first generation after refined sugar ingestion began. Dr. Price photographed the before-and-after consequences in multiple pictures of perfect vs. defective dental arches and perfectly aligned vs. crowded, misaligned teeth.vi
Often, especially after repeated “stealing” of nutrients from healthy cells, the body’s cells cannot digest refined carbohydrates. At such times, incomplete carbohydrate metabolism is the only possible result—and it results in the formation of toxic metabolites such as pyruvic acid.
Pyruvic acid builds up in the brain and nervous system and affects the nerve cell’s ability to get oxygen. Cells die as a result, basically suffocating. When enough of the cells die off, the symptoms of degenerative disease begin to be obvious.vii
The Final Word
Sugar gives us brief increases in energy due to the rise of the blood sugar level, but the body quickly releases a rush of insulin, which rapidly lowers the blood sugar and causes a significant drop in energy and endurance and, as a corollary, a decrease in mental acuity. A degenerative process is initiated and over time, if not prevented, will likely manifest in illness.
One woman experienced just such a process. She wrote, “All of my ailments were caused by the substances I put into my body … led to a measurable disturbance of the mineral relationships in my system. This … made my digestive enzymes incapable of digesting food properly. I developed classic allergic symptoms due to the toxicity and the undigested food, which was wearing out my immune system. Eventually, this mineral imbalance caused the build-up of a severe nonfunctioning calcium excess in my chest…. This process ended in tooth decay, pneumonia, bronchitis, and a variety of other ailments.”
Only after she removed sugar from her diet did her body heal itself.viii
Learn more about the dangers of sugar in the following articles.
Is sugar affecting our brains?
Eating sugar on a regular basis is like laying out a welcome mat for illness.
What are the best options for natural sugar substitutes?
Evaporated cane juice might not be as healthy as grocers would have us think.
Read about two other addictive substances: coffee and nicotine