A rising “star” in the lifestyle diseases is diabetes. It seems that everyone is (eventually) getting diabetes, as if it is some sort of fad that one MUST HAVE. But what is diabetes?
Diabetes is defined as a condition where there is an abundance (more than the ideal amount) of glucose in the blood for a considerable duration. But why is it bad? Isn’t sugar the primary energy source of our cells? Why does having plenty of sugar in the blood cause so much damage (lowered immunity, hemophilia, loss of vision, weakened bone, heart damage, kidney failure, stressed liver, etc)?
Sugar, even though it is the body’s energy fuel source, does not mean that it is not toxic. Moreover, it invites dieases and organic degradation. How?
There are two opposing chemical states: acidic and alkaline. The former is the state where organic matter is breaking down, while the latter is “recognized” by nature as living and healthy. This is why most decaying matter are acidic or have a sour smell and taste. This is also why gastric or digestive juices are acids, usually variations of hydrochloric acid.
Sick people usually have an acidic body; healthy people have an alkaline body.
Sugar is acidic by nature. When there is too much sugar in the body, it is said that we are acidic. Microorganisms and agents of decay are attracted to anything acidic. It is their sign that something needs to be broken down into its elements. So, when we have too much sugar in the blood (in the body), bacteria, viruses, fungi, and all the decomposers move in to do their job – thus, we get sick.
This is why too much sugar in the body will eventually, among others, result in osteoporosis. Since our body should be alkaline to be in health, the body tries to draw mineral stores in our body to buffer or neutrtalize the acidic condition. (When minerals, usually metals, combine with acids, they become salts – a neutral compound.) The most abundant mineral in our body is calcium – most elemental names that end with “um” are metals, like calcium, potassium, magnesium, cadmium, lithium, uranium, plutonium, plubum, and ferrum. The blood maintains a steady amount of calcium to balance any acidic substance that it will have to transport. When that amount is insufficient – as in the case of diabetes – it will withdraw from its stores, in the bones, resulting in osteopenia. Osteopenia is a condition where the amount of calcium in the bones is below normal. In a healthy body, it is a transitional or temporary state where the body either ingests additional dietary calcium to replenish and restore the “maintaining balance” or it “graduates” to osteoporosis.
But is sugar the real culprit in diabetes? Yes and no. Sugar is a generic term to describe a simple carbohydrate molecule. It has many forms – both at the molecular level and in the food we eat. The simplest forms are glucose and fructose – sucrose results from the combination of glucose and of fructose.
There are other forms from other sources – like lactose and galactose from milk, maltose from malt, etc.
A simple sugar molcule is also known as a saccharide or monosaccharide. When two molecules combine, they are referred to as a disaccharide. Beyond that, they are called polysaccharides. A more familiar term to classify sugar is a carbohydrate (or, as it was once thought of to be a hydrate of carbon). When long chains of sugars are formed, they become complex carbohydrates.
But, how does or what is the link between sugar (actually, high fructose corn syrup or HFCS), obesity, and diabetes?
As mentioned above, most of the blame on sugar, being the culprit behind the current worldwide pandemic of diabetes and of obesity, should, instead, be placed on HFCS (as well as on artificial sweeteners, such as aspartame, as sucralose, as acesulfame-K, etc).
But, isn’t fructose the sugar of fruits and aren’t fruits supposed to be good for us? Yes, to both queries. Unfortunately, fructose is not the same as HFCS.
HFCS is processed fructose. That, alone, is bad enough. What compounds the problem is the method of processing – it is subjected to very high heat (remember my previous post on good and bad cooking methods? “May 8 post – Starting on the road to health and wellness“). This processing changes the molecular structure of fructose, into its “evil” alterego – while maintaining its chemical or elemental identity. (This is why, when tested, the results still show it is fructose, but its impact on the body’s health is the opposite.)
Now, HFCS is linked to obesity and to diabetes because of its high concentration of fructose. Since it is dense fructose, there is an overabundance of sugar, in the body (when ingested) – which is diabetes.
Moreover, though fructose is – contrary to popular belief and to what “experts” proclaim – beneficial to health, it is beneficial only if it is consumed in its original and natural state (i.e., in and with the rest of the fruit). It is the same situation with table sugar (which is usually sourced from sugar cane or from sugar beet). If it is consumed with the sugar cane or the sugar beet, it is beneficial. But, the moment it is extracted and separated and consumed independently and isolated from its source, it becomes detrimental. In other worlds, eat whole foods.
HFCS leads to obesity because the high caloric content is not completely utilized by the body (through physical activity) – there is simply too much calories. The excess is converted and stored, AS FAT! Why?!
Because sugar cannot be stored in the body – not in its current form. Aside from being “perishable”, it is considered “toxic” by the body – because it makes the body acidic; this attracts/invites/activates “decomposers” to begin the process of breaking down the body, causing what we know as disease). Thus, to forestall the disease, the body converts the excess sugar into fat.
(Note: Fat and sugar have the same elemental components – i.e., carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen. Fat just has a greater quantity of each element involved in the molecule – e.g., sugar is C6H12O6.) It is not difficult to convert sugar to fat because fat is merely a more complex form. They are chemically related; they are convertably interchangeable. (Excess sugar is converted into fat for storage and, when additional energy is needed by the body, the body simply converts the fat store back into sugar.) This is why people, who consume lots of HFCS (refined sugar) tend to be obese – link between sugar and obesity.
Even people who do not consume more sugar than the average consumption may become obese. One possibility is a sedentary lifestyle. A less active lifestyle means even a small amount of sugar consumption (but on a daily basis, it adds up) will make the body convert the unused calories (sugar) into fat – eventually, still resulting in obesity, probably not as fast or as obvious.
For the link between obesity and diabetes, if the cause of the obesity is sugar, then the link is obvious. However, if sugar is not the (direct) cause, it could, still, lead to diabetes, because the pancreas is involved, in the conversion of the excess calorie intake into fat. And, an overworked pancreas will, eventually, end up in or with diabetes due to the pancreas’ function of producing viable insulin for sugar absorption into the cell for respiration and metabolism.
Moreover, if a diabetic was not obese, prior to the condition, it is highly unlikely that it will lead to obesity, since the pancreas would have already been compromised.
Finally, the sugar-diabetes link is obvious and a no-brainer.
All in all, people with or who are afraid of developing diabetes, should not be too cautious, about their (natural) sugar intake. They should be more aware of the “evils” of artificial sweeteners, that the manufacturers are intentionally and immorally hiding, from the still-uninformed members of the public. (Take note that artificial sweeteners are not the same as sugar substitutes. Artificial sweeteners are only one type of sugar substitute; another would be honey. And then there is the most recent Stevia, which is a plant of South American origin, where the leaves are naturally sweet.)
The makers of artificial sweetener do not reveal that, for the price of satisfying one’s sweet tooth and cravings, one will pay the prices of: liver and kidney damage, obesity, cancer, and a pandora’s box of ills and maladies.
In reality, sugar (even if refined and despite all the “evils” heaped upon it) is, still, a whole lot better, than any artificial sweetener. The popularity and continued (direct) use, by the public, of artificial sweeteners is a testament to both the immense and overpowering influence of aggressive advertising campaigns aided by celebrity endorsers, and the unquestioning blind trust and foolishness of much of the consuming public.
As mentioned earlier, the primary reason for the unhealthy effects of sugar is consuming it separate and isolated from its natural state (as part of a fruit). But, in the case of artificial sweeteners, since they are artificial, they have no natural source (or place). Because of this, there are no natural accompanying nurtients or natural complements that regulate their absorption – this is assuming they will be absorbed, since the body will not recognize them and will regard them as hostiles or threats and will have to neutralize them (most common action is to send them to the liver for disposal, giving rise to liver and to kidney damage).
Also as mentioned previously, not all things sweet are sugar. Aside from other natural sources of sweetness (like honey and like Stevia and like inositol), from the Miracle Berry/Fruit, a plant of African origin, the fruit juice contains a protein that binds to our taste buds, altering and modifying our taste buds to “fool” them into tasting something sweet in such a way that they will taste anything sour or bitter as sweet. Unlike many other natural substances, the compound responsible for this unique phenomenon has eluded and resisted our efforts to synthesize or even process them. Once subjected to even the slightest amount of heat or processing, the compound (miraculin) breaks down.
Finally, I apologize that this post too so long. I haven’t decided on what to put in my next post. Let us just make it a surprise.