Northwest Senior News January 2021

Fat Heals—Sugar Kills: Chapter 4 – Part 1, Sugar Isn’t Always Sweet

We continue our review and digest this month of Fat Heals-Sugar Kills: The Cause of and Cure for Cardiovascular Disease, Diabetes, Obesity, and Other Metabolic Disorders by Dr. Bruce Fife. In the first part of Chapter 4 titled Sugar Isn’t Always Sweet, Dr. Fife stresses the point that sugar is sugar whether is be table sugar, fructose, agave, honey or any other of the myriad forms of sugar.


Fat Heals—Sugar Kills: Chapter 4 – Part 2

Part 2: The key takeaway here is that the over consumption of sugar leads to excessively elevated blood sugar (glucose) levels. This, in turn, forces the pancreas to produce more insulin to deal with the high sugar load, and this leads to our body’s cells becoming resistant to the effects of insulin. This situation is known as insulin resistance, which is the pre-cursor to type 2 diabetes.


Sugar Blues: Chapter 1

Seven years ago, we initiated our review and digest of William Dufty’s book, Sugar Blues. His account of his sugar addition is timeless as the problem of sugar addiction continues unabated. We have revised our original summary and digest of his Chapter 1 titled: It Is Necessary to be Personal.

 


Gary Taubes, a well-known scientific journalist and author, published on YouTube a speech of his titled: The Case Against Sugar. We have republished our original transcription of the first segment of his speech with updated comments. His talk is just as appropriate today as it was a few years ago.

 


Oils from Seeds: Maybe Not Such a Good Idea

by Al Sears, MD, CNS

Good old-fashioned lard has been unfairly demonized for too long.

I’ve told you how my grandmother made her pie crusts with lard and how most people used it until the government told us that animal fat caused heart disease. As a regular reader, you know that’s just not true. Your body needs animal fat to use as food and to help absorb important nutrients.

But what about other oils that are being touted as “healthy?” These oils are used in prepared foods like sandwiches, chicken salad, soups or even a loaf of whole grain bread. They are on the shelves at every “health food store,” yet they are some of the most unhealthy oils you’ll find.

I’m talking about seed oils.

Research shows these oils are linked with all the chronic diseases they’re supposed to help you avoid, including heart disease, diabetes and cancer.

Industrialized seed oils, often called vegetable oils, are hard to avoid. They’re in everything from peanut butter to crackers and salad dressings.

And though seed oils and vegetables may sound like natural foods, they’re the farthest thing from it.

While native cultures put animal fats at the center of their diet and show no trace of heart disease, they never ate seed oils because they are chemically processed, lab-created oils and they don’t exist in nature. We never evolved to properly metabolize or digest them.

In the early 1900s, Proctor and Gamble began using a chemical process called hydrogenation to turn cottonseed oil into a solid fat that could be used for cooking instead of lard. The result, in 1911, was Crisco.1

The success of the world’s first vegetable shortening led to the marketing of soybean, corn, safflower, and canola (made from rapeseed) oils. They were cheap to make and manufacturers pushed them hard on the public. Soon, they were a staple of American cooking.

A few years later, the concept that cholesterol and saturated fat cause heart disease was first presented by a physiologist named Ancel Keys. Even though there were epidemiologists at the time who strongly disputed his findings, the hypothesis that animal fats raise the risk of heart attacks became conventional wisdom in mainstream medicine.2

As I’ve been saying for years, this is entirely wrong, and research bears this out.3

As a substitute for animal fats, Keys urged people to consume—you guessed it—seed oils. He championed polyunsaturated fats (PUFAs) from plant-based foods as a superior alternative.

Over time, this erroneous belief became entrenched in mainstream medicine.

Doctors and medical organizations such as the National Institutes of Health and the American Medical Association declared war on animal fats. They strongly suggested lard and tallow should be avoided for cooking in favor of vegetable-based shortenings such as Crisco, corn oil or soybean oil. They insisted people should stop buying butter and use solid seed oil—margarine—instead.

It’s incredible, because scientific support for this nonsense is mainly based on deeply flawed, outdated studies from the ‘50s and ‘60s.

I recommend you rid your kitchen pantry of any vegetable shortenings such as Crisco and any of these oils: sunflower, cottonseed, soybean, corn, peanut, safflower, and canola.

Second, make a point of avoiding processed foods. These often contain seed oil in the form of hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated vegetable oil. The worst offenders include cookies, cakes, fried foods, frozen pizzas, margarine, biscuits, artificial coffee creamers, microwave popcorn, and pies.

The healthy fats I recommend instead of seed oils include:

Coconut oil. This healthy fat continues to get a bad rap. But, it’s made up of medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs), which are good for your brain and boost your immunity.4,5 They also prevent osteoporosis, protect your liver, and help your body burn fat.6,7,8

Extra Virgin Olive Oil. Studies show it protects against cancer, heart disease, stroke, obesity, Alzheimer’s, and arthritis.9 To make sure you’re getting the real thing, check the bottle labels. Look for these acronyms: PDO, DOC, DO, or DOP. These are European certifications of quality. The COOC (California Olive Oil Council) serves the same function for American-made olive oils. Also, only buy olive oil in dark or opaque containers. Exposure to light causes oxidation and rancidity.

Lard. Rendered from pig fat, it’s mainly made up of monounsaturated fat, the same as olive oil. But, it’s also rich in healthy saturated fat and a good source of vitamin D. Make sure the lard comes from a natural source. Check the label to be sure it hasn’t been hydrogenated to extend shelf life. If it’s not refrigerated, don’t buy it.

Tallow. Fat rendered from any animal other than pigs—usually beef—is called tallow. It has a high smoke point which means it’s excellent for cooking. Tallow is high in saturated and monounsaturated fats. Look for tallow from grass-fed cows—it’s higher in omega-3s. Like lard, tallow helps you absorb essential vitamins and helps keep your skin hydrated.

Other great sources of dietary fats include wild-caught fatty fish, avocados, and nuts such as almonds, walnuts, and pistachios.

To Your Good Health,

Al Sears, MD, CNS

  1. “Crisco.” Wikipedia (wikipedia.org), accessed 10/27/20
  2. “Ansel Keys.” Wikipedia (wikipedia.org), accessed 10/27/20
  3. Harcombe Z. “US dietary guidelines: is saturated fat a nutrient of concern?” British Journal of Sports Medicine 2019;53:1393-1396.
  4. “America’s most widely consumed cooking oil causes genetic changes in the brain.” University of California (http://health.universityofcalifornia), accessed 10/28/20 5. “Coconut Oil Offers Hope for Antibiotic-Resistant Germs” Coconut Oil (coconutoil.com), accessed 10/28/20
  5. Hayatullina, Z., et al. “Virgin coconut oil supplementation prevents bone loss in osteoporosis rat model.” Evidence-based complementary and alternative medicine : eCAM, 2012, 237236.
  6. Nagao, K., et al. “Medium-chain fatty acids: functional lipids for the prevention and treatment of the metabolic syndrome.” Pharmacological research, 61(3), 208–212.
  7. Otuechere, C. A., et al. “Virgin coconut oil protects against liver damage in albino rats challenged with the anti-folate combination, trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole.” Journal of basic and clinical physiology and pharmacology, 25(2), 249–253.
  8. “11 Proven Benefits of Olive Oil” Healthline (healthline.com), accessed 10/28/20

Sugar Blues Chapter 2—The Mark of Cane

by William Dufty: 

Dufty takes us back to the beginning of time, Paradise Lost and the Garden of Eden.  He references Biblical references to people living a very long time.  He discusses ancient Chinese acupuncture meridians, which are called beauty marks in the West, dark spots that appear at the time of birth or later.

When these charts are compiled thousands of year ago, “natural death” was going to sleep without waking up—was the normal way to die….refined sugar [sucrose] did not form a part of the human diet.

He relays to us the diet of these early people which consisted of a variety of nuts including almonds, chestnuts, walnuts, and pistachios.  For fruits and vegetables they had apples, fig, grapes, mulberries, olives, melons, carob, mint, onion, anise, cucumbers, lentils, and mustard.  For grains they had barley, millet, rye, and wheat.  They had milk and honey and a multitude of natural goodies.  Most all of these had natural sugars.

Dufty explains that none of the ancient books, the Bible, the Code of Mann, the I Ching, the Yellow Emperors Classic of Internal Medicine, the New Testament and the Koran, make any reference to sugar.  He references “sweet cane” that may have come from India and Polynesian myths and legends that made much of this sweet cane.  It was native to tropical climes, and efforts to cultivate it elsewhere failed.

The sweet cane “was cultivated with great labor by husbandman who bruise it when ripe in mortars, set the juice in a vessel until concreted in form like snow or white salt.”

The Greeks described it as a “kind of honey” growing in canes of reeds.  Early Roman and Greek accounts compared it to basic staples of the time, “Indian salt” or “honey without bees; and they imported it at an enormous cost.  The Persians were credited with the research and development of a process for refining the juice of the cane into a solid form that would last without fermenting.  It was feasible to transport the product.  He sets the time around 600 A.D.  Dufty continues with this interesting quote:

The Persian empire rose and fell, as empires always do.  When the armies of Islam overran them, one of the trophies of victory was the secret for processing sweet cane into medicine.

Dufty recounts the victories of the Arab armies and the spread of the Arab empire.  He continues:

It is tempting to wonder from eyewitness reports that turn up later, what role sugar played in the decline of the Arab empire.  Sugar is not mentioned [in the Koran], but the heirs of the Prophet [Mohammad] are probably the first conquerors in history to have produced enough sugar to furnish both troops and courts with candy and sugared drinks.  An early European observer credits the widespread use of sugar by desert fighters as their reason for their loss of cutting edge.

 The author quotes Leonhard Rauwolf, a German botanist:

The Turks and Moors cut off one piece [of sugar] after another and so chew and eat them openly everywhere in the street without shame…in this way [they] accustom themselves to gluttony and are no longer the intrepid fighters they had formerly been.

Dufty comments, “This may be the first recorded warning from the scientific community on the subject of sugar abuse and its observed consequences.”  He draws a parallel with the Christian Crusaders.  They, too, acquired a taste for the “sauce of the Saracens”.  He quotes Pope Clement V advocating that the Christians, too, get in the sugar business.

…If the Christians could seize those lands [the Sultans] great injury would be inflicted on the Sultan and at the same time Christendom would be wholly supplied from Cyprus.  Sugar is also grown in the Morea, Malta, and Sicily, and it would grow in other Christian lands if cultivated there.  As regards Christendom, no harm would follow.

Dufty explains that Christians took a big bite of the “forbidden fruit”.  What followed was seven centuries in which the seven deadly sins flourished across the seven seas, leaving a trail of slavery, genocide, and organized crime.

My comments:  Yes, the forbidden fruit: I had a paper route, and in those days the paperboy collected for the monthly subscription. I had change jingling in my pocket, and there were little mom and pop markets all around me.  I could easily sneak a soda pop or a Snickers bar. It was easy to get hooked on the sweet stuff.

I recall my son’s morbidly obese Cub Scout leaders acting as drug pushers in tantalizing their charges with CAKE!! after the evening’s activities.  I remember fighting with my brother over splitting a leftover piece of cake, pie, or candy as to who got the biggest piece.  Funny thing, we never fought over who got how much of the leftover vegetables!  So yeah, it’s easy to understand how these people of hundreds of years ago went berserk over sugar.  I was no different.

Continuing: Dufty quotes the British historian, Noel Deerr: “It will be no exaggeration to put the tale and toll of the slave trade at 20 million Africans, of which two thirds are to be charges against sugar.”  He then spends the next couple of pages describing the growth of the Portuguese and Spanish slave trade and sugar cultivation.  Then the Dutch got into the act by 1500.

No other product has so profoundly influenced the political history of the Western world as has sugar. . .The Portuguese and Spanish empires rose swiftly in opulence and power.  As the Arabs before them had crumbled, so they too fell rapidly into a decline.  To what extent that decline was biological—occasioned by sugar bingeing at the royal level—we can only guess.  However, the British empire stood by waiting to pick up the pieces.

He tells us that Queen Elizabeth initially called the slave trade, “detestable”, but she soon capitulated.  The Queen sanctioned the Company of Royal Adventurers of England, which gave them a state monopoly of the West African slave trade.  In the West Indies the Spaniards had exterminated the natives and brought African slaves to tend their fields of cane.

Comment: What is a 20th century parallel to the 15th and 16th century European sugar craze?  I would think that one parallel is the oil rush.  Just like the machinations of the governments back then, I think of the 1953 U.S. CIA sponsored overthrow of the democratically elected Iranian Prime Minister Mohammad Mosaddegh.  He nationalized the Iranian oil industry, and the Western powers [Standard Oil and BP] didn’t like that.  Weren’t Gulf Wars I and II primarily about oil? Sugar then, oil now.

Continuing: The sugar trade in the West Indies grew in another way.  Fermented cane juice was turned into rum.  The first rum runner imported their precious tonic to New England where a “pennies worth” of rum was traded with the Indians for furs.  That latter were sold in Europe for a fortune.  On the return voyage back to the New World, the ships of the Queen’s Company of Royal Adventurers visited the West African coast to pick up more slaves, who in turn would tend the sugar cane fields to produce more sugar, molasses and rum.

It was rum for the American Indians, molasses for the American colonists, and sugar and furs for Europe.  It was quite a neat deal until the land in Barbados and other British islands was worn out and exhausted.

Britain’s Navigation Acts of 1660 required that the trade of all British colonies had to be with England, Ireland, and British possessions.  Mother England wanted to protect her revenues and maintain the priceless shipping monopoly.  Dufty explains that by the 1860’s sugar became a synonym for “money” in the English language.

He explains that the Molasses Act of 1733 did as much or more to precipitate the American War of Independence as did the Boston Tea Party.  The act levied a heavy tax on sugar or molasses coming from anywhere other than the British sugar islands in the Caribbean.  The ship owners of New England cut themselves in.  They delivered rum to West Africa in exchange for more slaves, who were then sold to the British plantation owners.  Then they shipped molasses back to the colonies which was to be distilled into rum.  Dufty explains that the per capita consumption of rum in the colonies was an annual four gallons per person.

Dufty quotes the French philosopher Claude Adrien Helvetius: “No cask of sugar arrives in Europe to which blood is not sticking.  In view of the misery of these slaves anyone with feelings should renounce these wares and refuse the enjoyment of what is only to be bought with tears and death of countless unhappy creatures.”

Helvetius was forced to recant [in part to save his skin], as the French were cutting themselves in on the sugar trade.  The Sorbonne [University of Paris] condemned him and his books were burned.  Nevertheless, the genie was out of the bottle.

The stigma of slavery was on sugar everywhere, but most particularly in Britain.  Everywhere sugar had become a source of public wealth and national importance.  Through taxes and tariffs on sugar, government had remained a partner in organized crime.  Fabulous fortunes were being amassed by plantation owners, planters, traders and shippers; and the sole concern of European royalty was how they would take their cut.

My comments:  Are things much different today?  President Nixon was paranoid about the 1972 election, and one of his concerns was rising food prices.  He teamed up with the then Secretary of Agriculture, Earl Butz, to start massive government subsidies for the growing of corn in an effort to keep food prices low.  Japanese scientists figured out in the early 1970’s how to make high fructose corn syrup [HFCS] from that cheap corn.  Therefore, we now have the price HFCS being kept artificially low through government subsidies and the price of imported sugar kept artificially higher because of tariffs.  Sound familiar?

Meanwhile, large multi-national corporations are making a fortune by selling, cheap, low quality, disease-facilitating food [if you can call it food] and beverages to the unsuspecting public all laced with HFCS.  And on the farm we now have herbicide-resistant genetically modified organisms [GMO’s] being doused with herbicides.  The lobbyists in the corn producing states push to keep the cash cow flowing. And the politicians are bribed [through campaign contributions] to continue to vote the status quo, and the tax-payers are pick-pocketed to finance the entire scheme.

Future generations have to be properly trained to keep the show rolling along.  Schools have gotten in on the act by allowing soda-pop vending machines on campus, although due to protests, some have since been removed.  At least one elementary school in Lewiston, ID has a Pepsi logo on its outdoor info sign.  Our local skateboard park is called “Mountain Dew Skateboard Park”. The objective is to burn the logos of these sugary drinks into the minds of new consumers.

The craze for sugar certainly continues.  What about the slaves?  We don’t have them anymore, or do we?  If we do, who are they?

Continuing: Dufty explains the British Empire was totally hooked on the issue of sugar.  Gluttony had produced necessity.  Sugar and slavery were indivisible.  Therefore, they were defended together.  When sugar was originally introduced in England, a pound cost an entire year’s salary for the average working man.  As the sugar trade increased, the price fell precipitously.  By 1700 the British Isles were accounting for 20 million pounds of sugar per year.  By 1800 it was 160 million pounds per year.  The consumption had gone up eight-fold.  A hundred years later the British were spending as much on sugar as they were on bread.  The consumption had increased to 73 pounds per person per year.

The French didn’t sit idly by.  By 1700 refined sugar was France’s most important export.  The British struck back with naval blockades, cutting off their source of sugar cane.  A German scientist, Franz Carl Achard, was experimenting with a “type of parsnip” from Italy, originally believed to be from Babylonia.  Under pressure from the blockade, French scientists found a way to process the beet into a new kind of sugar “loaf”.  Napoleon ordered beets to be planted everywhere in France.  [Sound familiar?]

After Napoleon had beaten Britain’s naval blockade, the Quakers in Britain took up the cultivation of sugar beets as an anti-slavery gesture.  The status quo producers of sugar from sugar cane saw that as a serious threat and demanded that the “Quakers be uprooted”.  Most of their beets were fed to cows, and it wasn’t until a shipping shortage spawned by WW-I that Britain resumed the growing of sugar beets. [

The French abolished the slave trade in 1807, and the British did so 26 years later.  The British indemnified slaveholders in Barbados and Jamaica $75 to $399 a head.  Before then, there were plenty of slave revolts threatening those that ran the plantations.  After the abolition of slavery, East Indian immigrants were imported to man what was left of the powerful sugar business.

Up until this time, refined sugar was a raw, light brown-like sugar.  New American inventions were about to change that forever.  James Watt perfected the steam engine, Figuier developed a method for making charcoal out of animal bones, and Howard produced the vacuum pan.  Now the Americans could produce white, crystalline sugar.  Cuba became the new, back door colony for the U.S.  Import duties of $0.02 per pound provided for 20% of federal revenues.

Americans soon outdistanced the British and virtually every other nation in sugar bingeing.  The U.S. had consumed one-fifth of the world’s production of sugar every year but one since the Civil War.  By 1893 America was consuming more sugar than the whole world had produced in 1865.  By 1920…that figure for sugar production had doubled….It is doubtful there has ever been more of a challenge to the human body in the entire history of man.

Dufty draws several parallels of opium trade and production of the “mark of cane”.  They both began as medicines and ended up being used for habit forming sensory pleasures.  The opium traffic, as with sugar, seems to have originated in Persia.  Fortunes were made in their trade.  Opium was refined into morphine which was injected into those with sugar-induced diabetes, as the hypodermic needle had been invented by then.  Taxes were collected from both of them.  Many Union soldiers came home that were completely addicted to morphine.  Morphine was further refined into heroin, and the latter was also used to treat sugar diabetes.

Dufty quotes Dr. Robert Boesler’s [a dentist] 1912 comments:

Modern manufacturing of sugar has brought about entirely new diseases.  The sugar of commerce is nothing else but concentrated crystalized acid. If, in former times sugar was so costly that only the wealthy could afford to use it, it was, from the national economic standpoint, of no consequence. Today…because of its low cost, sugar has caused a degeneration of the people….The loss of energy through the consumption of sugar in the last century and the first decade of this century can never be made good, as it has left its mark on the race….

 Dufty concludes “The Mark of Cane” with a quote from Mark Twain’s autobiography.  His uncle ran a general store in Florida, Missouri around 1840.

It was a small establishment…a few barrels of salt mackerel, coffee, and New Orleans sugar behind the counter.  [They had the usual hardware items.] and…a barrel of two of New Orleans molasses and native corn whiskey on tap.  If a boy bought five or ten cents’ worth of anything, he was entitled to half a handful of sugar from the barrel…Everything was cheap…sugar, five cents a pound; whiskey ten cents a gallon.

The author explains that sugar was more expensive than whiskey, but they were pushing free samples on the kids.

By 1840 the sugar pushers and disease-establishment* were solid partners. Washington raked in two cents in federal taxes on every five-cent pound bag of sugar for another fifty years. Addicts supported the government—rather than vice versa—once upon a time. *That part of the establishment—once minor, now major—which profits directly and indirectly, legally and illegally, from human misery and malaise.

End

Fat Heals—Sugar Kills: Chapter 4 – Part 3, Sugar Isn’t Always Sweet

by Dr. Bruce Fife

Chapter 4, Part 3

Advanced Glycation End-Products (AGEs)

My Initial Comments: I wish I had known in my younger years just how potentially destructive sugar is on one’s health. Hopefully my sugar addiction from decades ago didn’t do any permanent damage. As I continue to read and understand from several experts who have researched this subject, it’s clear that the average person’s consumption of sugar is unhealthy.

Understanding the destructiveness of Advanced Glycation End-Products (AGEs) is really important if you consume refined sugars and are concerned about your health.

Sadly, I have spoken with too many people that preferred to continue with their sugar addiction and their resulting prescription addiction. Why do so many insist to continue with this insanity? I think much of it has to do with the same reasons that people are addicted to caffeine, nicotine, alcohol, mind altering drugs, and behaviors such as gambling. It teases our dopamine part of our brains. It’s pleasurable.

However, what we eat or drink, are behaviors, and we can choose what we will and what we won’t eat. We can choose to pass up the sweets when everyone around us is indulging. We can tell ourselves that the momentary pleasure I get from eating that doughnut or other sweet treat isn’t worth the damage it does to my health. We can choose to be the captain of our own ship.

At a recent family reunion everyone else was partaking of the pie and ice cream dessert except for my wife and I. She refrained due to food allergies, and I passed up the dessert as I didn’t want to fall off the wagon. I’d rather just “say no” to the high sugar eats and treats. Yes, it’s hard to do, initially, but once you get in the habit of doing so, it becomes much easier.

Continuing:

Dr. Fife begins this section by stating that sugar accelerates the aging process making you look and feel much older than you really are. He explains that elevated blood glucose levels increase molecular entities known as advanced glycation end-products or AGEs for short. The sticky glucose in your bloodstream could stick to fats, but it’s especially attracted to proteins.

He points out that aging is the accumulation of damaged cells.

The more AGEs you have in your body, the “older” you become functionally regardless of how many years you’ve lived. AGEs adversely affect other molecules generating free radicals, oxidizing LDL cholesterol (thus creating the type of cholesterol that collects in arteries and promotes atherosclerosis, heart attacks, and strokes), degrading collagen (the major supporting structure in our organs and skin), damaging nerve tissue (including the brain), and wreaking havoc on just about every organ in the body. AGEs are known to play an important role in the chronic complications of [type 2] diabetes and in the development of Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and other neurodegenerative diseases. [Ed: My emphasis]

My comments: Many people will read the above paragraph and will say, yeah, yeah, I know all of that only to continue to indulge in what’s causing these various degenerative illnesses. When they see their doctor next, the doc is concerned because their A-1C is up, their blood pressure reading is up, and/or their “bad” LDL cholesterol is up. Solution? You guessed it: Up the dose of the meds and maybe a new one.

The doctor might give lip service about better nutrition, but that’s about it. The doc might even comment that you need to get your weight down by 15 or 20 pounds, but that about as far as it goes.

You the patient do not have to agonize by quitting your sugar addiction; the doc doesn’t have to fight to get a reluctant patient to change his/her lifestyle; the pharmacist will dutifully fill your prescriptions; and everyone is happy, or so they think.

Continuing: Dr. Fife explains that the AGE’s process is understood simply by observation. AGEs are involved in a vicious cycle of inflammation, generation of free radicals, amplified production of AGEs, more inflammation, and so on.

He goes on to say that everyone experiences the effects of AGEs to some extent and that it’s a part of getting older. The effects are the loss of skin tone, decreased organ function, reduction of motor skills, reduced ability to fight off infections, and other aging issues.

The problem is that insulin resistance raises blood glucose levels. Chronically elevated blood glucose levels can remain high even with the use of medications. The longer glucose is in contact with proteins, the greater the opportunity they have of forming AGEs. High blood sugar accelerates AGEing. [Ed: My emphasis]

Fortunately, we are not totally defenseless against the formation of AGEs. Our white blood cells have receptors to latch on to the AGEs and remove them. However, not all of them are easily removable, as this process sets off an inflammatory response. This, in turn, can lead to chronic inflammation.

Fife continues by explaining that heart disease is the leading cause of death in diabetics, and that heart disease is caused by diseased arteries. Studies have shown that the destructive effects of AGEs on blood vessels accounts for the rapidly progressive atherosclerosis experienced by diabetes.

It is this chronic high blood sugar characteristic of diabetics that leads to deterioration of the arteries that causes peripheral vascular disease, diabetic retinopathy, kidney disease, and other diabetic complications. …Elevated blood sugar itself, whether diabetes is diagnosed or not, is considered a risk factor for heart disease. [Ed: My emphasis] Elevated blood sugar is referred to as hyperglycemia.

Fife continues by explaining that AGEs have been identified as the primary mechanism that initiates the steps the lead to the development of atherosclerosis.

AGEs are highly damaging to the integrity and function of the blood vessel walls. They easily attach themselves to artery walls, generating free radicals and chronic inflammation. As tissues break down, proinflammatory cytokines, growth factors, and adhesion molecules are generated. Blood proteins, immune cells, LDL cholesterol, and fats infiltrate the damaged artery tissue where they are trapped. Cholesterol and fats are oxidized, and more inflammation is generated.

And now the process of occluded (partially, plugged, blocked, or restricted) artery vessels in your heart is in full swing.

My Comments: I have a father and brother that both had a coronary bypass surgery due to mostly blocked coronary arteries. A few years later they both died from heart illness. My paternal grandfather never made it to the surgeon’s table. He died from a massive stroke at 69.

The wife of my deceased brother Alan warned me about how heart disease was running in the males in our family. She urged me to see a specialist and have all sorts of tests done Her perspective was that she had seen three generations of men die from artery related disease. I responded with the following explanation:

I pointed out to her that the common factor was that all three were once very overweight and consumed way, way too many sugar-laden foods. I also reminded her that the potato chips Alan ate contained unhealthy fats which likely were a contributory factor towards his heart illness.

The real irony is that the wives were unwitting enablers to their husbands’ illnesses. My paternal grandmother lived in Yuba City, CA, the peach tree capital of at least California. She baked plenty of peach pies. After all, who could turn down her tasty culinary efforts? Sadly, Grandpa was at least 40 pounds overweight. He was warned about his high blood pressure, but it was too late.

My mother, although a dietician by training, also did plenty of baking. There were the cookies, pies and cakes for special occasions and rich Christmas candies of various sorts. I would be woefully guilty of omitting important details if I failed to mention the fact that the household of my upbringing laid the seedbed for my sugar addiction. My sister-in-law wasn’t a baker, but she purchased plenty of unhealthy processed and sugary foods.

Isn’t it ironic that the wives who care about and love their husbands bake their husbands on their way to diabetes, heart disease, strokes, and a premature death? What are two most common ingredients of most baked goods? Yep, you guessed it, sugar and white, relined flour. And then you throw in unhealthy fats made from seed oils (aka vegetable oils) such as soybean and canola oil. To add insult to injury, you use the hydrogenated forms of these oils which are margarine and shortening.

I have been in households where the wives’ love of baking has contributed to their husbands being overweight, spiked their blood sugar, and been a factor in their diagnosis of adult onset diabetes.

Continuing:

Advanced Glycation End-Products (AGEs) have the following characteristics:

  • They serve no useful purpose whereas cholesterol is needed for cellular function.
  • They are toxic by-products of non-enzymatic reactions between sugar and body tissues and are highly destructive.
  • They tend to increase with age.
  • In addition to diabetes and heart disease, elevated levels of AGEs are often associated with kidney disease, Alzheimer’s disease, rheumatoid arthritis, and other maladies.

Dr. Fife explains that various studies show the connection between diets with high levels of refined carbohydrates and the acceleration of the aging process. The research also found that indicators of inflammation, oxidative stress, and insulin resistance increased with age regardless of the subject’s [actual] age.

It’s not how old you are but how much accumulated damage you have sustained that really determines you level of health. Dr Fife concludes this section by saying that the formation of AGEs is an ongoing process but that we can minimize the problem my reducing our sugar and refined carbohydrate consumption.

My comments: I think to speak in terms of “reducing our sugar and refined carbohydrate consumption” is like telling a smoker to reduce the number of cigarettes he/she smokes. While reducing the number of cigarettes is an improvement, kicking the habit far more beneficial.

How much are you going to reduce your consumption of sugar and other refined carbs? If you drink two cans of pop per day, do you reduce it to one? Do you cut in half the number of times you have pie and ice cream? If you normally have four cookies, do you only have two?

My take is that if you know you are addicted to sweets and refined carbs, the very best thing to do is to kick the addiction. Which is better for an alcoholic, cut a two or three per day beer habit to one six pack per week or to eliminate the consumption of all alcoholic beverages?

Maybe you the reader might be different, but I know what can happen to me. If I have just one cookie, then I want a second and so on. For me, it’s better and easier to abstain.

Another big bonus of avoiding refined carbohydrates is that it’s much easier to either lose weight or to maintain your desired weight. Needless to say, absolutely avoid putting toxic chemicals such as artificial sweeteners into your body. That’s a discussion for another time, but I’d hope for now that everyone would understand the nature never intended for you to ingest laboratory concocted chemicals into your body.

To be continued…

Fat Heals—Sugar Kills: Chapter 4 – Part 1, Sugar Isn’t Always Sweet

by Dr. Bruce Fife

Review of Chapter 3

Dr. Fife outlined the sordid history of Ancel Keys’ fraudulent research which attempted to pin the blame for the increasing rates of heart illness on dietary fat, particularly saturated fat. A British researcher, Dr. John Yudkin, pointed the blame for heart disease on the dramatically increased amount of sugar in Western diets. Ancel Keys along with his sugar industry promoters vilified Yudkin to the point that Keys’ diet-heart-hypothesis, also known as the lipid or cholesterol hypothesis, linking dietary saturated fat to heart disease, gained traction and was generally accepted as true for over a half of a century.

Chapter 4, Part 1

Carbohydrate is Sugar

The primary purpose of carbohydrates is to produce energy. Fats and protein serve as building blocks in our bodies, although they can be used to provide energy. Carbs are mainly derived from plant foods, diary being the exception.

The carbs we’ll look at are glucose, fructose, and galactose (aka lactose). Fiber is also a carb, but humans do not have the enzymes to digest it.  Plants with the highest amount of carbs are legumes, grains, and tubers. The latter are carrots, potatoes, parsnips, etc. Refined carbs such as white flour have been stripped of most of their fiber, fat, protein, vitamins, and minerals. When digested, these refined carbs, also known as starch, are broken down into glucose.

Our blood sugar refers to the amount of glucose in our blood. For our bodies to operate efficiently, we need to have the proper level of blood sugar. From WebMD:

Normal blood sugar levels are less than 100 mg/dL after not eating (fasting) for at least eight hours. And they’re less than 140 mg/dL two hours after eating.

During the day, levels tend to be at their lowest just before meals. For most people without diabetes, blood sugar levels before meals hover around 70 to 80 mg/dL. For some people, 60 is normal; for others, 90 is the norm.

Blood sugar is not the problem; it is the over consumption of sugar that is the problem.

My Comment: What is over consumption? Some dietary experts hold the line at about 100 calories of sugar per day.  Considering that a 12-ounce can of sugar-sweetened soda pop runs around 140-150 calories, it’s really easy to exceed those limits. For sugar addicts, those limits are hopelessly too low and are usually ignored.

Continuing: Fife points out that just as alcohol can be addictive, sugar can likewise be addictive. The problem with refined carbs is that the milling process, which has stripped everything away but the starch, concentrates the starch. This in turn, allows the starch to be digested much more quickly, and that results in a too rapid of an increase in blood sugar levels.

Me Comments: So you try to be a smart shopper and purchase bread labeled as “Whole Wheat.” Unfortunately, just as there are so many other “Fake” things in life, there is also fake whole wheat bread. Let’s look at some ingredients lists from several so-called “whole grain” breads. As you will see, many of these so-called whole grain breads list unbleached, enriched flour as their first ingredient.

Look at the second list of ingredients from a bread wrapper. For the benefit of those reading this article on their mobile devices, I’ll list the ingredients here:  INGREDIENTS: UNBLEACHED ENRICHED FLOUR (WHEAT FLOUR, NIACIN, REDUCED IRON, THIAMINE MONONITRATGE {VITAMIN B1}, RIBOFLAVIN {VITAMIN B2}, FOLIC ACID, WHOLE GRAIN WHEAT FLOUR, SOYBEAN OIL, SUGAR, PARTIALLY HYDROGENATED COTTONSEED OIL, LEAVENING (CALCIUM PHOSPHATE AND/OR BAKING SODA), SALT, HIGH FRUCTOSE CORN SYRUP, SOY LECITHIN.

Wow, that list has problem sirens are going off all over the place.

1) This is primarily white bread, but they throw in some whole wheat flour to make their claim to fame…whole grain. Notice the label: “Baked with Whole Wheat

2) There are two sugar listings: sugar and high fructose corn syrup.

3) They also use two of the unhealthiest oils on the planet, soybean oil and partially hydrogenated cottonseed oil.

4) This is a classic SORF product made from three cheap ingredients.

  • Sugar
  • Oils (Highly processed oils derived from seeds
  • Refined Flour

The food industry manufactures hundreds and hundreds of “foods” made from these three, cheap ingredients.

By contrast, Ezekiel 4:9 bread has the following for its ingredients: INGREDIENTS: ORGANIC SPROUTED WHEAT, FILTERED WATER, ORGANIC SPROUTED BARLEY, ORGANIC SPROUTED MILLET, ORGANIC MALTED BARLEY, ORGANIC SPROUTED LENTILS, ORGANIC SPROUTED SOYBEANS, ORGANIC SPROUTED SPELT, FRESH YEAST, ORGNAIC WHEAT GLUTEN, SEA SALT

That’s quite a contract to the above fake, whole wheat bread. Here is a worthwhile quote from the article:

According to Food For Life, the glycemic index of Ezekiel bread is only 36. That’s half the reading for normal white bread, which is 70. Not even 100% whole grain [bread] can compare, as its GI is 62

Not only is the lower glycemic number better for diabetics, it’s better for everyone.

Sugar Overload

Continuing: Fife points out that the food industry puts an immense effort in putting just the right amount of sugar into their products to make them either sweet or savory.

The reason sugar is so pervasive in processed foods is due to the work or Howard Moskowitz, PhD, an American marketing researcher and psycho-physicist.* In the 1970s he was assigned the task of maximizing the appeal or Dr. Pepper. He tested 61 levels of sweetness to find the optimum level of sweetness to guarantee the new soda would fly off the shelf. This level is called the bliss point. It is at this point at which the sweetness is the most desirable, sweet enough but not too sweet.

The bliss point was first used in the formulation of soda, but is now used in all types of products—pasta sauce, cereals, tomato soup, bread, and so on. An unfortunate consequence of putting sugar in everything is that people to expect everything to have a slightly sweet taste. A generation of children has grown up eating foods sweetened to the bliss point. By comparison, foods such as vegetables, have become unappealing. *The branch of psychology that deals with the relationship between physical stimuli and sensory response.

Sugar in foods, sweets, and snack foods has created a nation of sugar addicts. Sugar is so addictive that some people admit they can’t live without it. Ed: My emphasis.

My comments: Volumes and volumes could be written concerning the above paragraphs. Dr. Fife said it in a minimum of words:  …a nation of sugar addicts. A result of this addiction is that we now have a national pandemic of adult-onset, type 2 diabetes. Sadly, this isn’t just occurring in adults, either.

Primitive peoples who don’t have the luxury of our modern, processed foods have an absence of type 2 diabetes, obesity, and heart disease. There surely must be a cause-and-effect relationship!

Continuing: Dr. Fife reminds us that the sugar culture is a modern phenomenon. Prior to the 1960s, sugar was used in desserts and sweets. Nowadays, it’s a staple. Sugar consumption worldwide has tripled in the last 50 years, and most of this is in the form of hidden sugar.

Sugar is found in hundreds of processed foods such as bread and most baked goods, breakfast cereals, catsup and barbecue sauce, peanut butter, spaghetti sauce, canned goods, and frozen foods.

My comment: Years ago, a cook at a school cafeteria told me that when she started adding corn syrup to the peanut butter, the kids liked it better than unsweetened peanut butter. She was contributing to training the kids to like things sweet.

Continuing: Fife lists various sources of sugar founds in processed foods: agave, barley malt, brown rice syrup, brown sugar, coconut sugar, corn syrup, date sugar, dextrin, dextrose, fructose, fruit juice, glucose, high fructose corn syrup, honey, lactose, levulose, maltodextrin, maltose, maple syrup, molasses, nonfat dry milk, palm sugar, saccharose, skimmed milk powder, sorghum, sucrose, treacle, and turbinado.

The ingredients list on food packaging lists the ingredients most predominant by weight. Some labels can list multiple sugars as you go through the list of ingredients.

My comments: Have you noticed that the ingredient lists on food packaging are usually spelled out in upper case letters? Additionally, they are often scrunched together in a condensed font. Worse, in many instances the contrast between the font color and the background is indistinct. An example is black letters on a red background. Elsewhere on the packaging, such as the nutrition information, things are much more readable. I think the most logical answer is to make it more difficult for the consumer to read the lists. Apparently, the manufacturers do not have the same requirements for the ingredient listings as they do elsewhere on the labeling. Please click here for a more complete explanation of food labeling requirements.

Continuing: Fife says the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture recommends limiting your daily sugar intake to no more than 8 teaspoons for the average adult. That’s about 128 calories. One 12 ounce can of sugar soda pop will put a person over the limit.

He reminds the reader that “natural sugars” such as fruit juice concentrate and agave nectar are no better than refined sucrose. Dr. Fife next segues into a discussion of the various types of sugars.

Sucrose

Sucrose is better known as white, table sugar. It is highly processed. Dr. Fife states that the only advantage of so-called “natural sugars” is that they might retain some nutritional value, but it isn’t much. He makes the point that so-called natural sugars such as Agave nectar or syrup are still sugar.

Glucose

Blood Sugar and Insulin Resistance

Digestible carbs are broken down and converted into glucose. The glucose is picked up by our bodies’ cells and transformed into energy. But first, the hormone insulin unlocks the doors to the cells and allows the glucose in. If the insulin was not present, glucose could not pass into our cells.

If cells don’t get enough glucose on a steady basis, they degenerate and die. On the other hand, too much glucose is toxic and can lead to mental confusion, coma, and death. Aren’t we fortunate that our bodies have a feed back mechanism to maintain our blood sugar (glucose) within a narrow range?

The way our bodies self-regulate is quite remarkable. The pancreas secretes insulin as blood sugar rises. As insulin shuttles glucose into the cells, blood sugar levels drop. Another signal tells the pancreas to stop producing insulin.

If blood sugar levels fall too low, then another signal triggers the pancreas to release another hormone, glucagon. Glucagon helps to release stored glucose from the liver. Our bodies have the ability to maintain blood sugar levels in a fairly tight range.

Refined carbohydrates whether they be some form of sugar or refined starches such as white flour, will quickly elevate blood sugar levels. The bran, fat, and protein in whole grains slows down the digestive process, which mitigates this problem.

If you eat high carb meals, snack on high carb foods such as donuts or cookies, and/or use a sweetener in your coffee, you will keep your insulin levels elevated throughout the day. That’s bad.

Dr. Fife reminds us that we can become desensitized to a variety of stimuli. For example, if we are in a room with an odor, after a while we don’t notice the odor anymore.

Chronic exposure to high insulin levels desensitizes the cells, and they become unresponsive or resistant to the action of insulin. This is referred to as insulin resistance. In order to move insulin into the cells, a higher-than-normal concentration of insulin is needed, which puts more strain on the pancreas to produce more of the hormone. Insulin resistance is the hallmark feature and first step toward developing diabetes.

End of Part 1. Please continue with Part 2 in this issue.

Gary Taubes ‘The Case Against Sugar’ Part 1

a Gary Taubes YouTube video transcribed by Liz Reedy

Note: We originally ran this transcription in our February 2017 edition of Northwest Senior News. Being that we’re reviewing Dr. Fife’s book, Fat Heals Sugar Kills, it seems appropriate to review information from other sources the deals with the issues caused by the over consumption of sugar and refined carbohydrates

This is Part 1 of the transcription of the 1 hour 22 minute YouTube video, “The Case Against Sugar by Gary Taubes. He is a well-known science and nutrition writer.

The book that put Taubes on the map was his 2007 Good Calories, Bad Calories. His associatess came to him and said, “Gary, you need to write the concepts in Good Calories, Bad Calories in laymen’s language.” Heeding the call, Taubes wrote Why We Get Fat: And What to do About It in 2010.

Why take the time and trouble to convert the spoken word from a video into the printed text? Some people learn better if the information is in a visual format rather than in an auditory form. The reader can read at his/her own pace and go back to review any information. For those with visual impairments, we certainly encourage you to listen to the video.

Part 1: The transcriptions begins:

Let me tell you a little bit about myself. Since my latest book is called The Case Against Sugar, the first thing you have to know is that I’m not a doctor, I’m not a nutritionist, I don’t have a PhD. I am a journalist. I started my career as an investigative science journalist. I wrote my first two books about physicists and nuclear physicists who discovered nonexistent phenomenon and lived to regret it.

As such, I was obsessed with how hard it is to do science right and how hard it is to get the right answer. One line I quote in three of my books is from the Nobel physicist, Richard Feynman, who said, “The first principle of science is you must not fool yourself and you are the easiest person to fool.”

In the early 90’s after my first two books, I had a lot of fans in the physics communities. They said to me, “If you’re interested in bad science or people who do it wrong, you should look at some of the stuff in public health, because it’s terrible.”

So I moved into public health reporting in the early 90’s and I found that my physicist friends had, if anything, underestimated the problem. By the late 90’s I was moving into nutrition, almost purely by chance. I stumbled into the nutrition field.

I did two investigations: one for the Journal of Science on salt and high blood pressure. You know, this idea that salt causes our blood pressure to go up and hypertension. I spent nine months on a single magazine article. I interviewed over eighty subjects and I concluded that the evidence behind this idea that salt causes high blood pressure is terrible. You would only really believe it if your preconception was so strong that you were convinced it was true before any of the studies were done.

While I was doing that story, one of the worst scientists I’d ever had the pleasure to interview took credit for not just getting Americans to eat less salt but also to eat less fat. One of my lessons from my early research was that bad scientists never get the right answer.

When I got off the phone with this guy I called my editor at Science and I said, “When I’m done doing this salt story I’m going to do a fat story. I’ve no idea what the story is.” I was eating a low-fat diet like everyone else in America. But I knew if this guy was involved in any substantive way, there’s a great story there.

I spent a year working on a single magazine article for Science [magazine], a single investigative piece called The Soft Science of Fat. I interviewed about a hundred and forty subjects for one magazine article. I concluded that the evidence behind the low-fat dogma was as bad as it was for the low-salt dogma and that nutritionists didn’t have a clue what they were doing.

This was followed about a year later with an infamous cover story for the New York Times magazine called What if Fat Doesn’t Make You Fat [This title is slightly modified compared to the actual article], in which I started looking at the science of obesity and what makes us accumulate excess fat.

That piece is probably the most controversial magazine article the New York Times ever ran. The cover was a porterhouse steak with a piece of butter on it. The implication was that Robert Atkins’ Diet Revolution was right all along, which was completely unacceptable to the medical community, but was what the evidence seemed to support.

Cover stories like that tend to get the authors large advances. This one did and it paid for four years of my life so I could write the book I always wanted to do about nutrition science. The book of course took five years.

It’s an interesting thing in writing. You do research till you run out of money and then you start borrowing and start writing so you can hand in the manuscripts so they can give you some money; by the time you hand in the manuscript, the money you get pays back the money you borrowed and now you’re broke again. Anyway, I digress. The book that came out of this was Good Calories, Bad Calories.

When I went into this field I thought was going to let the food police have it for giving us all this bad advice about what makes us sick and who make us eat these horribly boring, low-fat, low-salt diets. In the midst of doing more research on the subject than any other human being had done until that time, I realized that there was a very compelling alternative hypothesis.

The problem isn’t the fat in the diet; it’s the carbohydrates, that is, the grains, the starches, and the sugars. And suddenly, in my new books I am even more of the food police than the other food police, and now I can’t go out to eat with anyone in my life. We’re at a restaurant…..they’ll want to order French fries and they’re looking at me like, “Do you mind?”

So, I wrote this book, Good Calories, Bad Calories. It’s five hundred pages and has a hundred and sixty pages of end notes and bibliography. It’s a dense read. After I wrote it, I got emails and letters from people saying, “This book changed my life. Could you please write one that’s readable?” Could you write one that my father could read, my son could read. I got emails from doctors saying, “Could you write one that my patients could read.” And I got emails from patients saying, “Could you write one that my doctor could read.”

The result was in 2011 when I published a book called Why Do We Get Fat? and what to do about it. If I had my say it would have just been Why Do We Get Fat because I don’t like to give diet advice, but my editors insisted that if they were going to publish this book I had to give some advice.

I knew this book had succeeded when I got an email from a family friend saying, “I was on a flight to the Caribbean and I read your book. I haven’t had a carbohydrate in three months, I’ve lost thirty pounds, my blood pressure has dropped and I’ve never felt so healthy.”

The problem is I’m blaming obesity and heart disease and the chronic diseases that associate with it on sugar and refined grains. People would say to me, “Well, what about southeast Asia? There’s a continent of billions of people who consume a lot of refined grains and don’t have high levels of obesity and diabetes.”

The obvious answer to that is this is a population that doesn’t eat a lot of sugar, even though sugar refining was pioneered in China two thousand years ago. Because of the communist era, they never modernized their sugar refining processes. By the middle or late twentieth century they were consuming the amount of sugar we were consuming two hundred years earlier.

In Japan, which is always raised as an example, even back in the 1920’s when there were public health authorities arguing that sugar caused diabetes, the counter-argument from Elliot Joslin, who was the leading diabetes clinician in America, was “Well the Japanese eat a high carb diet, and they have very little of diabetes.” Joslin didn’t realize that sugar and other carbohydrates were different.

As I learned in my research, in the 1960s the Japanese consumed about as much sugar as we did in the 1860s. They had diabetes rates similar to what ours were in the 1860s.

Along the way in this research I’ve written some more articles for the Journal of Science about the mechanism of the condition called insulin resistance. Insulin resistance is when the cells of your body become resistant to the hormone insulin. It’s the fundamental defect in type 2 diabetes, which is the common form that associates with obesity.

Insulin resistance is believed by the researchers who study it to actually begin in the liver, in part with fat accumulation. It associates with what is now called non-alcoholic fatty liver disease which is also epidemic in America just like diabetes is.

As it turns out, the sugar molecule or high-fructose corn syrup is half a molecule of glucose and half a molecule of fructose. It’s fructose that makes it sweet. Fructose is fruit sugar; it is what makes fruit sweet, but in fruit you get it in very low doses. When we refine sugar cane or sugar beets or corn into high-fructose corn syrup we basically take out everything but the glucose and the fructose. Then we put it into sugary beverages and so on, making it very easy to consume.

The idea is that this fructose gets dumped on your liver and a lot of it gets converted to fat. If it gets converted to fat, it’s going to cause insulin resistance. You basically have this scenario that I described in the book, where there’s a mechanism with sugar that you’d expect it to cause insulin resistance. If it causes insulin resistance, then you would expect it to cause diabetes and obesity. And if it increases those, then you would expect it to increase the risk of these chronic diseases that are associated with obesity and diabetes.

There’s this whole cluster of chronic diseases that are often referred to as diseases of western life styles. These include heart disease, diabetes, obesity, cancer, Alzheimer’s, gout, arthritis and half a dozen others. Even cavities. Cavities are crucial. Dental care is crucial. Back in the 1960s people were saying since all these diseases cluster together and the first signs were cavities.

If you took a native population eating its traditional diet and you give them a western diet, on the way to becoming obese and diabetic, the first thing you’ll see is cavities occurring in the children. Doesn’t it make sense that whatever it is that causes the cavities also causes the obesity and diabetes. It’s a simple hypothesis, what is causing the cavities is sugar and white flour.

What I wanted to do with this book was to lay out this train of possible cause and effect. We have this conventional thinking in the field that the worst that can be said about sugar is its empty calories. It’s absent of vitamins and minerals and it just adds calories to the diet.

When you consume sugary beverages maybe you consume it over and above from what you would need from the rest of the diet and that’s what makes you fat. And to me that’s an excruciatingly naïve way to look at some extraordinarily complex physiological phenomenon. I wanted to lay this out in the book, and that’s what I’m doing.

There’s one underlying theme in all my books. It’s one of the things I realized in doing my research that I had no idea about. My books, including my first two on physics and nuclear physics, were about good science and bad science.

One of the things I learned in writing my first book on nutrition is that prior to World War II, the very best scientific research in the world was done in Europe. Science was in effect a European invention and all the fields of medical science that relate to obesity and diabetes were pioneered in Europe, in Germany and Austria. [Taubes names the various fields.] Genetics, metabolism, nutrition, endocrinology, the science of hormones and hormone related diseases… Stop at 12:51.

Sugar Blues: Chapter 1

by William Dufty

Introduction

Seven years ago, we published our review and digest of Chapter 1 of William Dufty’s legendary book, Sugar Blues in our annual paper newsletter that we mail out in January. Being that we’re dissecting another book dealing with the subject of sugar addiction, Fat Heals-Sugar Kills, The Cause and Cure for Cardiovascular Disease, Diabetes, Obesity, and Other Metabolic Diseases, it seems appropriate that we re-publish Dufty’s story.

Additionally, many new clients have come onboard with us in the past seven years. Also, many people have added email addresses during this period.

Lastly, in light of other books that we have done reviews and digests, we’ll make some additional comments that we hope will shed light on the issue of sugar addiction and how it can destroy one’s health. For those of you that are struggling with sugar addiction, we hope that you will do as Dufty did, have an epiphany and kick the habit.

Sugar Blues: Multiple physical and mental miseries caused by human consumption of refined sucrose—commonly called sugar.

Chapter 1: It Is Necessary to be Personal. 

Dufty grew up in a small Mid-western town during Prohibition.  When Dufty was eight, a visitor introduced to him the idea of floating a scoop of ice cream in a glass of Canada Dry ginger ale.  That was the spark that started his sugar addiction.  His access to grape soda pop kicked his addiction into high gear.  He writes, “When my summer grape pop habit got out of control, I had to lie, cheat, and steal to support it.”

He discovered malted milks in high school.  Rather than smoking, he got a better high off of a banana split.  He writes that the tobacco companies hired pretty girls to hook others on cigarettes.  Dufty smoked a few of the free ones, but he preferred a sweet treat.  He recounts summer hitch-hiking and living off Pepsi-Cola sold in a nickel bottle.

Dufty was drafted in 1942 and described his dislike of Army chow.  He writes, “I haunted the Post Exchange.  It was a two-year orgy of malted milks, sugared coffee, pastry, candy, chocolate, and Coca-Cola.”  He recounts that he was scared to death when he developed bleeding hemorrhoids.  Then he was hospitalized with pneumonia.

He finally became well enough and was shipped off to Algeria.  He remembered living off the land with a diet of “horsemeat, rabbit, squirrel, dark French peasant bread and whatever could be scrounged.”  He recalled never being sick or having a sniffle during those eighteen months.

He returned stateside after the war and reminisces…

Was I bright enough to understand the controlled experiment in nutrition I’d been unwittingly involved in?  I might have saved myself years of total waste, but I was a total idiot, without half the brain or instinct for survival…  On my return to the States, I went on a glorious bender; Pie à la mode, cake and whipped cream, malted milks by the dozen, chocolate and Pepsi.  Sugar…sugar…sugar.

He was flat on his back and had one malady after another.  His hemorrhoids returned, and he experienced infectious mononucleosis, atypical malaria, hepatitis, shingles, exotic skin conditions, ear infections, and eye diseases.  He says that he ran out of money and “discovered the wonders of socialized medicine at the VA… “

Dufty continues:

For over fifteen years I subjected myself to an endless whirligig of doctors, hospitals, diagnosis, treatment, tests, and more tests, drugs and more drugs.  During all that rigamarole, I cannot recall a single doctor (out of the dozens that treated me) who ever displayed the slightest curiosity about what I ate or drank.

One night in one sitting I read a little book that said if you’re sick, it’s your own damn fault.  Pain is the final warning.  You know better than anyone else how you’ve abusing your body, so stop it.  Sugar is poison, it said, more lethal than opium and more dangerous than atomic fallout. Ed: My emphasis.

He recalled a warning that a woman gave to him about sugar cubes as a child. “Everyone has to find out for themselves—the hard way.”

His epiphany hit him like a lightning bolt.  Dufty continues his account:

I threw all the sugar out of my kitchen. Then I threw out everything that had sugar in it, cereals and canned fruit, soups and bread.  Since I had never really read any labels carefully, I was shocked to find the shelves were soon empty; so was the refrigerator.  I began eating nothing but whole grains and vegetables.

The worst was yet to come.

In about forty-eight hours I was in total agony, overcome with nausea, with a crashing migraine.

Dufty compares refined sugar to heroin, a refined chemical that is highly addictive.

I was kicking all kinds of chemicals cold turkey—sugar, aspirin, cocaine, caffeine, chlorine, fluorine, sodium, monosodium glutamate etc.

Things started to improve.

The next few days brought a succession of wonders.  My rear stopped bleeding, and so did my gums.  My skin began to clear up and had a totally different texture when I washed.  I discovered bones in my hands and feet that had been buried under bloat.  I bounced out of bed at strange hours in the early morning, raring to go.  …My shirts and shoes were too big…I discovered my jaw while shaving…I dropped from 205 pounds to a neat 135 in five months and ended up with a new body, a new head, a new life.”  He continues.  “I burned my Blue Cross card.”  He wrote the woman that warned him about the sugar cubes, “Wow, were you ever right.  I didn’t get your message then, but I’ve got it now.

Since then [the 1960’s] I have been sugar free.  I haven’t seen a doctor, a pill, or a shot in all that time.  I haven’t even touched so much as an aspirin.

My Comments: Dufty is ever so right; sugar is a highly addictive substance. Sometime in the future, I (Lance) will write an article about my own history of sugar addiction. However, for now I’ll share with you a very recent experience.

As I went over to the photocopier shop to pickup my copies of our 2021 paper newsletters, I noticed a plate of mostly eaten Christmas cookies sitting on a counter. The one that was left was one of those white flour jobs, sweetened with sugar, of held together with butter. I couldn’t avoid taking in a whiff of the aroma coming off that cookie. It reminded me of the pleasures of eating such sweet treasures, the wonderful taste in my mouth, and the smooth feeling when going down my throat.

I think the sensation was remarkably similar to the former smoker that feels a craving and taste for a cigarette when he/she is around someone smoking. The same could said for the reformed alcoholic that gets a whiff of booze and relives the wonderful feeling of the drink trickling down his throat.

Sugar is addictive! End

Fat Heals—Sugar Kills: Chapter 4 – Part 2, Sugar Isn’t Always Sweet

by Dr. Bruce Fife

Chapter 4, Part 2

Glucose—Blood Sugar and Insulin Resistance: continued

Where we left off is Dr. Fife explaining to us that insulin resistance is the hallmark feature and first step towards developing diabetes. We’ll concern ourselves here only with type 2 diabetes and not juvenile diabetes.

In type 2 diabetes, the pancreas may be able to produce enough insulin, but the cells of the body have become unresponsive to the hormone insulin. This is called insulin resistance. Over 90% of diabetics are of this type.

In the initial course of this disease, the pancreas usually can produce enough insulin to overcome the insulin resistance of the cells. However, the demand placed on the pancreas takes its toll, and insulin production eventually begins to decline. Eventually the pancreas can burn itself out and stop producing the insulin needed.

When this happens, type 2 diabetics will require supplemental insulin.

More than half of all those with type 2 diabetes eventually require insulin to control their blood sugar levels as they get older.

My Comments: I hope Dr. Fife’s words will serve as a dire warning to those who consume lots of refined carbs but have yet to be diagnosed as having pre-diabetes. I would hope that it also serves as a wake-up call to those that have been diagnosed as pre-diabetic and have been prescribed metformin. I also hope that the readers that are diabetic and taking metformin and/or other diabetic pills will hear the alarm bells going on as to the path they are headed on if they insist on continuing to abuse their bodies by consuming too many refined carbohydrates.

Dr. Fife warns that half of those will end up requiring insulin if the disease continues to progress. The progression continues with assorted diabetic complications:

  • Skin complications
  • Eye complications: Retinopathy, glaucoma, cataracts
  • Neuropathy: Nerve damage from diabetes is called diabetic neuropathy
  • Foot complications
  • DKA (ketoacidosis) & ketones
  • Kidney disease (nephropathy)
  • High blood pressure—also called hypertension—raises your risk for heart attack, stroke, eye problems and kidney disease.
  • Stroke

Folks, this is serious stuff. The obvious answer is to quit consuming or severely reduce “foods” made from refined carbohydrates. The problem, of course, just as with other addictive substances, refined carbs and particularly sugar in its various forms, are highly addictive.

William Dufty in Chapter 1 of his book, Sugar Blues, had this to say when he quit sugar cold turkey:

In about forty-eight hours I was in total agony, overcome with nausea, with a crashing migraine.

Continuing: Dr. Fife explains that diabetes is diagnosed when fasting blood sugar is 126mg/dL or higher. As insulin resistance increases, so do blood sugar levels. Fife also warns that you are not in the clear if you are at 125mg/dL. He explains that insulin resistance begins when fasting levels rise over 90 mg/dL.

Fife points out the correlations between increased sugar consumption and the increase of diabetes. He also states the reverse:

Eating a low-sugar or low-carb diet significantly reduces the risk [of developing diabetes].

He says that the scientific evidence linking excess sugar consumption with an increased risk of diabetes is strong.

My Comments: The problem here is what is “low” and what is “excess?” In Part 1 of Chapter 4, I quoted some dietary experts’ recommendations of consuming no more than 100 calories of sugar per day. If you are a regular consumer of processed foods, you’ll likely exceed this many times over. Keep in mind that 100 calories worth of sugar is 25 grams or slightly under an ounce or about six teaspoons.

Continuing:

Glycemic Index

The glycemic index (GI) is a measure of how quickly certain foods raise blood sugar levels. The GI is on a scale of 0 to 100. Glucose is given a GI of 100, and all other foods are rated in comparison.

A banana has a rating of 51, but a slice of white bread, by comparison, has a GI rating of 75. While the banana tastes sweeter, its fiber slows down the absorption process. The white bread is pure starch and quickly dumps a high load of glucose into the bloodstream once it’s digested.

Chronic Inflammation

Dr. Fife explains that high glycemic foods tend to increase inflammation.

When blood sugar levels rise, the sugar in your bloodstream tends to latch onto certain proteins in the blood vessel wall, causing injury and inflammation. When you eat high glycemic index foods repeatedly, your blood glucose levels are continually elevated, leading to chronic injury and inflammation.

It is inflammation that causes cholesterol to become trapped in the artery wall. Without inflammation being present in the body, there is no way that cholesterol would accumulate in the wall of the blood vessel. Without inflammation, cholesterol would move freely throughout the body as nature intended.

This chronic inflammation of the arteries is one of the distinguishing features of atherosclerosis and coronary heart disease. In fact, chronic inflammation is associated with diabetes, obesity, Alzheimer’s disease, and just about every other chronic degenerative disease. Ed: My emphasis

My Comments: When certain events happen, the cause-and-effect relationship can be immediate and painful. Accidentally placing your hand on a hot burner will give you immediate and painful feedback to the degree that you minimize your injury and avoid such behavior in the future. The effects of a bee or wasp sting is immediate and painful, and deadly for some. Those that have suffered painful stings take precautions to avoid getting stung again.

If I eat a candy bar, woof down half a bag of Oreos, or splurge on three bowls of my favorite chocolate chip ice cream, do I have a heart attack, have kidney failure, or go into a diabetic coma? Not yet and maybe not for decades. Nothing happens in the immediacy to the toxic load that I have subjected my body to. However, if I persist in this behavior, the effects will accumulate and eventually catch up with me.

The dilemma here for any addiction is that the pleasure derived by tickling the dopamine part of our brain outweighs any concerns of potential long term side effects. And just think, the psycho-physicists that Dr. Fife referenced earlier in this chapter understand this physiological response to pleasure and addiction better than we do. It is their job to ensure that we will really like the manufactured food or beverage they create to the point where we become lifetime consumers. That is their bliss point.

Continuing: Dr Fife states that inflammation can be determined by measuring a marker in the blood called C-reactive protein (CRP); the higher the CRP the more inflammation is present.

He succinctly explains the problem:

In the absence of infection, a primary cause of inflammation is eating excessive amounts of sugar. Sugar causes inflammation and exponentially* increases your chances of developing chronic diseases. Ed: My emphasis

My Comments: What if you made a nicely printed sign that you prominently posted in your kitchen that reads as follows.

EATING TOO MUCH SUGAR IS THE MAIN CAUSE OF INFLAMMATION IN MY BODY AND DRAMATICALLY INCREASES MY CHANCE OF DEVELOPING A MYRIAD OF CHRONIC ILLNESSES.

We can assume that the processed food industry will not be handing such signs out.

*Why does Dr. Fife use the word “exponentially” in his text?  Exponentially means more rapidly and that the speed of the rapidness keeps increasing.

Let’s say Person A consumes no sugar and no refined carbs and has a virtually zero percent chance of developing diabetes.

Person B consumes 500 calories per day of sugar/refined carbs and has 10 times more likelihood of developing type 2 diabetes compared to Person A.

Person C consumes 1,000 calories per day of refined carbs and has 10 times more chance of developing type 2 diabetes compared to Person B or 100 times more chance compared to Person A.

The above figures are hypothetical only, but Dr. Fife’s point by using the word exponentially is that the chances of contracting a chronic illness becomes increasingly higher with the increased consumption of sugar.

Continuing: Dr Fife further discusses chronic inflammation and arterial disease. He makes this key point:

The relationship between chronic arterial inflammation and heart disease is a much better indicator of heart disease risk then blood cholesterol levels.

My Comments: Assuming that Dr. Fife’s above comment is medically correct, then why are so many doctors pre-occupied with blood cholesterol levels? Over the years I have heard many, many people tell me that their doctor said that they have to get their cholesterol levels lower. The remedy is usually to prescribe a statin drug. With one possible exception, I have never heard anyone report to me that their doctor was just as hell-bent to get their blood sugar levels lowered by restricting their consumption of sugar and other refined carbs.

Continuing: Dr. Fife further explains the correlation of C-reactive protein and inflammation to heart disease.

Dr. Paul Ridker of Brigham and Women’s hospital in Boston evaluated blood samples from more than 28,000 healthy nurses. Those with the highest levels of C-reactive protein had more than four times the risk of having heart trouble. “We were able to find that the C-reactive protein is a stronger predictor of risk than were the regular cholesterol levels, and that’s very important because almost half of all heart attacks occur among people who have normal cholesterol levels,” he said.

Dr. Fife suggests that inflammation may explain why people have heart disease without other known risk factors. These are people with normal cholesterol, who are not diabetic, and appear to be in good physical condition. They make up about a third of all heart attack cases.

My comments: To learn more about C-reactive protein (CRP) here is what the Mayo Clinic has to say:

The level of C-reactive protein (CRP), which can be measured in your blood, increases when there’s inflammation in your body. Your doctor might check your C-reactive protein level for infections or for other medical conditions.

Healthline has this to say:

High CRP levels can also indicate that there’s inflammation in the arteries of the heart, which can mean a higher risk of heart attack. However, the CRP test is an extremely nonspecific test, and CRP levels can be elevated in any inflammatory condition.

I looked at other websites, and the information they offered about the link to diet, nutrition, and particularly sugar was scant. One suggested that a Mediterranean diet was beneficial. Another suggested that an unhealthy diet was one contributory factor towards CRP.

Dr. Fife cuts to the chase and lays the blame on high-glycemic foods. And what are high-glycemic foods? Yep, it’s refined carbohydrates which includes white flour and sugar in its various forms. End

 

Gary Taubes ‘The Case Against Sugar’ Part 2

a Gary Taubes YouTube video transcribed by Liz Reedy

We ran Part 1 in our April 2017 edition of Northwest Senior News

Part 2 continues beginning at 12:31 minutes

What I learned is that the German and Austrian researchers had a very different hypothesis of obesity than we do. We think that obesity is caused by taking in more calories than you expend. It’s an energy balance. I’m just curious how many of you believe that to be true. You know, you eat too much and you’re sedentary.

I once gave a lecture on why we get fat at the Tufts School of Nutrition, which is the hotbed of the anti-fat movement in America. That and the University of Washington, here are two places that really do not like my work. Before the interview I said, “How many of you believe that obesity is caused by taking in more calories than you expend.” Nobody raised a hand. And I said, “Well, I don’t have to give this lecture because I’m going to try to convince you it’s fake.”

http://medicine.tufts.edu/Student-Services-and-Campus-Life/Student-Advisory-and-Health-Office/Student-Health-Insurance/How-to-Waive-or-Enroll-in-Coverage/Friedman-School-of-Nutrition-Science-and-Policy

The counter argument is that the Germans and Austrians had come to the conclusion that obesity is a hormonal defect. Back in the 1920s, obese people would say, “Well, it’s hormones.” And it was considered an excuse even back in the 1920s before any hormone but insulin had been discovered. People had no idea how hormones work in the human body.

The medical community would say this was an excuse for fat people to not eat in moderation like lean people would. This idea, built up through the 1960s, was hammered on over and over again. It can’t be a hormonal defect; “fat people just don’t have willpower like I do”, was the implication.

The Germans and Austrians said that it was clearly a hormonal defect; it’s got to be a hormonal defect. I mean, look at it. Men and women fatten differently. It means that sex hormones are involved, right? Men and women go through puberty, the boys lose fat, the girls gain fat; it’s the sex hormones, you know? You get these localized accumulations of obesity. One of the most famous is called the steatopygia. [also spelled steatopigia: the state of having substantial levels of tissue on the buttocks and thighs]

Anyway, World War II comes along, the German and Austrian schools vanish. Some of these researchers fled to the United States but they didn’t get jobs because nobody wanted to hire these German Jewish researchers; certainly not Ivy League institutions, which actually had protocols in place so as not to be overrun by Jewish admissions and Jewish students. In fact, a lot of them ended up moving west, and it’s one of the reasons that places like Washington and Berkeley, where I live, are such great universities because they embraced these people.

This idea that obesity was a hormone regulatory defect evaporated with the Second World War. After the war, very well-meaning US nutritionists and young doctors sort of recreated the science of obesity from scratch with no idea how to do science and no understanding of endocrinology or genetics or metabolism and even profoundly, nutrition.

They ended up with this idea that it’s just about eating too much. Gluttony and sloth. It was like a Biblical theory of obesity. In the 1960s when researchers started to understand what it is that actually regulates the accumulation of fat in your fat cells, by that time we had already decided that obesity was an eating disorder caused by taking in too many calories. Nobody cared what the endocrinologists were learning about obesity.  Ed: We’re at 16:36 minutes.

I was doing a BBC TV show in which they were interviewing me in Oakland via Skype. The host of the BBC show was a geneticist who studies obesity at Cambridge University. He studies the genetics of obesity. He got a little angry at me because I kept asking him questions when he wanted to ask me questions.

One of the questions I asked him was “Do you know what regulates fat accumulation in fat cells?” And he said, “Well, we don’t know that.” And I said, “No, you don’t know that because you studied genetics.” But if you pick up an endocrinology textbook or a biochemistry textbook, it’ll tell you about the hormone insulin, [and it will] tell you what enzymes are in insulin that regulate and pull fat in or out of fat cells.

Anyway, this whole story ties back to sugar. If obesity is a hormonal regulatory defect and if it’s more or less controlled, as the endocrinology and biochemistry textbooks will tell you, by the hormone insulin, then whatever works to elevate insulin in your bloodstream is going to make you accumulate excess fat; that thing happens to be sugar.

My Comments: Sugar and the other refined carbohydrates in our processed-food diet is one of our major health problems. Anyone who writes and knows anything about nutrition warns us about this problem.

William Dufty in Sugar Blues described his battle with sugar addiction and how destructive sugar was for his health.   Dr. Stephen Sinatra in Chapter 4, Sugar: The Real Demon in the Diet of The Great Cholesterol Myth writes as to how sugar contributes directly to heart disease.

The problem for us is the pervasiveness of sugar in our diet. Even in things touted as being good for us such as “organic” can be remarkably high in sugar. A client recently told me about her favorite bread, Dave’s Killer Good Seed Organic Bread with the yellow wrapper. The nutrition information indicates 5 grams of sugar per serving with one serving being 140 calories. 5 grams x 4 calories per gram = 20 calories per slice. 20/140 reduces to 1/7, meaning that around 14% of the calories are sugar. Obviously, a loaf of bread such as this is light years better than white foam bread, however it is still a hidden source of sugar. To Dave’s credit, some of their other lines have less sugar.

Continuing: Again, it’s targeting this condition of insulin resistance. If you’re insulin resistant, your pancreas has to pump out more insulin to make take up the high blood sugar in your body and deal with it. Basically, you have a very strong chain of effects that would implicate whatever is the cause of insulin resistance, obesity, and diabetes.

Again, I think it’s vitally important in doing this story to understand the history. So much of this book [ he is referring to his book, The Case Against Sugar.]  is about the history. I’m also saying in 2016 we’ve missed the story. So, I’m making this argument that the nutrition community got it wrong, the obesity community got it wrong despite the anti-sugar movement.

The question is: why is the anti-sugar movement about sugar being empty calories if we consume an excess, whatever that means. Nobody ever says lung cancer is caused by smoking in excess, right? You say it’s caused by smoking. But we’ll say obesity is caused by consuming foods in excess. Is it just caused by consuming foods, just as lung cancer is caused by smoking?

What I had to do with this book is explain why such a profoundly important hypothesis had been ignored. Something I argued time and again is that the evidence is actually ambiguous. I’m speculating by saying sugar causes all these diseases. Why is it in 2017 I have to speculate we haven’t done the research necessary to narrow it down.

The other part of the story is how the sugar industry worked in the 50s, 60s, and 70s to take what the nutritionists were giving them and make sure no one ever concluded that sugar was uniquely toxic. This is not a short-term toxin like we’re used to, like a chemical which might kill you if you inhale it for three weeks, but a long-term toxin that works over years and decades to create these chronic conditions, diseases, and disorders that are so burdensome, and will eventually shorten your life like no other.

My Comment: This is why so many people find it difficult to realize that their stent placement, obesity, stroke, cancer, or heart illness is the result from past decades of nutritional abuse. I have been in homes and seen processed, sugary junk foods sitting on people’s kitchen counters. Invariably they are taking several meds for blood pressure, heart regulation, and/or type 2 diabetes. They also tend to be overweight.

Continuing: Much of what I do in this book is also to talk about the history of the sugar industry and their public relations campaigns. They ran concerted campaigns in the 60s and 70s, first to fight back the challenge that artificial sweeteners presented in the 60s. It’s funny because people like to say it’s a surreptitious campaign by the sugar industry, but I first realized this happened because I was reading a New York Times article.

In 1967, a vice-president of the sugar association took credit for spending almost a million dollars to fund studies to demonstrate that cyclamates were carcinogenic. And to a New York Times reporter he says, “Look, if some competitor can undersell you ten cents to a dollar, wouldn’t you throw a brick bat at him if you could?”

It wasn’t a surreptitious campaign, it was just capitalism at its best. Artificial sweeteners came into the market in the 1950s. By the 1960s they were taking over the soda industry and the sugar industry felt they had to fight it back. So they did. They funded studies and they got cyclamates banned, and they almost got saccharine banned based on science that was almost unbelievably bad.

In the 1970s, when a very influential British nutritionist named John Yudkin was claiming that sugar was deadly and that it was probably the cause of diabetes and heart disease, the sugar industry funded a campaign of researchers who believed saturated fat was the problem.

Comment: Weren’t they clever by scapegoating saturated fats?

Continuing: The nutritionists and cardiologists in the United States had concluded that saturated fat was what caused heart disease, and if it caused heart disease, then it caused diabetes. All they had to do was pay the nutritionists to stand up and write what they really believed. What they believed was that sugar was benign.

This report produced by the sugar industry had been designed as a part of a public relations campaign by a hot-shot public relations firm in Chicago. The report was called Sugar in the Diet of Man. It was about ten or eleven articles supplemented in a journal. They gave it to the FDA, and the FDA had to decide whether sugar was safe or not. The FDA read the report and said, “Clearly, these very influential nutritionists believe sugar is benign, so we will too.”

One thing led to another, and the end result was that they managed to, in effect, shut down sugar research in the country for about thirty years. In fact, by the mid-1980s, for someone to say sugar might be harmful and to study it, was to be accused of being a quack. It wasn’t just that the NIH wouldn’t fund such studies, but it would actually ruin your reputation as a scientist if you claimed to do it.

What happened was some research was done anyway. One of the paradigm shifts I talk about in all my books is in the 1960s we focused on the idea that we get heart disease because fat raises the cholesterol in our blood and our arteries clog up. We often use this clogged pipe analogy. Some people talk about artery-clogging fats.  Stop at 23:32 minutes Continued next month

My concluding comment for this month: For those who have followed our review and digests of Dr. Stephen Sinatra’a The Great Cholesterol Myth, we have learned that the demonization of saturated fats and cholesterol has been one of the greatest nutrition and health frauds of the past 60 years. End