Sugar and “Liquid Die Ya Bee Tees”

    Many times over the years, I have heard that sugar is simply liquid diabetes. The statement is usually made with great disdain and with an ugly scowl. The attempt is to make sugar out to be a major villain that robs us of our health and inflicts all sorts of major diseases upon us. Ever since Adelle Davis in the 1970s, sugar has been considered to be a major threat to our health. What people do not realize is that our bodies deal primarily in sugar. No other currency is used for the energy to fuel our bodies. If you think that eating whole grains, starches, or fresh fruits and vegetables will provide your body with anything substantially different from sugar, you are sadly mistaken.

     The purpose of digestion is to break down all grains and starches into sugar and absorb them as sugar. The particular sugar that your body deals with is called glucose. This is simple biochemistry that most people tend to forget when they are fussing about sugar and calling it liquid die ya bee tees!

What Causes Diabetes

     You do not catch diabetes by eating sugar. You simply do not! So sorry, so sad for those of you who want to blame sugar for this horrible disease. A person is said to have diabetes when his or her body cannot maintain its blood sugar level below 120 mg/dl.

    When you eat something, your body digests it and breaks the food down into four things, and four things only. These four things are sugar, fatty acids, amino acids and water. These components are absorbed into your blood stream and used by your body. In order to use the sugar, your body needs to have insulin present. Insulin is a hormone secreted by your pancreas. This is an organ located behind your stomach. Insulin allows the sugar to leave your blood steam and go into your body’s cells to be used for energy production.

    A person with diabetes cannot produce enough insulin to allow the sugar to go into the cells. Consequently, sugar builds up in the blood and causes all kinds of problems. Diabetes, if left uncontrolled, will lead to blindness, poor circulation, nerve damage and much much more. These are givens. They will happen. There are no ifs about it. Nursing homes and hospitals are filled with people who have had to have limbs amputated due to poor circulation from uncontrolled diabetes. Dialysis centers have many people who suffer from permanent kidney failure due to uncontrolled diabetes. It is a wicked disease, but it is NOT caused by eating sugar.

     Three things contribute to the development of diabetes. These three things are your genes, your age and your weight. You can’t do anything about your heredity, or your age, but you can control your weight. We currently have a cure for the most common form of diabetes. This is the diabetes that develops later in life, rather than during childhood. Adult onset diabetes, or type II diabetes can usually be cured if the person loses weight to his or her ideal body weight range. The more fat you have on your body, the more insulin your body needs to produce in order to control your blood sugar level. If your body is having difficulty producing enough insulin, then it only stands to reason that if you reduce your insulin needs, your diabetes may simply go away. This is exactly what happens. If you are twenty pounds, or more, over weight, and you have diabetes, then your diabetes will probably be cured if you lose twenty pounds.

What About the Diabetic Diet?

    For decades, diabetics have been told that they need to avoid sugar. For many, the diabetes diagnosis was close to a death sentence for the diabetic. Sweets were no longer allowed. They could not eat their favorite foods anymore. Family members were quick to scold them and admonish them for being off their diet. They often did so, while they themselves were woofing down a large piece of the cake or pie in question.

    Most people are very quick to tell other people what they can or cannot eat, but turn the tables and they are quick to plead for mercy. It only makes sense that you should avoid sugar if you have diabetes. Once again, the diabetic diet is just another diet developed from pure conjecture. Is it true? Do diabetics have to avoid sugar like avoiding the plague? Does the abstinence from sugar actually help the diabetic to control his or her blood sugar level? Dietitians have assumed that the answers to these questions are all yes. Then, after fifty years of inflicting diabetic diets on people, they decided to do some honest research. The results were astounding and surprising.

The Ad Lib Diet for Diabetics

    The Ad Lib diet means that you eat whatever you want, including sweets. The American Diabetic Association and The American Dietetic Association teamed up and studied the Ad Lib diet for diabetics. It was a radical idea that was doomed to fail. Dietitians scoffed at the attempt. No Way! They screamed. Diabetes could only be controlled with the strictest of diets. Yet, the studies showed, time and time again, that an Ad Lib diet controlled diabetes better than a strict diabetic diet. There was no comparison. The Ad Lib diet didn’t just match the diabetic control of the diabetic diet, it provided BETTER control. One cautionary note should be applied here. Both the Ad Lib diet and the Diabetic Diet were required to be balanced diets. In other words, the meals had to contain a meat, starch and a vegetable. The Ad Lib diet could not consist of all ice cream, it had to be balanced. In other words, the studies showed that diabetics could eat just like everyone else. They no longer had to follow a “special” diet. What the studies determined was that the control of diabetes was more a matter of spreading your food out over three well balanced meals than is was about avoiding sugar.

    If you are diabetic, I hope you have heard of this research. If you haven’t, I am not surprised. Many dietitians, nurses and physicians are still insisting that you follow the strict diet. Once again, you have people that love to tell you what you can and cannot eat. They desperately want to enforce the no sugar rule on you. Tell them about this research and show them the position papers from the American Dietetic Association. These are listed in the references to this article. Position papers are the most official clinical documents in the healthcare industry. They are designed to make it absolutely clear, what the official position is on a particular issue. For diabetics, these position papers are your passport to eating just like everyone else.

Splinter Diets

    You would think that the American Dietetic Association position paper on the Ad Lib diet for diabetes would be a liberating experience for both dietitians and patients. Nothing could be further from the truth! Instead of loosening their strangle hold on patients, some dietitians have taken this opportunity to tighten their grip. Instead of the diabetic diet dying a natural death. Instead of the truth being triumphant, it has caused a splintering of the diabetic diet into three other diets.

    Dietitians were not about to lose one of their precious diets. Just as the diabetic diet was about to die, a group of dietitians conjectured up three other diets to inflict upon the unsuspecting public. These are the Reduced Concentrated Sweets diet, the Low Concentrated Sweets diet and the Controlled Carbohydrate diet. What part of Ad Lib did they not understand?! Instead of allowing diabetics to have a normal diet, these dietitians are insisting that they cut their dessert portions in half, or that they have fruit only for dessert. They also want them to have only half of a roll or half of a slice of bread. It’s just in case, you know; to make your dietitian feel better about what you are not eating.

     Once again, there is ABOLUTELY NO research behind these diets. They are dreamed up, just like all the other diets. And, they are catching on. They are considered “cutting edge!” They are at the forefront of modern diet therapy. Yes, we should all give thanks to Sally Sue the dietitian who did this pioneering work. What work is that? What research paper can we refer to? None. It just sounds good. It stands to reason, so let’s inflict these diets upon people before someone finds out that they don’t work either.

The Sugar Blues

     In 1975, William Duffy published a book called “Sugar Blues”. (3) Notice that this was at the height of Adelle Davis’ popularity and Duffy was going to cash in on the craze about sugar. The premise of the sugar blues is that we are addicted to sugar and that sugar puts us on an emotional roller coaster by giving us a sugar high, and then sending us crashing down and craving our next sugar fix. This was all based on the fact that our blood sugar rises after eating sugar and then drops down below normal a couple of hours later. This was represented in the graph that resembled a roller coaster.

The Sugar Blues Roller Coaster

    Some people went as far as to suggest that violent crimes could be due to sugar addiction. There were actually a few cases where this was the defense. However, the fad started to die out when scientist pointed out that the rise and fall of blood sugar is a normal function of our digestive process, and that a person would experience this whether he or she ate sugar or not. The rise and fall of your blood sugar represents the getting full and then hungry two to three times on a normal/average day. We are not addicted to sugar any more than were are addicted to food. Most people do not experience anything more than feeling hungry when their blood sugar drops. Some people may be sensitive to the low blood sugar feeling, or their blood sugar may drop lower than most people. These people have the condition known as hypoglycemia. Yes, there was an epidemic of hypoglycemia once people were informed that the sugar blues roller coaster was just a normal part of our metabolism. Davis and Duffy made a lot of money from selling their books with outrageous claims. They also left a serious legacy. Sugar’s reputation has never recovered. To this day, sugar is vilified by every nutritionist and most dietitians. The first step of most super special regimens is to eliminate all sugar. Our kids cannot have sugar because it is empty calories and causes diabetes (NOT). Sure, it’s empty calories, but our kids have calories to burn. Let them have their sweets and then go out to play. Now there’s a problem. Our kids do not go out and play anymore.

Sugar and Hyperactivity

    If you feed sugar to your kids, they will be “bouncing off the walls.” This simply is not true. Sugar does not cause hyperactivity in children any more than a full stomach does. (4) Sorry, Mom. Your kids are just being kids. With a full stomach, they tend to run around more, jump higher, squeal louder and are generally more active. Eliminating sugar from your child’s diet will not make the child behave. That’s what God invented discipline for. Also, realize that if you eliminate all sugar, eventually your child will get holt of some. Talk about a sugar high! After going years without sugar, a child’s reaction to sugar will be extreme to say the least. How about limiting sweets to just at dessert time if they eat well and behave themselves? Sound familiar?

Sugar and Cancer

    Sugar causes everything else, why not cancer. I have been hearing this for the past several years. Cancer feeds off sugar. Of course it does. All cells feed off sugar, and Cancer is made up of cells too. Do you see a pattern here. Alarmists take a normal body function and sound the alarm. Oh No! We have to do something about this. I know, I know, you gotta buy my book. You gotta get on my program. You gotta try my product. You gotta give me your money. Many nutritionists have jumped onto the anti-sugar band wagon by quoting studies that show a thirty to a one hundred and thirty percent increase in the incidence of cancer in patients who ate sugar. (6) Realize that these studies are flawed in many ways, or the well intentioned researchers are simply reporting results and the opportunist jumps on the results and writes a book. It is very easy to show statistically significant associations between two factors in small or large groups over long or short periods of time. These studies do not show cause and effect and that is the simple truth of the matter. You cannot draw conclusions from these studies. This is why you hear one day that sugar causes cancer and the next day, you hear that it doesn’t. Natural reports that ten studies show a relationship between sugar and an increased risk of cancer. How can this be so? Well, first of all, the ten studies investigate a link between diabetes and cancer. They do not look at the sugar consumption of the subjects, they look at the incidence of diabetes as it relates to the incidence of cancer. Remember that sugar does not cause diabetes. This is a well established fact. So, if you show a relation between diabetes and cancer, you are not showing a relationship between sugar and cancer. In fact, you would show the exact opposite, since diabetics are very likely to be avoiding sugar in their diet.

    However, the ten studies do not even show a relationship between diabetes and cancer.

     “In this large perspective cohort of women, elevated levels of HbA1c (measure of diabetic diet compliance) were not related to an increased incidence of colorectal cancer” (8)

     “Our results support the hypothesis of increased risk for colorectal cancer and diabetes.” (9)

    This was after statistically factoring out at least ten different group characteristics. In other words, the numbers were massaged until the desired result was obtained. Still, however, the association as stretched to be between diabetes and cancer, not sugar and cancer.

    “No associations were observed for carbohydrate or sugar consumption and colorectal cancer” (10)

     No association does not mean there is an association.

    This is an old Adelle Davis trick. Just reference a study and provide your own conclusions to fit your needs or to sell your book. No one checks the references any way. This is what Nutrition Truth! Is all about. We check the references and actually read the conclusions for ourselves.

     “The study doesn’t prove that high blood sugar causes cancer, or that normal blood sugar prevents it.” (11)

     Again, they were investigating blood sugar levels. Remember that your body absorbs all starches and sugars as glucose (our blood sugar). Therefore, a high blood sugar can come from an intake of sugar, bread, or multi-grain organic super duper healthy baked in an old fashioned brick oven bread like substance. Again, this study is dealing with people that have a genetic malady that prevents them from processing sugar in a normal fashion.

     After closely analyzing the first four of the ten studies, one begins to see a pattern. Natural wants us to believe that sugar causes cancer and they quote ten studies as proof. The studies have nothing to do with examining the relationship between sugar and cancer. The conclusions are frequently the exact opposite of what they want us to believe. Their methods of persuasion are highly suspect and the average person will read the article and be unnecessarily alarmed. The tactics are reminiscent of the Davis/Duffy tactics of the 1970s. They are designed to sell books, or increase web traffic and have little or nothing to do with reality. It’s time that we take a stand and demand better quality information. It’s time to say NO! This is unacceptable!

A Real Position presents a very reasonable position on sugar and cancer. They say that there is probably not a direct connection between cancer and sugar, but that it is probably a good idea to limit your sugar intake because it causes a spike in insulin production. Insulin can trigger cell growth. This may promote the growth of cancer. However, you cannot avoid the production of insulin because it is needed to process sugar, as well as other carbohydrates. Therefore, the prudent thing to do is to take sugar in moderation. Please do not read into the above statement and try to develop your own cure for cancer by eliminating all insulin from your body. This is impossible and un-necessary. Cancer does not grow because of insulin, and insulin does not necessarily make cancer grow faster. We are just talking prudence here. Once again, we are advocating moderation. You should consume sugar in moderation, like at dessert time.

     In the words of Nadine Stair, the eighty five year old woman from Louisville, Kentucky. (7)

     “If I had my life to live over, I would eat more ice cream and less beans.”

     We should all follow Ms. Stair’s admonition. Don’t come to the end of your life and realize that you paid too much attention to avoiding delicious foods. Food is meant to be enjoyed, and sweets are definitely enjoyed the most.

Reference Links:
1.) American Diabetes Association-Diabetes Care January 2008 31:S61-S78; doi:10.2337/dc08-S061

2.) American Diabetes Association-Diabetes Care Volume 27 January 1, 2004 Diabetes Nutrition Recommendations for Health Care Institutions


3.) Wikipedia - The Sugar Blues
     The Sugar Blues

4.) Sugar and Hyperactivity not Related
     Sugar and Hyperactivity

5.) A Reasonalble Approach to Sugar and Cancer
     Sugar and Cancer

6.) Natural News: Ten Studies link Cancer to Sugar
     Ten Studies Link Cancer to Sugar

7.) Postcards from the Ditch
     Eat More Ice Cream