Sugar….The New Drug

I remember when I first started reading about the harmful effects of sugar, the topic of obesity kept coming up. I’ve read how even one teaspoon of sugar per day could cause metabolic imbalances that contribute to obesity and how the whole nation is consuming high fructose corn syrup which is causing the “obesity revolution.” But it never bothered me because, I did not consume much sugar and our family is skinny. I actually didn’t care if we gained weight. But it wasn’t until I read Nancy Appleton’s “Lick the Sugar Habit” that I really listened. Nancy Appleton, PhD., is a clinical nutritionist and has compiled a list of 146 negatives things that sugar is doing to our health. Here are some of them:

Sugar depresses the immune system, causes diabetes, obesity, mineral imbalances, hyperactivity in children, digestive dysfunction, alcoholism, arthritis, asthma, heart disease, gallstones, osteoporosis, cancer (breast, ovaries, prostate, rectal, pancreas, lungs, gallbladder, stomach), aggravates PMS, worsens symptoms of children with allergies, ADD, emphysema, atherosclerosis, causes eczema in children and candida. For more, read Nancy Appleton’s book.

Wow, this is pretty scary. I don’t know why anyone would want to consume sugar after reading this.

The average American eats nearly 180 pounds of sugar a year. This is 40 times more than a century ago. It is no wonder that heart disease, diabetes and cancer are skyrocketing. Yes, your child’s birthday cake, Halloween candy and your donuts and sugared coffee are slowly killing you and your family. It’s that simple. Sugar is really a drug that has been so refined that some people are claiming that it’s like cocaine. There is no nutritional value and it is almost in everything: cookies, cakes, canned foods, breads, crackers, drinks, cereals, even some things you wouldn’t expect. You have to start reading food labels. Sugar is deadly and you will surely see these diseases appear in your life in the future if you consume sugar on a regular basis. The scenario goes something like this: You go to the the doctor for your “ailment” and they will say “We’re sorry maam, we don’t know what causes your “ailment” (diabetes, heart disease, cancer), but here is pill…hope it helps. (Oh and by the way, the pills cause cancer too). Doctors and nurses are not trained in prevention. They are excellent in diagnosing and treating disease but not preventing it. I see this scenario all the time.

It doesn’t matter what you call sugar: high-fructose corn syrup, cane sugar, fructose, sucrose, dextrose, lactose, natural, brown, cane sugar, turbinado, it is all sugar and it does a number on your health.

We are given sweet things from the time we are born. Formula contains a lot of sugar. We give our kids dessert after dinner and then reward them with candy for good behavior. The endless birthday parties, Halloween, bake sales, and even the bank tries to give my children lollipops. We are programmed as a society to give candy to children.

One of the main diseases I feel is often overlooked in articles about the detrimental effects of sugar is Candida Albicans. I feel the majority of people are walking around with this and don’t even know it. This is when you have an overgrowth of candida (yeast) in your intestines which makes the gut more permeable. Undigested or partially digested food can get from the intestine into the bloodstream. Along with a number of other problems, this undigested food can cause hyperactivity. (William Crook M.D. –The Yeast Connection)

There are numerous studies on sugar and hyperactivity in children. One study indicated that when sugar was removed from the child’s diet, school grades went up. When sucrose and food additives were removed from children’s diets, there were significant gains in scholastic national rankings based on the California Achievement Tests (Dr. Alex Schauss).

Many people think that as long as they pop a multivitamin pill, they can eat anything they want. Sugar changes the body chemistry so much that you will not be able to fully benefit from those vitamins. It doesn’t matter what other foods you put into your mouth, even if it’s healthy, it will not digest properly. You have negated any positive effect of the healthy food and their nutrients that you have consumed. This is considering that the average person consumes 30% of his calories from some form of refined sugar.

According to Dr. Nancy Appleton, “Even as little as 2 teaspoons of sugar can cause the body’s micronutrients to change radically, throwing the blood chemistry out of homeostasis. When minerals are out of balance day after day, year after year, and possibly through generations, the body’s ability to balance back into homeostasis is exhausted, and the body can no longer fine-tune itself.”

Scientific Studies

I could write a book on all of the scientific details of what sugar is doing to your body, but I will spare you. I will refer you to read Nancy Appleton’s, Lick the Sugar Habit or William Duffy’s, “Sugar Blues.” Here are a few important points:

Minerals are essential to many bodily functions. They maintain balance in the blood and body tissues between acidity and alkalinity; in the transmission of nerve impulses throughout the body and some play important roles in digestion. These are : 1. Calcium and Phosphorus, which are important for strong bones and to activate enzymes needed for important metabolic functions. 2. Magnesium: another mineral that is an enzyme catalyst and a structural material,( which by the way, most of us are deficient in). 3. Iron which  contributes to enzymes and is an important part of blood’s hemoglobin. 4. Iodine, which is necessary for the proper functioning of the thyroid gland. 5. Zinc: Without which the enzyme alcohol dehydrogenase cannot perform its function of oxidizing alcohol in the liver. (Nancy Appleton).

When you consume sugar all of these minerals are out of balance, and this is how disease starts.

Researchers have found that ingesting sugar increases the rate at which we excrete calcium. When we eat sugar, we pull calcium from our bones and tissues where it is stored. This leads to osteoporosis. Sugar is one of the main substances that throws the body out of homeostasis (balance). Once you are out of homeostasis for long periods of time, disease will set in. Your body heals when you are in homeostasis. Disease may start in a single organ but the whole body depends on each system to work perfectly like an orchestra. This is the meaning of holistic healing. Everything works together, in harmony, not separately.

When a person digests sugar, the pancreas and the adrenal gland are accelerated to function at a faster than normal speed. The pancreas secretes the insulin needed to metabolize sugar. The pancreas (Islets of Lagerhan) also produce Glucagon. This is the hormone responsible for stimulating the breakdown of stored glycogen back to usable glucose. These glands also control the assimilation of calcium. The faster they work, the more calcium is absorbed into the blood, resulting in a calcium phosphorus imbalance (Appleton).

The thyroid and the adrenals are reduced to a slower than normal activity level due to sugar. These are glands that control the assimilation of phosphorus. The levels of calcium and phosphorus in the blood indicate whether the endocrine system is in balance or not. Since the endocrines are those glands that regulate metabolism, it is obvious that their balance or lack of balance will result in the health or lack of health in an individual (Appleton).

Enzymes break down foods so that nutrients can be absorbed by the cells of the body. But enzymes are influenced by minerals — minerals that sugar tends to unbalance. If the usable minerals in the body decrease, as in the presence of sugar, they will not be able to aid in proper enzyme functions. When we ingest sugar, it is difficult for the body to digest anything in the small intestine because of the lack (or decrease) of functioning enzymes. Therefore, when you eat sugar, any food that is in the stomach at the time will become the food to which you can become allergic. This continued inability to digest a particular food eventually results in an allergy to that undigested, decomposing food. This is how allergies start. (Appleton).

If you crave something sweet, your best bets for alternative sugar sources are dates, figs, raw honey, agave, stevia and raw coconut sugar by Living Foods. Make sure you buy raw honey, as it has a lot of medicinal qualities and never give a child 1 and under honey. Agave should be used in moderation. Not all agave nectars are created equally.

Stevia has been used for hundreds of years. It is a sweet herb which comes from the leaf of the South American Stevia plant. It is calorie free and is 300 times sweeter than sugar. It is consumed by millions of people with no reports of toxicity. Stevia has a strong taste, but it is a great sugar replacement. It is easy to grow and we have planted it in our garden.

Obesity in children is a huge epidemic now. But many times it is the parents who have encouraged their children’s poor eating habits. One of my husband’s patients (the mother of an extremely overweight child ) had been complaining that all her 5 year old child  wanted to eat was twinkies and cakes. My husband who is a pediatrician stated  “Oh, I didn’t know little Johnny could drive?” The mother looked at my husband perplexed for a few seconds then quickly understood what my husband was trying to say. Yes, it is often the parents buying the junk for them. Just don’t even bring it in the house.

In summary, please throw out all sugar sources. They are toxic and addictive. It all starts in childhood, as early childhood diseases can lead to degenerative diseases and cancer as adults.


1. Nancy Appleton: Lick the Sugar Habit
2. Rob McCaleb Herb research Foundation: Stevia Leaf : Too good to be legal.
3. Ten studies Showing the link between sugar and Increased Cancer Risk.

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