For many, many years, I have been able to eat pretty freely, indulging my sweet tooth with cupcakes after dinner, sugar in my coffee, candy when I felt low in energy in the afternoon.
Something started happening with me about 7 years ago. I started getting more aches that stayed longer than the typical soreness after a workout. My energy declined, and I was less able to work out without wondering if I would suffer unexplained soreness. Doctors would tell me that it was the result of too much activity, and that I had basically worn my body out. I have always believed that the body was made for movement, and actually “wore out” when not being used. As I began to talk to more and more natural healers, conversation would always shift to my diet. They would say that this is the most important area of concern when looking at your health. In the past I have glossed this over, as I always thought I ate reasonably well. I shop at Whole Foods and buy mostly organic. I eat fruit and vegetables. I rarely ate much processed bakery goods. Now, my thinking has changed. I was running around 30 miles a week, and lead a very active life. Because of my activity level, I thought it gave me license to eat sweets like jelly beans or chocolate or cupcakes after every meal, because I felt that I burned several thousand calories a week in exercise, and I was swapping exercise for sweets. Now I’m understanding that there was a penalty for this behavior.
In 1957, Dr. William Coda Martin tried to answer the question: When is a food a food and when is it a poison? His working definition of “poison” was: “Medically: Any substance applied to the body, ingested or developed within the body, which causes or may cause disease. Physically: Any substance which inhibits the activity of a catalyst which is a minor substance, chemical or enzyme that activates a reaction.”1 The dictionary gives an even broader definition for “poison”: “to exert a harmful influence on, or to pervert”.
Dr. Martin classified refined sugar as a poison because it has been depleted of its life forces, vitamins and minerals. “What is left consists of pure, refined carbohydrates. The body cannot utilize this refined starch and carbohydrate unless the depleted proteins, vitamins and minerals are present. Nature supplies these elements in each plant in quantities sufficient to metabolize the carbohydrate in that particular plant. There is no excess for other added carbohydrates. Incomplete carbohydrate metabolism results in the formation of ‘toxic metabolite’ such as pyruvic acid and abnormal sugars containing five carbon atoms. Pyruvic acid accumulates in the brain and nervous system and the abnormal sugars in the red blood cells. These toxic metabolites interfere with the respiration of the cells. They cannot get sufficient oxygen to survive and function normally. In time, some of the cells die. This interferes with the function of a part of the body and is the beginning of degenerative disease.”2
Refined sugar is lethal when ingested by humans because it provides only that which nutritionists describe as “empty” or “naked” calories. It lacks the natural minerals which are present in the sugar beet or cane.
In addition, sugar is worse than nothing because it drains and leaches the body of precious vitamins and minerals through the demand its digestion, detoxification and elimination makes upon one’s entire system. So essential is balance to our bodies that we have many ways to provide against the sudden shock of a heavy intake of sugar. Minerals such as sodium (from salt), potassium and magnesium (from vegetables), and calcium (from the bones) are mobilized and used in chemical transmutation; neutral acids are produced which attempt to return the acid-alkaline balance factor of the blood to a more normal state.
Sugar taken every day produces a continuously overacid condition, and more and more minerals are required from deep in the body in the attempt to rectify the imbalance. Finally, in order to protect the blood, so much calcium is taken from the bones and teeth that decay and general weakening begin. Excess sugar eventually affects every organ in the body. Initially, it is stored in the liver in the form of glucose (glycogen). Since the liver’s capacity is limited, a daily intake of refined sugar (above the required amount of natural sugar) soon makes the liver expand like a balloon. When the liver is filled to its maximum capacity, the excess glycogen is returned to the blood in the form of fatty acids. These are taken to every part of the body and stored in the most inactive areas: the belly, the buttocks, the breasts and the thigh.
This article is extracted and edited from the book, Sugar Blues, © 1975 by William Dufty. The book was first published by the Chilton Book Company, Padnor, PA, USA. Warner Books, Inc., NY, published an edition in 1976 and reissued it in April 1993.