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The Real Truth About Salt And Sugar
Category: Diet and Nutrition
Source: How And When To Be Your Own Doctor
First, let me remind certain food religionists: salt is salt is salt
is salt and sugar is sugar is sugar. There are no good forms of salt
and no good forms of sugar. Salt from a mine and salt from the sea
both have the same harmful effect; white sugar, natural brown sugar,
honey, molasses, corn syrup, maple syrup, whatever sweet have you.
All are sugars and all have the similar harmful effects. I know of
no harmless salt substitute that really tastes salty. Nutrisweet is
basically harmless to most people and can be used as a very
satisfactory replacement for sugars. A few people are unable to
tolerate nutrisweet, causing the anti-chemicalists to circulate much
anti-nutrisweet propaganda, but you should carefully consider this
thought before dismissing nutrisweet--there is almost no food
substance that some people are not allergic to or unable to digest.
The fact that nutrisweet is made in a chemical vat and the fact that
some cannot handle nutrisweet does not make it "of the devil."
And its not all black and white with the other items either. Sea
salt does have certain redeeming qualities not found in mined salt
and under certain very special conditions, eating small quantities
of salt may be acceptable. Similarly, some forms of sugar are not
quite as harmful as other forms, though all are harmful.
The primary health problem caused by table salt is not that it
contributes to high blood pressure in people with poor kidneys,
though it does that. It is not that eating salt ruins the kidneys;
salt probably does not do that. The real problem with salt is that
sodium chloride is an adrenal stimulant, triggering the release of
adrenal hormones, especially natural steroids that resist
inflammation. When these hormones are at high levels in the blood,
the person often feels very good, has a sense of well-being. Thus
salt is a drug! And like many drugs of its type, salt is a
habituating drug. However, we are so used to whipping our adrenals
with salt that we don't notice it. What we do notice is that we
think we like the taste of salted food and consider that food tastes
flat without it. But take away a person's salt shaker and they
become very uncomfortable. That's because the addict isn't getting
their regular dose.
What's wrong with repetitive adrenal whipping is that adrenal
fortitude is variable; many people's adrenals eventually fail to
respond to the prod of salt and the body begins to suffer from a
lack of adrenal hormones. Often those inheriting weak adrenals
manifest semi-failure in childhood. The consequence is that
ordinary, irritating substances begin causing severe irritation. The
person becomes allergic to pollen, dust, foods, animal danders, etc.
We see asthma, hay fever, sinusitis, etc. Though one can then
discover specific allergens and try to remove them from the
environment or diet, often this case can be solved far more easily
by complete withdrawal from all salt. This rests the adrenals and
they may recover their full function; almost certainly their
function will improve. The asthma, allergies and etc., gradually
Most of us don't need to eat salt as a nutrient. There's enough
sodium in one dill pickle to run a human body for a year. There's
enough natural sodium in many types of vegetables to supply normal
needs without using table salt. Perhaps athletes or other hard
working people in the tropics eating deficient food grown on
leached-out depleted soils, people that sweat buckets day after day
may need a little extra sodium. Perhaps. Not having practiced in the
humid tropics myself, I have no definitive answer about this.
Unfortunately, the average American is entirely addicted to salt and
thinks food tastes lousy without it. To please the average consumer,
almost all prepared foods contain far too much salt for someone
suffering from exhausted adrenals. Interestingly, Canadians do not
like their foods nearly as salty as Americans, and prepared foods
like soups and the like in cans and packages that look just like the
ones in American supermarkets (though with French on the back panel)
have to be reformulated for our northern neighbors. I've observed
that Canadians are generally healthier than Americans in many
We would all be far better off consuming no salt at all. Those with
allergies or asthma should completely eliminate it for a month or
two and discover if that simple step doesn't pretty much cure them.
The trouble is that bakery bread is routinely two percent salt by
weight. Cheese is equally salted or even more so. Canned and frozen
prepared food products are all heavily salted. Restaurant meals are
always highly salted in the kitchen. If you want to avoid salt you
almost have to prepare everything yourself, bake your own bread,
abstain from cheese (though there are unsalted cheeses but even I
don't like the flavor of these), and abstain from restaurants. My
family has managed to eliminate all salt from our own kitchen except
for that in cheese, and we eat cheese rather moderately.
Sugar is a high-caloric non-food with enormous liabilities. First,
from the viewpoint of the universal formula for health, no form of
non-artificial sweetener carries enough nutrients with it to justify
the number of calories it contains, not even malt extract. White
refined sugar contains absolutely no nutrients at all; the "good" or
"natural" sweets also carry so little nutrition as to be next to
useless. Sweets are so far over on the bad end of the Health =
Nutrition / Calories scale that for this reason alone they should be
However, healthy people can usually afford a small amount of sin;
why not make it sweets? In small quantity, sugars are probably the
easiest indiscretion to digest and the least damaging to the organ
systems. Although, speaking of sin, as Edgar Guest, the peoples'
poet, once so wisely quipped, (and my husband agrees) "Candy is
dandy, but liquor is quicker." Sugar is a powerful drug! People who
abuse sweets set up a cycle of addiction that can be very hard to
break. It starts when the body tries to regulate blood sugar. Kicked
up to high levels by eating sugar, the pancreas releases insulin.
But that is not the end of the chain reaction. Insulin regulates
blood sugar levels but also raises brain levels of an amino acid
called tryptophan. Tryptophan is the raw material the brain uses to
manufacture a neurotransmitter called serotonin. And serotonin plays
a huge role in regulating mood. Higher brain levels of serotonin
create a feeling of well-being. Eating sugar gives a person a
chemical jolt of happiness. Heavy hits of high-glycemic index starch
foods are also rapidly converted to sugar. So don't give your kids
sweets! Or huge servings of starch to mellow them out. It is wise
not to start out life a happiness addict with a severe weight
Now that the chemistry of sugar addiction is understood, there
currently is a movement afoot to cast the obese as helpless victims
of serotonin imbalances and to "treat" them with the same kinds of
serotonin-increasing happy drugs (like Prozac) that are becoming so
popular with the psychiatric set. This promises to be a multiple
billion dollar business that will capture all the money currently
flowing into other dieting systems and bring it right back to the
AMA/drug company/FDA nexus. The pitch is that when serotonin levels
are upped, the desire to eat drops and so is weight. This approach
is popular with the obese because it requires no personal
responsibility other than taking a pill that really does make them
feel happy. However, the same benefit can be had by strict adherence
to a low-fat, low-carbohydrate diet. Eventually, the brain chemistry
rebalances itself and serotonin levels stabilize.
(compared to glucose, which is 100)
all bran 51
brown rice 66
shred. wheat 67
white rice 72
white spagetti 50
whole wheat spagetti 42
sweet corn 59
orange juice 46
baked beans 40
black-eyed peas 33
chic peas 36
potato chips 51
baked potato 98
sweet potato 48
sponge cake 46
white bread 69
w/w bread 72
whole rye bread 42
fish sticks 38
whole milk 34
skim milk 32
Remember, the pancreas has another major service to perform for the
body: secreting digestive enzymes to aid in the digestion of
proteins. When the diet contains either too much protein or too much
sugar and/or high-glycemic index starch foods, the overworked
pancreas begins to be less and less efficient at maintaining both of
Sometimes a stressed-out pancreas gets overactive and does too good
a job lowering the blood sugar, producing hypoglycemia. Hypoglycemia
is generally accompanied by unpleasant symptoms such as fatigue,
dizziness, blurred vision, irritability, confusion, headache, etc.
This condition is typically alleviated by yet another hit of sugar
which builds an addiction not only to sugar, but to food in general.
If the hypoglycemic then keeps on eating sugar to relieve the
symptoms of sugar ingestion, eventually the pancreas becomes
exhausted, producing an insulin deficiency, called diabetes. Medical
doctors treat diabetes with insulin supplements either oral or
intramuscular plus a careful diet with very low and measured amounts
of sugar and starch for the remainder of the persons inevitably
shortened and far less pleasant life. However, sometimes diabetes
can be controlled with diet alone, though medical doctors have not
had nearly as much success with this approach as talented
naturopaths. Sometimes, long fasting can regenerate a pancreas. It
is far better to avoid creating this disease!
The dietary management of hypoglycemia requires that not only
refined but also unrefined sugars and starches with a high glycemic
index be removed from the diet. (The glycemic index measures the
ease with which the starch is converted into glucose in the body,
and estimates the amount of insulin needed to balance it out.) This
means no sugar, no honey, no white flour, no whole grains sweetened
with honey, no sweet fruits such as watermelons, bananas, raisins,
dates or figs. Potatoes are too readily converted into sugar.
Jerusalem artichokes are a good substitute.
People with hypoglycemia can often control their symptoms with
frequent small meals containing vegetable protein every two hours.
When a non-sweet fruit is eaten such as an apple, it should be eaten
with some almonds or other nut or seed that slows the absorption of
fruit sugar. Hypoglycemics can improve their condition with vitamins
and food supplements. See the next chapter.
Allergies to foods and environmental irritants are frequently
triggered by low blood sugar. Mental conditions are also triggered
by low blood sugar levels, frequently contributing to or causing a
cycle of acting out behavior accompanied by destruction of property
and interpersonal violence, as well as psychosis and bouts of
depression. It is not possible to easily deal with the resulting
behavior problems unless the hypoglycemia is controlled.
Unfortunately most institutions such as mental hospitals and jails
serve large amounts of sugar and starch and usually caffeinated
beverages, with a high availability of soda pop, candy, and
cigarettes at concessions. If the diet were drastically improved,
the drugs given to control behavior in mental hospitals would be
much more effective at a lower dose, or unnecessary.
The insulin-cycle overworked pancreas may eventually not be able to
secrete enough enzymes to allow for the efficient digestion of foods
high in protein. As stated earlier, poor protein digestion leads to
a highly toxic condition from putrefied protein in the intestines.
This condition is alleviated by eliminating animal proteins from the
diet and taking digestive aids such as pancreatin pills with meals
to assist in the digestion of vegetable proteins.
Next: Food Combining And "healthfood Junkfood"
Previous: Freshness Of Fruits And Vegetables