The Real Truth About Salt And Sugar


Categories: Diet and Nutrition
Sources: 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

vanish.



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

respects.



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

avoided.



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

problem.



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.



Glycemic Index



(compared to glucose, which is 100)



Grains

all bran 51

brown rice 66

buckwheat 54

cornflakes 80

oatmeal 49

shred. wheat 67

muesli 66

white rice 72

white spagetti 50

whole wheat spagetti 42

sweet corn 59



Fruits

apples 39

bananas 62

cherries 23

grapefruit 26

grapes 45

orange juice 46

peach 29

orange 40

pear 34

plum 25

raisins 64



Vegetables



baked beans 40

beets 64

black-eyed peas 33

carrots 92

chic peas 36

parsnips 97

potato chips 51

baked potato 98

sweet potato 48

yams 51

peas 51



Baked Goods

pastry 59

sponge cake 46

white bread 69

w/w bread 72

whole rye bread 42



Sugars

fructose 20

glucose 100

honey 87

maltose 110

sucrose 59



Nuts

peanuts 13



Meats

sausage 28

fish sticks 38



Dairy Products

yogurt 36

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

these functions.



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.





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