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How sweet it isn't
by Rachel Tashir
From Haaretz.com - 2006-07-06

White sugar is not food; it is a chemical substance. It contains oxygen, carbon and hydrogen, but no minerals or vitamins. In addition, because of its acidic qualities it also deprives the body of calcium.

Everyone knows that the consumption of white sugar causes tooth decay. Everyone knows, but no one wants to begin to imagine, what this substance that generates decay does to bodily organs. Teeth can be brushed and an effort can be made to remove the cause of dental deterioration. But sugar does not remain in the mouth; it proceeds to the stomach and the intestines. When eaten with starch sugar ferments in the stomach, so our organs are essentially left to rot with it.

All the methods of healthy eating reject sugar, all the alternative approaches to healing warn against it. According to healers, sugar is not only dangerous to health; it also activates carcinogenic cells and its excessive consumption is largely responsible for such phenomena as inattentiveness and hyperactivity.

For those who cannot do without the sweet taste, naturopaths recommend malt syrup or suggest solutions that are considered lesser evils: maple-based sweetener, date or other honey, or the stevia herb (also called sweetleaf or sugar leaf). They warn against colored brown sugar and chemical sweeteners, and more radical practitioners recommend avoiding even very sweet fruits, such as sugar apple (anona in Hebrew), which tastes something like white chocolate.

Conventional physicians, too, know that sugar is harmful. A century ago Dr. Otto Warburg discovered that consumption of sugar-rich food heightens the risk of intestinal cancer. That finding was actually an important part of the research for which Warburg was awarded the Nobel Prize in Medicine, in 1931.

Of course, every physician and every layman knows that sugar is useless in terms of its nutritional value and unnecessary in terms of its caloric value. Everyone agrees that avoiding it cannot be harmful. Indeed sugar avoidance does not entail great risks, costs or torment. Yet there has never been a sweeping authoritative recommendation to limit the intake of it, to ban or to warn against it.

 
 

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