Is Sugar Still Sugar If It’s Called Something Else?
By Nurse Mark
Ron is a regular reader in Tennessee and he writes from time to time to ask us about things. Ron is a good fellow and I enjoy his questions as he is obviously thinking hard about how to best stay healthy.
Ron wrote recently to ask about a health article that he had read elsewhere – in this case, on the website of well-known Dr. Mercola. What he read made him wonder. I am familiar with the article and while there was much good in it there were also some things that raised my eyebrows. Read on to see Ron’s question and my answer to him:
Hey Doc, as you know I am always studying the medical [literature] and found this : http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2012/02/27/can-sugar-be-toxic.aspx?e_cid=20120227_DNL_art_1 what’s your thoughts?? Thanks Ninja Ron in TN
ps tell Mark Hello
I like getting your questions!
We answered questions similar to this for you previously – see our healthbeat article here:
We have a great deal of respect and admiration for Dr. Mercola – but this is a case of Mercola being “A day late and a dollar short” – since we have written about the dangers of sugar over and over and over – see this article…
What’s more, Mercola is providing some “misinformation” in his article when he says “Glucose is the form of energy you were designed to run on. Every cell in your body, every bacterium — and in fact, every living thing on the Earth — uses glucose for energy.”
No, we were not designed to run on glucose. Not as a single fuel. Our human bodies are dual-fuel machines, designed to run equally well on either glucose or a super-fuel called ketone bodies. In many ways we actually run better on ketones.
Ketones are the fuel created when our bodies use fat – either fat from diet or fat from stored fat. This is high-energy, stable-state fuel that many organs of the body actually prefer to glucose. It also burns much more cleanly in our bodies than glucose.
This statement from the Mercola article is correct: “Dr. Lustig rightfully argues that sugar used to be available to our ancestors only as fruit or honey – and then only for a few months of the year”
So let’s take it a little further: Do you think that our cave man ancestors could have survived if the only thing their bodies used for fuel was glucose? What if they ran out of honey or fruit or corn or Gatorade or some other carbohydrate – would they just keel over and die? No! Their bodies would shift over into the healthy natural metabolic state of ketosis, use ketones for energy, and they would soldier on, looking for birds eggs and fat grubs and sweet berries and tasty high-protein saber-tooth bunnies to eat.
The best statement in the Mercola article is “Limiting Sugar is Also Vital for Longevity.”
We can’t agree more and we have said so over and over and over again – maybe we say it too much and so folks just don’t hear us any more on this subject?
Ron, there are three food groups that provide energy to the human body. Proteins, fats, and carbohydrates.
Only two of those food groups are essential for life.
You know about Essential Amino Acids – you gotta have ‘em or the body breaks down it’s own muscle.
You know about Essential Fatty Acids – without them we can’t make our hormones, maintain our nervous system, and a bunch of other things that keep our machinery functioning.
But “Essential Carbohydrates”? There ain’t no such thing!
Even the mighty US Government National Academy of Sciences says so in it’s publications:
“The lower limit of dietary carbohydrate compatible with life apparently is zero, provided that adequate amounts of protein and fat are consumed.”
There are a very few cells in the body that need tiny amounts of carbohydrates – sugars, AKA glucose – to function and they are supplied very nicely in the absence of any dietary intake of sugars or carbohydrates by your liver.
The liver, handy organ that it is, will make happily glucose from protein through a process called gluconeogenesis.
So, you want our thoughts on the Mercola / sugar article?
There is much about it that is right on: sugar is bad stuff. Drop the sugar, live longer.
Dr. Myatt has been telling her patients this for years, even when it wasn’t “cool.” She has also been telling her patients for years about the healthy natural metabolic state of ketosis for longevity, health improvement and disease cure.
Ketosis is something that Dr. Mercola seems to be only now beginning to embrace.
Dr. Mercola correctly relates the dangers of fructose and then promotes the “moderate” use of honey – but honey is fructose!
Here, from Wikipedia, is the makeup of honey:
Typical honey analysis:
Higher sugars: 1.5%
Dr. Mercola also suggests that “organic cane sugar” might be used “in moderation” – but “organic cane sugar” is just another term used to describe sucrose… I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt and assume that he meant less refined “organic cane sugar” which is simply cane sugar that maybe hasn’t had all of it’s vitamins, minerals, and fiber refined out of it and is therefore a little bit less unhealthy than refined sugar.
Here’s the bottom line Ron: Drop the sugars – all the sugars. Lower the carbohydrates as much as you possibly can. Enter the Ketone Zone – the healthy natural metabolic state of ketosis for longevity and health improvement. Your body will thank you!
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