153 of 156 people found the following review helpful
Pure, White and Deadly
, 7 July 2012
This review is from: Pure, White and Deadly: Problem of Sugar: The new facts about the sugar you eat as a cause of heart disease, diabetes and other killers (Health Library) (Paperback)
Personally, I consider this book to be as important as "Food and Western Disease" by Staffan Lindeberg and "Nutrition and Physical Degeneration" by Weston Price. If you are health conscious, and are interested in impact of various foods and nutrition on human health - this is one of the books to get (to put is simply, some books have to be read no matter what, and this is one of them).
Even though the book was first published in 1972 (and republished in 1986; plus the book will be published again in November 2012) I'm amazed that this knowledge (or at least part of it) is not widely accepted. In about 200 pages, and 21 chapters the book is discussing how various kinds of sugars are affecting our health, and how they are implicated in most of chronic diseases that affect us every day (not only something like tooth decay but also: diabetes, heart diseases such as coronary thrombosis, or even skin diseases such as seborrhoeic dermatitis).
In overall some of the research results mentioned in the book are quite similar to observations done by Staffan Lindeberg or Weston Price. They are also not easily dismissed as the most of those experiments and research have been carried out at the Nutrition Department of Queen Elizabeth College, University of London, with some collaboration with the research workers in the Biochemistry Department (and some of results of experiments were confirmed by other labs, such as Nutrition Laboratory of the US Department of Agriculture in Beltsville).
Discussed subjects include: the origins of human diet, "history of sugar", brown sugar vs white, refined and unrefined carbohydrates, monosaccharides (glucose, fructose, galactose) vs disaccharides (sucrose, maltose, lactose) , where sugar comes from, who eats sugar and how much (great chapter full of statistic from different countries), what happens if you eat it too much, is sugar (as in white sugar) really important to human health as the "sugar industry" wants us to believe (great chapter 9), sugar effect on longevity and maturity (overweight babies, children that reach maturity early, role of sugar in childhood obesity), palpability and nutritional value of food, non-sugar "caloric and non-caloric" sweeteners, Ancel Key's research, reduced glucose tolerance, insulin resistance, low carbohydrate diets limited in starch and sugar (chapter 16 is discussing some of those), is there a link between sugar and cancer (great info on pages 136-138), and several other similar subjects.
Some of the interesting quotes from the book:
1. "But the sugar people seems quite content to spend their money on advertising and public relations, making claims about quick energy and - as we shall later see - simply rejecting suggestions that sugar is harmful to the heart or the teeth or the figure or to health in general"
2. "When you come think of it, almost all of the tempting foods that are taken to satisfy appetite rather than hunger contain carbohydrate that is either sugar or starch, or they contain alcohol. These carbohydrate-rich foods, by the way, have another characteristic; they are all artificial food that do not exist in nature in the form in which we eat them"
3. "There is reason to believe that arterial disease may arise from a continuing high level of insulin. I shall then discuss the interesting association between diabetes, overweight and arterial disease, and the fact that people with any of these conditions are likely to have excessive insulin in the blood."
4. "Again, for more than 100 years before insulin was discovered, it was known that diets low in carbohydrates and especially in sugar were the best treatment for diabetes"
5. "When I related the number of people dying of diabetes in different countries to the amount of sugar or fat that was eaten some 20 years earlier, I found a high correlation with sugar and no correlation with fat. The sort of relationship with fat that is sometimes found, and was found by Himsworth, comes about because, as I pointed out, average consumption in different countries is frequently related to their sugar consumption. The most likely explanation of the situation, then, is that sugar intake is a cause of diabetes, and fat intake is only secondary related to diabetes through its association with sugar intake"
6. "If sugar or starch or glucose is in the meal, then all or part of it turns up in the blood quite quickly as glucose. If protein or fat is in the meal, then their digestion products too will in part be converted into glucose, but more slowly; in addition they slow down the absorption of all food"
7. "One would expect that babies not born prematurely would not develop hypoglycaemia so readily but may still be rather more sensitive to the damaging effect of sugar than adults. When you consider how soon babies are given sugar, and how much, it is perhaps not surprising that here appears to be an increase in the number of babies who develop hypoglycaemia when they are a few months old"
8. "The fact is that sugar in the quantities that are part of the average Western diet, and especially taken as it often is, on an empty stomach, will be a source of repeated irritation on the delicate mucous membranes of the oesophagus and the stomach. Irritation of the oesophagus is the most likely cause of heartburn. As for the stomach, it is not surprising that a high-sugar diet, even for only 2 weeks, can result in the production of more acid and much more active gastric juice, so that it is also not difficult to see why sugar might contribute to the cause of this condition"
Bear in mind that the book was written a long time ago, but it seems to me like everything has been getting worse since then: sugar is currently pretty much in every processed product on the market as processed food is almost everywhere. But even though the "sugar lobby" is still quite powerful, not only in US but also in UK (chapter 21 offers more info and examples about that) -> we have an easy access to information, including books or TV programs (such as the recent three parts series from BBC: "The men who made us fat"). And I would suggest that we use it wisely.
I can highly recommend this book for anybody who is not only concerned about what kind of effect sugar (or any other processed carbohydrates) has on his/her own health, but also for people who are concerned about their children's health. The book also gives a several advices of how to give up sugar "addiction" and how to bring up your children without smothering them with sugar (chapter 20 "Should sugar be banned?" is discussing that in more details). Just read the book if you can (borrow it if you have to as the book is quite difficult to get and there is no point of paying crazy amount of money for it). You won't regret it.
"Nutrition and Physical Degeneration" - by Weston A. Price
"Food and Western Disease" - by Staffan Lindeberg
"Food is Your Best Medicine" - by Henry Bieler
"Why We Get Fat: And What to Do about It" - by Gary Taubes
"Fats That Heal, Fats That Kill" - by Udo Erasmus
"Trick and Treat: How healthy eating is making us ill" - by Barry Groves
"The Great Cholesterol Con" - by Malcolm Kendrick
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