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Sugar Bondage - Why You Need to be Free - Part Three

     Everything from osteoporosis to digestive distress to cancer can be connected to the imbalance of minerals in the body resulting from the consumption of refined sugar. In our last article, we focused on what happens in cells when refined sugar is consumed; more specifically, how damaged cell membranes obstruct cellular communication necessary for optimal health.  We also examined how sugar starts a vicious cycle that can weaken the pancreas and lead to the development of insulin resistance and diabetes. Finally, we observed how vital the control of blood sugar is to overall health.
     In this article we will consider other substantial ways that sugar contributes to breakdowns in health. The first consideration is mineral imbalances, which upset the blood chemistry and interfere with the normal function of body systems. Key systems of the body (such as the endocrine, immune and digestive system) all need minerals to function properly. Minerals are essential for vitamins, enzymes, amino acids, protein, fats, carbohydrates, and other nutrient components to be effectively  metabolized and utilized in the body. Any deficiency or excess of a particular mineral can throw off the balance and activity of the entire system.

     Dr. Nancy Appleton explains in her book Lick the Sugar Habit how each mineral depends on other minerals to function and how they can only be utilized in the body when they are balanced in relationship with each other. She points out how the body is always striving to be in balance and regain “homeostasis” when that balance is disturbed.  However, its ability to balance itself can be lost when mineral ratios are regularly disrupted over time. Dr. Appleton’s extensive research has led her to conclude that these mineral relationships are the core of proper health.  She has discovered that enzymes and hormones can’t work properly when the body chemistry is thrown out of balance, as when refined sugar is consumed. The potential for various disease conditions to develop is greatly increased when the mechanisms that regulate homeostasis are weakened in the body.

The Results of Mineral Imbalance

     As we already learned in the first article of this series, sugar is essentially void of minerals, such as calcium, phosphorus, chromium, magnesium and various trace minerals that are needed for the body to process and absorb it. Since it has none of these minerals, and has additionally been stripped of other nutrients and fiber, it becomes acidic. When sugar is regularly consumed, the body reacts to its acid by leeching these minerals and other nutrients from the bones and tissues in an attempt to return the acid-alkaline balance factor of the blood to a more normal, balanced state. It is so vital for adequate levels of calcium to be in the bloodstream to offset the acidic sugar that the body will even sacrifice bone mass to maintain these levels. When sugar is eaten, more calcium is pulled from the bones than is replaced which can result in loss of bone mass or osteoporosis over a period of time.


The Problem of Toxic Calcium

     It is essential that calcium be in correct balance with phosphorus in order to be used optimally in the body. Consuming sugar upsets the body chemistry by reducing phosphorus levels, which throws off the normal calcium-phosphorus ratio (ten units of calcium to four units of phosphorus). This causes the calcium that is not in proper balance with phosphorus to be non-functional in the body.
     Supplementing with extra calcium will be of little value if the calcium-phosphorus ratio is out of balance. Eating dairy products high in calcium will not be beneficial either, if those products contain sugar, as that combination creates a deficiency in the enzyme lactase, which hinders the body being able to digest and absorb the milk. An allergic reaction to milk may then be produced, resulting in further upset of the calcium-phosphorus ratio and a lack of calcium assimilation.

     When allergic reactions to food occur, immune complexes build up in the blood and can collect in the joints, causing tissue damage and inflammation from the release of free radicals. These immune complexes are clusters of interlocking antigen and antibody proteins that form a large network of molecules.

     In addition, any calcium not utilized when mineral balances are upset is then treated as a toxin in the body. This toxic or malfunctioning calcium can be deposited in various places in the body contributing to the formation of conditions such as arthritis, bone spurs, kidney stones, gallstones, tooth plaque, cataracts and even hardening of the arteries when it binds to cholesterol.

Osteoporosis of the Mouth?

     The fact that the body will rob calcium from the bones when functioning calcium is not available to offset the acidity of sugar is also evidenced by periodontal or gum disease, which can be thought of as osteoporosis of the mouth. The conclusion of a study published in the June 2007 Journal of Periodontology (JOP) that examined 1,256 postmenopausal women was that women with periodontal bacteria in their mouths were also more likely to have bone loss in the oral cavity which can lead to tooth loss if not treated.

     Tooth decay has long been associated with sugar consumption. An unbalanced calcium-phosphorus ratio from repeated consumption of sugar causes a continual production of acid in the mouth. Bacteria in tooth plaque can also form acid in the mouth.When that acid interacts with sugar to the point where the pH of the salvia is lowered to 5.5, tooth enamel begins to dissolve.

Digestion Difficulties Caused by Sugar

     Many symptoms of digestive distress and disorders are clearly connected to sugar consumption.  When foods are not properly digested, gas, bloating, cramping, constipation, inflammatory bowel disease, ulcers and various other maladies associated with the gastrointestinal tract can develop.  Some of these conditions are a result of the imbalance of intestinal flora, which is greatly affected by excess sugar consumption as well.

     Much of the digestive process is dependent upon enzymes. Enzymes, which are catalysts for many functions of the body, depend on a proper balance of minerals to operate effectively. Hundreds of metabolic enzymes are needed to run the various organs and systems of the body. Digestive enzymes are responsible to break food down into its smallest nutritive components for utilization by the body’s cells. It takes the work of enzymes for proteins to be broken down into amino acids, carbohydrates into simple sugars and fats into fatty acids, which are then absorbed through the tiny villi in the small intestine and carried through the blood to nourish each cell.

     When the mineral balance is disturbed by the consumption of refined sugar, the ability of enzymes to function effectively is impaired and food is not broken down sufficiently to furnish the body with needed nutrients. Since grain-based foods, dairy products and starchy vegetables like potatoes and corn are higher-glycemic carbohydrates containing disaccharides (two simple sugars bonded together like sucrose, maltose or lactose), they can often be difficult to digest, particularly when eaten in the amounts typical of the American diet.

     In addition to the problem of nutrient deficiency, this scenario can lead to large particles of undigested food irritating the lining of the gastrointestinal tract and developing into what is known as “leaky gut syndrome”.  When this condition occurs, cells in the intestinal lining widen and undigested food particles gain entrance to the bloodstream where they can cause numerous problems. Also, undigested food particles that enter the colon feed “bad” bacteria, yeasts and parasites, and stimulate the fungal growth causing Candida, a yeast that lives in the intestinal lining.
How Sugar Weakens the Immune System

     One such problem stemming from the body’s reaction to these undigested food particles in the bloodstream is the development of food allergies. Undigested or partially digested protein particles are too large to be able to enter the cells to function as a nutrient. Instead, they become foreign matter in the bloodstream that settle and produce symptoms in various parts of the body.  

     The immune system cannot tell the difference between intruders that are real enemies and those that are only undigested particles of yesterday’s lunch; everything is considered  “foreign invaders”.  Because of this, our valiant immune system wears itself out fighting these undigested particles on a daily basis when it should only be fighting the real enemies of the body like bacteria, viruses or cancer cells. Due to the fact that the immune system cannot continue to repeatedly make this response, it eventually becomes exhausted, which often initiates the degenerative disease process. Also, when cells do not receive the nutrients they need and do not function properly over a protracted period of time, a breakdown of cellular structure occurs, allowing for the invasion of viruses and bacteria as well as the proliferation of mutant cells such as cancer cells.

     White blood cells, the fighting soldiers of the body’s defenses, require a regular supply of protein to function optimally. When these phagocytes (white blood cells that consume harmful bacteria) are not able to obtain the correct protein because it has not been supplied through proper digestion and assimilation, their ability to produce antibodies to defend the body against germs is greatly reduced. The immune system functions poorly in this case, because it is suppressed for hours after sugar is ingested, making the body more susceptible to bacterial and viral infections.  

     Also, the stress on the body incurred by the consumption of high amounts of refined sugar increases adrenaline production fourfold. One way the body responds to this “fight or flight” state of stress is to produce greater amounts of cortisol, a steroid hormone produced in the adrenal glands. Although cortisol has an “immune boosting” effect immediately after a rush of adrenaline from stress, it is known to have immune inhibiting effects when the body is stressed over a protracted period of time.  Increased amounts of cortisol keeps white blood cells from communicating with one another, which limits their ability to fight infection. It also leads to the shrinking of the thymus gland, which is critical to the proper functioning of the immune system.

Does Sugar Really Feed Cancer?

     The incidence of cancer, a disease where damaged or abnormal cells grow out of control, has risen dramatically over the last 30 years, which happens to be the same time period when sugar consumption has likewise risen dramatically. To understand the clear connection between cancer and sugar, it is important to know how normal and abnormal cells meet their energy needs.  

     Normal cells function best with oxygen as the catalyst for energy metabolism. Dr. Otto Warburg, who won the Nobel Prize in Medicine in 1931 for his work on the cancer energy cycle, discovered that in cancer the normal aerobic (with oxygen) respiration of a cell is replaced by an anaerobic (without oxygen) fermentation process using glucose as a fuel. This process also produces lactic acid as a by-product, creating an acid environment by lowering the body’s pH. The acid environment not only reduces the ability of the immune system to function, but the toxic lactic acid also inhibits the transport of oxygen to neighboring normal cells, thereby accelerating the spread of the cancer.

     PET scans, which use a slightly radioactive glucose solution in the bloodstream to detect cancer, provide further evidence that cancer feeds on sugar. During the test, the glucose solution races directly to the cancer when it is taken into the body. As the cancer quickly consumes the sugar, it leaves behind the radioactive substance, which highlights the abnormal areas where cancer may be present.  

     It is clearly established that cancer (or any disease) can invade the body when the immune system is weak.  In addition to the knowledge that sugar weakens the immune system, many studies have been conducted on the relationship of cancer to diet. Some of these studies reveal that a clear correlation exists between sugar and the spread of cancer as well as the accelerated growth of cancerous tumors. In his book “Beating Cancer with Nutrition”, Patrick Quillin, Ph. D., R.D. wrote, "elevating blood glucose in a cancer patient is like throwing gasoline on a smoldering fire."  


     Though the effects of refined sugar and refined carbohydrates (which create a similar response in the body) have by no means been exhausted in these articles, hopefully you have a clearer understanding of what sugar can do to the cells, tissues, organs and systems of the body when it is regularly consumed.

     The effects of sugar and the development of the disease conditions discussed may not occur similarly in every person, because each person has their own genetic strengths and weaknesses.  One thing is certain:  if you operate under the presumption that your genetic make-up exempts you from developing any of these conditions and you are mistaken, it’ll be a little late to reverse the damage that has already taken place. But if you are wise and abstain as much as possible from this addictive and toxic non-food substance (that is, refined sugar), you will be sure to enjoy more sustained energy and strength and be free of a host of physical problems as well as chronic diseases experienced by many.  How do we get free?  The answer to that question will be the topic of the final article of this series.


"Lick the Sugar Habit" by Nancy Appleton, PhD
"Suicide by Sugar – A Startling Look at Our #1 National Addiction" by Nancy Appleton, PhD



"The Cortisol Connection" By Shawn Talbott, William J. Kraemer

Copyright © 2008-2015 Lucinda Bedogne, CNHP, CNC

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