I know, I know. All your life everybody has told you how bad sugar is for you. It makes you fat, it rots your teeth, and it pushes you toward diabetes. Now here I am telling you that sugars can be good for you. What is going on?
The basic assumption is that when somebody says ‘sugars', most people think of table sugar, or what is chemically known as sucrose. Table sugar is actually a combination of glucose and fructose, two different sugars. The sugars that I'm talking about are simple sugars called monosaccharides. They are critical to almost all basic metabolic processes in the body. These essential little nutrients are found in many different fruits, grains, and vegetables when eaten in their naturally grown, vine-ripened state.
But when is the last time you ate anything that wasn't processed, packaged, or adulterated in some form? Wheat and rice have all the bran and other nutrients stripped off in the processing. It's so bad that the U.S. Government had to make companies add the chemical form of the nutrients back into breads, cereals, and the like. ‘Fortified' simply means replacing many of the natural nutrients that were removed with chemical substitutes. But much more is taken out than replaced. Over a dozen vital nutrients are processed out of breads and cereals while only four to six are replenished chemically.
Fruits and vegetables are sprayed with God-only-knows-what pesticides and fertilizers. Then, the produce is picked while it's still green. The nutrients from the ground never have an opportunity to enter the vegetable or fruit. Studies at Harvard have shown that the nutrient levels of phytochemicals like lycopene in store-bought tomatoes are almost a flat line graph when compared to the high-spike levels shown in vine-ripened tomatoes. It's easy to see how our country's rate of cancer, heart disease, diabetes, and autoimmune diseases have skyrocketed since the advent of TV dinners and packaged foods in the 50's.
According to Harper's Biochemistry, the simple sugars that we need are glucose, galactose, mannose, xylose, fucose, N-acetylglucosamine, N-acetylgalactosamine, and neuraminic acid. The ones that we get now in our daily diet are primarily glucose and galactose. Luckily, our bodies are able to change these two sugars into the remaining six others. But that process requires many things to occur with perfect precision in our bodies. With all the stress, medications, environmental toxins, and other compromising factors that our bodies have to deal with, it is clear that the system will malfunction from time to time.
The injury done to our bodies happens down at the cellular level and can even result in DNA damage. The field of glycobiology is now developing in the medical community. ‘Glyco' means sugar. In fact, there was a recent meeting in London, Ontario of a group of glycobiologists from all over the world. They spoke of a new diagnostic study called ‘sugar-printing' in which they are discovering that certain sugar malfunctions result in specific diseases. For example, rheumatoid arthritis shows a deficiency in galactose due to a missing enzyme that helps move it through the body. By supplying additional galactose in the form of a supplement, the symptoms disappeared.
The information coming out in medical studies regarding the impact of glyconutrients is astonishing. The Soviets were using this carbohydrate technology back in the 70's and 80's with their Olympic athletes. The result was tons of gold medals and no failure in drug tests because the glyconutrients are food-based, not a synthetic chemical or drug. The Soviets also used this preventative measure to boost the overall health of their troops located in Siberian outposts. Their testing showed less overall illness and an increase in immune system function. In addition, Chinese studies show improvements in diseases ranging from cancer to arthritis when the patients were given glyconutrient supplements. This new technology is so important and far-reaching in terms of our overall health that it was the topic of my Ph.D. research. You can read a copy of my dissertation at my website.
If you would like more information on any topic discussed in this article or to suggest ideas for a future article, you can contact me through my website email.