All You Want to Know About SUGAR & Sugar Substitutes!

Oh I know you will hate me after this article! But I think I prefer you hate me alive and healthy than dead or sick… so let me start by saying: I don’t mind you feeling angry or pissed or downright slam the monitor into pieces but I must tell you what now many scientific articles and books tell you but not yet TV or doctors is this: TRASH all you sugar and sugar substitutes (and that includes fruit juices)!

I find it amazing how few publicly accessible literature or viewing sources advise you but I suppose the sugar farmers and the pharmaceuticals who must pump you with medicines after you get ill from sugars or sugar substitutes will not want to let you know that if you stop eating sugar or sugar substitutes, you will actually be perhaps healthy for the rest of your lives–preventing hypertension, diabetes, migraines, headaches, hypoglycemia, fibromyalgia of some forms, and several other neuronal illnesses, perhaps even dementia and Alzheimer’s. This will make them much less money and so they will do everything to stop its promotion.

So let me promote a “no sugar or sugar substitutes” campaign right here.

The problem I am facing is that unfortunately sugar substitutes are in everything: chewing gum, toothpaste, medicines, and just about everything you put into your mouth. Sugar is often added to food to keep bacteria away–it has an amazing dehydrating capacity that sucks the living daylight out of cells (including yours) and so it kills those cells (may I remind you here that your body is made of cells? And many of them are bacteria?).

Artificial sweeteners have no functions. They were brought on the market because people like sweet things but if sugar is bad for them, let them have the taste of sweet without it actually being sugar. Hence you get sweet taste but a taste that your body has no idea what to do with and no, it may not just pass through your system. Your body will try to digest everything you put into your mouth and so by the time it discovers that it cannot be used as sugar, it is too late.

So let’s talk a bit about the history of our society getting to the point that now we have 2-months old babies with diabetes II and newborn obese babies. Obviously it is not the baby’s fault; she cannot yet eat or drink junk food unless she is given but the newborn is given all its food in the mother’s womb through her blood! So what is in her blood that creates obese children or children with diabetes II even if the mother herself does not have either (yet)?

A few decades back in the 20th Century, people were starting to get fat and started diabetes II suddenly in increasing numbers. Depending on where you read the numbers, just in the decade that hugs the turn of the century there was a 90% increase in diabetes II in the US according to Dr. Mercola. Another study shows the increase to be (in the year 2000) over 33% of the population of adults over the age of 20 and  50% in children obesity in the US.

Both studies blame fast food and sedentary lifestyles but is that true?! I know several people who are athletes, run Marathons, never go near fast food places and still are obese and/or have diabetes II.

We clearly are facing an epidemic. In the middle of the 20th Century they blamed fast foods because of the fat, so the food manufacturers reduced fat but since the taste was gone, they added sugar. By now we know the end result of that experiment with the US population: we all got fatter and diabetes II skyrocketed at an exponential rate even faster than before. So it is not the fat or the fast food or the sedentary lifestyle if Marathon runners can be obese who never eat fast food and eat the same low-fat foods that are advertised. So what went wrong?

This question is very valid. If you think that taking fat out of food does not mean putting sugar into it, look again. The best way to look is by grabbing a brand of jug of milk in all its fat content varieties and compare. You will see that whole milk has 4% fat and say 10 grams of sugar (each brand is different). If you look at the same brand of milk and now compare the whole with the 2% fat, now the sugar content is 11 grams and the protein is also likely up. The 1% fat will have 12 grams of sugar and the skim milk 13 grams. So as you go down with fat, you go up with sugar. It would also be nice if you could have a visual of the percent of fat removed versus the amount of sugar added. Do this: next time you go to the supermarket, look for the whole milk, organic, that comes in a clear glass. Buy that and open it. On the very top there will be a layer about 1/4 inch think of cream. That is the fat! If you take that off, you basically get low-fat (not quite skim but nearly) without any added sugar. If you really believe that you need to eat low-fat, do that.

But note also the opening of that jar of milk is about 2 inches max. The thickness of the fat is about 1/4 inch. If you put that into a teaspoon, you fill it almost to the top, not quite. Now 1 teaspoon of sugar is 4 grams. So basically having near skim milk, added an entire teaspoon of sugar to the milk. Is that really what you wanted?

Given that the population in the US (and in other countries where food only changed by sugar and sugar substitutes) obesity and diabetes II increases at an alarming rate, the guilty factor is clearly not fat or junk food but sugar. In fact in countries where they do not even eat junk food or fat but eat a ton of sugar (India for example) suffers greatly from diabetes II and they do eat a ton of sugar.

Why do sugar and sugar substitutes constitute such danger to our lives? This is a bit scientifically complex because the secret is in the metabolic pathway sugar and sugar substitutes take that are different from fat and other foods we eat. I will simplify greatly in the next few paragraphs so you can relate to it. So let’s start about the metabolic pathways in simple terms.

First lets eat a slice of steak. As we eat steak, it has the following nutritional value as per Wikipedia:

  1. Nutrition Facts
    Beef, ground, 85% lean meat / 15% fat, broiled

    Amount Per 1 serving (3 oz) (85 g)

    Calories 213
  2. % Daily Value*
    Total Fat 13 g 20%
    Saturated fat 5 g 25%
    Polyunsaturated fat 0.4 g
    Monounsaturated fat 6 g
    Trans fat 0.9 g
    Cholesterol 77 mg 25%
    Sodium 61 mg 2%
    Potassium 270 mg 7%
    Total Carbohydrate 0 g 0%
    Dietary fiber 0 g 0%
    Sugar 0 g
    Protein 22 g 44%
    Vitamin A 0% Vitamin C 0%
    Calcium 1% Iron 12%
    Vitamin D 1% Vitamin B-6 15%
    Vitamin B-12 36% Magnesium 4%


So as you can see, it has no sugar. But does eating a slice of steak activate insulin? Yes. It does. The actual job of insulin in not just to put sugar away! Insulin’s job is to convert the food you eat into sugar and then to fat and deposit it for later use. So if you did not eat sugar, your body is still getting sugar! If you eat sugar instead of a steak–just as an example–the sugar need not be converted to sugar (it already is sugar) so you just removed half of the job of insulin. This makes the insulin released (twice as much as needed) float around in search of work to do. Finding none, it does not exit for quite some time from your blood. Floating idle insulin in the blood causes insulin resistance, which is type II diabetes.

So let’s talk a bit more about sugar since there are many kinds of sugars: glucose (also called blood sugar), sucrose, and fructose. If you have diabetes II, the sugar pills you should have with you are glucose. I do not have diabetes but I carry that sugar with me for others. Try it once and see what it tastes like: you put a pill–quite large, I would say a good inch in diameter–on your tongue and before you can blink it is gone and is in your blood. It is barely sweet at all–almost not sweet. This means that the sugar our body needs is actually not that sweet!

But we have a problem. If you have a cup of coffee for example and you put a glucose tablet into it, it will not become much sweeter than it was before. The sugar industry realized this real quick and went after sugars that are sweeter. The best of those sugars are fruit or vegetable sugars, such as sugar cane, corn, beet, dates, etc., in a concentrated form. These fruits contain very high levels of sugar but the sugar is hidden inside of fiber (eat a piece of sugar cane and see!) so in order to get access to the sugar, they had to squeeze it, cook it, etc. There is a whole process of getting sugar out of these edibles but not that much–try to squeeze a raspberry for its sugar content–and so they have to concentrate it. They also add additional sugars in the process: glucose, sucrose (also natural sugar), and of course the fructose they just squeezed and cooked and dried the daylight out of from the sugar cane. They mix these three and sell them as table sugar. What exactly are you getting now? Is this still sugar your body can digest?

No actually, the body cannot digest anymore much of that sugars because it can only digest the glucose and sucrose. It does not digest fructose! But fructose is in every fruit, including the raspberry you just ate so how come your body can digest it in the raspberry but not in the crystallized or liquid forms? It has a metabolic problem. If you eat a raspberry, it contains insoluble fiber which takes the sugar all through to your bowel or large intestines, where the sugar is actually used by the good gut bacteria rather than your body! If there is no fiber, the fructose component will be absorbed earlier (this is similar in action to taking a medication that is coated to dissolve in the intestines instead of the stomach for example) and will hit the liver in full for detoxification. The problem is that it is toxin in whole so the detoxification process will make it stay in the liver that does the best job it can to change its molecular structure into a not-so-toxic element, which is ethanol alcohol. Yes, this is the same stuff we in the US put into our car to improve gasoline efficiency… so next time you drink orange juice, know that you just fed yourself (and your kinds!) alcohol and in the process you started what is called “non alcoholic liver disease” which is an enlarged liver as a result of keeping all that alcohol inside.

But we have another problem as well! Insulin releases the moment it tastes sweet or food so insulin released and is floating not finding sugar because it is alcohol now in the liver so in addition to lingering and causing diabetes II as noted earlier, it also communicates with another hormone called Leptin that is supposed to serve sugar to the brain. Leptin tells the brain “there is no sugar so we are in obvious famine so stop all activities and reduce metabolism,” which then initiates your hunger again and sugar craving. More such no-sugar sugar reconfirms to the brain that you are starving and slows metabolism down even more and makes you into a couch potato as a result of it telling you that you have no energy. It is not that you are lazy but your brain will not let you exercise! There is a communication between brain and body!

So here you have it from sugar! Now let’s see about sugar substitutes! I think you may be seeing some connection here already but just in case, let me explain. Eating sugar substitutes is still food and still sweet. Insulin releases just as when eating real food with real sugar! So for those of you counting GI (glycollic index) thinking you are safe, listen up! It is not the GI that matters but how much of the insulin released is actually finding work to do! When eating/drinking sugar substitutes, insulin has absolutely nothing to do so 100% of it is floating in the blood as before, causing diabetes II. Plus, it signals Leptin that there is no sugar so Leptin will tell the brain the same as for sugar: we are in starvation mode, reduce metabolism and reduce all nonessential activities. The outcome: diabetes II and obesity. We have not changed a thing by switching from sugar to sugar substitutes.

Additionally, we are causing serious damage. Insulin is a hormone but as you can see, it does not work alone. It works with Leptin in the case of the brain and works with many other hormones in the rest of the body. Every single cell in our body needs to gets its energy from the sugar that Insulin converted to fat which then converts back to sugar for the use of the cell. Giving sugar in any other way interrupts the hormones’ natural cycle. The problem is that everything we do in life is hormone driven. If you think you can do as much as blink without the use of at least one hormone, think again. The brain is one giant hormonal glad, like it or not.

As a result of the mislead insulin, type II diabetes, and obesity, our muscles (the mitochondria in the muscles) do not get proper oxygen for their breathing–this includes heart muscles too! Because the cells cannot work and breathe, they also cannot hydrate properly since sugar is a vasoconstricting “drug” similarly to caffeine, also dehydrating and thereby not letting water enter the cells. The overall effect on our health is: increased cholesterol of the bad kind (LDL), increased triglyceride (bad cholesterol relative to the sticky stuff inside of the bad cholesterol), thus increased blood pressure and hypertension. Heart problems are then given. Since it also blocks proper hydration that is necessary to prevent migraines as per my book, you will increase your migraines and headaches in general.

In terms of fibromyalgia, the votes of my survey are not yet all in but so far the findings hint to the fact that most FM sufferers eat a lot of sugar and drink way too little water. Thus sugar also blocks hydration of the nerve cells, which hurt fibromyalgia patients tremendously. I am not sure how increased obesity or diabetes II connect to fibromyalgia yet but I do know from several sufferers I asked that they all had both obesity and diabetes II. Thus both sugar and sugar substitutes interfere with the body enough to exacerbate (if not cause) fibromyalgia.

Comments are welcome, as usual,


About Be Healthy

Angela A Stanton, PhD, is a Neuroeconomist who evaluates changes in behavior, chronic pain, decision-making, as a result of hormonal variations in the brain. She lives in Southern California. Her current research is focused on migraine cause, prevention and treatment without the use of medicines. As a migraineur, her discovery was helped by experimenting on herself. She found the cause of migraine to be at the ionic level, associated with disruption of the electrolyte homeostasis, resulting from genetic mutations of insulin and glucose transporters, and voltage gated sodium and calcium channel mutations. Such mutations cause major shifts in a migraine brain, unlike that of a non-migraine brain. A non-migraineur can handle electrolyte changes on autopilot. A migraineur must always be on manual guard for such changes to maintain electrolyte homeostasis. The book Fighting The Migraine Epidemic: How To Treat and Prevent Migraines Without Medicines - An Insider's View explains why we have migraines, how to prevent them and how to stay migraine (and medicine) free for life. As a result of the success of the first edition of her book and new research and findings, she is now finishing the 2nd edition. The 2nd edition is the “holy grail” of migraines, incorporating all there is to know at the moment and also some hypotheses. It includes an academic research section with suggestions for further research. The book is full of citations to authenticate the statements she makes to be followed up by those interested and to spark further research interest. While working on the 2nd edition of the book she also published academic articles: "Migraine Cause and Treatment" Mental Health in family Medicine, November 23, 2015, open access "Functional Prodrome in Migraines" Journal of Neurological Disorders, January 22, 2016, open access "Are Statistics Misleading Sodium Reduction Benefits?", Journal of Medical Diagnostic Method, February 3, 2016, open access “A Comment on Severe Headache or Migraine History Is Inversely Correlated With Dietary Sodium Intake: NHANES 1999-2004” Angela A Stanton PhD, 19 July 2016 DOI: 10.1111/head.12861 not open access, subscription is required to read it. Dr. Stanton received her BSc at UCLA in Mathematics, MBA at UCR, MS in Management Science and Engineering at Stanford University, PhD in NeuroEconomics at Claremont Graduate University, and fMRI certification at Harvard University Medical School at the Martinos Center for Neuroimaging for experimenting with neurotransmitters on human volunteers. For relaxation Dr. Stanton paints and photographs. Follow her on Twitter at: @MigraineBook
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2 Responses to All You Want to Know About SUGAR & Sugar Substitutes!

  1. The turn to obesity started in the 1980’s, when there was such a high promotion of the low fat diet or low fat lifestyle as being healthy. That’s when they started coming out with all the fat substitutes that now we know are bad for us. However, whenever you wanted to lose weight, EVEN TODAY, all nutritionist will emphasize the decrease in fats as what will help you lose weght. Despite the scientific evidence that a no sugar lifestyle is not only harmless, but actually improves you cardovscularly, you will not find ONE nutritionist, and these are what all hospitals and weight loss programs use for expertise, advocating a no sugar/low carb lifestyle. They will advocate low fat.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Totally true! The turn will come slow September Amyx because nearly all manufacturers have their approved food with fat removed and sugar used as a preservative–sugar is super for preservative! It keeps the bugs away. The problem I think will be that all food manufacturers will have to redesign their foods, re-apply for approval, etc., re-label, new design. Lots of investment. I think the most likely time for the change is going to be as the new foods, the organics and health foods slowly take over. They already have started. It is actually faster than I thought it would be. I know it is more expensive but if you prepare your food yourself, it may actually be less expensive. I always buy the whole milk, for example. So wherever I have the choice, I buy the one with more fat and less sugar. And I avoid all (well most as much as possible) sugary stuff. I find I stopped craving sugar completely and my immune system became much stronger. So switching, however slowly you can, has a lot of advantages! So try!! ❤


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