[conspire] Sugar in foodstuffs

Ross Bernheim rossbernheim at speakeasy.net
Thu Mar 25 11:22:35 PDT 2010


The fat is not really a factor in glucose metabolism. More important is fiber, or more precisely the lack of fiber in processed foods. Fiber slows
the metabolism of starches and sugars. This is why as a diabetic, type 2, they recommend the consumption of whole grains rather than processed
grains. Eat whole grain bread rather than white bread as the starches metabolize more slowly so you do not get the great high and then the big drop,
but a lower peak over a longer time frame. 

The American diet shifted from the turn of the 19'th century as a result of "improved" agriculture technology and the move to an urban society. I am choosing
1900 as an arbitrary date. With better plows, and eventually powered tractors to pull them, a farmer could cultivate much more land. Coupled with artificial 
fertilizer, yields could be much greater. This combination fueled the move towards crops that responded well to artificial fertilizers. The diversity of grains and 
species of grains under cultivation was reduced dramatically. Corn was reduced to only a very few varieties with high yields. Wheat fell to a similar fate. Most 
other grains have virtually disappeared as commercial crops. Oat and barley cultivation is very small and rye, buckwheat and other grains are specialty items 
now rather than the major commercial crops they were in 1900.

Ask Deirdre about the difficulties in finding some of the non-gluten grains! 

Wheat is mostly processed to remove the nutritious outer parts of the grain to yield white flour. Much of the corn is processed into less healthy forms as well. Add
in the trend from the 50's onward towards convenience foods and the trends get progressively worse as modern industrialized agribusiness becomes the norm. Earl 
Butz, the Secretary of Agriculture under Nixon and Ford, changed the farm subsidy program and exacerbated some of the problems by effectively removing any 
limits on production so we ended up with vast agricultural surpluses and lower prices which fueled the processing of agricultural surpluses into other products 
such as high fructose corn syrup. High fructose corn syrup would not be economical without the large government subsidies to corn farmers that make it 
economical for them to produce large surpluses of corn at low 'market prices' that makes high fructose corn syrup less expensive than other more natural
sweeteners such as cane or beet sugar or honey. In fact under the current system, high fructose corn syrup is so inexpensive that it is added to many items 
where you would not expect added sweeteners!


On Mar 25, 2010, at 10:20 AM, Paul Zander wrote:

> Don, Thanks for finding the articles.  I'd been wondering if there was any science or just speculation about the effects on overall health.
> At the basic level, it has been known for a long time that high levels of glucose in the blood stream stimulates insulin, which in turn causes the body to remove the glucose and store it.  This is what is happening in the well-known sugar high followed by a crash after eating something high in glucose without other food.
> Fructose does not stimulate insulin production.  It does not lead to the crash after the sugar high.  Apparently it has a different set of long term reactions.
> A concept is glycemic index, a measure of how fast the body digests food into glucose in the blood.  If you eat fries and a cheeseburger with the high sugar drink, the fat will slow the rate of moving sugar into the blood stream.
> Paul

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