Magazine article New Internationalist

Perilous Pleasure

Magazine article New Internationalist

Perilous Pleasure

Article excerpt

People can easily get confused about sugar. We are supposed to. The sugar pushers go to great lengths to make us - and keep us - that way. Though the science may be complex, the truth is simple: refined 'free' sugar is not food.


[Symbol Not Transcribed] Sugar takes several forms, most commonly fructose in fruit and vegetables, lactose in milk, and refined or 'pure' sucrose extracted from sugarcane or beet.

[Symbol Not Transcribed] Sucrose - C[Symbol Not Transcribed]H[Symbol Not Transcribed]O[Symbol Not Transcribed] - is composed of carbon, hydrogen and oxygen and is classified as a carbohydrate: carbon and water.

[Symbol Not Transcribed] The metabolism of all sugars supplies energy, measured as calories, to the human body.

[Symbol Not Transcribed] Unlike fructose or lactose, sucrose provides only 'empty' or 'naked' calories, without any nutrients at all.

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The World Health Organization (WHO) and Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) say: 'Higher intake of "free" sugars - added to foods by the manufacturer, cook or consumer, plus sugars naturally present in honey, syrups and fruit juices - threatens the nutrient quality of diets by providing significant energy without specific nutrients... Drinks that are rich in free sugars increase overall energy intake by reducing appetite control.'

[Symbol Not Transcribed] Sucrose is not digested in the mouth or stomach but passes directly to the lower intestines and thence to the bloodstream and the brain.

[Symbol Not Transcribed] Unused calories are stored as fat.

[Symbol Not Transcribed] When starches and refined sugars are eaten together and undergo fermentation they are broken down into carbon dioxide, acetic acid, alcohol and water. With the exception of water, all these are unusable substances - poisons.

[Symbol Not Transcribed] Sugar unbalances the endocrine system, which includes the adrenal glands, pancreas and liver, causing the blood-sugar level to fluctuate widely.


Good health relies on physical fitness and a 'balanced' diet that delivers all the nutrients the body needs - no fewer and no more. Balance is normally maintained by appetite. Because sucrose acts upon the appetite it unbalances diet, contributing to a great many chronic conditions.

[Symbol Not Transcribed] OBESITY

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There is no precise definition of obesity, which relates to the individual. …

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