At dinner last night with my brother in Florida, he told me that a doctor friend had told him recently that a ‘glass of orange juice’ was one of the worst things he could eat or drink. I agreed. I told this to my wife this morning as she was drinking hers. It’s tough being married to a nutrition nut.
You can buy fresh-squeezed orange juice in Florida by the gallon. It’s as cheap as day-old bread, and it’s really delicious; but it’s all sugar (with a little fiber) and more than half fructose. In liquid form, that’s a big load for the liver. So is a HFCS coke. No difference, really. Most Registered Dieticians would tell you the same thing, about either orange juice or coke.
“Unsafe sugars” are those described as “simple sugars.” They are composed of monosaccharides and disaccharides. The monosaccharides are glucose, fructose and galactose, the most common of which is glucose, sometimes called dextrose. The most common disaccharide is sucrose, usually refined either from cane sugar or beet sugar. Table sugar is sucrose. Sucrose is half glucose and half fructose. Simple sugars are unsafe because they are broken down and digested quickly, especially when liquid. The glucose goes into the bloodstream from the small intestine and circulates to the cells for energy. The fructose, a mild toxin in large amounts, is diverted to the liver to be “detoxified,” protecting us from it. “It bypasses the first regulated steps in glycolysis, which glucose must traverse, and thus becomes a more ready substrate for fatty acid and triglyceride synthesis,” says Phillip A Wood, DVM, Ph.D., in a 2007 article in Diabetes in Control.com. In plain English, fructose, stockpiled in the liver, easily becomes body fat, and in some cases liver fat (fatty liver disease?).
“Unsafe starches” are complex carbohydrates (polysaccharides and therefore also ‘sugars’ that break down to mostly glucose) in non-whole food form. They have been processed and refined in manufacturing, thereby making them break down more easily. That’s why they are unsafe: They act like simple sugars, digesting quickly and easily, thus spiking blood sugar. The processing and refining also removes vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients. That’s why homogenized milk is “supplemented” with Vitamin D. The vitamins that were in the whole raw milk were killed in the pasteurization/ homogenization processing. Some organic milk is now being supplemented with DHA Omega-3 fatty acids (from algae!).
The sugar in milk, by the way, is lactose, a disaccharide compose of equal parts glucose and galactose. Milk has a lot of lactose. Low fat and skim milk have more (in proportion) than whole milk, since the fat has been reduced or eliminated. That’s why I don’t drink low-fat or whole-fat milk, and why I only take full cream in my coffee.
White flour (bleached or unbleached), is refined from wheat, a gluten grain. The milling process removes nutrients so bread flour is almost always “enriched” to replace lost nutrients, e.g. Iron, Niacin, vitamins B1 & B2, and Folic Acid. At random I recently checked the ingredients list on three loaves of bread. Arnold Whole Grains 12 Grain Bread’s first three are Unbleached Enriched Wheat Flour (as above), Water and Sugar, plus about 50 other ingredients, wheat gluten being listed fifth. Pepperidge Farm’s Whole Grain Bread’s first four ingredients are Whole Grain Wheat Flour, Water, Sugar and Wheat Gluten. Publix’s store brand, in their “Large White” bread, lists, in order, Unbleached Enriched Wheat Flour, Water and High Fructose Corn Syrup (“sugar”), among many other ingredients including soybean oil and wheat gluten.
Did you have any idea that sugar was the third ingredient listed in “healthy” breads, after flour and water? Added sugars are in virtually all processed foods. These breads and virtually all others are unsafe starches. Note also that wheat gluten, a protein, is listed fourth or fifth. Gluten is one of the three Neolithic Agents of Disease (NAD’s) in Dr. Kurt Harris’s Archevore program, along with fructose (in sugar) and polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA’s), i.e. vegetable oils.
It makes you long for a good “loaded baked potato,” doesn’t it? My wife tells me a loaded baked potato is a large steaming baked potato that is butterflied and filled with butter, sour cream, broccoli, melted cheese and bits of bacon. Sounds good, doesn’t it? A whole “safe starch” food, a green veggie, and lots of good saturated fats (butter, sour cream, bacon and cheese). Of course, being a Type 2 diabetic, no starchy food is “safe” for me. I have seriously impaired glucose tolerance, but that’s okay. I love my can of King Oscar brand Mediterranean Style Brisling sardines, in olive oil, for lunch.
© Dan Brown 2/19/12