Honey contains about 1600 calories (calories is the amount of heat which is necessary to raise the temperature of one gram of water by one degree Celsius) to the pound and is at the head, in this respect, of all other natural foods, far exceeding meat, eggs, milk, grains and vegetables. The
date is the only edible substance which surpasses honey in calories.
The caloric value of honey nearly equals that of cane-sugar (1800 cal.) but in every other respect it is far superior. If honey contained no water its caloric value would be practically the same as that of cane-sugar. A tablespoonful of honey weighs about an ounce and provides the body with 100 calories. Honey does not contain any harmful chemicals and is entirely utilized by the digestive tract. Not more than one two-hundredth part is wasted. Commercial or white sugar, made from sugar-cane, beets, corn, etc., is submitted to several complicated boiling procedures during the process of manufacture. The organic acids, protein, nitrogen elements, fats, enzymes and vitamins are extracted or destroyed; on the other hand, hydrochloric, phosphoric and sulphuric acids, lime and other foreign substances are added. While honey is Nature‘s own sweet, untouched by human art, sugar is a concentrated, denatured and polluted substitute, a produce, as a rule, of sugar-cane, robbed by superheating of most of its natural and valuable constituents. Honey and other simple or natural sugars, like that in dates, figs, raisins, etc., are live physiological sugars which contain the germs of life, while industrial sugars are anti-physiological, dead or, as a matter of fact, murdered sweets. Brown sugar contains some minerals, but white sugar is entirely demineralized because it will not crystallize if any minerals remain. The first step in the manufacture of sugar is to neutralize the free acids of the cane-juice. Cane-juice is quite dark in color because of its mineral constituents. To remove the sugar from the cane-juice it is treated with the fumes of burning sulphur or heated with bisulphide of lime. The process in industrial language is called “defecation”. The lime neutralizes all acids and prevents the cane-sugar from changing into an uncrystallizable invert sugar.
Clarence W. Leib, in Eat, Drink, and be Healthy, remarks that sugar undermines the nation’s health and that the best sugars are simple sugars, liberally supplied by nature in honey, fruits and vegetables. They require little digestive effort for assimilation. White sugar depresses the appetite, irritates the stomach, produces heart-burn, acid fermentation, gastric catarrh, indigestion, exhausts the pancreatic activity and thus leads to diabetes. The ravages of artificial sugar increase in proportion to the degree of its refinement. Refined sugar is not only irritating to the intestinal tract but to the skin. Grocers and people who handle sugar often suffer from skin eruptions.
No better authority can be quoted than Dr. Banting, the discoverer of insulin, with regard to the causes of diabetes. “In the United States the incidence of diabetes has increased proportionately with the per capita consumption of cane-sugar. One cannot help but conclude that in the heating and recrystallization of the natural sugar-cane something is altered which leaves the refined product a dangerous foodstuff.” (Edinb. Med. J. 36, Jan. 18, 1929.)
Dr. Banting comments on the incidence of diabetes among the many wealthy Spaniards in Panama, who eat large quantities of cane-sugar and even cook their food in sugar syrup. Diabetes among this class is surprisingly high. The effect of the ingestion of cane-sugar is even more startling in India where there is no diabetes among the poor but among the wealthy classes over fifty years of age, who indulge in sugar, about 40% are diabetics.
That sugar is an important contributory factor in producing diabetes was best proven during the World War when the disease was not as prevalent in the United States. This can only be rationally interpreted as due to the lessened consumption of white sugar during that period of time, long enough to justify the correctness of the statistical data. The subsidence of diabetes in belligerent foreign countries was even more manifest. During prohibition the sugar consumption in the United States increased over 30%, and diabetes in the same proportion. The parallel advance was disrupted only when insulin was discovered. According to Stefansson the Eskimos had neither constipation, stomach or dental troubles while on an exclusive meat diet but since the use of devitalized sugars and starches these diseases have become prevalent.
If the Food Section of the United States Department of Agri-culture would not respect the “big interests” so much, but would faithfully and meticulously discharge its obligation toward food control, sanitation and the protection of health, it certainly would prohibit the manufacture of refined sugar and of white flour, both of which are low-grade, denatured, dealkalinized fuels, robbed of all vital elements. Laboratory experiments have also proved that animals live longer without food than when fed on refined sugar and white flour. The nutritive part and vital force of grain is gluten, which is in the bran, and therefore should not be re-moved. Of course, the millers know that degerminated products are less perishable. The patriarchal device of “braying” the grain (brayed, bread), is today only a matter of history; the ancients ate the vitamins, we write and read about them. The flour from which some white breads are baked is not only devitalized and devitaminized but, to look better, it is bleached and artificially matured by chemicals, e.g., potassium bromide, chlorine, nitrogen trioxide, benzoyl peroxide, etc.
Dr. E. V. McCollum, Professor of Chemical Hygiene,. School of Hygiene and Public Health at Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, addressing the Northern Ohio Dental Association’s seventieth anniversary convention at Cleveland, Ohio, said that the American people ought to be ashamed in permitting two atrocities to be put over on them. He referred in particular to white flour and refined sugar. McCollum said that he sometimes wondered which of the two evils is greater.
Recently one of the milling companies advertised a “wheat germ product” one dollar a pound, as an addition to diets, to replace vitamins B, G and E and valuable mineral salts which are taken out from the wheat during the process of manufacturing white flour. First these vital elements are removed, then, realizing the faux pas, they are sold separately. In the good old days only the chaff was separated from the wheat but in a scientific era all things must be changed.
Sugar is just as habit-forming as narcotics. Sugar contains calories which artificially create temporary energy but it is not a food because it is without nutritive value and not only does not benefit the tissues of the organism but harms them. The use, misuse and abuse of refined sugars (in the shape of candy or in any other form) is a modern nutritional disaster. We employ these sugars not with the purpose of obtaining strength but simply for gratification of an unhygienic and illogical craving for sweets. The Anglo-Saxon races head the list of sugar habitués. Napoleon craved and incessantly munched chocolates and it is no wonder that he had to get up nightly and thrust a finger into his throat to relieve himself of excessive gastric juice. As we know, he died from a perforation of the stomach.
The writer is firmly convinced that if the youth of the country would eat good old-fashioned rye-bread, the kind which mother used to bake, and not highly praised (of course, only in advertisements) proprietary breads, and would consume natural fruit sugars, like honey, dates, figs, raisins, grapes and other sweet fruits, instead of cheap candy, their physical defects would not be so manifest, as exposed by the staggering revelations of 1917. In spite of the lowered physical standards that had to be instituted then, less than half of the young men were found fit for military duty. So let us be better prepared for the next war. Sir William Osier’s remark that any disease which Nature can not cure will remain uncured pertains also, by proper application, to all denatured foods. It is too bad that the term “denatured” is almost exclusively used today only for the designation of a certain type of alcohol. If exploitation can triumph over Nature, it is time—at least—to be aware of it.
Dr. Harvey W. Wiley, former chief chemist of the Department of Agriculture and Director of the Bureau of Foods, Sanitation and Health, in a letter to the American Honey Institute, wrote thus about the “honey matter”: “Unfortunately, the amount of honey that is now produced in the United States, or that may or can be produced therein, is entirely insufficient to supply the wants of even a small percentage of our people. If we stress the honey matter too prominently we may do injury, not’ to the bees nor the keepers, nor the honey merchants, but to those who prefer honey to other sweets. I am one of that kind. I get every year about sixty pounds. If we urge everybody to use honey instead of sugar, we will have the same condition that now exists with codliver oil, calf’s liver and agar.* A few years ago agar was quite cheap. I with others have been urging people to use agar to avoid constipation. It now costs over $3.00 a pound. In the same way the craze for liver to cure anemia has greatly advanced the cost of that commodity. I am a great believer in honey, both on account of its flavor and because I think it is far more whole-some than refined white sugar. I use it every morning in my coffee, of which I drink one cup a day.”
Dr. Wiley also declared saccharin a harmful substance. When the ketchup manufacturers and canners wished to add saccharin to their products, he protested. During a hearing, the late Theodore Roosevelt, at that time President of the United States, was amazed to hear that saccharin was objectionable. “You are telling me, Dr. Wiley, that saccharin is injurious to health?” Roosevelt asked. “Yes, Mr. President, I do tell you that,” answered Wiley. The President remarked: “Well, Dr. Rixey (at the time White House physician) makes me take it every day.” Wiley was embarrassed and explained: “Probably he thinks that you are threatened with diabetes and considered it better for you than sugar.” The manufacture of saccharin has been forbidden in Germany and Italy.
What effect refined sugars have on the alarmingly increasing prevalence of arthritis is another important question to solve. The fact alone that arthritics, who suffer from delayed sugar removal, are legatees to all the scourges of this malady, while diabetics who cannot digest glucose and eliminate it from their systems are almost entirely free from symptoms of arthritis, deserves consideration. The main complaint of diabetics is lack of energy, a complication with which the arthritics, who are perfectly well otherwise, are not concerned. This prevailing contrast between the two groups could be rationally attributed to some unknown conditionality superinduced by two divergent functions of the respective organisms.
Dr. Serge Voronoff was evidently not a believer in sugar when he made the statement that the human race could easily extend its period of life to 120 years by eliminating from its diet sugar, white flour and salt.
England was one of the first nations to assail the mischiefs and ravages of refined sugar and to raise her voice against its use by calling attention to its harmful effects. According to records, the art of refining sugar was first practiced in England in 1544. John Gardiner and Sir William Chester were the proprietors of the first two “sugar-houses” in England. The introduction of sugar immediately raised the question of its desirability, and a great part of the population feared that it might have bad effects. Sir Thomas Mildmay, in 1596, petitioned Queen Elizabeth for the exclusive right to refine sugar because he believed that frauds were practiced in the process of refining.
Theophilus Garencieres, a physician (1647), was the first to attack sugar in its infancy. He thought sugar created Tabes Anglica and also caused consumption of the lungs because the heating quality of sugar was “not a little” injurious to the lungs.
Thomas Willis, the celebrated English physician, was next to attack it in 1674. He thought that sugar largely contributed to the immense increase of scurvy. He argued: “For it plainly appears by the chemical analysis of sugar that this concrete consists of an acrid and corrosive salt, tempered with a portion of sulphur.” He referred to eminent authors who attributed the cause and frequency of consumption of the lungs in England to the immoderate use of sugar. Scurvy made great ravages in England in the seventeenth century, so did consumption of the lungs and scrofula. Angelus Sala also attributed many ailments to the abuse of sugar; among them, loss of appetite, blackness and loosening of the teeth, offensive breath, colic, lax bowels, also bilious, scorbutic and hysterical complaints. It was observed that sugar produced worms in children. It seems that Garencieres and Willis were the founders of the wide-spread cult, known in England as Antisaccharites.
Charles Butler, in Feminin’ Monarch?, 1632, comparing honey with sugar, remarks: “In respect of the marvellous efficacy which fine and pure honey hath in preserving health, that gross and earthy stuff is no whit comparable to this celestial nectar.”
It is the prodigy of knowledge not only to discriminate between similarities of things different but also between divergencies of things resembling one another.