Are you addicted to sugar? Do you feel your blood sugar dip when you haven’t eaten? Do you get hangry?
If you’re struggling with any of the above, or with insulin resistance or weight gain, this episode is for you.
All of these are signs that you may need to curtail your refined sugar intake and help your body stabilize by avoiding refined sugar. Dr. Weston A. Price called sugar a “displacing food of modern commerce.” Too often it takes the place of more nourishing fare. It’s also highly addictive.
Today, Sally Fallon Morell, President and Founder of the Weston A. Price Foundation, offers specific suggestions for how to make some simple shifts. She discusses the ways sugar impedes good health, but also how we have healthier options to help satisfy our natural sweet tooth without compromising our health.
Towards the end of the episode, we read our “Sugar Alert!” brochure which we are offering for free this week (see link below).
Visit Sally’s blog: nourishingtraditions.com
Get the free Sugar Alert brochure this week!
Listen to the podcast here
Within the below transcript, the bolded text is Hilda.
Did you know that we consume more sugar in one year than our ancestors did in a lifetime? This is episode 461 and our guest is Sally Fallon Morell. She is the President and Founder of The Weston A Price Foundation, a prolific author, speaker, and advocate of real food. In this episode, she covers all things sugar, including where hidden sugars are found in our foods, such as breads, canned foods, bottled dressing, and coffee, for example. She also talks about our addiction to sugar and its detrimental effects on our lives. She also talks about how to detox from sugar by transitioning to a more Wise Traditions diet.
As a bonus for you, I’m going to read portions of the Sugar Alert brochure in its entirety, covering why refined sweeteners are bad, what’s wrong with sugar in the first place, issues with low blood sugar or diabetes, diseases caused by sugar, and how to deal with sugar cravings. Before we get into the conversation, we want to offer you a free copy of our Sugar Alert brochure. For this week only, it’s free. We’ll mail it to you. You can keep it on hand as a reference or to share. Just go to WestonAPrice.org to the Order Materials button or click on the link of the podcast description.
Visit Sally’s blog: Nourishing Traditions
Get the free Sugar Alert brochure this week!
Welcome to the show, Sally.
Thank you, Hilda. It’s great to be back with you again this holiday season.
I’m glad we’re together. Speaking of the holiday season, this is a time that the mainstream media and the commercials all say is cold and flu season, but some people say we’re getting sick because of the amount of sugar we’re taking in at this time of year.
It’s a fact that the emergency rooms are always busiest right after Halloween because the kids eat so much sugar and then they have asthma attacks, stomach flu, or whatever.
I’ve also heard that we consume more sugar in a year or even a few decades ago than some of our ancestors consumed in a lifetime.
That’s true. The statistics are pretty alarming. Consumption of sugar nowadays is 180 pounds. That’s as much as most people weigh or more per person per year, or about a cup of sugar a day. Imagine that much sugar. That’s the average consumption per day. A lot of that is coming from soft drinks. When you see how many soft drinks people drink, and then in the school lunches, the chocolate milk has almost as much sugar in it as a soft drink.
There’s hidden sugar too. What foods might it be found in?
It’s in a lot of foods like bread. Certainly, in canned foods, but it’s cookies, cakes, pastries, and donuts. People love their donuts. People add sugar to coffee. It adds up.
Some people say, “We were designed to like sweet food,” so what’s wrong with it?
We do have a sweet taste in our mouth and I’ve always said that sweet taste needs to be satisfied. I think it does something to us psychologically to have this sweet taste. We know it does. One thing it does is raise dopamine levels just like drugs do. People will have a sugar fix or a sugar boost, and then they have the let-down. You get that rollercoaster effect and then they need another sugar fix. How do we get out of this rollercoaster? It’s one of the most frequent questions we get, “I’m addicted to sugar. How do I get off of sugar?”
I read a fascinating article. It was published in the magazine Appetite in 2020. They had rats that they had addicted to sugar. They had the little feeding thing and it was very sugary, and then they fed them a diet that was 40% large. The rats didn’t want the sugar. The way they put it was the rats no longer wanted their pleasurable food. It was like this was a bad thing that they had gotten over their sugar addiction. The industry wants to know how we keep people hooked on sugar and if they eat a high-fat diet, which is the diet that we’re recommending, they might not want that sugar anymore.
I’ve heard you tell a story of someone whose cravings completely went away for sweet things. They said they could walk down the cookie aisle without a single temptation because they changed to a more Wise Traditions-friendly diet.
I love this story. This was a former chapter leader. She went on her diet of lots of eggs, butter, whole milk, and fat. She said she felt immediately better. She kept on with one guilty habit. That was when she went to the supermarket, she stood at the beginning of the cookie aisle and decided which package of cookies she was going to buy. Every week, she brought a package of cookies. One day she went to the market and stood at the front of the aisle, looking down the aisle to decide what cookies she wanted.
She realized she didn’t want any cookies. It wasn’t willpower that kept her from buying the cookies. It was because her body didn’t want this. That’s where we need to get. Charles Eisenstein and his book, The Yoga Of Eating, about the fallacy of willpower. You can’t do anything with willpower because it’s a struggle for you. You’re going against yourself in a way. She didn’t need willpower not to eat the cookies because she had gotten to that state of health where her body said, “I don’t need these cookies anymore.” She was getting her dopamine fixed from fats. The fats do raise dopamine just like sugar does.
A moment ago, you implied that the powers want us to stay addicted to sugar. Why is that?
Sugar is cheap and it sells processed foods. There’s not a lot of profit on real food. The profit is there in the sugary foods based on industrial seed oils, additives, and white flour. That’s where the profit is. They don’t want us to eat real food. “There’s no money in it for them.”
In contrast, if they make some Frito or chip thing that’s based on corn and has some high fructose corn syrup, it’s a very cheap product that makes a good profit margin for them.
Breakfast cereal is a good example. Most of them are loaded with sugar. The kids don’t want the ones that aren’t loaded with sugar and sprayed with toxic vegetable oils. In a box of cereal, there’s $0.2 worth of grain, wheat, rice, or whatever it is. They sell it for $5.
Cereal is one of the most expensive things on the grocery market shelves.
It’s the most profitable both for the manufacturers and the grocery stores. The grocery stores may get a markup of about $2 per box. That’s huge. They have a beautiful vegetable section because it attracts people, but they don’t want you to buy vegetables. They don’t make a lot of money on vegetables. There’s spoilage. There are leftovers. It’s not profitable. There’s not a lot of profit on meat either. The profit is in the aisles with the cookies, breakfast cereals, oils, bottle dressings, and all of these things put together.
These are the very things that Dr. Price called the displacing foods of modern commerce laden with white flour, white sugar, and rancid oil.
There’s no nutrition in them. There are no vitamins and no minerals. They are displacing foods of modern commas. If you’re eating sugar and vegetable oils, you are not going to be eating as much of the real foods as you need to eat to be healthy. They displace and push out the real foods.
If you are eating sugar and vegetable oils, you will not be eating as much of the real food as you need to be healthy due to displacing food of modern commerce.
Can you give us some more statistics about the amount of sugar we’re eating or why it does us much damage?
Weston Price has this great little flyer called Sugar Alert! Why Refined Sweeteners Are Bad For You. First, we start with the statistics. How much sugar people are eating? It’s a cup of sugar a day for the average person. During this period of the great rise in sugar consumption, obesity rates have gone from about 3% to 32%, 1/3 of the population.
This is true. If you look back at images of people from the 1970s, ‘60s, ‘50s, or before, everyone is slender. Now, you go to the beach. You don’t have to walk more than two paces without seeing someone that’s spilling out of their bikini.
There are some great old films of New York in 1910 or 1911. Everybody is slender. The other wonderful thing about these films is they are all beautifully dressed. Everybody has suits on and nice dresses. Everybody is beautifully dressed. I like that.
How times have changed?
We have a list of some of the diseases caused by sugar. The first one is addiction. ADHD. It makes kids hyper. If you give a kid cereal for breakfast and chocolate milk, they’re going to be hyper. They won’t be able to concentrate. Adrenal fatigue. What sugar is doing like coffee and stimulants, it’s like a hammer to your adrenal gland. It wakes you up. It boosts you. It raises dopamine, but then your adrenal gland has to deal with all that and come back to homeostasis. Eventually, it gets tired and can’t do it anymore.
You then need another fix.
You need another sugar fix. A brain fog, cancer, and cardiovascular disease. We’re now finding out that the sugar industry made these researchers focus on cholesterol because they didn’t want them to talk about sugar being the cause of cardiovascular disease. Candy did chronic fatigue, cavities, depression, disruption of feel-good chemicals, and erectile dysfunction. Guys, are you listening here? A fatty liver disease, which now is common in children, and we never saw fatty liver disease in children before and now it’s an epidemic in children.
That’s associated with sugar consumption.
Gout and high blood pressure, on and on, stomach problems, infertility, kidney disease, malnutrition, osteoporosis, premature aging, reduced immunity, and frequent infections. One of the earliest studies on sugar found that children who ate a lot of sugar were sicker and missed more days of school.
Going back to what you were saying about premature aging, I remember reading that there’s some process that happens when we take in sugar that causes not only issues with the cells inside our bodies, which of course is very concerning, but also wrinkles.
These are called ages advanced glycations something because the sugar combines with proteins in the bloodstream and these are bad things.
How can we satisfy that sweet flavor that we’re seeking without the refined sugars?
We do need that sweet taste. We are not extremists saying you can’t ever have anything sweet, but first of all, get your fats up. Eat plenty of good animal fats, lots of butter, cooking lard, cooking tallow, whole milk, cheese, bacon, eggs, and lots of fat. That will raise dopamine levels naturally and you won’t need that sugar fix, and then high-fat desserts that are naturally sweet. If you make ice cream with cream and some maple syrup for example, or you put honey in dessert. A couple of times a week, a dessert like that is fine. That gives your body what it needs. It satisfies that sweet taste.
Some people ask me about sweeteners like Stevia or monk fruit. What do you make of those?
When we talk about Stevia, there are two different things. There’s the dried green herb, which is powdered. That’s the Stevia herb. A little of that is probably okay, although it is considered an anti-fertility herb. It might cause fertility problems. The other Stevia is the extract. That’s a white powder. White powders are not good. That has all kinds of negative effects. That’s what’s being used in the artificial sugar-free sodas and things like that.
We have the aspartame and sucralose, which are even stronger drugs. The aspartame breaks down into methanol in your stomach. That causes blindness. Sucralose reduces immunity and causes all sorts of problems. The thing is we don’t need these artificial sweeteners. We can get that sweet taste with natural sweeteners. There’s plenty provided by nature, and in the context of a nutrient-dense whole foods diet, they’re fine.
I consider butter to be a sweet flavor I love.
It’s probably raising your dopamine so you think it’s sweet. This is the number one addiction that people are dealing with sugar addiction. It is an addiction. I was addicted. I was the cookie monster, but you do get over it. Not immediately but persist in your high-fat diet, good Wise Traditions diet, and you’ll see your cravings gradually diminish and then go away.
If you persist in your high-fat diet, you will see your sweet cravings gradually diminish and eventually go away.
Is there anything else from the Sugar Alert brochure that you want to bring to our attention?
Talking about what sugar does to your blood sugar. If you eat something very sugary, your blood sugar spikes up quickly. It goes into the bloodstream. Your pancreas and adrenal glands have to manufacture your insulin or other hormones to bring it down and you get low blood sugar and you get this rollercoaster. You usually end up with diabetes. That’s the main cause of diabetes, although there are others. The interesting thing is if you eat a natural sweetener with fat, it is released into the bloodstream much slower. You don’t have the rollercoaster that causes so much havoc.
This reminds me of the interview I did with Lindsea Willon. She’s from Biodynamic Wellness out on the West Coast. We called the episode Get Off The Sugar Rollercoaster. She talked about exactly that. She said, “Never let sugar enter your body unopposed.” I think she was referring to what you’re saying.
That’s a very good way of putting it because the fats will slow down the release. You won’t get the hot blood sugar spike and then you won’t get the low blood sugar. Low blood sugar is very dangerous. I used to suffer from hypoglycemia. It makes you ravenously hungry and very prone to allergies. Once when I was a child, I even went blind for a couple of hours from low blood sugar. It can be very serious.
We jokingly call the state you’re describing as hangry, but it’s more serious than we may realize.
You are hungry and angry, and you’re not a nice person to be around with.
We need to look for ways in which to combine even let’s say a piece of fruit with some fat to slow down its absorption into the bloodstream.
Thank you so much for this time and your insights on sugar. I want to ask you before we go, if the audience could do one thing to improve their health, maybe sugar-related, what would you recommend that they do?
I would recommend that they eat plenty of animal fats so that they’re not going to be in the thrall of sugar addiction.
Thank you, Sally.
Coming up, I’m going to highlight important facts for you from our Sugar Alert brochure.
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What’s wrong with sugar? Sugar is pure sucrose, a disaccharide composed of glucose and fructose, extracted from sugarcane or sugar beets. It is a refined revitalized product containing no vitamins or minerals. Dr. Weston A Price referred to sugar as a displacing food of modern commerce because it is an empty food that displaces the nutrient-dense foods of native peoples. He noted that people’s health declined in every way when they began eating sugar. Sugar was introduced into the European diet in the 1500s. The use of sugar and other refined sweeteners has greatly increased in modern times. Added sugar mainly in the form of soda has increased by 30% over the last three decades, now accounting for 16% or more of calories in the standard American diet.
In the 1700s, the average consumption of sugar was only 4 pounds per person per year. In the 1800s, consumption was 18 pounds per year. In the 1900s, consumption was 90 pounds per year. Nowadays consumption is around 180 pounds per person per year, or about 1/2 a pound of sugar a day. Most of the increase since 1975 has been in the form of high fructose corn syrup. At the same time, as sugar intake has increased, chronic disease has reached epidemic levels, and the obesity rate has spiraled out of control.
In 1890, the US obesity rate for white males was 3.4%. In 1975, the rate for the entire population was 15%, and today’s obesity rate is 32% climbing. A high-sugar diet is particularly damaging for children as it displaces nutrient-dense foods like meat, butter, eggs, and cheese, which children need for optimum growth. High sugar consumption during childhood sets children up for serious diseases in adulthood such as diabetes, heart disease, cancer, and depression. What about low blood sugar?
When we eat sugar or any refined carbohydrate, a large amount of glucose or sugar is released into the blood. Because our body wants our blood sugar to remain in a very narrow range, the body releases hormones that bring the blood sugar level down. This often results in a condition called hypoglycemia or low blood sugar. A common symptom of low blood sugar is severe hunger, leading to overeating, and then sometimes obesity.
Other symptoms include headaches, panic attacks, dizziness, blurry vision, heart palpitations, numbness in the hands and feet, anxiety, depression, irritability, aggressive behavior, difficulty dealing with stress, fatigue, and allergies. The hormones that regulate blood sugar levels are produced by the adrenal glands. Eating a lot of sugar frequently can cause the adrenal glands to become exhausted, making it very difficult to deal with stress, and leading to chronic fatigue and many other serious health conditions.
Diabetes is a condition where the blood sugar is constantly too high. It is a very dangerous disease, which if untreated, can lead to coma and death. Other side effects of diabetes include problems with the eyes that can lead to blindness, kidney failure, nerve damage, and difficulty healing, sometimes requiring amputation of an arm or leg. There are many causes and types of diabetes, but a fundamental factor is eating too much sugar, which immediately raises blood sugar levels.
The most important factor in the prevention of diabetes is to avoid refined sweeteners found in cookies, candy, pastries, ice cream, boxed cereals, fruit juices, fruit punch, soft drinks, and energy drinks. People with diabetes receive treatment with a hormone called insulin, which must be given by injection every day, sometimes several times per day. Insulin can be lifesaving, but it also has its own side effects including low blood sugar, weight gain, and kidney problems.
What are the diseases caused by sugar? In addition to hypoglycemia, low blood sugar, and diabetes, which we discussed, sugar consumption is associated with many other adverse health effects like addiction, ADHD, hyperactivity, adrenal gland fatigue, allergies, asthma, brain fog, cancer, cardiovascular disease, candida overgrowth, chronic fatigue syndrome, compromised wound healing, dental cavities, depression, disruption of feel-good neurotransmitters, erectile dysfunction, fatty liver disease, gout, high blood pressure, high insulin levels, high triglyceride levels, high uric acid levels, increased stomach acidity, infertility, kidney disease, malnutrition, metabolic syndrome, obesity, Rubinstein syndrome, osteoporosis, pancreatic stress, poor sleep, premature aging, reduced immunity, and frequent infections.
A side note, metabolic syndrome is a group of symptoms, obesity, high triglyceride levels, hypertension, low HDL cholesterol, and high fasting blood sugar, which follows when we become insulin resistant. The main cause is the consumption of added sugars. This syndrome raises the risk of heart disease, diabetes, and stroke.
What about natural sweeteners? In the context of a healthy diet, most people can enjoy occasional desserts made with natural sweeteners. Use them in moderation, in treats made with healthy natural fats such as butter, coconut oil, lard, egg yolks, cream, and nuts. The natural sweeteners we recommend are maple syrup, maple sugar, raw honey, unfiltered, molasses, green stevia, leaves and powder, dehydrated sugarcane juice like rapadura or sucanat, coconut palm or date sugar, sorghum syrup, malt syrups, though these may contain gluten.
Finally, dealing with sugar cravings. Sugar can be very addictive and difficult to give up. Here are some tips that have worked for many people. Eat three square meals per day, always with some animal protein and plenty of healthy natural fats like butter, egg, yolks, cream, and meat fats. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Never skip it and always have animal protein and fat to start the day.
If you feel hungry between meals, eat something fatty and salty like nuts, cheese, or salami. Never grocery shop when you are hungry. Never keep sweets in the house. A healthy soft drink called Kombucha is a great substitute for sugary soft drinks. For occasional treats, eat homemade sweet things made with natural sweeteners and natural healthy fats like butter, cream, coconut oil, egg yolks, and nuts. A homeopathic remedy called argentum nutricum can be helpful for people with strong sugar cravings. That’s the whole brochure.
Our guest was Sally Fallon Morell. Visit her blog, Nourishing Traditions. You can find me at Holistic Hilda. Now, for a review from Star Armstrong. She titled it Doug and Stacy. She said, “I love this interview.” Star, it is our pleasure. Honestly, I feel like guest after guest brings the goods. Many of them are brilliant, knowledgeable, and are such good communicators that it makes it a pleasure to host the show. Thank you for leaving a review. You too can tell us which episode in particular you liked or why people should tune in to the show in general. Thank you so much in advance for doing so. Go to Apple Podcasts, click on ratings and reviews, and leave us a bunch of stars. In the meantime, thank you for tuning in. Stay well and remember to keep your feet on the ground and you’re face to the sun.
About Sally Fallon Morell
- The Weston A Price Foundation
- The Yoga Of Eating
- Sugar Alert! Why Refined Sweeteners Are Bad For You
- Lindsea Willon – Past Episode
- Marithyme Seafood
- Apple Podcasts – Wise Traditions
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