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Hypoglycaemia - that's a bit unusual isn't it?

Frequently Asked Questions.

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Article on Sugar from the Sunday Times.

Nic has some weird eating habits, as my friends can attest to. I am vegetarian (and have been for a long time), but am also hypoglycaemic. Hypoglycaemia can be controlled entirely via diet; in fact, taking any kind of medication could make it far harder to control. Some diabetics I know insist that insulin-dependence can be overcome by following the same hypoglycaemic diet.

If you want to know more about hypoglycaemia, try these books:

Low Blood Sugar (Hypoglycaemia) - The 20th Century Epidemic? by Martin L.Budd N.D., D.O., Lie.Ac.

Hypoglycaemia - The Disease Your Doctor Won't Treat by Jeraldine Saunders and Dr.Harvey M.Ross

Pure, White and Deadly by John Yudkin

These books can be found at good book shops. Try the Books On Line (cheaper, but mainly UK books) and Amazon (does US as well as UK books) which are both excellent sites for any books you may want.

If you are interested in vegetarianism, take a spin at the vegetarian society's home page and the Vegetarian Pages. There are also many famous vegetarians so you will be in good company. Here are some of the reasons for being vegetarian (from my perspective):


  1. You don't have to kill animals to eat.
  2. Vegetarians, on average, live longer.
  3. "Animals are my friends, and I don't eat my friends" - George Bernard Shaw.
  4. Virtually all food poisoning has animal products as its source.
  5. Meat not only contains bacteria, but also material such as the uric acid the animal had not yet got rid of when it was killed.
  6. BSE!
  7. Improves your reaction times.
  8. Humans are not naturally meat-eaters: our intestines are far too long, and we have the same tooth structure as gorillas (notorious vegetarians).
  9. We feel better.

For places to eat vegetarian, or if you know of any you would like to share, try the World Guide to Vegetarianism. For more statistics about vegetarianism, try some quotes from here.

Hypoglycaemia, which experiments have shown affects 10-50% of the population, has as its worst culprit sugar (both white and brown). For those of you who believe in moderation in all things, remember that the human body didn't eat refined carbohydrates (of which sugar is the most refined of all) until a few hundred years ago, apart from honey (and that had some major effects documented when it was an unusual part of our diet). Nowadays, it is very rare that any of us passes a day without eating some, unless we fast or take great care. The other culprits are white flour, white pasta, white rice, orange juice made from concentrate and other such substances. Even Oxo cubes have sugar in them!

Take a look in your food cupboards and your fridge/freezer and see what you find. Look out for these:

You'll be surprised, unless you've looked before. It is in cans of beans (not just baked, but plain red kidney beans), some crisps, a lot of pre-packaged bread, most cereals including the 'unsweetened' ones (Bran Flakes and All Bran are 18% sugar), and most importantly, in many diet foods, fat is replaced by sugar.

Now try passing a day without eating any of these things. We never touch any of them. Not easy, is it? To be really sure you are not hypoglycaemic, you need to spend about 3-4 weeks without eating any of them. If you are severely hypoglycaemic, you will probably go through major withdrawal symptoms which can include nausea, vomiting, migraine, headache, muscle ache and dizziness, plus a large risk of catching some other illness during the withdrawal phase.

Once you've been through withdrawal, the urge to eat sugar starts to disappear (most hypoglycaemics experience food cravings, especially for sweet foods). Your taste buds improve, giving food much more flavour. You feel more healthy and will rarely catch any illness. Your energy will be more balanced. You will almost never have a headache, and will rarely catch a cold.

The major benefits come in the following:

Hypoglycaemia means 'low blood sugar'. When you eat refined carbohydrates, many people's pancreas, which produces insulin to regulate blood sugar, cannot cope with the rapid rise, or rapid fall off, of sugar absorbed into the bloodstream by refined carbohydrates. The pancreas is one of the most sensitive parts of the body, and in the small time humans have been eating refined carbohydrates, we have not fully adapted to them. It is used to more subtle changes in blood sugar. Once a hypoglycaemic eats refined carbohydrates, their blood sugar levels rise, they produce too much insulin and the blood sugar falls too low. If they eat more refined carbohydrates to compensate for the low blood sugar levels, they start to hit a major roller-coaster ride, hence the reason for the advice to eat little and often. In fact, hypoglycaemics can survive quite long periods between meals if they eat no refined carbohydrates at all.

Insulin is known as the 'fattening hormone'. Excess insulin mops up fat and stores it in your body. The calorie counting phenomenon has been shown to be a complete myth, but the UK government still insist that all adverts for diet food contain the warning "if used as part of a calorie controlled diet". Hypoglycaemia promotes fat in two ways:

1. The excessive insulin invariably found in hypoglycaemia causes the body to deposit fat in the tissues.

2. Hypoglycaemia increases hunger and sugar cravings.

When calorie-counting was first tested in the 1950's, experiments with volunteers were tested over a three month period. During this time, calorie intake was gradually reduced (allegedly because the subject was getting less exercise as they lost weight, therefore requiring less food). In fact, when experiments are done over longer periods of time, either the calories have to be continually reduced to continue weight loss, until the subject suffers from malnutrition to keep the weight off, or the body adapts and starts to regain weight. With a reduced calorie intake, the body will still return to its original weight unless the consumption of refined carbohydrates is dramatically reduced.

Let's say a person eats 2500 calories per day. What happens is the refined carbohydrates they are eating cause excess insulin, which makes the body store fat (see above - the fattening hormone). They may be storing 50 calories of the food and using 2450 calories. If this is reduced to 2000 calories, the body uses spare fat until it adapts to a lower calorie intake. It soon adapts to using 1950 calories a day, and still stores its 50 calories, and so on.

Take away the excess insulin, and the body stops gaining weight. Take away the fat, though, and the body makes it (try watching the movie "Lorenzo's Oil" with Susan Sarandon and Nick Nolte. They eat "cardboard" for six months while the doctors try to reduce Lorenzo's fat levels, but it has no long term effect. The parents look at medical texts and realise the body is capable of making fat itself. So they fool the body by eating fats similar, but not the same, as the ones causing Lorenzo's problem and the body stops producing the extra fat). So fat-free foods are worse than useless for dieting. They work quickly in the short term if you reduce the calories, but long term, they put you back where you started and your body has adapted to fewer calories. You end up either overweight, or anorexic.

People can actually gain weight by using products such as SlimFast. The number one ingredient is sugar, and it works by reducing total calorie intake. Overweight people have a hard time anyway because the sugar gives them cravings an hour or so after eating the SlimFast. But worse, if they have already been reducing calories, SlimFast can make them gain weight since their body has already adapted. And they will never get long-term weight loss.

What the hypoglycaemic diet cannot do is make you too thin, unless you restrict your calories as well as following the diet. But basically, you can eat fat, you must not count calories, and most importantly, you must eat no refined carbohydrates.

If you want it to be easier to eat without refined carbohydrates, ask your local supermarket, or the food manufacturers themselves. Better still, contact both, explaining your reasons; many of them are contactable on the internet. Many foods without sugar added are available at health food shops, though staples like Hovis Country Grain (but not supermarket imitations), shredded wheat, porridge and fruit/vegetables are all 'safe'.

Try writing to the major supermarkets telling them what food you would like (without refined carbohydrates) so we can eat more healthily. The more comments they get, the more likely they are to change. You can reach them at the following sites:

It is best if you write using your own words so each message looks individual.

See the related article from the Times.

Check out the report from the World Health Organisation called "Diet, Nutrition and the Prevention of Chronic Diseases", available electronically from their site. The World Health Organisation got into trouble from the sugar lobbies, particularly in the United States, for recommending that the intake of refined carbohydrates should be at most 10% (but certainly giving no minimum) while calorie intake from carbohydrates in total should be between 55 and 75%. Note that the sugar lobbies claimed that the World Health Organisation didn't take into account the research they wanted included, but in fact it was taken into account, and the details of the summaries of the experts are included in the full version of the report. Interestingly, all the research into refined and unrefined carbohydrates that the World Health Organisation took into account covered only studies into obesity, so that is the only place in the report they make the link (i.e. refined carbohydrate consumption is a major factor in obesity), but then they link obesity to most of the major noncommunicable diseases such as diabetes and coronary disease. The link to sugar and these diseases therefore isn't explicit in the report, but is implicit. The World Health Organisation actually calls for more research into such issues to assess the impact, but surprise, surprise, the sugar companies aren't falling over themselves to fund such research.

Write to the your MP (or relevant representative in your own country) and ask them to change food labelling so that refined and unrefined carbohydrates are explicitly segregated in the nutritional information, to help the public avoid refined carbohydrates and meet the targets set by the World Health Organisation. It would also help the burden on any health service (which in the UK means government spending).

Note that food companies like to refer to carbohydrates or sugars all in one 'group'. This is misleading. The way our body processes refined carbohydrates versus unrefined carbohydrates (sugar versus bananas, for example) is very different, and the key lies in our pancreas' ability to react and produce the right amount of insulin. Even a glycaemic index is not a suitable measure; it does not consider the full glycaemic profile, nor does it allow for all the other parts of food which help us absorb them. Remember that 'carbohydrate' and 'sugar' on their own are chemists' terms, and should not be used when talking about nutrition.

Data from a 1966-67 survey carried out by the U.S. department of health, education and welfare showed that 66,000 persons from a total of 134,000 were hypoglycaemic (National Health Interview Survey, 1966-67, U.S.Department of Health, Education and Welfare).

Notes from Fred Rohe of San Raphael, California, who has done extensive and important research on refined sugar:

White sugar is a foodless food. By that, I mean that it is devoid of vitamins, minerals, and enzymes, all factors essential for the digestion, assimilation, and utilisation of food. White sugar is 99.96 percent sucrose and should be considered a thief, not a food.

It is touted as an energy food, but such propaganda is misleading, for its 'value' can be measured only in calories and they are nothing more than a number, representing the amount of energy produced when the substance is burned. A wet log has calories. But it won't burn. Sugar won't burn, either; not without vitamins, minerals, and enzymes. The missing elements must be stolen from the real food in your diet or from stored reserves.

Analysis of molasses, the by-product of sugar refining, reveals that it contains six B vitamins and eight minerals no longer connected with the sugar. So it is these elements in particular that your system must somehow provide to metabolise sugar.

There is plenty of scientific documentation supporting my nutritional put-down of white sugar. Read such books as Body, Mind and Sugar by Dr.E.M.Abrahamson, Diet and Disease by Drs.Cheraskin, Ringsdorf and Clark, Nutrition Against Disease by Dr.Roger J.Williams, and many others written by qualified authors and researchers...

If you are eating conventional supermarket food and would like to escape sugar, reading labels will quickly tell you that it is literally everywhere. Often called by different names, sugar, sugar syrup, glucose, corn syrup, dextrose, sucrose, invert sugar, cane syrup, heavy syrup and natural sweetener. The average American eats over a quarter pound (250g) every day - because it appears in bakery products, canned and frozen foods, breakfast cereals, even dried fruit and roasted nuts, not to mention candy and soda pop (four teaspoons or more per bar or bottle). Why must everything taste sweet? Because poor quality foods have poor flavour and nothing will taste like something if it is at least sweet. Sugar is cheap, and so, unaware, we have become a nation of sugar addicts.

Until several years ago, I believed that brown or 'raw' sugar was a nutritional alternative to white or refined. Then I took the trouble to visit several sugar refineries in both Hawaii and California...

What I discovered is that brown sugar is white sugar wearing a mask. There are three kinds of sugar which are not white: light brown, dark brown and kleenraw. Light brown is 88 percent white sugar, dark brown is 87 percent, and kleenraw is 95 percent.

There is another form of kleenraw being marketed as 'raw' called turbinado. This sugar is approximately 99.5 percent white sugar, the remaining 0.5 percent being traces of natural constituents which give it an off-white colour. Turbinado is even more of a hoax than the other so-called 'raw' sugars.

No organic merchant sells white sugar. Nor does it seem to us to be good judgement to ban white sugar because it is refined to the point of foodlessness, containing neither vitamins nor minerals, a definite human health hazard, then turn around and promote products made from 87 percent or more of the very same white sugar.

Since there are two kinds of sugar - cane and beet - there are two methods of producing brown sugars. Can manufacturers take partially refined sugar containing 97 percent sucrose and remove all but 0.04 percent of the remaining 3 percent. This 3 percent is in liquid form and by various blendings and crystallisation are formed the various brown sugars and the by-product, molasses.

Beet manufacturers buy molasses from cane companies and 'paint' their white sugar with the cane molasses, the sugar beet by-products being unpalatable.

Sugar refining is largely a mechanical process done in truly huge machines which boil, spin, filter and separate. Aside from water, the materials which enter the processing are lime, phosphoric acid and diatamaceous earth. I don't consider any of these additive where white sugar is concerned because one thing is certainly true about white sugar; it is 'pure'. No chemical residues could possibly remain at the end of the line, so effective is their purification process and consequently, no nutritive value could possibly remain.

But let's look at that purification process. Over and over again, in our contemporary food industry, we see the same folly repeated. Precious nutrients created for the building and maintenance of health are branded IMPURITIES and removed for us. If it were only a matter of making things clean, we would be obliged to say thank you very much.

The fact is, however, that those 'impurities' are perishable nutrients and their removal makes food handling vastly more profitable. When you remove the nutrition, you also remove certain problems like fermentation, spoilage, and infestation. Food has life, therefore is delicate; processing quantities must be balanced against limited shelf life - they can process everything in sight, it'll keep for years... marvellous for corporate health, but disastrous for your health.

Try some of my favourite recipes.

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