Vegan Health ArticlesHow Sugar Can Destroy Your Health and Cause Cancer, Diabetes, Neurological Disease and Vitamin/Mineral Deficiencies
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From Keith Nemec, M.D.

A big problem with a typical American’s diet is sugar. Sugar in all forms — except in its natural state in fruits and vegetables — should be avoided because of the following.

1) It extremely weakens the immune system increasing the chances of developing cancer.

2) It depletes the body of valuable B vitamins.

3) It depletes the body of necessary minerals such as calcium, magnesium, etc.

4) Excesses lead to sugar diabetes, one of the top fatal diseases in the United States.

5) It causes weight gain and stress on the whole system, especially the heart.

Let’s take a closer look at each of these points.

1) Sugar weakens the immune system.

Sugar puts stress on the immune system. Animal studies show that such stress results in a decrease in white blood cells (WBCs), which prevent bacterial, viral, parasitic and fungal infections, and cancer. Our immune system’s most important fighters are WBCs, which prevent us from getting cancer. We all have cancerous cells developing in our bodies, but a healthy immune system — with macrophages (Pac-Man WBCs) and natural killer cells — keeps cancer in check. But in today’s toxic world, we are exposed to many cancer-producing agents from the outside, which weaken our white blood cells from the inside, a bad formula indeed.

In one study, three groups of mice were injected with an aggressive malignant mammary tumor. Prior to injection the dietary induced blood sugar was altered to three different levels; high blood sugar, normal blood sugar and lower blood sugar. After 70 days 66% of the high blood sugar group had died, 33% of the normal blood sugar had died and only 5% of the lowered blood sugar group had died. This demonstrates that the less sugar in our system the more cancer and pathogen protective we become.

Remember this: Greater Toxic Load + Weakened Immune System (WBCs) = Disease (especially cancer).

Your motto in detoxifying is, “Get the bad (toxins/chemicals) out of the system and get the good in,” such as nutrients, vitamins, minerals, enzymes, antioxidants and phytochemicals.

A 12-ounce can of regular pop can reduce the ability of WBCs to eat bacteria by 40 percent for up to six hours. That means that if you drink pop and eat other sugars, your body’s defenses are down. If someone sneezes around you, or you rub your eyes or mouth with your hands, you’re highly susceptible to contract the bacteria or virus. Similarly, cancer starts to grow when WBCs are being suppressed with sugar, other dietary factors, stress, etc.

2) Sugar depletes the body of valuable B vitamins.27 B vitamins are essential for many bodily functions, too many to list here. A vitamin B deficiency can cause many problems, including:
• neurological disease
• fatigue
• pernicious anemia (red blood cells affected)
• blood sugar problems
• congestive heart failure
• allergies
• memory loss
• depression
• skin and tongue problems

Whenever we strip our sugars and flours — the manufacturers call it “refining” — to make them white, we’re taking away what God gave them to be a balanced food. Whole wheat, for instance, has B vitamins together with the starches that break down into sugar, so we do not become deficient eating it. On the other hand, white bread, like white sugar, has been stripped of essential B vitamins, so the body in turn draws them from other places — like nerves — to metabolize the refined sugars that have been eaten.


Grains are energy powerhouses and have an abundance of vitamins, minerals, fiber, phytochemicals, enzymes and bioelectricity. Grains should primarily be eaten sprouted and alive or by making sprouted grain uncooked bread that is dehydrated at a temperature under 110 degrees Fahrenheit. Grains can also be grown into greens like wheat grass and barley grass and then juiced for even higher contents of all of the above, along with a high concentration of oxygen that they bring to your body because of the live chlorophyll.

But how does the average American eat grains? They have been cooked, refined and processed to make refined breads and pasta. They have lost all their enzymes, bioelectricity, oxygen — the three most important elements in any food source, and nearly all their vitamin, mineral, phytochemical and fiber content. The manufacturers of these products then—to satisfy the consumer quest for trying to get enough vitamins and minerals— add back synthetic vitamins and inorganic minerals that at the very best are non-absorbable and at the very worst are toxic. You the unsuspecting consumer read the white or pseudo wheat bread package and it says “fortified” or “enriched” with 100 percent of the recommended daily allowance of all these vitamins and minerals and you think, “great, I am eating healthy bread.” In fact you are eating a sticky gluey clogging anti-nutrient that will cause not only a slow decline of your general health, but that will cause very specific respiratory and digestive and absorptive problems due to the wheat gluten that remains after processing.

Here’s what happens during the refining and processing of a grain:

90% of fiber is lost
75-88% of trace minerals are lost almost all vitamins are lost
100% of enzymes are lost
100% of bioelectrical charge is lost
100% oxygen content is lost

To make our bread and pasta look pretty, chlorine bleaches are added to make the flour nice and white — these toxic chemicals are carcinogenic. What you are left with is a potentially toxic anti-nutrient that gives you nothing but empty calories. What is an anti-nutrient? An anti-nutrient uses up your nutrients instead of giving you nutrients. An example is eating an English muffin versus eating a banana.

1. 200 calorie English muffin needs three micrograms of chromium to be assimilated into the body. It only has one microgram, so the total comes up to 1-3 micrograms chromium = -2 micrograms or it takes away 2 micrograms of chromium form the chromium store in your body.

2. 200 calorie banana has 150 micrograms of chromium. It needs 3 micrograms to be assimilated into the body so 150-3 micrograms chromium = 147 micrograms.

This means the banana actually adds 147 micrograms of chromium to the body instead of taking away as the muffin did.

All these reasons are why refined grains are not healthy, but actually slowly destroying our health. A general rule is the more food you eat in the way God created the food the better your health will be — uncooked and living is best. The best grains to eat are non-gluten, sprouted forms like quinoa, millet and amaranth. These grains rarely cause any allergy or sensitivity and were the staple diet of the Aztec and Inca empires. Quinoa has been called the “Supergrain” because of its being a complete protein having all the essential amino acids needed for human health.

3) Sugar depletes the body of necessary minerals.

When sugar depletes our supply of valuable minerals like calcium and magnesium, this can result in osteoporosis, arthritis and a host of mineral-deficient symptoms like:

leg cramps muscle tightness or spasms low blood sugar diabetes low blood pressure PMS low back pain learning disabilities ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder) depression asthma

In his book, Rare Earth’s Forbidden Cures, Dr. Joel Wallach states that sugar loads increase the normal rates of mineral loss in sweat and urine by 300 percent for 12 hours. So if you regularly eat sugar, no amount of supplementation or diet will allow you to keep up with your mineral losses.

4) Excess of sugar leads to sugar diabetes.

The average American consumes 100-150 pounds of sugar per year. Consequently, diabetes is the No. 7 cause of death in America. Our sweet tooth has cost us dearly. Interestingly, studies of the world’s people who live longest — such as Tibetans and Hunzas — indicate that degenerative diseases, including diabetes, are virtually unknown among these peoples. A probable cause of our high rate of diabetes is the high intake of refined sugar, in the form of white sugar (sucrose), corn syrup (fructose), and all others ending in “-ose.” David Reuben, M.D., states that “there is no doubt that diabetes mellitus — otherwise known as sugar diabetes — is caused by excessive consumption of refined sugar.”

5) Sugar causes weight gain and stresses the whole system.

Sugar’s empty calories quickly flood the bloodstream and are stored as fat, which can be a major contributor to the alarming number of obese adults and children in the United States today. This excess weight causes stress on the whole system, especially the heart, which has to pump harder to circulate the blood to all the “excess” tissue. The excessive weight also is a contributing factor in all major disease.

Bottom line: Cut down on the refined sugars and starches and add some sugar vegetables (yams, bell peppers, carrots) or fruit to your diet instead. You should be aware that the fruit today is hybrid for sweetness, being 30 times as sweet as it was created to be, so do not over eat fruit or it could negatively impact your blood sugar and your immune system.

Excerpt taken from the book Total Health = Wholeness: A Body, Mind and Spirit Manual by Dr. Keith and Laurie Nemec. For more information go to Total Health Institute

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We began this archive as a means of assisting our visitors in answering many of their health and diet questions, and in encouraging them to take a pro-active part in their own health. We believe the articles and information contained herein are true, but are not presenting them as advice. We, personally, have found that a whole food vegan diet has helped our own health, and simply wish to share with others the things we have found. Each of us must make our own decisions, for it's our own body. If you have a health problem, see your own physician.