I continue to read Deep Nutrition by Catherine Shanahan MD. According to Dr. Shanahan, the most dangerous foods are vegetable oils, sugars, and foods that convert to sugar during digestion. She gave an interesting description of how the two combine to create coronary artery disease. I’ve never seen it laid out quite the same before. It’s a very compelling description of the process if it’s true. It actually explains how the epithelial lining of the arteries becomes injured in the first place, which is something other explanations fail to do.
To sum it up, sugar in the bloodstream damages lipoproteins (HDL, LDL, VLDL). The lipoproteins, in turn, spill their loads into the bloodstream where it should not be. If that load contains mega-trans-fats from damaged vegetable oils (which happens when heat is applied, either during production or cooking), those fats cause oxidative damage to the fats in the membranes of the cells of the epithelial lining of the arteries, resulting in a literal burning of the cells. Gruesome! The body then attempts to repair that damage by sending cholesterol and white blood cells to the injured site. These repairs become the arterial plaques of atherosclerosis.
I’m currently reading Trick And Treat – how ‘healthy eating’ is making us ill by Barry Groves. Barry Groves has taken a close look at many studies. Often, the abstracts on the medical journal articles do not agree with what the data presented in the article would indicate. Also, some recommendations have no basis in research. One of those recommendations is the Five a Day advice for fruits and vegetables. Studies have shown that two a week is sufficient to get maximum benefit. I like vegetables enough that I’ll keep eating them anyway. As for fruits, they contain fructose, the most harmful of sugars. Their value is questionable when the nutrition they contain can just as easily be gotten from vegetables. Fructose is the sugar that causes belly fat. Fructose is also the sugar most detrimental to the immune system, though the other simple sugars aren’t far behind. Another source I’ve seen said that fructose is metabolized in the liver the same way that alcohol is, and we know what alcohol can do to the liver. Table sugar and high fructose corn syrup are about half fructose, which makes them dangerous, too. Barry Groves’ site: http://www.second-opinions.co.uk
It has come to my attention that white sugar from cane is not always vegan. According to PETA, some manufacturers filter their sugar through charred cattle bones. For any Jews reading this, I would think this would render the sugar non-pareve as well. Bone-char is not used in the refining of beet sugar.
The following brands of cane sugar DO NOT use bone-char: Florida Crystals, Jack Frost, Country Cane, 4# Flow-Sweet, Pillsbury, Supreme, Southern Bell, and Rouse’s Markets.
The following brands of cane sugar DO use bone-char: Domino, Savannah Foods, and C&H.
[Edit: This post was recovered from my old Exploring Veganism blog. Veganism ultimately proved to be an inappropriate approach for me.]