refined sugar

In my last blog I wrote about the ill effects of white floor. I was really happy to have received the kind of response that I did. Many of my readers have asked me to elaborate on the 5 whites, while many others wrote to me asking for dietary guidelines and some even requested me to advice on diets for specific medical conditions.
Today I am sharing the ill effects about another culprit ….the refined white sugar!!!
At the outset, it is very important to make the distinction between added sugars and sugars that occur naturally in foods like fruits and vegetables. Here I am talking about the added sugar or refined sugar.
The white sugar is nothing but a chemical substance, which undergoes several chemical processes which is derived from extracts of plants such as sugar cane, beet or corn. The whole chemical process, almost completely removes all fiber forming protein and 90 % of the healthy nutrients. The process further kills all vitamins and finally it undergoes a chemical treatment with calcium sulphate and sulphuric acid bleaching, to give a sugar white shining look.
Naturally then the refined sugar has no proteins, vitamins, minerals, it has no enzymes, no micro elements, it has no fibre, no fat. Before sugar enters the bloodstream from the digestive tract, it is broken down into two simple sugars: glucose and fructose. For people who are inactive, large amounts of fructose from added sugars get turned into fat in the liver. Because of the harmful effects of sugar on the function of insulin, it leads to type II diabetes. Needless to say, It can have harmful effects on metabolism and contribute to all sorts of diseases like Cancer, type 2 diabetes, Overweight/Obesity, Liver diseases. Ayurved has described in detail a wide spectrum of sugars and their individual properties. Vagbhata has summarized the properties common to all varieties of sugar and further elaborated that all types of sugars treat burning sensation, thirst, vomiting, fainting spells and bleeding disorders. So according to Ayurved, a certain amount of sugar intake on daily basis is essential for the human body. Ayurved also at the same time, warns against excess use for it leads to diseases like diabetes, obesity, increase in kapha. But it’s important to note that there is no need for added sugars in the diet.
Ayurved also mentions about the other sweetener than sugar. They have recommended the use of jiggery, honey and roots of some herbs as substitute to the sugar. What is important here is to understand that while sugar is absolutely vital for the human body however the required amounts of sugar can be obtained through fruits and certain roots or vegetables if you are consciously following a balanced diet. While for many people cutting sugar so drastically may not be easy, I suggest that you do that gradually or at least avoid the following foods totally:
 Soft drinks: Sugar-sweetened beverages known culprits
 Fruit juices: This may surprise you, but fruit juices actually contain the same amount of sugar as soft drinks!
 Candies and sweets
 Baked goods: Cookies, cakes, etc. These tend to be very high in sugar and refined carbohydrates.
 Fruits canned in syrup: loaded with added sugars so best to choose fresh fruits instead.
 Low-fat or diet foods: Foods with fat removed from them are high in sugar

 Dried fruits

So conclusively, what I would recommend is that you all begin consciously controlling your extra sugar intake to possibly bring it to zero. But if that sounds like climbing mount Everest without help, then at least bring it to moderation and of course based on the advice of your physician who will recommend the optimum amount of sugar intake and the kind of foods to have to obtain that required sugar you need, based on your physical condition and other parameters.

Dr. Manjiri joshi


white flour the culprit

The other day one of my overseas patients called to tell me that she is putting on weight and wanted me to advice her how she could effectively lose weight and stay fit.

I routinely come across a number of such patients, especially females who are trying to lose a few kilos or in some cases, struggling to control their blood sugar levels.

Every time, I inquire about their diets, they all tell me that they are very careful about oily food, calorie intake, fibre intake and yet their bodies are not responding to achieve the targets of weight loss or reduction in sugar levels…

While taking a detailed diet history of this particular overseas patient, I realised that like any other westerner, her diet also consisted mainly of bread and other bakery products. And I found the culprit… white flour!

So instead of suggesting any medication to begin with, I asked her to completely ban food made of white flour from her diet and also suggested a wholesome diet.

And guess what… She started showing a decline in weight in just one week! This inspired her to follow through on the diet that I had subsequently recommended. By the end of the 6th week, with just simple dietary fine tuning, along with a complete ban on white flour including white bread and bakery items like cake, pastries, pizza, burger, etc. she lost 4 kilos!

White flour is said to have a higher glycemic index compared to wheat flour and tends to mess with the sugar and insulin levels and ultimately becomes a nasty barrier in controlling obesity and diabetes. But on the other hand banning it completely or at least minimising the consumption also has shown fantastic results in controlling obesity and diabetes.

Did you know that the whole wheat flour is rich in dietary fibre content when compared to Maida? The Dietary fibres in whole wheat flour increase the weight of faeces and soften it. Due to which it helps in the easy movement of the faeces in the intestinal tract with fewer strains, preventing the problem of constipation. In addition to this, the fibre also acts as food for the intestinal flora and promotes pro-biotic growth leading to a healthy bowel system. Above all, it helps in controlling the sugar levels as the fibre slows down the release of sugar from the food. Further, the fibre not only acts on sugar but also lowers LDL-Cholesterol levels.

Very few people know how ‘Maida’, the white floor is made. Maidaa is basically a finely milled, refined and bleached wheat flour . It is either naturally bleached due to atmospheric oxygen or using chemical bleaches.

Maida is made from the endosperm (the starchy white part) of the grain. The bran is separated from the germ and endosperm which is then refined. Originally yellowish due to pigments present in wheat, Maida is bleached with any of a number of flour bleaching agents.

Flour bleaching agents are food additives added to flour in order to make it appear whiter and to oxidize the surfaces of the flour grains and help with developing of gluten.
Usual agents are:
 Organic peroxides namely
 Calcium peroxide
 Chlorine
 NO2
 Chlorine dioxide
 Azodicarbanamide or,
 Atmospheric oxygen used during natural aging of flour

Maida has a multifarious range of side effects on the human body. Some of the problems caused by this slow poison are:  Increase in Blood Glucose Level  Inflammatory disease like Arthritis  Increased cravings leading to weight gain  Intestinal Bloating  Intolerances and food allergies  Imbalance in the acidity and alkalinity within the body.
So to conclude, I must say this… In the current life style we can’t completely avoid all these foods which according to numerous health surveys are the root causes of most of the ailments. Maida is one of the major villains that cause most of the diseases. So try to avoid bakery products and also make sure that you go for routine checkups and exercise regularly.

Dr. Manjiri Joshi

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