I am reposting this article originally written by David Wolfe back in February of 2008. This is an important and not well known topic everyone should be aware of. There are actually essential sugars just like there are essential fatty acids, proteins, minerals, etc. that are vital to the proper workings of our bodies. If we don’t ingest it we don’t get it. Our bodies can not make these nutrients hence the term “essential”.
by David Wolfe, JD
Introduction to Sugars
Sugar seems to be related to all things sweet in life. We call our loved ones “sweetheart,” “sugar plum,” “honey,” and “sweety pie.” Life without any sweet flavors would be challenging at best and extremely disappointing at worst. Sugar is the great reward of life and we know that people and animals perform consistently better when rewarded.
Because the term is used so loosely, sugar has become an ambiguous word. When one states the word “sugar” it could mean one of a dozen things such as high fructose corn syrup, refined cane sugar, white sugar, brown sugar, maple sugar, beet sugar, fruit juice, dried fruit, etc.
For purposes of this article, sugar is defined as a natural hydrocarbon compound (such as honey, agave, fruits, dried fruits, etc.) and refined sugar is an unnatural hydrocarbon product (such as high fructose corn syrup, brown sugar, white sugar, etc.) made through human engineering, plant breeding, and heat processing.
To be specific, natural sugar compounds consist of hydrogen and carbon molecules linked together in short, medium, or long chains.
Short chain sugars are what we call glucose, fructose, sucrose, fucose, xylose, and galactose. These are simple sugars that are easy to break down and provide quick energy. They are sweet to the taste. Some of these sugars (namely glucose, fructose, and sucrose) can be problematic if overeaten (eating too many dates or bananas) or when miscombined with other foods. Sometimes, we may have such serious candida or cancer problems that we may not want to consume any glucose, fructose, and sucrose sugars at all for at least 3 months (no glucose, no fructose, no sucrose). Candida yeast cells and cancer cells feed on glucose, fructose, and especially sucrose sugars. These are their favorite food.
Medium and long chain sugars are often called “polysaccharides” or “glyconutrients.” Once the sugar chain becomes medium to long in length, the sugar begins to become bitter in flavor. In simple terms, bitter polysaccharides or glyconutrients are one of the healthiest substances we can ingest especially when still found in their natural state in whole organic raw foods, superfoods, and herbs.
Polysaccharides (glyconutrients) are:
* Produce healthy youthful skin cells,
* Help keep us slim and trim
* Help detoxify our bodies
* Improve and educate our immune system
* Increase our brain power.
Polysaccharide molecules of beta glucans (found in the medicinal mushrooms such as Agaricus blazei, Reishi, Cordyceps, Maitake, etc.) have repeatedly been proven to enhance the body’s production of B-cells, T-cells, and NK cell activity — all of these support a healthy immune response. Certain foods, namely yacon root syrup, have just the perfect length of sugars and provide us with the sweet taste of a short chain sugar, but the health-enhancing properties of medium and long-chain polysaccharides. Polysaccharides in aloe vera rejuvenate epithelial cells (skin cells) better than any other food known. Goji berries, due to their high polysaccharide content are not only great for the immune system, they are also great for long-term energy and endurance because polysaccharides are broken down more slowly than simple sugars like glucose.
How The Best Food Ever Keeps Getting Better
Now let’s complexify things slightly. It was discovered in the 1980s by Arizona mineral scientist David Hudson that polysaccharides contain more than just hydrogen and carbon. Hudson discovered that certain elements (high energy particles from the atmosphere or geosphere that he called “Ormus”) can be contained within polysaccharides. The “Ormus” elements appear to be at the heart of the “intelligent” behavior of many of the well-researched polysaccharides such beta glucans, mannose, and the others listed below. Under the correct soil and growing conditions, the polysaccharide fraction of superfoods like aloe vera, Goji berries, garlic, etc. can be increased and improved. I mention this, because this is an area of research that I am personally involved in and believe will deliver the next breakthroughs in immune system support and longevity as well as more and more of “the best food ever.”
Summary: Is Sugar Good For Us?
So back to the question…Is sugar good for us?
Answer: A qualified YES. As long as we cleanse our body of freeloaders (organisms that like to hang out for a free lunch) by intelligently using herbs (like the EJUVA systems), activated liquid zeolites, MSM (sulfur), superfoods, as well as by maintaining a mineral-rich raw and living foods-based diet, healthy relationships, our common sense (to stay balanced), avoid consuming both unnatural sugars (especially high fructose corn syrup and refined cane or beet sugar) and avoid over-consuming short-chain natural sugars such glucose, fructose, and sucrose we should have few problems with sugar. That means we must avoid the temptations to: have any refined sugar, have too many fresh or dried fruits at one sitting, use too much sweetener at one time with our beverages, desserts, and treats, etc.
If due to a long-standing health challenge (candida, cancer, poor immunity, etc.) we have to move towards a “low sugar” diet, I recommend that you follow the advice given on this subject in Dr. Gabriel Cousens’ book The Rainbow Green Live Food Cuisine and my book The Sunfood Diet Success System.
The Eight Essential Sugars
The question appears to be answered. Sugar is an important part of a balanced diet when used appropriately. Recent research over the last 25 years has actually confirmed that not only are sugars good for us, some are essential (just as some amino acids and fatty acids are essential in our diet). Here are a list of eight essential sugars to human health, their properties, and what foods contain them:
Properties: Anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, anti-viral. Reduces inflammation.
Food and Herb Sources of Mannose: Aloe vera, kelp, shiitake mushroom, fenugreek, carob gum, guar gum, black currants, red currants, gooseberries, green beans, cayenne pepper, cabbage, broccoli, eggplant, tomatoes, turnip, cranberries.
Fucose (simple sugar)
Properties: Anti-viral. Supports long-term memory. Guards against lung diseases. Fights allergies. The abnormal metabolism of this saccharide is associated with cystic fibrosis, diabetes, cancer, and herpes — more fucose helps to alleviate these conditions.
Food and Herb Sources of Fucose: kelp, Wakame seaweed, mushrooms, seeds.
Galactose (simple sugar)
Properties: Improves the speedy healing of injuries. Improves memory. Improves the absorption of good calcium.
Food and Herb Sources of Galactose: Most fruits, vegetables, mushrooms, and raw dairy products. Some the fruits, vegetables and herbs that contain galactose include: apples, apricots, bananas, blackberries, cherries, cranberries, currants, dates, grapes, kiwi, mangos, oranges, nectarines, peaches, pears, pineapples, plums, prunes, raspberries, rhubarb, strawberries, passionfruit, echinacea, boswellia, fenugreek, chestnuts, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, avocado, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, celery, cucumber, potatoes, eggplant, tomatoes, leeks, asparagus, lettuce, green beans, mushrooms (not button mushrooms), beets, onions, parsnips, green peas, pumpkins, spinach.
Glucose (simple sugar)
Properties: Fast energy source. Too much or too little can be problematic. Glucose metabolic disturbances are associated with depression, manic behavior, anorexia, and bulimia.
Food and Herb Sources of Glucose: Nearly all fruits, vegetables, and bee products (bee pollen, honey). Nearly all naturally sweet substances, such as agave, honey, etc.
Properties: Inhibits the spread of tumors. Heart disease causes a low-level of this saccharide.
Food and Herb Sources of N-Acetylgalactosamine: Ocean’s Alive Marine Phytoplankton, Dumontiaceae (red algae).
Properties: Immune system modulator. Anti-viral. Anti-inflammatory. Repairs cartilage. Repairs the mucosal-lining that is damaged by Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, and interstitial cystitis. Enhances learning.
Food and Herb Sources of N-Acetylglucosamine: Shiitake mushroom, glucosamine sulfate
N-Acetylneurominic Acid (polysaccharide)
Properties: Anti-bacterial, anti-viral. Enhances learning and brain development. Abundantly found in breast milk.
Food and Herb Sources of N-Acetylneurominic Acid: Lion’s mane mushroom, Ocean’s Alive Marine Phytoplankton, raw dairy products
Xylose (simple sugar)
Properties: Anti-bacterial, anti-fungal. Helps prevent cancer of the digestive system.
Food and Herb Sources of Xylose: Kelp, berries (blackberries, loganberries, raspberries), aloe vera, okra, birch sap, seeds, some common vegetables. Includes: guava, pears, echinacea, boswellia, psyllium, broccoli, spinach, eggplant, peas, green beans, okra, cabbage, and corn.
There are more sugars than just these eight (just like there are more amino acids than the 8 or 9 essential amino acids). The list of food and herb sources of essential sugars (listed above) is by no means complete. Generally, if you eat superfoods (goji berries, bee pollen, marine phytoplankton, aloe vera, etc.), medicinal mushrooms (reishi, cordyceps, maitake, Lion’s mane, etc.), and seaweeds (especially kelp powder, nori, dulse, and sea lettuce) you will get all the essential sugars into your diet naturally.
Raw Foods, Superfoods, and Herbs That Contain Healing Polysaccharides
Here are my comments on Raw Foods, Superfoods, and Herbs that contain short, medium, and long chain sugars. Please review and determine which of these sugars you would like to include in your diet.
Yacon root syrup — This incredible superfood contains polysaccharides that help to nourish friendly bacteria and help to alleviate blood sugar disorders.
Goji berries — The goji berry contains polysaccharides that give the goji berry many unique medicinal immune system improving qualities.
Agave nectar — A great source of glucose, fructose, and inulin (a medium chain sugar). Darker varieties are less glycemic.
Noni — One of the best polysaccharide containing foods in the world. Noni is the only fruit tree in the world that grow directly out of a lava field with no soil.
Aloe vera — Everyone knows that what aloe does for your skin and digestive system is unmatched by any other food. What is the secret ingredient in aloe? Mannose, an essential sugar!
Bee pollen — Bee pollen is an excellent source of healthy polysaccharides.
Fruits — In general, berries are the best class of fruits as they contain glucose and more medicinal medium and long-chain polysaccharides than most other fruit types.
Medicinal mushrooms — Try different types of medicinal mushrooms. Start with Reishi. Experiment and discover which ones work best in your body. I personally enjoy Reishi, Lion’s Mane, and Maitake (I never would have found this out without trying different ones over the years).
Kelp powder — The best source of minerals and polysaccharides you could add to your diet.
Nori (laver) — Nori is a great seaweed and a source of polysaccharides.
Dulse — This is the favorite seaweed of nearly every raw-food enthusiast. Great flavor.
Sea lettuce — A Sunfood Nutrition (www.sunfood.com ) employee favorite. Great to add to salads or snack on during long trips.
Stevia — a natural sweetener alternative. A South American plant, stevia produces “false” sugars in its leaves that may be processed into a “sugar alternative.” As a general rule, stevia does not irritate diabetic conditions, hypoglycemia conditions, cancer, or candida.
David sells many of these product at www.longevitywarehouse.com