Sugar, Body Calcium, and Vitamins

The use of generous quantities of sugar in human nutrition is generally accepted as harmful.

By H. F. HALENZ, Professor of Chemistry, Emmanuel Missionary College, Michigan

The use of generous quantities of sugar in human nutrition is generally accepted as harmful. In giving a reason for this fact it is commonly stated that sugar will rob the body of calcium. Some time ago I addressed the following question to the Council on Food and Nutrition of the American Medical Asso­ciation: "I should like to know whether sugar, particularly in liberal doses, is harmful because it (supposedly) removes calcium from the body. Does it do so, and if so, how?" I received the following answer under date of January 23:

"We know of no evidence whatever that sugar in small or larger doses removes calcium from the body, at least in the ordinary sense that the administration of sugar might adversely affect the calcium balance of the diet. It is true that there is some evidence that candy and sugar may adversely affect the teeth, but this subject is still debatable and is subject to fur­ther experimentation. The harmful effects of sugar are supposed to be derived in the follow­ing manner : the sugar remains in the mouth, where it favors the development of bacterial organisms, especially the acidophilus organism, which utilizes sugar to form lactic acid, and the acid in turn attacks the teeth. As already stated, this subject is still under investigation."

It is evident, therefore, that there is at present no scientific foundation for the frequently heard assertion that sugar is harmful because it robs the body of its calcium. There are, however, other bases upon which the free use of sugar may be unconditionally condemned. Recent biochemical investigation has shown that the vitamins thiamine, niacin, and riboflavin are "indispensable constituents of the major enzyme systems concerned with oxidation of carbo­hydrate (dextrose)."

I quote further: "When deficiency exists in the supply of thiamine, the oxidation of sugar is impeded to such a degree that products of its incomplete oxidation can readily be demon­strated in the blood. If the tissues possess am­ple reserves of vitamins, no harm is done by ingesting carbohydrate ; but since sugar makes no contribution to such reserves, the vitamins required must come from other foods. It follows that when the vitamin-poor constituents of a diet sufficiently outweigh the vitamin-providing constituents, a situation is created from which deficiency disease will logically re­sult."—"Some Nutritional Aspects of Sugar, Candy, and Sweetened Carbonated Beverages," Journal of the American Medical Association, Nov. 7, 1942, p. 763ff.

It appears from the above statements that certain B complex vitamins are indispensable, if the body is to make effective use of the carbo­hydrate portion of our food. Now, purified sugar does not supply any vitamin in any ap­preciable quantity. It cannot, therefore, be properly digested unless the vitamins needed in that process are supplied from another source. Other foods must, therefore, be robbed of their vitamins in order to take care of the digestion of sugar. If there are not enough vitamins to go around, a partial breakdown occurs in the complete digestion and oxidation of the starch and sugar content of the diet.

The recent restrictions placed upon sugar consumption can only serve to better the health of our nation.

Ministry reserves the right to approve, disapprove, and delete comments at our discretion and will not be able to respond to inquiries about these comments. Please ensure that your words are respectful, courteous, and relevant.

comments powered by Disqus

By H. F. HALENZ, Professor of Chemistry, Emmanuel Missionary College, Michigan

September 1943

Download PDF
Ministry Cover

More Articles In This Issue

True Worship Promotes Service

True, genuine worship of God is the motivating power of the church.

Doctrinal Preaching Diminishing

Speaking in a general way, the Protes­tant church, after its birth pangs, has been fast forgetting its primal teaching. How can we recover bible-based preaching?

Significance of the Word "Passover"

What is the significance of the word "passover"?

Greater Bible Work—No. XV

Plans and Methods, Experiences and Problems.

If You Can't Sing, Sing Anyway"

The monthly music of the message column.

Editorial Keynotes

The evangelistic methods section of the Ministry provides the evangelistic work­ers of this movement with an effective medium for the interchange of experiences, ob­servations, and personal convictions in the wide field of evangelistic method.

Direct Approach to Africans

Mission Problems and Methods CHALLENGE OF A WORLD TASK

Billboard Advertising Values

In starting an evangelistic campaign in a new city, how can one convince the public that the projected series is not just another revival as disappointing as former ones?

Utilizing Publicity Possibilities

Newspaper publicity is vital in the pro­gram of evangelism today.

A Great Need in Central America

Never before have the doors of the Central American countries been so wide open as today.

Effective Speaking and Preaching

Biblical Exposition and Homiletic Helps.

Sermon That Converted Spurgeon

An outline of that message.

View All Issue Contents

Digital delivery

If you're a print subscriber, we'll complement your print copy of Ministry with an electronic version.

Sign up
Advertisement - Southern Adv Univ 180x150 - Animated


Recent issues

See All
Advertisement - Healthy and Happy Family - Skyscraper 160x600