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Smoking, a major health concern, is associated with increased risk for heart disease, cancer, emphysema, and other disorders. The synergistic relationship between diet and smoking is coming under increased study. See Exercise, Heart Disease, Lung Cancer, Pancreatic Cancer, Watercress.


• Diet and Smoking

In his book on cancer and diet, educator Michio Kushi asserts that dairy food and other fatty, mucous-producing, and sticky foods are the primary cause of lung cancer and other smoke-related problems, trapping tar and other tobacco particulates in the lungs and other organs. Overall, smoking produces more contracting effects and in many cases is related to living a more sedentary way of life. Increased physical activity, including walking, exercising, gardening, and outdoors activities, reduce the desire to smoke.

Source: Michio Kushi with Alex Jack, The Cancer-Prevention Diet (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1993).


• High-Fat Diet Enhances Effects of Smoking

In a review of the relation of diet, lifestyle, and lung cancer, researchers found that calories from dietary fat were highly significantly associated with lung cancer mortality. For example, male lung cancer deaths are highest in West European countries  where a high-fat diet is consumed, and lowest in Thailand, Philippines, Honduras, Guatemala, and Japan where a low-fat diet is eaten.

     While noting that smoking is still the major causative factor of lung cancer, the scientists theorized that a high-fat diet might also trigger the process by which cigarette smoke is harmful to the lungs. It is conceivable that “tobacco smoke is readily oxidized to the ultimate carcinogen as a consequence of a high-fat diet.”

Source: Ernst L. Wynder, James R. Hebert, and Geoffrey Kabat, “Association of Dietary Fat and Lung Cancer,” Journal of the National Cancer Institute 79:631-37, 1987.


• Smoking Reduces Antioxidant Status

In a study of diet and smoking habits in 459 healthy French men, researchers reported that smokers ate less fruit and vegetables than nonsmokers, leading to lower vitamin E, vitamin C, and carotene intakes. Smoking, moreover, had an adverse effect on antioxidant status, as vitamin intakes were reduced in smokers and plasma antioxidant levels were modified independent of dietary consumption. Antioxidants occur naturally in grains, vegetables, fruits, and other fresh foods and help protect against heart disease and cancer.

Source: K. Marangon et al., “Diet, Antioxidant Status, and Smoking Habits in French Men,” American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 67(2):231-39, 1998.


• Flavonoid-Rich Diets Benefit Smokers

In a randomized trial on the relation of diet and smoking, researchers at the Department of Environmental Health, University of Cincinnati, gave 90 heavy smokers one of three diets: 1) a diet high in flavonoids, especially cruciferous vegetables,  2) a normal isocaloric diet with an adequate administration of fruits and vegetables, and 3) a diet supplemented with flavonoid-rich green tea and soy products. After one year, a slight improvement in damaged DNA was observed in exfoliated bladder cells in the supplementation group and after one month in white-blood cells. “These data suggest that adherence to a diet rich in cruciferous vegetables and flavonoids might reduce genotoxicity in the human urinary bladder of smokers,” the researchers concluded.

Source: G. Talaska et al., “Randomized Controlled Trial: Effects of Diet on DNA Damage in Heavy Smokers,” Mutagenesis 21(3):179-83, 2006.


• Fruit Protects Against Bladder Cancer in Smokers

In a case control study in Limburg province in Belgium, researchers at the Catholic University in Leuven compared fruit intake among 200 cases and 385 controls and found that total fruit intake was negatively associated with bladder cancer risk among smokers. The scientists theorized that antioxidants found in fruit may protect against the damage caused by free radicals found in cigarette smoke and decrease the effect of smoking on developing bladder tumors.

Source: E. Kellen et al., “Fruit Consumption Reduces the Effect of Smoking on Bladder Cancer Risk. The Belgian Case Control Study on Bladder Cancer,” Inter J Cancer 118(10):2572-8, 2006.


• Vegetables, Fruits, and Tea Reduce Risk of Lung Disease

In a study of 40 male smokers with clinical diagnosis of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and 36 smokers without this disorder, a comparison of dietary habits and food intakes found that the consumption of black tea and vegetables and fruits helped protect smokers from developing COPD.

Source: M. Tseng et al., “Dairy, Calcium, and Vitamin D Intakes and Prostate Cancer Risk in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Epidemiologic Follow-Up Study Cohort,” American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 81(5):1147-54, 2005.


Soil Depletion

By 1976, farmers in the U.S. were losing an estimated six tons of soil for every ton of grain they produced. Almost half of America's cropland is losing soil faster than it can be replaced. A 1982 survey placed the annual loss at 3.1 billion tons, almost as high as during the Dust Bowl years. Worldwide, the loss is estimated at 24 billion tons a year.

Source: Encyclopedia of World Problems and Human Potential, 1998.


Soy Foods

Soy products including miso, tofu, tempeh, and natto are moving into the mainstream diet. Another high quality soy food is yuba, made from the skin that forms on the surface of soymilk.

     In recent years, there has been an explosion of processed soy foods, including soy milks, soy cheeses, soy yogurts, soy ice creams, tofu hot dogs, soy luncheon meats, etc. The quality of these foods is low, the processing is intensive, and they are difficult to digest. Such foods are not recommended by many nutritionists and dietary counselors.

     Further, genetically engineered soybeans have recently been introduced and now account for 38 percent of the American market. Independent lab testing has confirmed that these soybeans are used in many processed soy foods sold in the U.S. They may also be used in soy foods made in Japan from imported American soybeans. Since no labeling is required for genetic foods, it is highly recommended that organic tofu, miso, and other soy foods be purchased, as there is less likelihood that the organic soybeans are genetically altered.

     See Breast Cancer, Cancer, Children’s Lunch Programs, Cholesterol, Immune Function, Isoflavones, Leukemia, Menopause, Peace, Prostate Cancer, Phytoestrogens, Shoyu, Stomach Cancer, Tempeh, Tofu.


• Soybeans Decrease Risk of Breast Cancer

Scientists reported that a diet high in soybeans reduced the incidence of breast cancer in laboratory experiments. The active ingredient in the soybeans was identified as protease inhibitors, also found in certain other beans and seeds.

Source: W. Troll, “Blocking of Tumor Promotion by Protease Inhibitors,” in J. H. Burchenal and H. F. Oettgen (eds.), Cancer: Achievements, Challenges, and Prospects for the 1980s, Vol. 1, New York: Grune and Stratton, pp. 549-55, 1980.


• Soyfoods Center

The Soyfoods Center provides information and research on all aspects of soy foods, including nutritional and health benefits, home food processing, technical development, and marketing. Directed by William and Akiko Shurtleff, the authors of The Book of Miso, The Book of Tofu, and The Book of Tempeh, the center provides extensive bibliographies and source books on the soybean plant, soymilk, soy fiber and dietary fiber, hydrogenation, and industrial use of soybeans.

Source: Soyfoods Center, Box 334, Lafayette CA 94549.


• Soy Lecithin Prevents Cirrhosis

Cirrhosis is the fourth leading cause of death among urban Americans aged 25 to 65. Lecithin, a soybean extract, can delay and possibly prevent cirrhosis of the liver caused by alcohol consumption, according to researchers. In ten-year studies with baboons, scientists in New York found that diets supplemented with about three tablespoons of soy lecithin daily protected the monkeys from scarring and development of cirrhosis. The scientists concluded that this nutritional factor might also be of benefit in humans suffering from alcohol-related liver diseases.  Lecithin is found in whole form in miso, tempeh, and other soy foods.

Source: Charles S. Lieber et al., “Attentuation of Alcohol-Induced Hepatic Fibrosis by Polynsaturated Lecithin,” Heptology 12:1390-98, 1990.


• Soy Nutrient May Protect Against Alzheimer’s Disease

Studies have found that people with Alzheimer’s disease have reduced levels of acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter, in the brain that is stimulated by dietary factors such as choline and lecithin, a substance found naturally in soybeans and other legumes.

Source: R. J. Wurtman, “Alzheimer’s Disease,” Scientific-American 252:62-74, 1985.


• National Cancer Institute Sponsors Workshops on Soy Foods

At a workshop sponsored by the National Cancer Institute on the role of soy products in cancer prevention, medical researchers presented evidence that soybeans and soy products such as tofu, miso, and tempeh can help prevent the onset of induced cancer in laboratory animals. “The consensus of the meeting was that there are sufficient data to justify studying the impact of soybean intake on cancer risk in humans,” the researchers reported.

Source: Mark Messina and Stephen Barnes, “The Role of Soy Products in Reducing Risk of Cancer,” Journal of the National Cancer Institute 83:541–46, 1991.


• Soy Protein Reduces Cholesterol

Scientists at the University of Western Ontario reported that the addition of soy protein in a person’s diet could reduce serum cholesterol levels irrespective of other dietary considerations. In addition to animal studies, the researchers compared human volunteers who drank either cow’s milk or soy milk and reported that “both cholesterol and triglyceride values dropped substantially during the soy period.”

Source: Journal of the American Medical Association 247:3045-46, 1982.   


• Traditional Soy Foods Increase Iron Absorption

Traditional naturally processed soy products produce more iron than soy foods that are processed in modern ways. South African researchers report that the bioavai-lability of unprocessed soy flour that is commonly used in modern foods was poor and could inhibit iron absorption from other foods in the diet. In comparison, miso, tempeh, natto, and other traditionally processed soy products were found to have greater bioavailability.

Source: Bruce J. Macfarlane et al., “Effect of Traditional Oriental Soy Products on Iron Absorption,” American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 51:873-80, 1990.


• Soy Products Protect Against Endometrial Cancer

In a study among the multi-ethnic population of Hawaii, researchers at the Cancer Research Center of Hawaii reported that high consumption of soy products and other legumes reduced the risk of endometrial cancer by 54 percent. Similar reductions in risk were found for increased consumption of other phytoestrogens such as whole grains, vegetables, fruits, and seaweeds. "These data suggest that plant-based diets low in calories from fat, high in fiber, and rich in legumes (especially soybeans), whole grain foods, vegetables, and fruits reduce the risk of endometrial cancer," the researchers concluded. "These dietary associations may explain in part the reduced rates of uterine cancer in Asian countries compared with those in the United States."   

Source: Marc T. Goodman et al., American Journal of Epidemiology 146:(1997), 294-306.


• NCI Official Lists Benefits of Soy

Soy products are high in nutrients that inhibit cancer growth, lower the risk of heart disease, and reduce menopausal symptoms. "They're a high-quality protein, they're low in saturated fat, they're cholesterol free," says Dr. Mark Messina, a nutritionist and former program director at the National Cancer Institute. They are also one of the few good plant sources of linolenic acid, an omega-3 fatty acid associated with lower risk of heart disease and strengthening the immune function.

Source: Amanda Hesser, "Miso Goes Beyond Japanese Cooking," New York Times, Sept. 3, 1997.


• Soy Products Protect Against Endometrial Cancer

In a study among the multi-ethnic population of Hawaii, researchers at the Cancer Research Center of Hawaii reported that high consumption of soy products and other legumes reduced the risk of endometrial cancer by 54 percent. Similar reductions in risk were found for increased consumption of other phytoestrogens such as whole grains, vegetables, fruits, and seaweeds. "These data suggest that plant-based diets low in calories from fat, high in fiber, and rich in legumes (especially soybeans), whole grain foods, vegetables, and fruits reduce the risk of endometrial cancer," the researchers concluded. "These dietary associations may explain in part the reduced rates of uterine cancer in Asian countries compared with those in the United States."   

Source: Marc T. Goodman et al., “Association of Soy and Fiber Consumption with the Risk of Endometrial Cancer,” American Journal of Epidemiology 146: 294-308. 1997.


• NCI Official Lists Benefits of Soy

Soy products are high in nutrients that inhibit cancer growth, lower the risk of heart disease, and reduce menopausal symptoms. "They're a high-quality protein, they're low in saturated fat, they're cholesterol free," says Dr. Mark Messina, a nutritionist and former program director at the National Cancer Institute. They are also one of the few good plant sources of linolenic acid, an omega-3 fatty acid associated with lower risk of heart disease and strengthening the immune function.

Source: Amanda Hesser, "Miso Goes Beyond Japanese Cooking," New York Times, Sept. 3, 1997.


Spock, Dr. Benjamin

Dr. Benjamin Spock, described by the New York Times as "the most influential pediatrician of all time," followed a macrobiotic way of eating during the last decade of his life and in the final edition of his world-famous book, Baby and Child Care, released just weeks after his death at age 94, recommended that children be brought up on a predominantly vegetarian diet.

     "We now know that there are harmful effects of a meaty diet," the book says. "Children can get plenty of protein and iron from vegetables, beans, and other plant foods that avoid the fat and cholesterol that are in animal products."

     "When parents offer healthy foods—vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and beans—at home, and when the whole family, including the parents, makes these foods front and center in the diet, children learn tastes that can help them throughout life."

     Dr. Spock recommended that whole grains constitute about 50 percent of the daily way of eating, vegetables 25 to 30 percent, and the remainder be made of beans and bean products such as tofu or tempeh, as well as fruit, seeds, and nuts.

     Within 2 weeks of starting macrobiotics and discontinuing dairy foods, "my chronic bronchitis went away after years of unsuccessful antibiotic treatments," Dr. Spock observed. See Dairy.

Source: Benjamin Spock and Charles Parker, Dr. Spock’s Baby and Child Care (New York: E. P. Dutton, 1998).


Stomach Cancer

Stomach cancer is the primary cancer in Japan, Korea, and other East Asian countries. Its incidence in the West has sharply declined with the reduced consumption of cured meats high in nitrates. See Broccoli, Cabbage, Chili Peppers, Miso, Onion, Rice, Shoyu, Sugar, Tofu.


• Dietary Risks of Stomach Cancer

In a study of dietary factors, researchers in Seoul reported that people who frequently consumed broiled meats and fishes, salted side dishes, and salty stewed foods were at higher risk for the disorder. Conversely, frequent consumption of mung bean pancake, tofu, cabbage, spinach, and sesame oil decreased the risk. For meat and fish, pan-frying lowered risk, while stewing or broiling increased it. Pickled vegetables increased the risk, whereas fresh vegetables did not. Soybean foods and green vegetables also protected against the disease in a related study.

Source: Y. O. Ahn, “Diet and Stomach Cancer in Korea,” International Journal of Cancer Suppl 10:7-9, 1997.



Whole grains, vegetables, and fruits can help protect against strokes, the third leading cause of death in the U.S. Every year 500,000 Americans suffer a stroke, about 150,000 of whom die. An estimated $20 billion a year is lost in productivity and medical costs. See Rice, Vegetables.


• Plant Foods Protect from Stroke

In the most comprehensive study on diet and risk of stroke, researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health reviewed the diets of 71,768 female nurses, between 38 and 63, over a period of 14 years and found that those who most the most foods in the modern Western diet were 58 percent more likely to have a stroke than those who ate the fewest. Women who ate the most whole grains, vegetables, fruits, and other low-fat foods had the least strokes.

Source: T. T. Fung et al., “Prospective Study of Major Dietary Patterns and Stroke Risk in Women,” Stroke 35:2014-9, 2004.


• Whole Foods Reduce the Risk of Stroke

Consumption of whole grains, vegetables, and fruits reduces the risk of stroke, according to a Harvard School of Public Health study. In a study of 44,000 men, those whose intake of these foods ranked in the top fifth had 38 percent less stroke than those in the bottom fifth. “The beneficial effect appears to be due to the high potassium content of these diets, but other components of fruits and vegetables may also contribute to the reduced risk of stroke,” Dr. Alberto Ascherio, the chief researcher, stated.

Source: “Potassium in Foods May Curb Stroke Risk,” Boston Globe, September 22, 1998.


• Vegetables and Fruits Protect Against Stroke

In a 20-year study of 832 men free of cardiovascular disease, researchers at the Framingham Heart Study reported that men who consumed eight or more servings of vegetables and fruit a day had up to 59 percent less strokes compared to men who neglected these foods. Researchers speculated that the folic acid, potassium, vitamins C and E, beta carotene, and riboflavin were the key nutrients in the foods that stabilized arterial walls and prevented blood clotting. In an earlier study, researchers at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston reported similar results in a study of 87,000 female nurses.

Source: M. W. Gillman et al., “Protective Effect of Fruits and Vegetables on Development of Stroke in Men,” Journal of the American Medical Association 273(14):1113-17, 1995.



Sugar refining began in the Middle Ages and spread from the Middle East to the Mediterranean islands and to the Caribbean and South America, where it was one of the principal economic factors in the rise of modern slavery. Used to sweeten tea and coffee, as well as constituting the main ingredient in sweets and desserts, sugar consumption has steadily increased over the last several centuries. 

     Sugar’s effects on personal health and the environment are now more widely known. In the body, it passes quickly into the bloodstream, creating an acidic condition, leading to mineral depletion, calcium loss, and bone weakening. It also weakens the villi of the small intestine, impairing digestion. Regulated by enzymes in the pancreas, excess sugar creates a blood sugar imbalance that can lead to diabetes or hypoglycemia. Stored in the form of fatty acid, sugar can lead to obesity, high blood pressure, heart disease, certain cancers (especially lung and colon), osteoporosis, and hyperactivity in children.

     See Arthritis, Attention-Deficit Disorder, Cancer, Children’s Health, Dental Problems, Heart Disease, Infertility, Myopia, Pancreatic Cancer, Premenstrual Syndrome, Sexual Vitality.


• Sugar and Sweets Linked to Breast Cancer

In a case-control study of 2569 women with breast cancer and 2588 controls, researchers at the Institute of Pharmacological Research Mario Negri in Milan, Italy, found that compared with women with the lowest intake, women who consumed the highest amount of desserts, including biscuits, brioches, cakes, puffs, and ic cream, and sugars, including sugar, honey, jam, marmalade, and chocolate, had a 20 percent higher incidence of breast cancer. “We found a direct association between breast cancer risk and consumption of sweet foods with high glycemic index and load, which increase insulin and insulin growth factors,” the scientists concluded.

Source: A. Tavani, “Consumption of Sweet Foods and Breast Cancer Risk in Italy,” Ann Oncol 17(2):341-5, 2006.


• Plant Foods Protect Against Breast Cancer

In a review of epidemiological and intervention studies on diet and breast cancer, researchers at the University of Gottingen in Germany reported that risk factors appeared to include the relative distribution of various fatty acids in the diet (as opposed to high fat intake), broiled or deep-fried meats, and alcohol (especially for pubescent girls). Protective foods include brassica vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, and cabbage; lignans from traditionally made sourdough rye bread, linseed/flaxseed, and berries; and indole-3-carbinol rich cabbage species. Prevention of breast cancer, they concluded, relies on “an individually tailored mixed diet, rich in basic foods and traditional manufacturing and cooking methods.”

Source: V. Hanf and U. Gonder, “Nutrition and Primary Prevention of Breast Cancer: Foods, Nutrients, and Breast Cancer Risk,” Eur J Obstet Gynecol Reprod Biol 123(2):139-49, 2005.


• Sugar Increases Risk of Lung Cancer

In a case-control study involving 463 lung cancer patients and 465 controls, Latin American researchers found that consumption of sugar-rich foods increased the risk for lung cancer by up to 55 percent. Foods high in sucrose included rice pudding, marmalade, ice cream, custard, desserts, soft drinks, and coffee with sugar. Risk was highest among patients with small and large cell undifferentiated carcinomas. The study controlled for the potential confounding effects of tobacco smoking, total calories, total fat, vitamin c, and beta-carotene intakes.

Source: E. De Stefani et al., “Dietary Sugar and Lung Cancer: A Case-Control Study in Uruguay,” Nutrition and Cancer 31(2):132-137, 1998.


• Sugar Linked to Aggressive Behavior

Scientists at Yale University have linked sugar consumption by children with abnormal behavior. Research presented at the annual meeting of the Society for Pediatric Research showed that a concentrated dose of sugar elevated blood levels of adrenaline in children up to ten times higher than normal. Adrenaline, associated with the fight-or-flight response in emergencies, can lead to anxiety, irritability, hyperactivity, or aggression. The scientists said sugar might make the children cranky, anxious, and unfocused.

Source: Jane Brody, “New Data on Sugar and Child Behavior,” New York Times, May 10, 1990.


• Sugar Leads to Digestive Disorders

A diet high in refined carbohydrates has been associated with ulcerative colitis, non-occlusive ischemic colitis, diverticular disease, and irritable bowel syndrome. A British researcher suggested that eating sugar, white flour, and other simple sugars reduces fecal bulk, allowing intense muscle spasms to occur.

Source: D. S. Grimes, “Refined Carbohydrate, Smooth-Muscle Spasm and Disease of the Colon,” Lancet 1:395-97, 1976.


• Low-Sugar Diet for Hepatitis

A low-sugar diet may be beneficial to persons suffering from hepatitis. In clinical studies, 21 normal men ate the standard American diet with about 25 to 30 percent sucrose for 18 days and an experimental diet containing less than 10 percent sucrose for 12 days. Levels of transaminase and triglycerides in the blood rose while on the high-sugar diet and returned to normal on the low-sugar diet, suggesting that sugar be reduced or avoided to help protect against hepatitis.

Source: K. P. Porikos and T. B. van Itallie, “Diet-Induced Changes in Serum Transaminase and Triglyceride Levels in Healthy Adult Men,” American Journal of Medicine 75:624, 1983.


• Sugar and Schizophrenia

In 1971, a South African doctor observed, “Regarding mental disease in the people of the Transkei, I can say that in the past 11 years I have not diagnosed a single case of schizophrenia in a tribal African living on an unrefined carbohydrate diet, whereas this disease is the commonest psychosis among the urbanized Africans.” Dr. G. Daynes attributed the development of mental illness to white sugar and refined corn flour.

Source: T. L. Cleave, The Saccharine Disease (Bristol: John Wright & Sons), 1974, p. 25.


• Sugar Enhances PMS

A survey found that women with anxiety symptoms associated with premenstrual syndrome, including nervous tension, mood swings, irritability, anxiety, and insomnia, ate two and a half times as much sugar as women without PMS or with mild cases. Dairy and caffeine intake have also been associated with PMS in other studies.

Sources: G. E. Abraham, “Magnesium Deficiency in Premenstrual Tension,” Magnesium Bulletin 1:68-73, 1982.


• Sugar and Tooth Decay

In a National Health Survey, Americans of both sexes and all ages from one to 74  had an average of 13 decayed, missing, and filled permanent teeth. An estimated 15 percent of adults had lost all their permanent teeth. “Until the 1970s, caries was most prevalent (affecting 95 percent of the population) in developed countries,” researchers noted, “especially in those with diets high in refined carbohydrates. The only exception occurred during and just after World War II, when the prevalence rates of caries dropped precipitously, although temporarily, in children living in Europe.”

Source: National Academy of Sciences, Diet and Health (Washington, D.C.: National Academy Press), 1989, p. 127.


• Sugar and Stomach Cancer

A French study of 92 patients with stomach cancer and 128 controls found that consumption of sugar increased the risk of this disease by up to 68 percent, cakes and pastries 196 percent, and saturated fat 67 percent, while pasta and rice reduced the risk by 50 percent and the fiber from vegetables and fruit lowered it by 53 percent.

Source: J. Cornee et al., "A Case-Control Study of Gastric Cancer and Nutritional Factors in Marseille, France," European Journal of Epidemiology 11(1):55-65, 1995.


• Sugar Increases Hyperactivity

Children's adrenalin levels rise twice as high as adults following consumption of sugar, according to Yale researchers, and may cause hyperactivity and loss of concentration.

     In a test of 25 healthy children between 8 and 16 and 23 young adults, blood sugar levels rose quickly, peaked, and dropped. However, within 3 and 5 hours after taking the drink, equal to two 12-ounce cans of soda pop or about 80 grams of sugar, the children's adrenalin levels rose twice as high as in the adults.

     The children also were anxious and nervous, while the adults did not show these symptoms. The Yale scientists further found altered brain waves in the youngsters but not in the adults.

     A control group of children who did not receive the sugary drink remained free of these symptoms and showed no changes in blood-sugar levels. "This really supports good basic common sense about eating a balanced diet. If a child gets up in the morning and washes down a Twinkie and a Coke, it's not surprising the child might have problems just a few hours before lunch," said Dr. William V. Tamborlane, a professor of pediatrics who led the research at the Yale University School of Medicine.

Source: T. W. Jones et al., “Enhanced Adrenomedullary Response and Increased Susceptibility to Neuroglycopenia: Mechanisms Underlying the Adverse Effects of Sugar Ingestion in Healthy Children,” Journal of Pediatrics 126(2):171-77, 1995.


• Emotional Effects of Sugar

In a study of sugar metabolism, nutrition researcher Paul Pitchford concludes that it can contribute to psychological and mental disorders as well as physical ones. “It weakens the mind, causing: loss of memory and concentration, nervousness, shyness, violence, excessive or no talking, negative thought, paranoia, and emotional upsets such as self-pity, arguments, irritability, and the desire for only sweet things in life. This last consequence is the author’s personal observation that those who fail to accept the appropriate and often-difficult challenges in life usually consume an excess of sweet food, which fuels their laziness. . . .

     “People who stop eating sugar nearly always experience higher spirits, emotional stability, improved memory and speech, restful sleep and dreams, fewer colds and dental problems, more endurance and concentration, and better health in general.”

Source: Paul Pitchford, Healing with Whole Foods: Oriental Traditions and Modern Nutrition (Berkeley, CA: North Atlantic Books, 1993).


• History and Effects of Sugar

In his classic study of sugar and its effects, a journalist documents the impact of white, refined sugar on civilization, especially on personal and public health. “In the Dark Ages, troubled souls were rarely locked up for going off their rocker. Such confinement began in the Age of Enlightenment, after sugar made the transition from apothecary’s prescription to candy maker’s confection. ‘The great confinement of the insane,’ as one historian calls it, began in the late 17th century, after sugar consumption in Britain had zoomed in 200 years from a pinch or two in a barrel of beer here and there to more than 2 million pounds per year. By that time, physicians in London had begun to observe and record terminal physical signs and symptoms of the sugar blues.”

Source: William Dufty, Sugar Blues (Chilton, PA: Chilton Book Co., 1975).


• Diagnosing Excessive Sugar Consumption

In his book on physiognomy, educator Michio Kushi includes methods of diagnosing sugar and refined carbohydrate consumption and its effects on specific organs, systems, and functions of the body.

Source: Michio Kushi, How to See Your Health: The Book of Oriental Diagnosis (Tokyo and New York: Japan Publications, 1980).


• Sugar and Civilization

In Sweetness and Power, Sidney W. Mintz, a professor of anthropology at Johns Hopkins University, outlines the place of sugar in modern history. Between 1700 and 1800, per capita intake of sugar in England rose from 4 pounds to 18 pounds. “Sugar, then, was a cornerstone of British West Indian slavery and the slave trade, and the enslaved Africans who produced the sugar were linked in clear economic relationships to the British laboring people who were learning to eat it.”

     By 1840, sugar intake had risen to 40 pounds, and today it is 125 pounds.   From 1900 to 1970, the world production of sugar increased between 500 and 800 percent, and today nearly 10 percent of all available food calories in the world are consumed in the form of sucrose. Along with fat, Mintz concludes, sugar consumption, has gradually eroded consumption of complex carbohydrates and transformed personal and social health.

Source: Sidney W. Mintz, Sweetness and Power (New York: Viking, 1985).



A well balanced diet provides abundant  energy and a complete source of nutrients, so that the vitamins, minerals, and other supplements are usually unnecessary. However, for those in transition or for certain medicinal conditions, some special nutritional supplements may temporarily be needed.


• Guidelines for Supplements

Educator Michio Kushi offers comprehensive guidelines for the temporary use of supplements, medications, and other products, including powdered algaes, vitamins and minerals, digestive enzymes, and soil-based organisms.

Source: Michio Kushi, Standard Macrobiotic Diet (Becket, MA: One Peaceful World Press, 1996).

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