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General Health: Sugar's Hold on Health


Allergic reactions to sugar

One of the most frustrating things for parents is trying to feed their children right.   The problem is made worse when our children have allergic reactions and we don't know what to do. 

Let's address this step by step with a few questions:

Has your child already had an allergic reaction to sugar, nuts, wheat, corn or rice?

These are the most common food allergies.  With the acception of the nuts allergic reactions seem to stem from issues with carbohydrates; sometimes the allergic reaction is to protein.  Allergic reactions to protein tend to happen earlier in childhood.

Has your child had an allergic reaction which resulted in a skin rash or hives?

Did you child have a reaction to sugar or to too much sugar?  This will make a difference as to whether it is sugar causes the reaction or even too much salt, protein or carbohydrates, or if it is how much was consumed.  The difference affects which organs are affected; the pancreas, the liver, the gallbladder or intestines if there is a gluten sensitivity.

We will address these one by one. 

Problems with sugar:

All forms of simple sugars can create problems. These include sucrose (all types of sugar; brown, etc.), glucose, fructose, honey, maple sugar, corn syrup, dextrose, dextrin, rice syrup, barley malt, and fruit juice concentrates.

- Don't keep sugar-laden foods at home
- Snack on health food
- Always read labels for sugar and chemical
- Eat protein in small portions
- Get support from friends to stay away from sugar
- Exercise
- Avoid artificial sweeteners
- Avoid soft drinks


When I was a child, a bakery truck used to come regularly to our house. If my mother was not around, I could buy anything I wanted and charge it. I would buy six donuts, four nut bars, coffee cakes, and hide them from my family and eat them in private.

Although I did not realize it, I was a sugarholic and chocoholic. I craved sweets. In childhood, I was plagued by allergies-signs of unbalanced body chemistry. As a teenager, and through my college years, I continued to crave sweets.

As an adult, I had reoccurring symptoms of boils, canker sores, varicose veins, headaches, constipation, fatigue, colds, flus, and pneumonia. Each time I contracted pneumonia, my recovery took longer. My immune system was being weakened by dietary habits and lifestyle.

It took me until I was 40 years old to understand that I could help myself and did not have to suffer. What I have learned since then points to sugar as my downfall. Sugar destroys the immune system through promoting phagocytic suppression, mineral imbalance, and allergic reaction.

Phagocytes are white blood cells that eat up foreign invaders and debris; they are the Pac-men of the body. The more bacteria eaten by each phagocyte, the stronger the immune system becomes. The phagocytic index indicates the average number of invaders engulfed by a phagocyte.

A 1973 study at Loma Linda University examined the effects of sugar (sucrose), glucose, fructose, honey, orange juice, and starch on the phagocytic index. The starch caused a rise in the phagocytic index-the phagocytes actually ate up more bacteria after starch was ingested. The index was highest about 30 minutes after starch was ingested. The other materials-all sugars-caused the phagocytic index to decrease greatly. The index was lowest two hours after digesting the sugar.

Researchers have also studied the actions of individual phagocytes under a microscope to observe the specific changes that occurred in the presence of sugar. Where the glucose level was normal, the phagocytic cells were very active. Pseudopods (little arms that reach out from the cell) extended in all directions in search of foreign objects. The higher the amount of sugar in the blood, however, the less active the cells became.

Minerals are essential to many bodily functions-different minerals can give rigidity to bones and teeth, perform specific functions in the transmission of the nerve impulses throughout the body, and contribute in the process of digestion. Two very important minerals are calcium and phosphorous. These are necessary for building strong bones and activating enzymes needed for important body functions.

For calcium and phosphorus to work efficiently, they must be in the proper ratio: ten parts of calcium to four parts of phosphorus. A dentist, Dr. Melvin Page, discovered that when patients had this ratio, the symptoms that led to tooth decay and gum loss, as well as many other negative symptoms, disappeared. He also discovered that sugar caused the phosphorus and calcium levels to either increase or decrease. When the calcium level decreased, the phosphorus increased, and when the calcium decreased, the phosphorus increased. Excess calcium and phosphorus were unable to be used optimally because they were not in correct balance. When Dr. Page took his patients off sugar and put them on a diet of whole foods, their dental problems began to disappear.

Researchers have also discovered that sugar increases the rate that we excrete calcium. If, when we eat sugar our blood calcium increases and we also excrete it, we must be pulling the calcium from our bone and tissue. Calcium depletion of the bones makes them fragile and leads to osteoporosis.

A proper mineral balance is also necessary for enzymes to function efficiently, and if sugar disrupts this balance, enzyme functions also suffer. As we will see in the next section, this disruption of enzymes is particularly important in regard to the enzymes that break down foods.

Research shows that many allergies are caused by foods that are not properly digested. Undigested food is often due to unbalanced mineral relationships, which prevent digestive enzymes from functioning properly. Nutrients in partially digested or undigested food cannot be made available to the body, and this lack of nutrients compromises the body?s ability to function optimally.

When these undigested food microparticles enter the bloodstream, they can travel to different parts of the body and create havoc. If the particles go to the head, the result can be a headache, fatigue, or dizziness; in other parts of the body, the microparticles can cause joint pain or swelling, often in the ankles, legs, or hands. We recognize these symptoms as food sensitivities or food allergies.

How does the mineral-enzyme-allergy connection work? When protein is properly digested, it is first broken down into polypeptides and then into amino acids, which are absorbed in the bloodstream. When protein does not break down completely-when the enzymes charged with the job are incapable of performing properly due to a mineral deficiency-protein can be absorbed through the intestinal wall and into the bloodstream, reaching tissue in partially digested form. The body?s immune system correctly interprets this undigested or ?putrefied? protein as foreign matter and goes on the attack, causing an allergic reaction.

When the immune system becomes exhausted through overuse, the symptoms of allergic reactions appear. At this point, there can be an acute reaction, such as hay fever, joint pain, or fatigue. If the body continues to be exposed, it proceeds through the other states of the degenerative disease process, and symptoms become disease.

An acute reaction is sudden and obvious. You know something is wrong. This could be sneezing, drowsiness, or an immediate swelling or breaking out. It is the body?s way of saying, ?Stop, this is not good for me.?

As the body adapts to the foreign substance, the immune system continues to defend the body from undigested protein just as it would from bacteria or viruses. This eventually leads to a weakening of the immune system.

With the weakened immune system, the body?s initial reaction to certain foods changes to a chronic one. Chronic signifies slow progress that continues for a long time. During a chronic reaction, it takes longer for the body to return to homeostasis (equilibrium).

If you continue to eat a food that results in allergies, the more the body is forced to adapt. This leads to an exhaustion of the enzymes necessary for proper digestion, and of the immune system, causing the body to move from a chronic reaction and adaptation to degenerative reaction and a diseased condition.

Degenerative disease indicates a worsening of physical or mental qualities. In the case of such degenerative diseases as cancer, arthritis, and heart disease, the cells and tissues change. The functions of some cells and tissues may be stopped altogether, and the body has a hard time returning to and maintaining homeostasis. Eventually the entire biochemical balance needed for health is destroyed, and the continued imbalance is the cause of disease.

We have now seen how sugar goes about unbalancing the body?s mineral relationships and weakening the immune system. The damage from sugar manifests itself in many degenerative diseases and harmful conditions. These include hypoglycemia, hyperglycemia (diabetes), constipation, intestinal gas, asthma, headaches, psoriasis, cancer, arthritis, premenstrual syndrome, candidiasis, obesity, heart disease, osteoporosis, tooth decay, multiple sclerosis, inflammatory bowel disease, canker sores, gallstones, kidney stones, and cystic fibrosis.

We will all have cravings and addictions. However, ultimately, you are the one who is responsible for what goes into (and what does not go into) your mouth.

You are also responsible for what comes out of your mouth, as well as what you think and how you feel. These responses can balance or upset your body chemistry.

Health or disease. The choice is yours.

Nancy Appleton has a bachelor of science degree in clinical nutrition and a doctorate in health services. She researches, practices privately in Los Angeles, CA, and lectures extensively throughout the world. She is the author of Lick the Sugar Habit (from which this was adapted), Healthy Bones, and Secrets of Natural Healing with Food.

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