First, let me remind certain food religionists: salt is salt is salt is salt and sugar is sugar is sugar. There are no good forms of salt and no good forms of sugar. Salt from a mine and salt from the sea both have the same harmful effect; white sugar, natural brown sugar, honey, molasses, corn syrup, maple syrup, whatever sweet have you. All are sugars and all have the similar harmful effects. I know of no harmless salt substitute that really tastes salty. Nutrisweet is basically harmless to most people and can be used as a very satisfactory replacement for sugars. (A few people are unable to tolerate nutrisweet, causing the anti-chemicalists to circulate much anti-nutrisweet propaganda, but you should carefully consider this thought before dismissing nutrisweet–there is almost no food substance that some people are not allergic to or unable to digest. The fact that nutrisweet is made in a chemical vat and the fact that some cannot handle nutrisweet does not make it "of the devil."

And its not all black and white with the other items either. Sea salt does have certain redeeming qualities not found in mined salt and under certain very special conditions, eating small quantities of salt may be acceptable. Similarly, some forms of sugar are not quite as harmful as other forms, though all are harmful.

The primary health problem caused by table salt is not that it contributes to high blood pressure in people with poor kidneys, though it does that. It is not that eating salt ruins the kidneys; salt probably does not do that. The real problem with salt is that sodium chloride is an adrenal stimulant, triggering the release of adrenal hormones, especially natural steroids that resist inflammation. When these hormones are at high levels in the blood, the person often feels very good, has a sense of well-being. Thus salt is a drug! And like many drugs of its type, salt is a habituating drug. However, we are so used to whipping our adrenals with salt that we don't notice it. What we do notice is that we think we like the taste of salted food and consider that food tastes flat without it. But take away a person's salt shaker and they become very uncomfortable. That's because the addict isn't getting their regular dose.

What's wrong with repetitive adrenal whipping is that adrenal fortitude is variable; many people's adrenals eventually fail to respond to the prod of salt and the body begins to suffer from a lack of adrenal hormones. Often those inheriting weak adrenals manifest semi-failure in childhood. The consequence is that ordinary, irritating substances begin causing severe irritation. The person becomes allergic to pollen, dust, foods, animal danders, etc. We see asthma, hay fever, sinusitis, etc. Though one can then discover specific allergens and try to remove them from the environment or diet, often this case can be solved far more easily by complete withdrawal from all salt. This rests the adrenals and they may recover their full function; almost certainly their function will improve. The asthma, allergies and etc., gradually vanish.

Most of us don't need to eat salt as a nutrient. There's enough sodium in one dill pickle to run a human body for a year. There's enough natural sodium in many types of vegetables to supply normal needs without using table salt. Perhaps athletes or other hard working people in the tropics eating deficient food grown on leached-out depleted soils, people that sweat buckets day after day may need a little extra sodium. Perhaps. Not having practiced in the humid tropics myself, I have no definitive answer about this.

Unfortunately, the average American is entirely addicted to salt and thinks food tastes lousy without it. To please the average consumer, almost all prepared foods contain far too much salt for someone suffering from exhausted adrenals. Interestingly, Canadians do not like their foods nearly as salty as Americans, and prepared foods like soups and the like in cans and packages that look just like the ones in American supermarkets (though with French on the back panel) have to be reformulated for our northern neighbors. I've observed that Canadians are generally healthier than Americans in many respects.

We would all be far better off consuming no salt at all. Those with allergies or asthma should completely eliminate it for a month or two and discover if that simple step doesn't pretty much cure them. The trouble is that bakery bread is routinely two percent salt by weight. Cheese is equally salted or even more so. Canned and frozen prepared food products are all heavily salted. Restaurant meals are always highly salted in the kitchen. If you want to avoid salt you almost have to prepare everything yourself, bake your own bread, abstain from cheese (though there are unsalted cheeses but even I don't like the flavor of these), and abstain from restaurants. My family has managed to eliminate all salt from our own kitchen except for that in cheese, and we eat cheese rather moderately.

Sugar is a high-caloric non-food with enormous liabilities. First, from the viewpoint of the universal formula for health, no form of non-artificial sweetener carries enough nutrients with it to justify the number of calories it contains, not even malt extract. White refined sugar contains absolutely no nutrients at all; the "good" or "natural" sweets also carry so little nutrition as to be next to useless. Sweets are so far over on the bad end of the Health = Nutrition / Calories scale that for this reason alone they should be avoided.

However, healthy people can usually afford a small amount of sin; why not make it sweets? In small quantity, sugars are probably the easiest indiscretion to digest and the least damaging to the organ systems. Although, speaking of sin, as Edgar Guest, the peoples' poet, once so wisely quipped, (and my husband agrees) "Candy is dandy, but liquor is quicker." Sugar is a powerful drug! People who abuse sweets set up a cycle of addiction that can be very hard to break. It starts when the body tries to regulate blood sugar. Kicked up to high levels by eating sugar, the pancreas releases insulin. But that is not the end of the chain reaction. Insulin regulates blood sugar levels but also raises brain levels of an amino acid called tryptophan. Tryptophan is the raw material the brain uses to manufacture a neurotransmitter called serotonin. And serotonin plays a huge role in regulating mood. Higher brain levels of serotonin create a feeling of well-being. Eating sugar gives a person a chemical jolt of happiness. Heavy hits of high-glycemic index starch foods are also rapidly converted to sugar. So don't give your kids sweets! Or huge servings of starch to mellow them out. It is wise not to start out life a happiness addict with a severe weight problem.

Now that the chemistry of sugar addiction is understood, there currently is a movement afoot to cast the obese as helpless victims of serotonin imbalances and to "treat" them with the same kinds of serotonin-increasing happy drugs (like Prozac) that are becoming so popular with the psychiatric set. This promises to be a multiple billion dollar business that will capture all the money currently flowing into other dieting systems and bring it right back to the AMA/drug company/FDA nexus. The pitch is that when serotonin levels are upped, the desire to eat drops and so is weight. This approach is popular with the obese because it requires no personal responsibility other than taking a pill that really does make them feel happy. However, the same benefit can be had by strict adherence to a low-fat, low-carbohydrate diet. Eventually, the brain chemistry rebalances itself and serotonin levels stabilize.

Glycemic Index (compared to glucose, which is 100)
Grains   Fruits   Vegetables  
all bran 51 apples 39 baked beans 40
brown rice 66 bananas 62 beets 64
buckwheat 54 cherries 23 black-eyed peas 33
cornflakes 80 grapefruit 26 carrots 92
oatmeal 49 grapes 45 chic peas 36
shred. wheat 67 orange juice 46 parsnips 97
muesli 66 peach 29 potato chips 51
white rice 72 orange 40 baked potato 98
white spagetti 50 pear 34 sweet potato 48
whole wheat spagetti 42 plum 25 yams 51
sweet corn 59 raisins 64 peas 51
Nuts   Baked Goods   Sugars  
peanuts 13 pastry 59 fructose 20
    sponge cake 46 glucose 100
Meats   white bread 69 honey 87
sausage 28 w/w bread 72 maltose 110
fish sticks 38 whole rye bread 42 sucrose 59
Dairy Products          
yogurt 36 whole milk 34 skim milk 32

Remember, the pancreas has another major service to perform for the body: secreting digestive enzymes to aid in the digestion of proteins. When the diet contains either too much protein or too much sugar and/or high-glycemic index starch foods, the overworked pancreas begins to be less and less efficient at maintaining both of these functions.

Sometimes a stressed-out pancreas gets overactive and does too good a job lowering the blood sugar, producing hypoglycemia. Hypoglycemia is generally accompanied by unpleasant symptoms such as fatigue, dizziness, blurred vision, irritability, confusion, headache, etc. This condition is typically alleviated by yet another hit of sugar which builds an addiction not only to sugar, but to food in general. If the hypoglycemic then keeps on eating sugar to relieve the symptoms of sugar ingestion, eventually the pancreas becomes exhausted, producing an insulin deficiency, called diabetes. Medical doctors treat diabetes with insulin supplements either oral or intramuscular plus a careful diet with very low and measured amounts of sugar and starch for the remainder of the persons inevitably shortened and far less pleasant life. However, sometimes diabetes can be controlled with diet alone, though medical doctors have not had nearly as much success with this approach as talented naturopaths. Sometimes, long fasting can regenerate a pancreas. It is far better to avoid creating this disease!

The dietary management of hypoglycemia requires that not only refined but also unrefined sugars and starches with a high glycemic index be removed from the diet. (The glycemic index measures the ease with which the starch is converted into glucose in the body, and estimates the amount of insulin needed to balance it out.) This means no sugar, no honey, no white flour, no whole grains sweetened with honey, no sweet fruits such as watermelons, bananas, raisins, dates or figs. Potatoes are too readily converted into sugar. Jerusalem artichokes are a good substitute.

People with hypoglycemia can often control their symptoms with frequent small meals containing vegetable protein every two hours. When a non-sweet fruit is eaten such as an apple, it should be eaten with some almonds or other nut or seed that slows the absorption of fruit sugar. Hypoglycemics can improve their condition with vitamins and food supplements. See the next chapter.

Allergies to foods and environmental irritants are frequently triggered by low blood sugar. Mental conditions are also triggered by low blood sugar levels, frequently contributing to or causing a cycle of acting out behavior accompanied by destruction of property and interpersonal violence, as well as psychosis and bouts of depression. It is not possible to easily deal with the resulting behavior problems unless the hypoglycemia is controlled. Unfortunately most institutions such as mental hospitals and jails serve large amounts of sugar and starch and usually caffeinated beverages, with a high availability of soda pop, candy, and cigarettes at concessions. If the diet were drastically improved, the drugs given to control behavior in mental hospitals would be much more effective at a lower dose, or unnecessary.

The insulin-cycle overworked pancreas may eventually not be able to secrete enough enzymes to allow for the efficient digestion of foods high in protein. As stated earlier, poor protein digestion leads to a highly toxic condition from putrefied protein in the intestines. This condition is alleviated by eliminating animal proteins from the diet and taking digestive aids such as pancreatin pills with meals to assist in the digestion of vegetable proteins.