“Large quantities of milk and sugar eaten together are injurious.” “Sugar clogs the system. It hinders the working of the living machine.” White Sugar as eaten in beets or in sugar cane is a natural food, and wholesome; but when taken in the concentrated form of our mod-ern white sugar of commerce, it is an artificial product, and its free use is a positive injury to the system. It favors fermentation, and is an intestinal irritant. Until about the eighteenth century, this sugar was sold only in drug stores, being used principally in the making of medicine. Now an average of about eighty-five pounds per capita is used in the United States annually.
The free use of refined sugar is said to be the cause of an excessive secretion of hydrochloric acid. Intestinal catarrh, which often leads to appendicitis, is traceable to the free use of white sugar, sometimes spoken of by well-known physicians as “solid alcohol.” During the great sugar shortage of 1918, pellagra is said to have dropped off throughout the South, to such an extent that the free use of sugar was shown to have been a contributing cause of the disease. The adding of much sugar to mushes, with milk, or its too free use in puddings and cakes, makes them unwholesome in proportion to the excess added.
As to the evil effects following the use of a combination of milk and sugar, some very practical tests carried out in an up-to-date physiology laboratory, brought to light the following interesting facts :
I. That sugar is a distinct intestinal irritant; and the stomach, in an effort to protect itself from injury, produces large amounts of mucus. The amount of mucus produced varies with the sugar concentration in the stomach.
2. That this mucus combines readily with the hydrochloric acid of the gastric juice, and thus prevents the normal activity of gastric juice upon substances requiring gastric digestion when they are present in the stomach.
3. That when sugar and milk are taken together, the digestion of the protein of the milk is greatly delayed because of the presence of mucus resulting from stimulation of the glands by cane sugar.
4. That this mucus, combining with the acid, delays the action of the gastric juice on protein. Thus the materials present in the stomach, remaining for an abnormally long time, are likely to undergo fermentation, and cause definite gastric distress.
The sugar originally designed for human consumption was fruit sugar. It is served by nature in a dilute form, and requires practically no digesting, needing only to be absorbed. It does not tax or derange the organs of digestion, but furnishes a form of nutriment that can be utilized by almost every one, even by those whose digestive powers have become weakened. Persons who partake freely of those sweets will not greatly desire the artificial.