What It Is?

By Dean L. Jones

In the 1960’s a commonly expressed greeting slang ardently asked the question ‘What It Is?  In essence, the sender said this to solicit a response to gather the latest happenings, whether a party, job opportunity, or the general health status.

With today’s highly shaky health situations it may render that old time verbal slang worthy of being revived.  Particularly, we should find out what processed sugar is and its negative effects on our health.  For starters, there is a big difference between ‘naturally occurring sugar’ and ‘added processed sugar.’  Naturally occurring sugar is the sugar found in whole, unprocessed foods, such as milk (lactose), fruit, vegetables, and some grains.  One of the most common natural sugars is fructose, which is found in fruit.

What sugar is can be associated with an animal product.  The manufacturing of this sweet stuff from the sugar cane and/or beet plants is commonly filtered through animal bone char.  Normally, it is the pelvic bones from cows that are ground and burned at 400 to 500 degrees (Celsius) in a factory as part of the processing table sugar.  These ground bones help to absorb colorants and impurities, where the average sugar factory uses up to 70 thousand pounds of bone char (7,800 hundred cows) for each filter.

Although, the sugar maker has to pay for those animal bones, usually from a slaughterhouse containing not only bones, but blood and other body parts such as tendons (as in gelatin).  The charred bone processing in white or brown sugar is run through bone char to remove impurities, as well as confectioner’s sugar, which is a combination of processed white sugar and cornstarch.

In the larger picture, the bones are required to come from animals that die of natural causes.  Most cow bones used for processing sugar in the United States are indirectly purchased from Afghanistan, Pakistan, Argentina, and India.  For health concerns, a number of countries like Europe, Australia and New Zealand have banned the use of bone char in their local sugar manufacturing process, which includes the U.S. Food and Drug Administration that also prohibit the use of bones from the United States’ meat industry.

For something that is void of any nutritional value, it surely seems like a lot of trouble having to make it from repeated heating, chemical treatment, filtration and crystallization processes.  Essentially, consuming this common sweet tasting ingredient potentially jeopardizes the body with a toxic chemical substance that has limited safety factors.

Processed sugar is void of natural vitamins, minerals and other nutrients that are present in the original sugar beet or cane plant, resulting in empty calories.  For that reason, whenever asked about processed sugar by the phrase –What It Is?–the response is absolutely nothing.  Consequently, what is certain is to buy, dine, and be SugarAlert!

Mr. Jones is a marketing strategist with the Southland Partnership Corporation (a public benefit organization), sharing his view on mismanagement practices of packaged foods & beverages.