Sugar And Birth Defects

The concept that refined sugar in all its forms will make and keep you sick is not new. In 1989, Weston A. Price, D.D.S., compiled some very impressive data in his landmark book, Nutrition and Physical Degeneration.5 Dr. Price traveled throughout the world, examining the lifestyles, nutritional habits, disease incidence, and dental status of numerous isolated tribes and populations of people. Even though the native diets would significantly vary from one culture to the next, Dr. Price consistently found excellent health and excellent dental hygiene among the natives who had not yet been exposed to the scourge of modern foods and modern food processing. Many of these people averaged less than one small cavity per mouth, even though young adults as well as children were examined.

Dr. Price also found that many of the infectious diseases that plague the modern world were skipping over many of these populations. Tuberculosis was especially rampant throughout the world at that time, but many of the cultures that Dr. Price studied were unaffected. Dr. Price then had the opportunity to witness what happened to these isolated people when the modern foods finally found their way to them. Specifically, refined sugar and white flour were the predominant "foods" that were introduced in a wide variety of forms. What Dr. Price then observed was as amazing as it was disturbing.

In the first generation of children born to mothers who were exposed to multiple sugar-laden foods, birth defects immediately appeared. The most readily apparent form of birth defect was deformity of the dental arch and the facial bony structures. Dr. Price noted that such children would have a general narrowing of their features, including their dental arches and the configuration of their noses. This narrowing of the dental arches resulted in crowding of the teeth. The physical configuration of the jawbones now made it impossible for teeth to properly appear and grow without a substantial crowding effect and the impairment of growth of other teeth. This birth defect caused by eating sugar and white flour resulted in the birth of a new field of dentistry: orthodontics. Modern parents now just accept the fact that their children will have to have braces early in their lives. They don't want their children to forever suffer the emotional burden of being afraid to smile and reveal a mouthful of unsightly, misaligned teeth. If only modern mothers really knew what to eat and what to avoid, at least during their pregnancies!

Interestingly, Dr. Price found that many of these "primitive" tribes of people would not allow young girls to be married until they had undergone a period of special feeding. Some tribes even required a full six months of special nutrition before marriage was allowed and childbearing could begin. These tribes knew the vital importance of proper nutrition in general, but especially in the pregnant female. They also knew that the body could not respond immediately, but needed to "build up" over a number of months to be optimally healthy for the duration of the pregnancy.

Dr. Price also found that sugar and white flour resulted in other developmental problems that were not as physically apparent as crowded teeth and narrowed facial features. He found that the immune systems were damaged by the ingestion of these products. The incidence of tuberculosis and other infectious diseases skyrocketed after the introduction of these foods. Dr. Price also noted the emergence of personality disorders among the populations that he studied. Mental function and acuity became compromised, and aggression appeared to develop to compensate for this decline in intelligence. Many of these tribes saw the onset of crime and other sorts of antisocial behaviors for the first time after the introduction of sugar and white flour. More "food for thought." Perhaps that's where that expression came from.

The importance of the proper diet in supporting brain function also gets support from studies done on the effects of breast-feeding on intellectual development. In general, it was found that the longer children had been breast-fed, the higher they scored on a variety of intellectual performance tests. Remember that the longer an infant is breast-fed, the less that infant will be ingesting the most common substitutes for breast milk: sugary fruit juices or formula-based milk sugars. This is a benefit above and beyond the enormous benefit of the support and stimulation given to the infant's immune system from the immune factor-rich colostrum, or "first milk" from the mother's breast. Not surprisingly, breast-feeding also appears to decrease the incidence of the common childhood illnesses. Wilson et al. published that breast-feeding and the late introduction of solids into the infant's diet may have a beneficial effect on both childhood health as well as subsequent adult disease.6

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