Beating the Sugar Blues

By Ron Hunninghake, M.D.

“Beating the Sugar Blues” is a book on hypoglycemia published in 2001. Two MDs, Lincoln and Eaddy, made the case for low blood sugar as cause for depression, anxiety, and a host of additional mental conditions.

In 2015, we can now look back on this book as an early introduction to the dangers of refined sugar—the scope of which still includes, but goes way beyond, the mental consequences of reactive hypoglycemia.

Sugar. It’s a happy food, right!? We have lots of it at parties and celebrations. We crave it when we’re down. We love it. But does it love us? Hardly.

Sugar. Let’s speak some different phrases regarding this word: obesity; diabetes; amputation; hepatitis; liver transplants; addiction; blame; bypass surgery; systemic inflammation; autoimmune crises; chronic fatigue; suicide; cancer; dementia; dialysis; blindness; epidemics; catastrophic budgetary overload; digestive chaos; infection; candidiasis; military breakdown; stress!

“What? These words are way too harsh. We’re just talking about cookies, and cakes, and some soda pop, right? These words don’t have anything to do with donuts…do they?”

Yes they do. And here’s one more “sugar blues” word: crisis!

America…and for that matter, almost all of western civilization is in the midst of a health care crisis. One category of disease is now overtaking the capacity of modern health care to respond: chronic metabolic disease.

In 2012 alone, Americans spent $245 billion dollars for diabetes care alone. $200 billion dollars was spent on dementia—now being referred to as type 3 diabetes. Enter Obamacare. This is the “insurance fix.” This is the much vaunted preventive care that will control the financial hemorrhage. Estimates are that 30 million new insured Americans will now get the care they need. Great!

Problem: there is no current “prevention” for chronic metabolic syndrome. Preventive services, if they existed, would be “the fix” for this. But there is no clear cut preventive strategy for these terrible trends!

Why? Because the real root cause – sugar overuse —is a “personal choice.” Personal choices dare not be legislated. Americans get to “choose their poison” and the poison tastes good, and it is addictive.

“No! This is more than just a simple choice…this is personal responsibility!” Obese people (the presumed perpetrators of this runaway train of health care expenses) are personally responsible for their overuse of calories and their underuse of exercise.

“Eat less and exercise more!” is the salvation mantra currently being sung from the mountain tops of government, conventional medicine, and even the huge food companies who ardently wish to wash their hands of this looming medical and political Armageddon. Two deadly sins are at work here: gluttony and sloth. It has nothing to do with innocent sugar and all the happy foods made from sugar.

But what about the obese newborn babies that Dr. Robert Lustig, a pediatric endocrinologist, passionately describes in his new book, Fat Chance? Are they at fault for being fat? Did they choose to over-eat their fructose corn syrup ladened formula? Was it their personal choice, responsibly made?

Or is there a biochemical explanation that is more fundamental than the “personal freedom of choice?” Could obesity in both kids and adults be due to an underlying biochemical root cause?

Would it surprise the reader to learn that Americans typically now have insulin levels three times higher than their grandparents?! Would it surprise you to learn that 83% of people in America now have type 2 diabetes, and don’t even know they have it?!

“You are blind to diabetes until you become blind from diabetes,” reports Dr. Lustig.

240 million Americans

72 million 30% of the
total population
20% of obese are not sick

168 million 70% of the
total population
40% of non-obese is thin-outside-fat-inside (T.O.F.I.)


80% of Obese have Chronic Illness


The chronically ill obese population (57 million) all carry heart disease, hypertension, cancer, dementia, joint disease requiring replacements, liver disease, depression, etc. Ah-ha! It’s the obese people that are driving health care costs, right? If we could just get those 57 million obese people who are sick to simply diet and exercise their fat away, then the problem would be solved.

Think again…What about the 20% of the obese population who are completely healthy? They are not adding to the medical tsunami washing over America today. They are obese, but not sick.

What about the 40% of the non-obese population who have all the manifestations of this chronic metabolic syndrome? That’s 67 million people who suffer all the complications of this metabolic sickness and who add to the very high costs of managing this pervasive disease syndrome.

40% of 168 million is 67 million! This is 67 million non-obese Americans who are every bit as sick and expensive as the 57 million obese Americans with metabolic syndrome. They are T.O.F.I.—Thin on the Outside, Fat on the Inside. (It’s the fat that surrounds the visceral organs that causes the metabolic disruption and disease. It’s directly related to excess sugar consumption.)

Add the two sick groups: 57 million sick obese people plus 67 million sick T.O.F.I. people. That’s 124 million Americans who are tragically ill…from sugar! This is the new sugar blues. It goes way beyond dealing with the uncomfortable hypoglycemia symptoms that doctors Lincoln and Eaddy reported on in 2001.

So let’s face it, we have a public health crisis way beyond Ebola and measles. The real danger here is that “the illness” is invisible to 67 million sick Americans who are pointing their fingers at 57 million visibly fat Americans and blaming them for “their illness.” What are we to do? Simply feeling depressed and “blue” will not help. Let’s start with a fundamental fact that is the key to the solution here:

A calorie is not a calorie!

Cola companies have no right to say that the sugar calories from their soda pop, their juices, their energy drinks… are the same calories as the calories from whole foods, colorful fruits and veggies, and other unprocessed real foods. The fiber, the phytonutrients, the vitamins, minerals, omega fatty acids, amino acids, antioxidants, and all the other vital components of real foods significantly reduces the inflammatory and obesogenic effects of their natural sugar content. Whole foods are metabolized differently (and better) than simple sugars.

The fructose corn syrup solids in baby formula (that can add up to what’s in a can of pop!) do not equal the natural sugars in mother’s breast milk! This sugar is causing obese babies, not irresponsible choices on the baby’s part. (Wake up, mothers!)

They say it is common sense that a calorie is a calorie. Scientific data says differently. Common sense says the world is flat.

Sugar is not only an empty calorie…it is a toxic calorie.

For every can of soda you consume (150 calories) your risk of becoming diabetic goes up 11 fold!

The average American consumes two and half cans of soda pop a day. So the average American’s risk for diabetes actually goes up 29 fold!

80% of packaged foods available in grocery stores today are spiked with added sugar. If you “read the label” to check for hidden sugar—there are 56 alternative names for sugar, purposefully meant to confuse you and make you think you are eating something healthy, when you are not.

So, what are we, the consumer, to do? Wake up! Sugar is the wolf in sheep’s clothing. It is not your friend. It will make you “blue.” It is a health terrorist in our midst that we have “bought.”

Vote with your pocket book. Read labels. Eat whole foods. Get real about your food choices. Stop pretending that sugar is fun food. Throw out the old “a calorie is a calorie myth.” Stop blaming fat people—you may be one yourself within your abdominal cavity.

Ending the sugar blues begins and ends with you. Government is too much in bed with the food companies. The food companies are too much in bed with the need to make a profit. Sugar is too cheap, too addictive, and too pervasive to simply make it magically go away.

Only you can do that.

Just do it.