Tagatose and Diabetes
by Dr. James Bowen
November 5, 2003
A sugar called tagatose is one of the next things that will be appearing on the horizon for products labeled under the pseudo hygienic appellations of "light," "lite," "low calorie," "SUGAR FREE," "SUGARLESS," "low fat," "low sodium," "etc." The only true hygienic starting point, in this day and age of universal deceit, if you want good foods that are optimum for you your health, is: Start with fruit, grains, nuts, and vegetables simply and wholesomely prepared FROM SCRATCH at home.
When you look tagatose's opening list of uses, the deceit is already apparent. Tagatose is a sugar naturally found in small amounts in milk. The initial FDA proposal states the use of fungal enzymes in the preparation of this product, in its manufacture from lactose. The recent history of FDA regulation is such, that once an industry gets its nose in the door via the initial go ahead, it runs wild in its future applications of that approval in an entirely unbridled manner. The initial use of stannous fluoride to get "fluoride" into toothpaste is an example. It was subsequently replaced with sodium fluoride in unacceptably high doses, which is just rat poison! It is also a mitochondrial poison which makes fluoride just deadly for diabetics! The only true resolution of this poison's presence in our future is to take it off the market, and out of our water supplies, because it seriously worsens bone and teeth problems instead of helping them any way. The fungal enzymes proposed for the manufacture of tagatose, are in their own right, hazardous to any who may have fungal based allergies/hypersensitivities, which is almost everyone! We are not assured that these enzymes are not from genetically engineered organisms, which they likely are.
A quick scan of the literature reveals that numerous processes for using other, genetically engineered organisms to produce tagatose, are already proposed and patented!
The tagatose molecule is a fructose molecule which has a hydroxyl group, and a hydrogen atom in reversed position on the carbon chain at the fourth carbon atom from the end of the chain. The sought after effect of this reversal is that the active transport of the tagatose through the wall of the small intestine is blocked. However, about twenty percent of the tagatose is absorbed through the wall of the stomach, which is a passive absorption. In times of delayed stomach emptying, such as occurs when stomach emptying is physiologically delayed by the pyloric value at the end of the stomach in response to high blood sugars, the tagatose will be absorbed through the stomach wall in increased amounts, making its low calorie effect for diabetics much less of a reality. Sucrose, regular old table sugar, (commonly from sugar cane, or sugar beets), offers greater benefits to diabetics without the hazards afforded by tagatose, and sucrose is not passively absorbed through the stomach wall because it is a disaccharide.
One of the benefits for which tagatese is to be foisted off on diabetics is that it will lower the "glycemic index" of a given amount of glucose in the diet. This is because that portion of it which is absorbed metabolizes very similarly to fructose. A mix of glucose and fructose causes a lesser elevation of blood glucose levels than the same amount of glucose alone. Yes, (AND, This is a point I have been trying to make, and which I have been trying to get across to the medical profession for thirty years, AND which many diabetics have figured out for themselves for many more years) the two sugars (glucose, and fructose) together in diabetics cause lower blood sugar levels than the same amount of glucose alone!
Yes double the sugar in this manner, and you get far superior results in the diabetic! Yes, SUGAR, (regular old table sugar) is good for diabetics. Sucrose is one molecule of glucose and one molecule of fructose linked together as a disaccharide, which is not directly absorbed through the stomach wall, and thus is subject to pyloric control, which fructose, glucose, and tagatose are not. Sucrose is thus the preferred, and superior sugar for diabetics! The others are not! Sucrose, is of course empty calories, as are all the other refined simple sugars, so both the diabetic, and non diabetic alike should use all of them judiciously, and only as part of a well balanced diet.
In the dietetic treatment of Diabetes, sugars other than glucose or carbohydrates that break down into glucose, which requites insulin to transport it across cell walls, are often called, "alternate sugars" because they can get into the cells even though the insulin is tied up by auto antibodies, or is otherwise unavailable for this essential transport. This lets them serve as fuel for the mitochondria to manufacture ATP. ATP provides energy to the body, and in turn burns body fats as fuel. "Fats burn in the flame of Carbohydrates." This normalization of the metabolism by "alternate sugars" is very helpful to diabetics.
With the need for sugar's ATP met, the blood sugar levels drop because the body is no longer in a metabolic crisis where it breaks down its proteins to form more glucose. This unfortunate situation is called gluconengenesis.
The proposed uses of tagatose are as a beneficial "alternate sugar" for diabetics because of the above mentioned improvement in "glycemic index," and as a reduced calorie sugar because of its lessened digestive absorption, and as a flavor enhancer to be used with other low calorie artificial sweeteners. Only the absorbed portion of tagatose offers any benefit to diabetics, which is less than the benefit of a similar intake of sucrose because tagatose has so many accompanying problems for the diabetic and non diabetic alike. Other, more complex carbohydrates and sugars such as inulin offer greater benefits because they can be ingested in their naturally occurring forms, which are not empty calories, as are all refined sugars and starches. These alternate, and unrefined sugars and carbohydrates do not have the extreme digestive upsets accompanying their use that those amounts of tagatose, which will realistically be ingested to gain the sought after goals do.
The information available clearly points to sucrose as superior in all these roles. Even the lowest effective doses of tagatose metabolically increase the production of uric acid, and thus produce hyperuricemia, (elevated levels of uric acid in the blood stream). Those wishing to sell tagatose to us blandly assure us its use will not aggravate or produce gout. I am waiting with great skepticism to see that become a reality! Moreover, with regards to this and the other mentioned side effects, they are basing their benign forecasts on a projected consumption of 6 grams per person per DAY, while their proposed uses reveal that even minimal dosages for the proposed uses, will lead to dosing the user with 75 plus grams per MEAL, for each proposed USE! Aspartame is a poison which has no legitimate commercial use, and tagatose is proposed to be used to make it and other artificial sweetener combinations more palatable. Six grams per day would have no such effect.
The only realistic answer to the Aspartame problem is to get Aspartame off the market, the public back to the healthy dietary outlook initially proposed, and mentally freed from all of the dietary "Kicks" which the foods chemical industry is proposing to push their unwholesome nostrums. Every proposed use for tagatose is flawed from its very inception, specifically damaging, and hazardous, when already well known scientific bases for relating to diabetes are scrutinized.
Hyperuricemia is an unhealthy and unacceptable result from ingesting tagatose: For everyone. It is an especially hazardous perspective with regards to diabetes because hyperuricemia is damaging to the pancreas as well as implicated in creating many other body organ damages, and Disease states. So why "screw around" with the many "kicks" the Pharmaceuticals and food chemicals industries would get us off unto to entice us to use their unwholesome and dangerous nostrums. When you want sugar, use sugar in appropriate amounts. This is the healthiest way to live. The catch phrases previously mentioned, are only used to get you to take dangerous chemicals, such as tagatose, and Aspartame into your body, while you are misled to believe that you are thereby doing something hygienic, and beneficial, while just the opposite is, in truth, the case.
A clearer understanding of the diabetic condition will lead to the selection of the correct options for treating diabetes. Diabetes is not "too much sugar," nor a condition best appreciated as "high blood sugar levels." The best, safest, and most practical conception of the diabetic condition is: that it 1s a combination of genetic, immune, and mitochondrial damage which leads to a deficiency of carbohydrate metabolism, and a deficiency of the mitochondrial production of ATP (adenosine tri phosphate). This causes the neuro endocrine system to respond by elaborating a hormonal response designed to break down proteins into glucose to satisfy the perceived need for more sugar. Sugar is used less efficiently in the diabetic. Some is even wasted in the urine. So diabetics need relatively more sugar. The sugar metabolism needs to be augmented by the use of a high carbohydrate diet. Specific strategies to augment the sugar metabolism are also necessary.
1. Insulin and/ or other medications such as sulfonylureas must be used to augment the sugar metabolism. The true goal being to produce normal mitochondrial production of ATP from carbohydrate metabolism.
2. The dietary use of carbohydrate sources which provide sugars such as fructose, and inulin which do not require insulin to carry them into the cell is helpful.
3. Sucrose which provides an optimum mixture: 1:1 of glucose and fructose is helpful.
4. Inulin, (not be confused with insulin), is a polysaccharide chain of fructose molecules with sucrose molecules on the ends of the chains, which the body breaks down to provide this optimum mix of glucose and fructose. Inulln is obtained from the roots of artichokes, burdock, butterbur, carline and other thistles, chicory, comfrey, dandelion, echinacea, elecampane, and salsifies. The plants and flowers of artichokes also contain inulin.
5. Some species of cactus pads provide mucilage rich in sugars which the Indians stated "cured Diabetes." These, and other complex carbohydrates, generally called "alternate sugars" are known to be helpful to diabetics because they provide carbohydrate metabolism but do not require insulin, Or: have a low glycemic index. Once this area of dietetic hygiene becomes more widely understood, and appreciated it should offer a greater knowledge of these, their sources, and their beneficial results for diabetics.
6. Avoid anything that starves you of carbohydrates or blocks their absorption, and/or metabolism. That just makes the carbohydrate metabolism poorer, and the
carbohydrate starvation worse, which damages your health and quality of life in many ways.
7. Avoid all low calorie and low carbohydrate sweeteners. Almost all are dangerous or worse, and you in fact need a diet rich in wholesome unrefined carbohydrates.
8. Avoid newer antidiabetic agents. The sulphonylureas have been known for over forty years to help the mitochondrial component of the diabetic deficiency. This is of enormous importance, and makes combined therapy with SUs and Insulin far superior to insulin alone.
9. Eat the same well-balanced high unrefined carbohydrate diet that any person should to have optimum health. Supplement it by using plants high in "alternate sugars."
1O. Use supplements that help the diabetic condition. Chromium picinolate, As FDA approved, is a deadly excito toxin that will worsen your condition. Niacin bound chromium, or chromium nicotinate is very beneficial, and not dangerous. You will have to try the various supplements out on the market until you find the right ones for you.
11. Set very realistic goals for blood sugar control i.e: fasting BS of 120, a 2hr pp of 140. The mild elevations of blood sugar serve as a metabolic buffer, and keep you away from hypoglycemia.
12. Avoid Preservatives: Benzoates and Sorbates are the worst! Sorbitol is NOT an Alternate Sugar of benefit. Sorbitol is so toxic that it breaks down the blood cells if it is put into a tube of blood! If "sorb" is any part of a food ingredient, don't use it. I.e. Polysorbate, sorbital, Sorbate, sorbic etc., etc. Read carefully. You will find these in many foods. Choose another brand without them.
The newer anti diabetic agents do not have the advantages offered by the sulphonylureas. Their only advantage is to the pharmateutical manufacturers who sell them at high prices. Metformin, (Glucophage), is a toxic metabolic blocker of glucose. It will only make you and your condition worse. Some of the newer meds on the market incorporate it, and some also have ASPARTAME added to their capsules as fillers. Rosiglitozone and its analogs will only bring on the autoimmune destruction of your pancreas, and the rest of you as well.
There are three sulphonylureas that I prefer: Tolazamide, glipizide, and glyburide, in that order. The sulphonylureas, by helping to both put glucose into the cell, and help improve mitochondrial function are a blessing you should not miss, even if you need insulin. One practical aspect of this blessing is that keeping the ATP up in this manner allows your blood glucose to dip much lower without hypoglycemia symptoms. Tolazamide is by far the weakest of these in terms of blood sugar lowering, but by far the strong test in terms of mitochondrial facilitation. (It is also far out of patent and very cheap too!) I find, for example, that when I have tolazamide on board, my blood sugars may drop to 40 before I feel symptoms of hypoglycemia. This is because, that even at these low blood sugar levels, it pumps the mitochondria right on along to make the ATP in sufficient quantity to meet the brain's needs! I obviously don't recommend trying to get blood sugars even down to twice that level on purpose! For wider and more in depth details check out