Remembering Kevin Moore

Sweet Miracle: Sugar Will 'Heal Wounds' And High Fructose Corn Syrup Is 'Just Like Sugar'

Did you know that sugar contains miraculous “healing powers”? YEP!

Of all the God-given natural creations that we have been bestowed with on this here planet Earth, there is one that stands out above all others as the greatest and most spectacular of them all. No, it’s not human beings, animals, or even TiVo! Believe it or not, I’m referring to SUGAR.

That’s right, folks, you heard it here first! Everybody’s favorite little white granular substance has been given such high prominence in the world of science and medicine now that it has been discovered to have great “healing powers” according to a press release I received from the Vice President of Public Relations for the Washington, DC-based Sugar Association Melanie Miller this week. She boasts of these amazing “healing” properties as a reason why people should not be shunning sugar so quickly.

“We all know that sugar makes good foods taste better, helps breads rise, creates cookie’s crunchiness or chewiness, and protects the safety of jams and jellies,” Miller writes in the release. “But, did you know the same preserving power sugar brings to jams and jellies can also help heal wounds?”

You read that right–Miller believes that sugar has the power to “heal wounds,” make the lame to walk and the blind see again, enable ordinary people to leap tall buildings in a single bound…okay, maybe not all that, but there is great hyperbole being used for what is described by The Sugar Association as “one of Mother Nature’s most miraculous creations.” Oh brother! Are these people REALLY this desperate to reshape the negative image that sugar has been getting thanks in part to those of us who have realized the health benefits of low-carb living that they’d pull a stunt like this? Obviously!

In the press release, Miller states that the properties that make sugar a great food preservative give it “healing powers” to treat serious wounds and burn victims. According to Miller, sugar “absorbs the wound’s moisture necessary for the growth of infectious bacteria” and it also “supplies the very nourishment damaged tissues require for healing and re-growth.” Several old and obscure scientific journal citations (all over a decade old or more) are provided to attempt to prove this point, including:

From the Microbiology Infectious Diseases Journal, Vol. 7, 1998, p. 524-25: “Sugar is thought to exert an antibacterial effect by lowering water activity; the desloughing and debridement that is achieved with the paste is in part related to an osmotic effect on necrotic tissue and in part to mechanical cleaning.”

From the Annals of the Royal College of Surgeons of England, Vol. 78, 1996, p. 82-85: “Granulated sugar has been used with success in treatment of open mediastanitis after cardiac surgery with the bacterial contamination of the wounds being eliminated in a few days. This study also suggested that sugar treatment leads to faster healing of infected wounds than conventional packing methods.”

From the Southern Medical Journal, November 1981: “Over a 56-month period we treated 605 patients for wounds, burns, and ulcers with granulated sugar and povidone-iodine. Rapid healing ensued… The requirements for skin grafting and antibiotics were greatly reduced, as were hospital costs for wound, burn and ulcer care.”

Okay, all of this is well and good if we are talking about using sugar for topical medicinal purposes. But what is The Sugar Association’s MO for sending out a press release to this effect in 2008–over ten years since the last shred of scientific research provided was even published on this subject? Is it to try to qualm recent concerns that sugar is indeed as unhealthy as it has been so accurately pegged? That is PRECISELY what they are trying to do since people are now realizing the incredibly DAMAGING effects of consuming sugar to their health and weight.

They tried to fool people over the past few years by first calling sugar natural and “healthy” and then conducting silly taste test comparisons to convince people they should keep eating more sugar, but the consumer wasn’t buying it. It has become common knowledge in this day and age of increasing diabetes and obesity rates that sugar is a causative factor in both because of the negative impact it has on both blood sugar and insulin levels. This used to be an issue that only diabetics worried about–but now it’s relevant to ANYONE and EVERYONE!

And yet The Sugar Association’s Miller so flippantly throws out there the notion that sugar has these great “healing powers” that will save the world and describes it as the great cure-all for societal ills.

“Maybe Mary Poppins wasn’t wrong when she said a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down,” she concludes in the release. “Science is showing that it helps wounds heal, as well as preserve the safety of our foods.”

This is so shameless I cannot believe The Sugar Association would dare make such a ridiculous and outrageous claim as this. In fact, one of the up-and-coming sugar alternatives is oligofructose–aka chickory root–and it too has been shown in studies to heal wounds. So there’s no real monopoly by sugar on these supposed miraculous powers they are claiming and it looks as if they are grasping at straws for any reason for people to start buying their product again. Pretty please with LOTS of sugar on top?!

But as egregious as this act of desperation by The Sugar Association was, it pales in comparison to what The Corn Refiner’s Association is trying to pull with their latest marketing campaign about high fructose corn syrup (HFCS). Have you seen this miserable campaign with your very own eyes yet? If not, then check out how they are attempting to silence their critics with these two new video spots:

They say you’re in for a “sweet surprise” about HFCS and encourage you to visit SweetSurprise.com to “get the facts.” Claiming that HFCS has “no artificial ingredients,” is “nutritionally…the same as table sugar,” and has “the same number of calories as table sugar,” the Corn Refiner’s Association thinks they have hit a home run with their ads. But is this supposed to make me feel BETTER about using HFCS? Stating that it is virtually equal to sugar does not make it sound any healthier to any of us who are livin’ la vida low-carb! Check out what my highly-knowledgeable blogging buddy Mark Sisson from his “Daily Apple” blog wrote about HFCS just a couple of months back. This stuff is even WORSE than sugar–if that’s even possible!

About a year ago, I blogged about how the sudden switch to fructose from sucrose in the 1970s brought on some rather devastating effects to the weight and health of modern-day life. Pick up just about any product–even NON-food products like cough syrup and toothpaste–and you’ll likely see “high fructose corn syrup” or some corn derivative included in the ingredients listing somewhere. It’s amazing how accepted this practice has become and most people are completely oblivious to it. There’s even a new book called Sugar Fix that talks about how HFCS has virtually taken over the food manufacturing industry these days and people are literally eating themselves sick!

To take on the current vernacular of the 2008 presidential campaign, you can put lipstick on a pig, but it’s still a pig! No matter how you try to dress up sugar or high fructose corn syrup in slick packaging, it’s still gonna be harmful to your health and weight. Even when the the president of the Corn Refiner’s Association Audrae Erickson tries to convince you otherwise. That’s why HFCS should be avoided for people attempting to live a healthy lifestyle and treated like the rat poison that it is.

Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that sugar is some miracle “healing” substance and that HFCS is “just like sugar.” It’s a desperate ruse by The Sugar Association and The Corn Refiner’s Association to save their own interests. What these two organizations fail to realize is their gig is up and we’re on to them. They will do anything and everything within their power to prop up sugar and HFCS, but at the end of the day even THEY know their best days are behind them and it’s time to start looking for something else to push on the public. Hopefully the next product they’ll choose to promote will be something truly healthy and good for them instead!

  • 1956okie

    I HATE those hfcs commercials. They infuriate me every time they come on, because the people pushing that “rat poison” act so SMUG and like the other person is a complete moron for NOT eating it.

    It’s just proof that there is NO level too low for these people to stoop if it means preserving the bottom line. The only good thing here is that they must be getting hit in the pocketbook pretty hard, or they’d never go to such ridiculous extremes.

    Re the granulated sugar for treating wounds…I can testify that it saved my dog’s leg a few years ago. He had been hit by a car, and most of the hide was ripped off his leg–down to the bone. The vet had used sugar to treat a pit bull terrier that had been seriously injured in a fight (ugh!) and saved his life, so she tried it on my dog’s injury. The sugar sealed the wound so it could be covered with a bandage. The vet says bacteria won’t grow in it and it promotes the flow of “juices” in the tissues that keep the wound healing from the inside.

    I was a skeptic, but it worked like a charm. HOWEVER, there’s still no excuse to EAT the stuff!!! :)

  • Arlene

    hah! So when’s all that sugar I used to consume going to catch up and heal all these freakin’ CAVITIES? Huh? HUH???

    ps. That corn syrup ad made me shoot coffee out of my nose last night. I thought I was catching a rerun of SNL with their fake commercials, then I remembered it was Tuesday.


  • Jimmy, thanks for the great expose` of sugar and HFCS. These people have no shame when it comes to promoting their product. I can’t believe the Sugar Association hasn’t already sued the Corn Refiners Association for claiming that HFCS is ‘just like sugar’.

    Anyhow, it’ll be interesting to see the emails and letters you get in response to exposing their propaganda campaign.

    Ron, aka The Former Donut Junkie

  • Donna

    White sugar is addicting like crack cocaine… It may make you feel good for an instant…. but you’ll end up paying for it dearly …. At one time years ago they used powdered sugar on bed sores of patients to aid in the regrowth of new tissue… Topically it may still serve a purpose… I dont know… but Internally it leads to a life of obesity, diabetes, heart attack, etc…. There are to many healthier alternatives that taste just as good if not better… For some time now , I’ve been using Sweet Perfections, Whey Low, or Agave for all my sweetener needs… Get Healthy, Feel Better, Kick the sugar habit…..

    I have a question unrelated to the sugar story….. What are some of your favorite products? What’s on your grocery list?

    Love the Column… Thanks so much!

    THANKS for your comments, Donna! You can see EVERYTHING I put in my mouth on a daily basis at my menus blog, so check it out! :)


  • SavedOne

    Hey Jimmy…thank you so much for this excellent blog about those commercials! This really makes me wonder about ANY commercial…I don’t think I can believe anyone anymore…they are all out to get my $$$ and they’ll say whatever they want to sell their product, even one as destructive as this. This one is so bad, because it is inferring that the woman who has researched the dangers of HCFS, and questions it’s use is just some uninformed mom who believes everything she reads on the internet. I’ve written the CRA to complain…hope others do as well.

  • Those commercials are great!

    I haven’t seen them yet. I love the “it’s fine in moderation”. All that is really saying is that if you give someone small enough doses of poison, they’ll never suspect that it’s killing them. I’m sure at one point many believed that cigarettes were “fine in moderation”. Wait until the world really finds out the truth.

    Here’s another good one. Good Morning America has an excerpt from GCBC posted on their site at:
    The same group that put out the commercials above, felt compelled to defend themselves against Taubes’ attacks on HFCS here:
    What I love about there response is that they use the FDA’s declaration “Generally Recognized as Safe; High Fructose Corn Syrup – Final Rule”.
    Generally recognized as safe, what a resounding endorsement!

    I don’t know about you, but I really think of sugar as the next tobacco. I think it’s only a matter of time before its evils are revealed and the public will slowly be educated. I think we’re probably in the very early stages of that now.

    I can’t wait. Then I’ll no longer have to defend myself or how I decide to feed my family. Or at least not as much.


  • BlackPhase

    Made From Corn;
    Tastes Like Chicken!

  • BlackPhase

    It makes me appreciate the fact that I don’t own a TV.
    Hey, also Hydrogenated Soybean Oil is “a natural, home-grown fat from U.S. soybean fields!”

    and FOLKS! here’s the REAL goodie! It’s made from oh-so-healthy polyunsaturated fats!!!

  • Hey Jimmy – great post – I will be using some of your excellent references is a future post about how big business is affecting our health. It’s interesting to see you link sugar to tobacco because I have been thinking this for a while and made the connection in this post last month:

    Cigarettes, Sugar and our Innate Short-Termism

    When you consider that tobacco is still on sale so long after we proved it to be dangerous, the future looks bleak…

  • Donna aka Sadekat

    These commercials just make me so mad! HFCS is like sugar? BALONEY! What really chaps my hide is how the person against it is portrayed as an uniformed idiot. I can image the meeting with the ad executives….. Here’s the look we want… HFCS has gotten a bad rap lately.. make it look good. I say the ads only succeed in making the Corn refiners look desperate!

  • I think sugar and corn syrup do heal wounds, that has been done for thousands of years but that has nothing to do with ingesting and eating it and the psychological high and it’s effects on us, as well as all of the psychical defects it causes.

  • Re: Donna’s comment that she uses SweetPerfection, Whey Low, and Agave.

    High fructose corn syrup IS like table sugar, in that both are about half fructose and half glucose, but it is the fructose that is the most harmful. It does not enter the blood quickly like glucose so it has a low glycemic index, but it is converted into trigycerides (fats) by the liver.

    1. SweetPerfection is great stuff with health benefits beyond its good taste.

    2. Whey Low is made of different kinds of real sugar combined in a way that makes some of it indigestible, but it is the fructose that remains unblocked.

    3. Agave is the worst one of all–almost 100% fructose.


  • Wow, is all I can say! Like any of this will convince me to eat sugar and HFCS…..it is still a hard sell for them these days. Excellent post!

  • Apparently ‘Ambatrose’ is a sugar that good if not “amazing” things – does anybody know anything about it?

  • Kathy

    On the bright side, if you have recently switched to low-carb, you don’t have to trow away that bag of unused sugar. You can just move it to your medicine cabinet to use for wound dressing.
    Also, I’ve heard it can be used to cure cataracts, but hopefully I’ll never get the chance to test that.

  • Susan

    Maybe all these advocates for sugar are addicted to it too… that and for money (of course)!

    Being a sugar addict myself, I can tell you, with personal experience, that sugar negatively effects the way you think and feel. Sugar has the power, all right! It’s the power to suck you in, control you, and reek havoc upon your health!

  • Did you ever see the movie “Thank You for Not Smoking?” This campaign seems like they’ve hired the Marlboro PR Guy to do the same thing!

    Everyone knows sugar isn’t good for you, regardless of what “wounds it heals.” Energy drinks are the newest sugar peddlers out there. Its best to try one that is free from megadoses of harmful stimulants, including sugar.

  • Shayne

    One thing that sugar IS good for (and the only thing I use it for) is exfoliating. Makes my legs smooth as silk when I splurge the buck and buy a pound of it.

    Mix with body lotion of your choice and rub all over your body – then shower. But don’t eat it. Blech!

    Oh yes, makes my legs so silky smooth and soft! 😛


  • Jimmy, did you ever consider that you have a candida overgrowth that is contributing to your inability to lose weight?

    It can mimic hypoglycemia and a host of other issues and health problems. This may be something to look into with your doctor.

    Have you ever had your crp levels tested to see if you have inflammation in your system?

    Just a thought!

    THANKS for thinking of this, Sue! No, I haven’t considered that, but it’s worth taking a look at. I do take prebiotics and probiotics which are supposed to ward off candida yeast infections, but you never know. THANK YOU again!


  • Jimmy, great post as usual and way to go for getting this important information out to your peeps!

    Very timely in that I had the tv on in the background this evening and was half listening when this commercial came on. When they were talking about a healthy sugar made from corn (or something to that effect), my attention was fully pulled toward the tv and I just thought I had misheard or something.

    I cannot believe how absolutely ridiculous it is that they are pushing this horrible concoction! It’s not only irresponsible, I have to go out on a limb and say it is evil. HFCS is putting many uninformed people into a state of being unhealthy and sick; to go so far as to promote it specifically is horrifying to me.

  • BTW, my son (17) calls soda pop “diabetes in a bottle”. Smart young man :)

  • Great post!

    My husband and I cut HFCS out of our diets after coming back from living in the UK,. I was wondering if you had any non-anecdotal sources about the problems HFCS causes. I have a few theories regarding HFCS and my own personal health, but would love to have something scientific to go on.

  • Bess G.

    The increase in consumption of HFCS was accompanied also by an increase in consumption of table sugar, and indeed of sugar in general. So that is not really a valid argument.

    Targeting HFCS as a particularly evil culprit really isn’t necessary, although it is quite tempting. The fact of the matter is, like table sugar, it is so refined that it consists of really only two chemicals at that point: glucose and fructose. I have read the clinical studies and there is NO difference between the way that the two are metabolized. Not surprising, since they really, truly, honestly are chemically similar.

    Most of the arguments I’ve read talk about how HFCS is metabolized differently because of the fructose content. Yes, fructose is metabolized differently, but HFCS is 55% fructose which isn’t so different from table sugar which is 50% fructose. So that argument doesn’t work either.

    Basically, a diet high in fructose, whether from table sugar OR from HFCS, can cause liver problems, kidney stones and gout. So avoid both sources!

    But there’s no need to stop there. Is sugar any worse for you than refined carbs? Not really… the glycemic index is almost the same. What matters about ANY carbohydrate source is (1) how much you eat at one time (2) how much you eat altogether and (3) what you eat with it (fiber, fat, protein, water).

  • Isn’t this campaign unbelievable! I do believe our message is getting out and has popped their little happy bubble, they seem to be getting desperate. :)

  • Orvette

    I was blown away the first time I saw this ad! If anyone is concerned about needing to include more HFCS in their diet, they might first check every product they buy to see if they can find even ONE without it! Good luck! Unbelievable.

  • Hey Jimmy – I created an alternative version of the HFCS advertisements that contains the REAL facts…check it out:

    Alternative HFCS Advertisement

  • Dana

    You know what sugar’s good for? Removing leg hair. Seriously. It’s a technique called–what else?–“sugaring,” and it involves making a paste out of the stuff, applying it to your hairy bits, covering it over with a strip of flannel, letting it set and then yanking the flannel off. Kind of like waxing without the high temperature. Ow?

    I’m not surprised sugar’s good for topical healing, though. Honey is too. At minimum the sugar in honey is at such a high level that it kills germs, but honey also contains antibacterial properties; if the honey is raw, those properties remain. (Bees are *real* finicky about germ overgrowth.) And of course one of the reasons sugar is used in high amounts in the canning of high-acid fruit is that it prevents bacterial growth. But there’s a lesson here for those of us who think that consuming lots of it is no big deal: If it kills germs, what’s it doing to you?