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June 12, 2014 43 mins

Since sugar spread from Polynesia a few thousand years ago, the world has been crazy for it. Insanely high prices, wars and even slavery couldn't undo world's need for a sugar fix. Today that fix is responsible for the obesity epidemic facing the West.

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Episode Transcript

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Speaker 1 (00:01):
Welcome to stuff you should know Grunhouse stuff Works dot com. Hey,
and welcome to the podcast. I'm Josh Clark. There's Chuck Bryant, Audie,
Uh high Sugar, Dunn Dune. That's a I was thinking

about the earlier at the Archie. That was an Archie song.
Oh sugar, honey, honey. Dude. See you called Pete your
girlfriend like a sugar or honey or your wife or whatever,
and it's those are all sweet things. Yeah, that all
makes sense. Did you hit your head? Yeah? I mean
you wouldn't call uh, you call your wife something bitter, right, like? Um,

like Korean melon. I was trying to think of something bitter.
I couldn't think of anything. Come here, my little Korean melon.
I bet someone said that. Who I don't know someone Korean.
Oh and Korea they just call it melons. That's true. Man,
this is the worst start ever. This is the worst ever.

I knew we would achieve it. We've been building towards well.
We top ourselves every episode. Um, Chuck, Yes, have you
ever tasted sugar? I have. I'm trying to bring it
back from the break. Yes I have, I have to.
Sugar is a big popular sweetener these days, it is

uh and it's been around for a while. I don't
know if you know this or not, but apparently they
think sugar is indigenous to the island known as New
Guinea and the South Pacific around Polynesia, and um that
as long as five thousand to eight thousand years ago

the Polynesians were cultivating it and going like this is
the jam sweet and yummy and sweet energy and makes
us fat. Remember that Simpsons were We're I guess Bart
grows up to be like a paid taste tester. Yeah, yeah,
and like he drinks that soda and like turns into
like this horrible, huge, disfigured thing, and he goes sweet

and the guy with the clipboard goes pleasing taste some monsterism,
you remember, I don't remember that. It was great? Was
that the one where they was there all of their
future selves? No, it was like just a momentary daydream
and it goes back to like his normal self and
he's like cool, like he can't wait to grow up

to be a professional taste as you know the table
reading we set out on that should be coming out.
I can't wait this year, right, it was a good one. Yeah,
it should be coming out. It's exciting. I'm excited. We
can't say what it's about. No, I don't know if
we can. We're just covering. We're gonna air on the
side of caution because the last one you want us
for the symptoms to be mad at us after all
these years for real? Yeah, alright, So where are we sugar?

So I guess it. Apparently I island hopped from New
Guinea across Polynesia, made its way up to Indonesia, and
then finally landed in India. And when it was in India,
it really started to spread. Everything spread from India back
then trade routes, and thanks to the Crusades, it was

brought to Western Europe. Well even before that, the Persians
started conquering the land and they encountered sugar and brought
that with them, that's right. And then you got Columbus,
that jerk brought sugarcane itself to the Caribbean and said,
you know, like some some roots samplings, and said let's
try and plant this stuff here. And it turned out

it was a great place to plant sugarcane. It really was,
because sugar cane is a tropical plant. The cane you
can't grow it any just anywhere, but you can grow
it in places like South America, the Caribbean, South Africa,
southern United States, hot places, India, as we already mentioned.

And it just kind of spread like wildfire across the world,
especially once it came to what's known as the New World,
like you said via Columbus. Unfortunately, it also was and
it became an agent of slavery. Yes, uh, it certainly did.
It fueled the slave trade for quite a while. Um.

And then by seventeen fifty there were a hundred and
twenties sugar refineries in Britain. They called it white gold,
and uh, it was up until that point it had
been kind of a luxury. Well a little before that
it be it became a little more widespread. It was
a complete luxury. Like literally it was for royalty pretty much.
It was so rare and hard to come by. Um.

Apparently the first enter, the first Seaborn International Sugar Exchange
was between Ennis and England in thirteen nineteen. I saw
that Venice was the first place where they were like
refining it really well, right, and the Venetians where that
was a merchant city if there ever was one, So
they were selling it and one of the places they sold,

the first place they sold it to overseas was England
and it was in thirteen nineteen, and they sold fifty
tons for what's the equivalent of about eleven million dollars today,
And that's tons with an N N E. I'm sure
so yes, and right now you could get that for
about twenty thousand dollars. It was eleven million dollars back then,

so it was very, very expensive. But then two things
happened that opened the sugar industry and made it available
to the general public. Uh. The Reformation, which actually, strangely
led to a decrease in honey because monasteries were the
major producers of honey. Monks kept bees, and the Reformation

led to enclosure of a lot of monasteries. And um. Secondly,
sugar just became more available. Like those two things happened
at the same time, and all of a sudden it
was something that the average person could get their hands on,
that's right. And it actually led to a huge increase
in tea consumption. Oh yeah, because before then people drank tea,

but once they started putting sugar in their tea, they
were like, we love tea, and that's when it became
like the the national drink of Great Britain. Man, I
love a good English tea with a little cream and
a little sugar in it. Just delicious, your t guy,
I like the Herby kind more, no, I like it
all man. I love green tea, I love English breakfast tea.

You love black tea. I'll even do a little. I'll
try it up every now and then I'm I'm into
all of it. That's a wild sidewalk, uh. And from
about eighteen fifteen there was a lot of warring going
on in Europe and there were naval blockades by Britain
that basically Europe needed that sugar fix and they were like,

but you can't cut us off. Love sugar now. And
so in seventy seven they realized that the sugar beat,
which is the other way you can get sugar, was
a great way to do it. And that's how they
get their sugar today still. And the beat is um
looks like a beat that's not purple. It's a root, right,
and it grows up out of the ground, looks like
a little uh, just sort of whitish light brown look, yeah,

sort of like a turnip, but it's sweet. It is
about seventeen of the sugar beet is uh can eventually
become sugar as opposed to only about ten in the cane,
which I thought was unusual. Yeah, so you have these
two plants that can be processed separately, independently and both
will produce is sugar indistinguishable to the average person. And

the reason why I chuck, The reason why that why
it would be indistinguishable is because all plants have sugar.
That's right. It's a carbohydrate, a simple carbohydrate, and um.
Sugar is a part of photosynthesis. But you can't go
out and get, you know, a blade of switch grass
and get enough sugar out of it to make sugar,

even though the sugar in it, it's only abundant enough
in the beet in the cane to really produce sugar.
Sugar exactly. But sugars is kind of this um. It's
it's a molecule that powers the earth. Yeah, really like humans,
plants everything gets is powered by sugar. It's pretty neat.

It is pretty neat. Uh. It is also as a
you can be used it as a preservative. UM. It
prevents bacteria from growing in jam um sometimes you can
change the texture. They use it as like a food
editive to make something look and feel different, not only
just taste different. They're like, this doesn't put fuzzy little
jackets on people's teeth when they add some sugar. And

our favorite use of sugar is to make us accelerates fermentation.
And my favorite uses of sugar are to make booze
and to make Reese's pieces. Okay, let's not leave that out. Yeah,
it's a it's an important part of the production of
alcohol and Reese's Pieces and Reese's pieces, and it does

make the world go round. Um, And the world actually
produces quite a bit of sugar. So in this article
from a few years ago, it says that, um, the
world made about seventy eight million tons it's seventy one
metric tons of sugarcane annually. Is that accurate still? You know, well,

that's just sugarcane. But I know that sugarcane accounts for
eighty percent of sugar production about and then sugar beets
account for about um. But in I think two thousand thirteen,
the world produced a hundred and sixty five million metric
tons of sugar. Yeah, so I guess you'd have to

be a mathematician to figure out that formula, but plus
you probably have to have more info than weds this cave.
The cane sugar cane looks sort of like bamboo. The
stock does. It's a tropical grass. To the top of
it looks grassy, and it takes about a year to grow.
It takes about eighteen months from planting. But once it's planted,

you know, you cut it back to the root and
it will take another twelve months for that to grow
back up to be harvested again. So eight months is
if you plan a brand new like from from seed,
I guess grows and breaks. They call him cane brakes,
which I always think is like when the neader, like
Earth science terms cane brakes. Cane brake. Yeah, Uh, it

is grown and not always um refined near where it's grown,
but it is harvested and uh and processed initially close
to where it's grown so it doesn't rot, sort of
like like when we did coffee. Yeah, you know, you
want to do most of that stuff near where it's grown,
and there are some stuffs you have to take to

harvest sugar at least even get it to the to
the raw state. But yeah, not every processing place refines
it all the way to what we would call Yeah,
sometimes I sent to a refinery, So I guess we
can cover that in broad strokes here. But it, I mean,
it's pretty complicated. And yeah, I mean, if you're looking

for the end all, be all of how sugar is
produced and then go watching our long video on YouTube.
What was it? Remember how how um incredibly complex chocolate
making is. Remember I love all these These are some
of my favorite ones. Sugar, coffee, commodities. Yeah, the commodity sweet.
We gotta do tea. We haven't done tea, okay, and

wine we still haven't done wine yet. Yeah, that one
that just bugs me. We've got a great offer from
a nice guy. I don't have his name in my memory,
but I have his email in a safeholder. Yeah, and
he like, you need some help with this stuff. I've
got experts. We are ready to talk to you about wine.
That could That should be a sweet. That's a dense,
dense topic. All right, So sugar beets, let's talk about

that in the process. Um, Usually they're gonna extract over
the winter months between September and February, and as we
said earlier, sugar beat is about seventeen percent sugar. Yeah,
so not too bad bang for your buck wise, you know,
I mean considering the cane is only ten percent. Yeah,
I mean you could pick it up and eat it

and be like this is pretty sweet. Oh yeah seven.
I guess se if you're in Russia you could. That's true.
That's their racist pieces sugar beets. Uh, kind of stolen
international incident. No, things are tense right now, you know, Yeah,
between US and in Russia. Yeah, it's like nineteen seventies seven. Again,

well they're kicking us out of the space station. Star
Wars just came out. Uh So, if you're gonna process
sugar beech, you're gonna slice it and you're gonna put
it in hot water and you're gonna boil it, and
it's similar to sugar cane. They're gonna make a sugary juice.
Then they're gonna filter it, purify it, concentrate it, isolate
those sugars, and eventually you're gonna get sugar crystals developing

because you send that syrupy juice through what's called a centrifuge,
and that's going to separate the crystal from what is
known as the mother liquor. Whatever is left which is
one of my favorite terms. Now, when whatever is left
over that's not crystal is mother liquor like byproducts in
the original juice. And apparently that can be h extracted

a few times, I would guess, so to get all
the crystals out of it. Yeah, and I think sometimes
they need to add a little sugar dust to spur
that crystallization. Wow, it sounds like a magical process. There's
mother liquor, there's sugar dust. And actually know that you
bring up sugar dusts you know, do you remember down
in some Anna and like two thousand seven eight that

sugar refinery that exploded. It was sugar that exploded in
the Yeah, sugar dust is particular matter and when it
gets into the air, it can catch fire and explode.
And it did it blew that place sky high? Yeah?
When was that? I wrote about it when I got here,

So I would guess, like two thou seven or two
thousand and eight, what was the article like how can
sugar explode? I think I remember seeing that. We should
have touched on that or guess, but I mean, like
you should go back and check out that Now that
you realize that it was just sugar that blew the
place up. It it formed a crater. Basically, it just

blew the whole refinery and flour could do that too, right,
same principle, any particular matter I can do that, I think, Hey,
that's nutty. Yeah, um, alright, So sugarcane, it's a very
similar process. They're gonna pulverize the stalk um, add water
and lime and that's gonna be your syrupy sweet juice
and not lime like limestone. Yeah, not like squeeze limes

into it. If I had to double check. No, you're right,
because it's tropical, you know exactly. Uh. And they're also
going to run that through this interfuge, and you're gonna
get your mother liquor in your crystals, and that is
also going to be washed and filtered and refined further
until you get your sugary white goodness, you know. Evaporations
going on. It's it's it's one of the things that

sounds complicated, but it's actually pretty simple. It's the same
as when you're like making a simple syrup at home.
You're boiling sugar and water. It evaporates off and you're
gonna end up with something super sweet. So chuck their
byproducts to this whole process. Essentially, molasses is chief among them. Yeah,
I never knew that. Yeah, it's a byproduct that comes

from boiling sugar, right, yeah, I mean it's it's basically
the Yeah, it's it's it's the dark like that. That's
what makes brown sugar dark, or sugar in the raw
dark is molasses. Right, The molasses isn't extracted as much
as it is with refined white sugar. Fine white sugar

has zero molasses in it, like sugar in the raw
has more and more. It's less refined um. And then
the greatest byproduct of molasses is of course rum. Yeah. Yeah,
I put a little molasses in my want to make
molin barbecue sauce. Oh yeah, that's good, that's nice. Another
byproduct is called bagas, and that is um, the pulp

essentially of the cane. Are you making these words up? No?
Those are rewards. What mother looking in bagas? But gas?
We I think another process we studied. It's not it's
not central just a sugar, it's just the pulpy fibrous
matter leftover from this kind of process. I wonder what
we talked about that in was it? Was it coffee?

Now maybe maybe may be, but the BA gas is
used a gas because I think I remembers discussing whether
it's a big gass or by gas. It's b gas.
I listened to it today. Um, yeah, we definitely covered
that before. I'm starting to feel like an old man
because when you when we have seven under topics or
so oh yeah, literally vaguely familiar, but yeah, I want

to sound dumb, so you don't say anything and they
just spend the next week and going over this. I'm
telling you, one day we were going to rerecord a
show and not realize it, man, and we're going to
hear about it. Well, what was it? It was Crystal Skulls.
You know we never released that one, right, but remember
I was like, I thought, for sure we recorded this,

no Dreams. It was we went to record Dreams and
we just for it just wasn't there. So but gas
we definitely talked about. And the gas is a great
byproduct because that can be used to power the sugar refinery.
They actually burned that as fuel h to create the

steam used to power some of these machines, so that
is one way that sugar production can be green. Um. However,
mass production of anything like this isn't super green because
they're transporting stuff over large distances and there's clear cutting
of land. Well that's a big one with with sugar. Yeah,
deforestation like an Amazon, right and yeah, that's exactly right. Yeah.

So even though they're using things like the gas as
a byproduct to help power, why is that funny? Because
I always hear by gas in my head, okay anytime
you say it. But it is not a looked upon
as one of the more green products that is used
and produced. Like they have to use baby lambs to

really refine it to its whitest. Not true, Well, it
uses their souls at least, I guess, if you want
to get technical, the souls of baby lambs, and then
they're just left to wander the earth for the rest
of their natural lives, like not feeling anything. Sad. Let's
do a message break, all right, and then we'll get
into types of sugar, all right. So there's a lot

of types of sugar. There are. Um, when you think
about sugar, especially here in the West, you think, oh
that really white, like really pretty powdery granular stuff. And
that's called table sugar, and that's what's known as sucros.
That's right, And sucros is glucose and fruit toast. Sucros

also apparently occurs naturally. But there's a lot of different
types of sugar that you're gonna find in plants, uh,
and from some animals too. Yeah. Yeah, So cow's milk
contains lactose and gullactose, both of which are sugars um sucros. Again,

that's typically table sugar, but I believe you can find
that in plants. And that's glucost and fructose what you said. Yeah,
and it's even one molecule glucose, one molecule fruit toast.
Put them together, you've got sucros. That's right. Fruit toast
is commonly found in fruits. Yeah, it's also found in
honey fruit tastes. And then um, glucose. This is the

one you commonly think of when you think the body
and sugar, because glucose is what the body runs on.
And we'll talk about that a little more in depth
than a little bit. Yeah, and that's in honey and
fruits and veggies. And then something called zylos, which I've
never heard of, that's in wood and straw. It's pretty interesting. Yeah.
There's a sugar alcohol called xilattle. Yeah, that's very sweet. Yeah.

There's sugar alcohols and they supposedly um circumvent your blood sugar,
your normal metabolic blood sugar process, so they taste sweet,
but they don't have any impact on your blood sugar.
And one of them is called ziol idle Ziltal, that's
the name of the product. Yeah. There's this uh Danish

or Swedish gum that's like the best sugar free gum
you can possibly get your hands on. It's called zielidel.
It's so good. Terrible name though it is, but it's
named after the sugar, right, which apparently is based on
I guess it's probably would sugar alcohol. Wow. Yeah, it's
pretty creative. I didn't. I'm just recounting here, so I

know I didn't know. You didn't You weren't complimenting me. Uh.
Sugar comes in different granulations and from icing sugar, which
is if you've ever heard of confection or sugar that
you daintily sprinkle on top of your um, what's it called?
What did you get at the fair? Your funnel cake?

Those are so good they are. I haven't had one
a year, so yeah, they're good. I never like I
got I don't indulge in that stuff. Man, what what
is going on? Chuck? Well, you know, I'm I'm overweight
and like it's there's just like you don't want to
be the overweight guy walking up to the cake stand,
you know, Well that's why you sneak around the back,
get someone else to go get it, and you eat

in the alley. Cry. I've never done that. No, i'veoid
that stuff. Ice Cream is my big downfall. Oh what's
your ice cream? What's your favorite? Um? Well, Ben and
Jerry's sure like, but which one, Chubby Hubby? Oh that's
a good one, ironically. Yeah, um, I gotta tell you.

Have you had Bluebell? Yeah? Okay? Blue Bell is like
the third best selling ice cream brand, but you can
only get it in like seven states, that's how good
it is. And um they have a banana pudding flavor.
That is if you're in Nevada and you can't, the

closest you can get it is in Mississippi. It's worth
driving there for and it's like eight bucks for like
a gallon or a half gallons ridiculously expensive. But it
is so good. All of their flavors are good, but
their banana putting one is like, it's just I'm about
to cry. Yeah, they're um their radio commercials have you
heard those? The songs horrible. Oh, it's the funniest stuff

you've ever heard. The TV version of it is even worse. Yeah,
it seems like a joke, Like are they serious or
is this campy? Oh they're serious. Yeah, it's like an
eighty five year old like braptist preachers in charge of
like their ads. It's it is. It's campy. It's so
it's and they don't mean it. It is. For those
of you who don't know the songs, it's literally like,

you know, mama's baking the apple pie and putting in
the window sill and like the picket fences outside and
we're eating bluebell ice cream because it tastes like the
good old days. It's really funny. It rhymes more than that,
but that's just a I'm sure it's on YouTube just
type blue belt ice cream. Man. Yeah, it's good stuff.
Um Man. That was a nice side track. So then

you got Castor Sugar, which is larger than powdered sugar
but smaller than granulated sugar. Yeah, which I didn't know
about until like a couple of months ago. I don't
remember what recipe it was, but there was a recipe
that you mean was making that like called for castor sugar.
And she's like what both of us were, Yeah, you
apparently you can make it if like with the coffee grinder,
you can grind your regular sugar. Yes, she came across that.

I think you finally founders she ordered online or something
like that. But she making a meringue because they used
a lot of meringues. Evidently I don't remember. Maybe I
don't remember what did she need that for. I'll figure
it out on my own time and let everybody know
in the next episode. How about that rather than all

of us sitting here until I remember what the recipes
and then I pick up the phone and collar and asked, right,
that's good radio, my friend. Uh. Then you have your
granulated sugar, and this is your table sugar, and then
you've got preserving sugar, which looks sort of like sort
of rock salty. It's chunkier or like sea salt. Course,
sea salt sweeter than sea salt though, and that's used
to preserve yes much sweeter. Uh yeah, because that's another

property of sugar is it's a preservative as well. Um,
you can throw it into some jam if you want
to make an extra sweet, but it will also keep
the bacteria away at bay. That's right, which is why,
like you said, simple syrup can last for so long. Yeah,
you can just make that and put it on your
bar at rim temperature. Right. Yeah, I can keep it

in the fridge, but you you keep it on hand,
make it yourself. It's very easy. Plus also if you like,
toss some lavender in there, that lavender simple syrup which
goes with anything with gin in it. Oh, it's so good. Um,
you can put in some like all spice and some

ana seed and stuff like that. Lemon verbina, No, but
I have made lemon like just from the the peel.
Oh yeah. Lemon verbena is like just the green leaf.
We grow a lot of that in the herb garden.
And if you smash it up, it smells so good,
like I imagine it would be good muddled in a
drink if I was into that, are you not? You

know that I'm not into the cocktails. I thought you
were whiskey over ice, so you can jazz it up
a little bit here there, No, not me, okay. Uh
So I guess we should talk a little bit about
high fruc dost corn syrup. We did a whole show
on it, yeah, which you can go back and listen to.
But it bears mentioning here because there's a lot of
it gets a bad rap um and the evidence is

sort of inconclusive right now. Yeah. Yeah, I think what
we determined is it's not necessarily any worse for you
than sugar, but it's in a lot more stuff and
you may not know it. I don't remember what we
concluded what my understanding is at this point, and that
was from two thousand nine. Um, there's a really great
article on the New York Times called It's Sugar Toxic.

It's very long, but it's very in depth and it
really goes into the um the evidence that's out there
that it really is where the highlights Well, like you said,
high frue toast corn syrup isn't molecularly different very much
from sucrose, which is sugar. Most high fruit toast corn scrapper,

the stuff that's most widely used is like fruit toast
to glucoset, so that five difference um in fruit toast
shouldn't make much difference, but apparently it does. The other
aspect of high fruit toast corncerup is that that extra
fruit toasts are all that fruit toast that is processed

in the liver. Any cell in your body can process glucose.
When you eat something that has glucose in it, Uh,
your pancreas releases insulin, and insulin goes hey open up
cells and the glucoast goes in and it's converted. It's
biochemical energy is converted to a t P and then
you have this packet of energy that can be used

by any cell. Any cell can do that, which means
your entire body can metabolize glucose. Fruit toasts has to
be broken down into glue coast, and that's done in
the liver. The liver has some options to it chuck
when it's presented with fruit toast. It can use it
for energy, It can convert it into fats in the

blood stream, which are called triglycerides, or it can convert
it into fat stores fat. Right, that's if you have
too much of it, right, Yeah, now, with high fruc
toast corncerp, apparently evidence shows that when it hits the liver,
it's just automatically converted to fat, and that the speed

with which it's metabolized also has an effect on how
much or how frequently it's converted to fat. And with
high fruit toast corncerrp, it's syrup and syrup apparently hits
the liver a lot faster than say, an equal amount
of apples that you're getting fruit toast from, so it's

being converted to fat like autumn. Matically, that's why they
think that high fruc toast corn syrup is actually far
worse from you than just regular fruit toast or even
sucros table sugar. Right, while the obesity epidemic is sort
of matched year to year with the introduction of high
fruc dose corn syrup as far as increase um, so

that makes sense. I read an article today that said
that added sugars overall is the problem, whether it's high
fruc doset corn syrup or regular added sugar. Well, that's
kind of sugars in a product. That's the U s
d a's line. In the U s d A doesn't
want to upset the sugar industry or the corner Finers Association.

So that's kind of become the predominant government line, like, yeah,
everybody's eating too much sugar, that's the problem. Well, then
there's a whole group of people out there who are saying, like, no,
it's it's yeah, sure that's a problem, but this is
a an even bigger problem with high fruc tost corn syrup. Yeah,
that makes sense that it's different and it's affecting people differently, right,

and it's not the same as sugar. Well, I think
a lot of people think we're ingesting too much corn
based products. Period. We need to do g MS at
some point too, you know. Yeah, everyone keeps calling for it.
Some guys sent us a book. Yeah yeah, oh yeah, yeah.

Did you read it? No, I haven't ready. Um. Apparently
six of americans calories come from added sugars, which is
just like totally empty calories. So again, there's a there's
a big there's an argument over those numbers. Yeah, no
one really knows, but supposedly the numbers are very artificially low. Um,

and that the average American eats about nine pounds of
sugar a year. Oh yeah, yeah. Wow, and the global
average is something like UM sixty six pounds, but it's
reel something like at five pounds per person per year.
What what that's from sweets? Yeah? You last sugar packaged

foods um. Are we done with HFCs then for now? Yeah,
I go back and listen to the episode. It was
a good one, one of my favorites. Yeah, it's been
a while. I'm meant to re listen to that, but
I didn't get a chance. Um So, sugar in the
body we've and this also a harkens back to our
episode on taste. It uh corresponds molecularly on your with

your taste buds on the tongue because of the shape
of the molecule, and we talked about that the molecules
are shaped to fit. You know, when sugar hits it,
it matches up perfectly with that molecule and sends a
message said, hey, there's something sweet as opposed to salty
or bitter or sour or umami fi right, this say
is four and then names five, which I thought was

I even changed it on my sheet. Um, and they
recommend something that I do not recommend, which is uh,
if something tastes sweet in the wild, it's more likely
to be safe to eat than something bitter. Sort of true,
But you should never ever go and like in a
survival scenario and just try and eat something even a

little bit um. There's a test you can do which
I won't get into, but it involves like rubbing on
your skin first, waiting a certain amount of time. They
may be touching it to your tongue, waiting a certain
amount of time. You should never just go like I
wonder if this is edible, let me taste it. It's
not a good idea good going, even if it is sweet.
You're a survivalist. I don't know some things. So you know,

we said sugar is found in all plants, just to
varying degrees um, and plants create sugar is a byproduct
of photosynthesis, and they use it for energy for growth.
They also use it to They take sugars and turn
them into more complex sugars to use for like um
cellular structure like sell you lose um. But they also

use sugar in their nectar to attract bees and other
things to help them pollinate and and propagate their species
because it's sweet stuff. Yeah, I love it when I
see the little bee getting in there getting a little
something sweet. Yeah, I feel like they're getting a little treat,
you know, that's right, And then they're vomiting it up

and we eat it as honey. That's true. Uh, sugar
is bad for your teeth. Everyone knows that. Um. Specifically,
when you eat sugar, it's gonna form something called a
glaco protein, that little sweater on your teeth. And bacteria
love to eat that stuff and then they love to
poop out lactic acid afterwards unto your teeth. Yes, specifically

stripped a caucus mutans. That's the culprit for cavities. We've
said stripped the caucus before, and that's not a good word, no,
But there's different kinds of strut okay um, But when
they poop out that lactic acid, that's what's on your enamel,
that's what's gonna wear it on your teeth. Right, So
eating sugary stuff really is bad for your teeth. That's
not like something your mom tells you. That's a lie.

And the bacteria also provided or produces a biofilm around
all of this stuff which traps it in there and
traps in the lactic acid as well, So you're in trouble.
Yeah you're dead, not dead, but you make it diabetes. Yeah,
you can get diabetes UM from too much sugar. That

that apparently is um. It's crazy that there's a real
parallel between the six country study in the seven country
study that we talked about, in the paleo diet episode
of fats. Apparently there was a rival all along that
said it's not fat, it's sugar. Like we're both after
the same problem. But this guy went after fats, this

other guy went after sugar. And now they're starting to think,
like now that they're thinking it's not fats after all
that contributed to like heart disease and obesity that they
think is actually sugar. And the the way that it's
sugar is through something called metabolic syndrome, to where if
you eat too much sugar, your body becomes resistant to insulin.

And remember insulin gets glucose out of the blood stream
and into your cells and is converted to energy. Well,
if your body starts sucking at doing that, then you
have a lot more glucose in your blood stream, which
means you're pancreas is producing more and more insulin. Insulin,
remember triggers fat storage. So you have more and more insulin,
you have more and more fat storage, you have obesity,

you have heart disease. And they think that possibly the
number one contributor to heart attacks is metabolic syndrome and
not necessarily saturated fats. Right. Interesting, But as a result
of this aside result is insulin, you develop your diabetes.
Type two diabetes is the result of insulin resistance where

you have to inject insulin into your body because your
body is not producing enough any longer because it's overtaxed
your pancreases. Yeah, we got a lot of great responses
from the Paleo episode. It was a really interesting one. Yeah,
and people saying, like, dudes, we know so little still
about nutrition, and things are changing so much with the

things we eat and put in our body that it's
hard to keep up. Which is why it's so insulting
when some industry that has a vested interest in so
they got all figured out. Yeah, and don't worry about it,
just keep eating it. You know that That's that's insulting,
all right? Can sugar power your car? Yes, how I'll explain.
There's a couple of ways. Um, so there's sugar based ethanol,

which Brazil was basically running on for many years. I
didn't realize that they're big into flex fuels and ethanol.
They were basically energy independent in the first decade of
the twenty one century because they said, we're tired of
being dependent on foreign oil. Let's figure something out. And
they did. They put all they Yeah, they started looking

into sugarcane, making ethanol from sugarcane, and you know there's
like corn based ethanol, which UM Chris Pallette and I
talked about in the Grass Lena episode, remember that. And
apparently ethanol made from sugarcane as eight hundred times more
energy output. And so they were making ethanol in a
In two thousand eight of the fuel sold in Brazil

was ethanol. That's awesome, made from sugarcane right there in
the country. Well, then gas prices lowered and UM people
started using gas again because they'll use whatever's cheapest. But Brazil,
even though it's on its heels, the ethanol industry there
is they proved it's a completely viable alternative fuel. Yeah.
The problem though, again with UM refining more and more

sugar for these purposes is the deforestation and worker wages.
And I feel like anytime we've covered in commodity like this,
there's some workers somewhere in the world getting screwed over,
and sugar is definitely not any stranger to that process. Well.
Also it drives up food prices too. Yeah. Um, because
if if there's two different huge sectors competing for the

same commodity like there, it's going to drive the price
of that commodity up. Yeah, that's true. So if you
have energy and food right going after sugar prices, sugar
goes up. Right. I wish people could have seen that demonstration.
It really brings it home. Uh. And what else is
the other I remember? I think we talked about this too, Uh,
sugar devouring microorganisms basically feeding on sugar and making energy

in the process. Yeah, that's a like viable way in
the future maybe to power things. Yeah, so there's a
certain certain types of microbes are more sugar hungry than others.
But yeah, when they're eating sugar, they managed to separate
electrons and loosening loosen electrons and as the electrons flow,
As we mentioned in our electricity episode, the flow of

electrons is electricity. So if you direct that flow across
like some something that can use it. You create a current.
And the cool thing about microbial fuel cells is when
that electron makes it to the other side, it um
combines to form water. So that's the byproduct, right this,

So it it truly is a very um environmentally friendly
alternative fuel. Yeah, we did that. We covered that at
some point too. I remember, it's our world is getting
smaller because we're explaining it. That's right. You got anything else? No,
I don't think so. Mother, liquor, the gas, all these

words I made up just for the show. You did
good with the making up the words, man. Thanks. Yeah,
I don't have anything else, chuck um. But if you
want to learn more about sugar, I'm sure there's some
words we left out of this article. You can type
sugar into the search bar at how stuff works dot com.
And uh, since I said search bar, it's time for

a listener mail. I'm gonna call this refuting listener mail.
We read a listener mail from a creationist not too
long ago, man, that got a certain response from some quarters. Yeah,
so then a lot of people right in responding to
that listener mail. So we might just continue this for
the next year just reading rebuttals. H Hey, guys, you

receive an email from a creationist explaining that both creationists
and scientists believe in natural selection, and that both groups
believe in micro evolution but disagree on macro evolution. What
the person did not mention is that macro and micro
evolution describe the same process of natural selection, just on
different timetables. Uh. Micro a short term, macro's long term.

It simply does not make sense that natural selection works
on the short term, but it's somehow reversed on the
long term. Natural selection introduces changes to a population subgroup
as they adapt to their environment, but the changes are
small the population subgroup can naturally breed with the original population.
That is micro revolution. Once it changes are significant enough

that the subgroup can no longer naturally and successfully breed
with the parent population, the subgroup is considered a new species.
That's the special event that it's macro evolution. To believe
in micro and not macro is to ignore how nature works.
Say you put two separate populations of the same species
put in very different environments. Each population would slowly adapt

to its new environment and change over time. Micro evolution,
each group will become better adapted to its new environment,
and the differences between the two groups will only grow
in time. However, if you don't believe in macro revolution,
you don't believe in new species. So you have to
believe that no matter how different each group becomes, nature
does not work like this. Also, the previous writer claimed

to be a creationist botanist, and that is like a
doctor that does not believe in germ the ri I'm
sure they might exist, but I would definitely take their
expertise with a large dose of salt. Quite a rebuttal. Yeah,
and I didn't have a name. I feel bad, so
I'm just I'm gonna say thanks you, thanks Richard Dawkins.

I appreciate that. So the evolutionists have rebutted, what say
you creationists? Let us know? And everybody stopped tweeting and
sending emails about how dare we put a creationist views
on and listener mail? Yeah. Yeah, it's no way to
go through life trying to silence your opponents. Yeah, you

debate and engage. I was surprised there were a lot
of people that said you shouldn't give equal time to
this stuff because it's just not true. Yeah, somebody said, Um,
I thought discoveries stood for something interesting. Yeah, well, hey,
I think debate is healthy and they think you're not

right either, So like you know, yep, debate is healthy,
Chuck exactly. Um. If not, Bill and I wouldn't have
done it, boom. If you want to contribute to the debate,
we want to hear from you. You can tweet to
us at s y SK podcast. You can join us
on Facebook dot com, slash stuff you Should Know, send
us an email to Stuff Podcast at how stuff Works

dot com, and as always, check us out at our
home on the web, Stuff you should Know dot com
for more on this and thousands of other topics. Does
it how stuff Works dot com

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