The Use of Sugar
by Ellen G. White

Much injury is done to health by the variety of the food which is seen on so many tables. Take the different dishes that are placed on the table at one meal, and put them all together in one vessel--stir them up together. Does it make the stomach turn to look at it? Leave it for a few hours and it will ferment. Yet thousands compel their stomachs to receive just such a mass as this every day--half masticated meat, condiments, spices, pies, and sweet puddings are washed down with tea and coffee. The abused stomach is obliged to take them and do the best it can with them. 10MR 286

There should be in our sanitarium a cook who thoroughly understands the work, one who has good judgment, who can experiment, who will not introduce into the food those things which should be avoided. It is well to leave sugar out of the crackers that are made. Some enjoy best the sweetest crackers, but these are an injury to the digestive organs. Butter should not be placed on the table, for if it is some will use it too freely, and it will obstruct digestion. But for yourself, you should occasionally use a little butter on cold bread, if this will make the food more appetizing. This would do you far less harm than to confine yourself to preparations of food that are not palatable. 12MR 173

You cannot live too plainly when you are studying so constantly. Your father and I have dropped milk, cream, butter, sugar, and meat entirely since we came to California. We are far clearer in mind and far better in body. We live very plainly. We cannot write unless we do live simply. Your father bought meat once for May while she was sick, but not a penny have we expended on meat since. We have the most excellent fruit of all kinds. Do you want we should send you some figs? How is your clothing? Let us know just how you are feeling; and is your clothing well taken care of? Are you happy? 14MR 322

Frank and George are doing well. Frank does not eat butter or sugar, and his face is better. 14MR 336

You have brought grave charges against us, in the letter to my husband. I felt that I would not notice them. But I will dwell a moment upon them. In regard to out diet, we have not placed butter on our table for ourselves for years, until we came to the Rocky Mountains. We felt that a little butter, in the absence of vegetables and fruit, was less detrimental to health than the use of much salt or sugar, sweet cake, and knicknacks. We do not use it now, and have not for many weeks. 15MR 245

We have always used a little milk and some sugar. This we have never denounced, either in our writings or in our preaching. We believe cattle will become so much diseased that these things will yet be discarded, but the time has not yet come for sugar and milk to be wholly abolished from our tables. 15MR 246

If you can get apples you are in a good condition, as far as fruit is concerned, if you have nothing else. We have beans at every meal, well cooked with a little salt and a tablespoonful of sugar, which makes them more palatable.--Letter 5, 1870. 2BIO 303

Sugar is not good for the stomach. It causes fermentation, and this clouds the brain and brings peevishness into the disposition. And it has been proved that two meals are better than three for the health of the system. 2MCP 391

I frequently sit down to the tables of the brethren and sisters, and see that they use a great amount of milk and sugar. These clog the system, irritate the digestive organs, and affect the brain. Anything that hinders the active motion of the living machinery affects the brain very directly. And from the light given me, sugar, when largely used, is more injurious than meat. These changes should be made cautiously, and the subject should be treated in a manner not calculated to disgust and prejudice those whom we would teach and help. 2T 370

B has been very deficient. While in her best condition of health, his wife was not provided with a plenty of wholesome food and with proper clothing. Then, when she needed extra clothing and extra food, and that of a simple yet nutritious quality, it was not allowed her. Her system craved material to convert into blood, but he would not provide it. A moderate amount of milk and sugar, and a little salt, white bread raised with yeast for a change, graham flour prepared in a variety of ways by other hands than her own, plain cake with raisins, rice pudding with raisins, prunes, and figs, occasionally, and many other dishes I might mention, would have answered the demand of appetite. If he could not obtain some of these things, a little domestic wine would have done her no injury; it would have been better for her to have it than to do without it. In some cases, even a small amount of the least hurtful meat would do less injury than to suffer strong cravings for it. 2T 383

I gave Sister McDearmon $40 from my own purse to use for the necessities of life. Father bought bags of flour, a barrel of apples, nuts, sugar, et cetera. He bought one cotton mattress and one husk [mattress] overlaid with cotton. It is seldom I have seen such destitution. I have bought several things for their comfort. Father left McDearmon his fur coat to use, for his blood is so low he cannot bear the least chilliness of the air. We have done what we could for them.--Letter 54, 1878. 3BIO 100

The < Reformer > was about dead. Brother B had urged the extreme positions of Dr. Trall. This had influenced the doctor to come out in the < Reformer > stronger than he otherwise would have done, in discarding milk, sugar, and salt. The position to entirely discontinue the use of these things may be right in its order; but the time had not come to take a general stand upon these points. And those who do take their position, and advocate the entire disuse of milk, butter, and sugar, should have their own tables free from these things. Brother B, even while taking his stand in the < Reformer > with Dr. Trall in regard to the injurious effects of salt, milk, and sugar, did not practice the things he taught. Upon his own table these things were used daily. 3T 019

Above all things, we should not with our pens advocate positions that we do not put to a practical test in our own families, upon our own tables. This is dissimulation, a species of hypocrisy. In Michigan we can get along better without salt, sugar, and milk than can many who are situated in the Far West or in the far East, where there is a scarcity of fruit. But there are very few families in Battle Creek who do not use these articles upon their tables. We know that a free use of these things is positively injurious to health, and, in many cases, we think that if they were not used at all, a much better state of health would be enjoyed. But at present our burden is not upon these things. The people are so far behind that we see it is all they can bear to have us draw the line upon their injurious indulgences and stimulating narcotics. We bear positive testimony against tobacco, spirituous liquors, snuff, tea, coffee, flesh meats, butter, spices, rich cakes, mince pies, a large amount of salt, and all exciting substances used as articles of food. 3T 021

Breakfast would consist of some hot cereal, usually a whole-grain cereal--cracked wheat, millet, corn meal, oatmeal, and sometimes homemade hominy, or boiled wheat that had been cooked overnight in the "fireless cooker." "Breakfast was one of the fruit meals," Grace reports. "We had sometimes four kinds of fruit. We just used lots of fruit. Fresh, canned, dried. . . . We never put sugar on our cereal."--DF 129e, "Dinner at Elmshaven," an interview with Grace Jacques, June 8, 1978. 6BIO 394

"It seems so hard for some, even for their conscience' sake, to deny themselves the things that do not tend to health. We felt drawn out to speak to some on this subject. I shall not be clear unless I speak decidedly, for the spirit of self-indulgence will increase unless we take a decided stand. I have had grace given me to present decidedly the subject of health reform. Butter, cheese, flesh meats of dead animals, rich cake and poor cookery create disease and will certainly corrupt the blood, bring disease and suffering, and pervert the discernment. I beseech our people, to consider that health reform is essential and that which we place in our stomachs should be the simple nourishment of good, plainly prepared bread and fruits and grains. I shall have a much sharper testimony to bear on this subject. We must deny perverted appetite. I urge upon our people to learn the art of simplicity in eating. When will our people heed the word of the Lord given to caution them?"--Ms 5, 1879, pp. 3, 4. 7MR 348

The food provided should be scrupulously simple. Pastry and other desserts make havoc in the stomach, and these might better be discarded. The food should be palatable and nutritious, and we do not recommend the disuse of salt or milk.--Letter 145, 1901, p. 3. (To A. T. Jones, October 19, 1901.) 8MR 384

The less sugar introduced into the food in its preparation, the less difficulty will be experienced because of the heat of the climate. CD 095

Because we, from principle, discard the use of those things which irritate the stomach and destroy health, the idea should never be given that it is of little consequence what we eat. I do not recommend an impoverished diet. Many who need the benefits of healthful living, and from conscientious motives adopt what they believe to be such, are deceived by supposing that a meager bill of fare, prepared without painstaking, and consisting mostly of mushes, and so-called gems, heavy and sodden, is what is meant by a reformed diet. Some use milk and a large amount of sugar on mush, thinking that they are carrying out health reform. But the sugar and milk combined are liable to cause fermentation in the stomach, and are thus harmful. The free use of sugar in any form tends to clog the system, and is not unfrequently a cause of disease. Some think that they must eat only just such an amount, and just such a quality, and confine themselves to two or three kinds of food. But in eating too small an amount, and that not of the best quality, they do not receive sufficient nourishment. . . . CD 196

It is impossible for those who give the reins to appetite to attain to Christian perfection. The moral sensibilities of your children cannot be easily aroused, unless you are careful in the selection of their food. Many a mother sets a table that is a snare to her family. Flesh meats, butter, cheese, rich pastry, spiced foods, and condiments are freely partaken of by both old and young. These things do their work in deranging the stomach, exciting the nerves, and enfeebling the intellect. The blood-making organs cannot convert such things into good blood. The grease cooked in the food renders it difficult of digestion. The effect of cheese is deleterious. Fine-flour bread does not impart to the system the nourishment that is to be found in unbolted-wheat bread. Its common use will not keep the system in the best condition. Spices at first irritate the tender coating of the stomach, but finally destroy the natural sensitiveness of this delicate membrane. The blood becomes fevered, the animal propensities are aroused, while the moral and intellectual powers are weakened, and become servants to the baser passions. The mother should study to set a simple yet nutritious diet before her family. [CTBH 46, 47 (1890)] CD 236

508. It is well to leave sugar out of the crackers that are made. Some enjoy best the sweetest crackers, but these are an injury to the digestive organs. CD 321

There was one case in Montcalm County, Michigan, to which I will refer. The individual was a noble man. He stood six feet, and was of fine appearance. I was called to visit him in his sickness. I had previously conversed with him in regard to his manner of living. "I do not like the looks of your eyes," said I. He was eating large quantities of sugar. I asked him why he did this. He said that he had left off meat, and did not know what would supply its place as well as sugar. His food did not satisfy him, simply because his wife did not know how to cook. CD 327

Sugar clogs the system. It hinders the working of the living machine.

CD 327

Some of you send your daughters, who have nearly grown to womanhood, to school to learn the sciences before they know how to cook, when this should be made of the first importance. Here was a woman who did not know how to cook; she had not learned how to prepare healthful food. The wife and mother was deficient in this important branch of education; and as the result, poorly cooked food not being sufficient to sustain the demands of the system, sugar was eaten immoderately, which brought on a diseased condition of the entire system. This man's life was sacrificed unnecessarily to bad cooking. CD 327

When I went to see the sick man, I tired to tell them as well as I could how to manage, and soon he began slowly to improve. But he imprudently exercised his strength when not able, ate a small amount not of the right quality, and was taken down again. This time there was no help for him. His system appeared to be a living mass of corruption. He died a victim to poor cooking. He tried to make sugar supply the place of good cooking, and it only made matters worse. CD 328

If we are to walk in the light God has given us, we must educate our people, old and young, to dispense with these foods that are eaten merely for the indulgence of appetite. Our children should be taught to deny themselves of such unnecessary things as candies, gum, ice cream, and other knickknacks, that they may put the money saved by their self-denial into the self-denial box, of which there should be one in every home. By this means large and small sums would be saved for the cause of God. CD 329

Years ago I had a testimony of reproof for the managers in our camp meetings bringing upon the ground and selling to our people cheese and other hurtful things, and presenting candies for sale when I was laboring to instruct the young and old to put the money they had expended for candy in the missionary box and thus teach their children self-denial. { Letter 25a, 1889 } CD 329

Everything is plain yet wholesome because it is not merely thrown together in a haphazard manner. We have no sugar on our table. Our sauce which is our dependence is apples, baked or stewed into sauce, sweetened as required before being put upon the table. We use milk in small quantities. Sugar and milk used at the same time is hard for the digestive organs, clogs the machinery. CD 330 (LETTER 5, 1870)

Let health reformers remember that they may do harm by publishing recipes which do not recommend health reform. Great care is to be shown in furnishing recipes for custards and pastry. If for dessert sweet cake is eaten with milk or cream, fermentation will be created in the stomach, and then the weak points of the human organism will tell the story. The brain will be affected by the disturbance in the stomach. This may be easily cured if people will study from cause to effect, cutting out of their diet that which injures the digestive organs and causes pain in the head. By unwise eating, men and women are unfitted for the work they might do without injury to themselves if they would eat simply. { (1871) 2T 602 }

CD 334

I wish we were all health reformers. I am opposed to the use of pastries. These mixtures are unhealthful; no one can have good digestive powers and a clear brain who will eat largely of sweet cookies and cream cake and all kinds of pies, and partake of a great variety of food at one meal. When we do this, and then take cold, the whole system is so clogged and enfeebled that it has no power of resistance, no strength to combat disease. I would prefer a meat diet to the sweet cakes and pastries so generally used. { Letter 142, 1900 } CD 334

{ Meeting the Issue Squarely Letter 59, 1898 } 722. The sanitarium is doing good work. We have just come to the point of the vexed meat question. Should not those who come to the sanitarium have meat on their tables, and be instructed to leave it off gradually? . . . Years ago the light was given me that the position should not be taken positively to discard all meat, because in some cases it was better than the desserts, and dishes composed of sweets. These are sure to create disturbances. It is the variety and mixture of meat, vegetables, fruit, wines, tea, coffee, sweet cakes, and rich pies that ruin the stomach, and place human beings in a position where they become invalids with all the disagreeable effects of sickness upon the disposition. . . . CD 410

There was a case in Michigan to which I will refer. It was that of a man of fine physical appearance. I had previously conversed with him in regard to his manner of living, and was called to visit him in his sickness. "I do not like the looks of your eyes." I said. He was eating large quantities of sugar, and in answer to my question why he did this, he said that he had left off meat, and did not know anything that would supply its place as well as sugar. His food did not satisfy him. This man was suffering simply because his wife did not know how to cook. She was deficient in this important branch of education; and as the result, the poorly cooked food not being sufficient to sustain the demands of the system, sugar was eaten immoderately, and this brought on a diseased condition of the entire system. I tried to tell them as well as I could how to manage, and soon the sick man began to improve. But he imprudently exercised his strength when not able, ate a small amount not of the right quality, and was taken down again. This time there was no help for him. His system seemed to be a living mass of corruption. He died a victim to poor cooking. CTBH 158

In the study of hygiene, students should be taught the nutrient value of different foods. The effect of a concentrated and stimulating diet, also of foods deficient in the elements of nutrition, should be made plain. Tea and coffee, fine-flour bread, pickles, coarse vegetables, candies, condiments, and pastries fail of supplying proper nutriment. Many a student has broken down as the result of using such foods. Many a puny child, incapable of vigorous effort of mind or body, is the victim of an impoverished diet. Grains, fruits, nuts, and vegetables, in proper combination, contain all the elements of nutrition; and when properly prepared, they constitute the diet that best promotes both physical and mental strength. ED 204

The free use of sugar in any form tends to clog the system, and is not unfrequently a cause of disease. HL 062

I advise the people to give up sweet puddings or custards made with eggs and milk and sugar, and to eat the best home-made bread, both graham and white, with dried or green fruits, and let that be the only course for one meal; then let the next meal be of nicely prepared vegetables.--< U.T., Oct. 29, 1894. > HL 082

For more than twelve years we have taken only two meals each day, of plain, unstimulating food. During that time, we have had almost constantly the care of children, varying in age from three to thirteen years. We worked gradually and carefully to change their habit of eating three times a day to two; we also worked cautiously to change their diet from stimulating food, as meat, rich gravies, pies, cakes, butter, spices, etc., to simple, wholesome fruits, vegetables, and grains. The consequence has been that our children have not been troubled with the various maladies to which children are more or less subject. They occasionally take cold by reason of carelessness, but this seldom makes them sick. HR MAY 01,1877

For household canning, glass, rather than tin cans, should be used whenever possible. It is especially necessary that the fruit for canning should be in good condition. Use little sugar, and cook the fruit only long enough to ensure its preservation. Thus prepared, it is an excellent substitute for fresh fruit. MH 299

Far too much sugar is ordinarily used in food. Cakes, sweet puddings, pastries, jellies, jams, are active causes of indigestion. Especially harmful are the custards and puddings in which milk, eggs, and sugar are the chief ingredients. The free use of milk and sugar taken together should be avoided. MH 301

I do not speak of these as a whole. A few have been true to their principles. Some acknowledged the light, and, for a time, walked in it, but they were not steadfast. Is it possible that Christ's followers are unwilling to restrict their appetites to articles of food which are healthful? Some of those who have had the most light, those standing at the very head of the work, have not been true to the principles of health reform. As we have traveled we have seen men and women injuring their health by an improper diet. We have spoken to them kindly in regard to their duty, but we would be met: I thought you had decided you could not live without meat, butter, and cheese; for if I am rightly informed your people in B. C. eat flesh-meats. Your responsible men in the Office are not reformers. They eat meat, butter, cheese and rich pie and cake. Others will excuse their indulgence of appetite by referring to B. C. Said one, On such a celebration, the Institute tables were not set with food recommended in the Reformer. There was a great variety of food which I have known themselves to condemn, and I have seen your most zealous church members, especially the females, looking over the table greedily for some article of food prepared richer than another. They seem to fear that they shall not obtain the most desirable position to obtain the very best dishes served up. We certainly saw their indulgence of appetite, which in us you condemn. PH011 076

To become acquainted with our wonderful organism, the stomach, liver, bowels, heart, bones, muscles, and pores of the skin, and to understand the dependence of one organ upon another, for the healthful action of all, is a study that most mothers have no interest in. The influence of the body upon the mind, and the mind upon the body, she knows nothing of. The mind, which allies finite to the infinite, she does not seem to understand. Every organ of the body was made to be servant to the mind. The mind is the capital of the body. Children are allowed flesh-meats, spices, butter, cheese, pork, rich pastry, and condiments generally. They are allowed to eat irregularly, and to eat between meals, of unhealthful food, which do their work of deranging the stomach, and exciting the nerves to unnatural action, and enfeeble the intellect. Parents do not realize that they are sowing the seeds which will bring forth disease and death. RH JUL.14,1885

When we commenced the camp-meeting in Nora, Ill., I felt it my duty to make some remarks in reference to their eating. I related the unfortunate experience of some at Marion, and told them I charged it to unnecessary preparations made for the meeting, and also eating the unnecessary preparations while at the meeting. Some brought cheese to the meeting, and ate it; although new, it was altogether too strong for the stomach, and should never be introduced into it. Cake was brought into our tent. I ate a small piece, and my stomach refused to retain it; it was spiced with cinnamon. If my stomach would not acknowledge this as food, but rebelled against it, what condition must these be in who partook of this food every day. I stated to our brethren and sisters, something like the following: They must not be sick upon that encampment. If they clothed themselves properly in the chill of morning, and at night, and were particular to vary their clothing according to the changing weather, so as to preserve proper circulation, and should strictly observe regularity in sleeping, and in eating of simple food, and should eat nothing between meals, they need not be sick. They might be well during the meetings, and be able to appreciate, with clear minds, the truth, and might return to their homes refreshed in body and in spirit. I stated that if those who had been engaged in hard labor from day to day should now cease their exercise, and yet eat their average amount of food, their stomachs would be overtaxed. It was the brain power we wished to be especially vigorous at this meeting and in the most healthy condition to hear the truth and to appreciate it, and to retain it, and practice it after their return from the meeting. If the stomach was burdened with too much food, even of a simple character, the brain force would be called to the aid of the digestive organs. There is a benumbed sensation experienced upon the brain. There is an impossibility of keeping the eyes open. The very truths which should be heard, understood and practiced by them, they lose entirely through indisposition, or because the brain is almost paralyzed in consequence of the amount of food taken into the stomach. RH JUL.19,1870

I eat only two meals, and can not eat vegetables or grains. I do not use meat: I can not go back on this. When tomatoes, raised on my land were placed on my table, I tried using them, uncooked and seasoned with a little salt or sugar. These I found agreed with me very well, and from last February until June they formed the greater part of my diet. With them I ate crackers, here called biscuits. I eat no dessert but plain pumpkin pie. I use a little boiled milk in my simple homemade coffee, but discard cream and butter and strictly adhere to a limited amount of food. I am scarcely ever hungry, and never know what it is to have a feverish, disagreeable feeling in my stomach. I have no bad taste in my mouth. SPM 039