A correspondent writing to the British Medical Journal says:
"Lest it should be thought that there is no satisfactory answer to the very pertinent questions about sugar asked by "A.F.S." in the Journal of November 17th (p. 928), may I be permitted to try my hand at a brief exposition of the situation? The substances intended for man's consumption - the proteins, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins, salts and catalysts are in Nature associated with each other and with other substances in such a way as to render them readily acceptable to the human economy. If, in his presumptuous ignorance, man tampers with these substances by cooking them, concentrating them, and refining them he may retain the main proximate principle, but he deprives it of the associates which render it tolerable to the human digestive organs, ff, for example, he concentrates a bison into a beaker he may get the major portion of the protein, but he will get very little else, save perchance a stomachache. That is an extreme case. That of sugar is almost as extreme though not quite. Pure sugar (C12H22O11) is a very irritating substance, as may be seen from the eczema which is so apt to trouble the hands and arms of grocers who handle it. In its natural state as in the cane or in fruit, sugar is associated with various substances which dilute and mitigate" the irritant properties of the pure chemical. The reason why brown soft sugar is more digestible than the white is that the brown is much less refined than the white; the browner it is the cruder and the more digestible."