Thursday, October 18, 2012

Toxin Gambit Part 3: Sucrose

Just the Vax is doing a series on vaccine excipients with the hope that we can get through all of them to provide clear and reasoned information about how they are not toxic along with defining what a toxin is.  We have Toxin Gambit Part 1: Formaldehyde, Toxin Gambit Part 2: Polysorbate 80 ( with bonus material that includes how anti-vaxxers are innumerate) and now our latest instalment is about sucrose.  Some of you may stop laughing now. 

This post is actually a re-post of Sucrose: Dangerous Poison or Plain Table Sugar? which has been written by Reuben of The Poxes Blog.  We hope you find this informative and puts a little perspective on what is really a toxin.

Sucrose: Dangerous Poison or Plain Table Sugar?

The answer is clearly "plain table sugar". I'll explain why in a little bit. But let me first show you an anti-vaccine rant about sucrose (emphases mine):

"Here is the promised Sucrose information. It can also be found in the notes section.
Sucrose:Material Safety Data Sheet: 

The first thing I want to point out is that the MSDS is for the safe handling of large quantities of the chemical. It would be seen in a binder on the floor of a manufacturing plant, storage facility and anywhere it may come in contact with humans working with it. As we can see, this MSDS was updated on 6/09/2012 at 12:00pm. This is important information to note. One must always be sure the MSDS you find is up to date. 

I am NOT going to break down each section of the MSDS. However, I am going to point out Section 3 and 4. As we can see it has a listing of acute and chronic health effects and the first aid required for acute exposure.

The acute affects make it dangerous for skin and eyes to come in contact with it, as well as an indication that ingestion would be unwise. Treating acute exposure is covered in Section 4 of the MSDS. The chronic affects would be difficult to pin down to exclusive exposure to this chemical. We do see it has carcinogenic effects label of A4.

Here are 2 websites that break down the classes of carcinogenicity:

It is important to note that “Not classifiable as a human carcinogen” often means the government has not conducted definitive studies to rule one way or the other. Although we are seeing many independent university studies regarding this specific chemical.

All one has to do is Google “dangers of sucrose” and you will be bombarded with many health sites, such as, telling of the danger this artificial sweetener poses. I want to present studies though. There have been none in recent years to determine whether long term exposure to sucrose would cause permanent damage to the human body. At least none that I could find.

(Please, if you have links to the study summary in PubMed, post them!)

Here is what I did find: - This relates to a study done with rats and dogs, but it was a short study. Because I am not a chemist nor a biologist, I’m not sure how this translates to humans consumption. This is an older study and I could find nothing newer.

One more, and it is from 1998. It shows no long term affects: am not going to report things that don’t exist. However, the MSDS shows definite hazards to being exposed to the chemical in the event of a spill. Again, if you have links to the specific studies I keep seeing mentioned, post them or message them so I can update the notes section and my own records.


**Later today I will address the next 3 ingredients and post it to notes and the wall. Thank you."

Of course she's not a chemist or biologist. If she was, she would know what sucrose is.

There are these chemicals called sugars. They consist of carbons attached to hydrogen and oxygen. If they have six carbons, they are "hexoses". "Hex" is the prefix for "six". If they have five carbons, they are "pentoses", with "pent" being the prefix for five. Human beings take in these hexoses and pentoses and break them down via chemical reactions. These chemical reactions produce energy. Our cells then use that energy to grow and multiply, repair themselves, and just, you know, live.

You are warm right now because you are actively breaking down these sugars and the reactions produce heat.

You've probably heard of "glucose". It's the sugar in your blood right now. It's a hexose, and it packs quite a punch when it comes to energy. The energy is stored in the bonds between the carbons. Break those bonds, and you release a ton of energy.

You've probably also heard of "fructose". It is the sugar in plants. We have glucose, and plants have fructose. We consume fructose when we eat fruits and vegetables. Some have more fructose than others. "High fructose corn syrup" is a corn product (corn has fructose) that has been refined to contain the most fructose possible. It's super sweet because it has a lot of sugar in it. Fructose, a pentose hexose, is a sugar.

Still with me?

Here is a picture of glucose:

Note the six carbons are labeled 1-6.

Now, here is a picture of fructose:

They're not labeled, but there are five six carbons there.

Now, let's talk sucrose.

The reason why that anti-vaccine person is demonizing sucrose is because it is contained in some vaccines. If it is in a vaccine, then either the devil defecated it or aliens produced it. That is to say that anti-vaccine people think that everything inside a vaccine vial is absolute evil and/or not of this world.

But here is why the government has never tested sucrose for toxicity. Check out the picture of sucrose:

Look familiar?
That's right, dear reader! Sucrose is glucose put together with fructose. It's also known as table sugar. It's the white powder that you use to sweeten your coffee or your muffins. Pineapples and apricots produce sucrose as the main sugar. When you eat sucrose, an enzyme in your gut breaks it apart into glucose and fructose. Then these are absorbed into the bloodstream and metabolized.

When you are injected with sucrose, or you are given it by IV as part of a medical therapy, a similar enzyme breaks it apart in your circulation. Then your metabolism takes over.

"But wait, she said it could be a carcinogen?" Tumors (large groups of cancer cells) also need energy. They're cells! So a well-fed person who eats plenty of refined sugar and has cancer is only feeding those cells. It's not a cancer-cause as much as it is a cancer-collaborator.

So don't fear sucrose. It's not evil. It's delicious.

Then again, fear it a little bit if you're overweight or a diabetic... Or both.

PS: Would you like the government to spend millions of dollars and thousands of man-hours to study table sugar?


  1. I thought this was a joke. Sucrose??? Seriously.

    Once again, these science amateurs are missing the simple basics of biology. And yet they try to pass themselves off as knowledgeable in their anti-vaccination insanity.

    One small bone of contention. Excess sucrose (or glucose, fructose, maltose, or any other of the saccharides that can be metabolized by the body) are implicated in increased risks for metabolic diseases such as type 2 Diabetes. So, it's not just an issue if you're overweight or a diabetic, but it may be an issue that could lead to such conditions.

    But it's not a carcinogen. Or we better quit eating, because there's sucrose in just about any food we eat, including steak, chicken, and every plant.

    1. One small bone of contention. Excess sucrose (or glucose, fructose, maltose, or any other of the saccharides that can be metabolized by the body) are implicated in increased risks for metabolic diseases such as type 2 Diabetes.

      Yes but the piteously small amount that is in a vaccine is not only not going to contribute to obesity and/or diabetes but people in both groups are safely vaccinated as a matter of course and don't get more obese and don't go into diabetic shock.

  2. Thanks for the plug.


    Look, it's a raptor! I wonder if it's a skeptical one?

  3. Oh, there are definite problems with spillage of the evil sucrose. They are called 'ants'!

    1. Well, finely ground sucrose powder could potentially be explosive. But, one would have to go to rather great lengths to cause it to do so. One would have to atomize it in the air, then provide a high temperature flame to ignite it. Consider the Imperial sugar refinery explosion in 2008. It took a great deal of negligence to cause that.

      It IS an eye, skin and respiratory irritant. So is any other fine dust, but sucrose is also a desiccant to tissues. So is sodium chloride.

      I've used sucrose to preserve food by desiccation. I've also used sodium chloride and sucrose to desiccate food. With some additional spices, the name is beef jerky. ;)
      Though, such preserved food must be protected against contamination by hydroxic acid, especially if hydroxic acid is combined with dihydrogen monoxide.
      For then, it's become even further wet, diluting the desiccating chemicals and is subject to spoilage.
      And yes, I know that hydroxic acid and dihydrogen monoxide are hydrogen hydroxide, aka H2O.
      Which is highly recommended to be consumed along with desiccated foods like beef jerky or dried fruits.

      Seriously though, ignorance can be treated with education. Willful idiocy seems to be generally incurable.