View Full Version : Vegans, health and sugar

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Apr 24th, 2004, 12:32 PM
From http://www.nexusmagazine.com/SugarBlues.html

"Refined sugar is lethal when ingested by humans because it provides only that which nutritionists describe as "empty" or "naked" calories. It lacks the natural minerals which are present in the sugar beet or cane. In addition, sugar is worse than nothing because it drains and leaches the body of precious vitamins and minerals through the demand its digestion, detoxification and elimination make upon one's entire system.
Excessive sugar has a strong mal-effect on the functioning of the brain. The key to orderly brain function is glutamic acid, a vital compound found in many vegetables. The B vitamins play a major role in dividing glutamic acid into antagonistic-complementary compounds which produce a "proceed" or "control" response in the brain. B vitamins are also manufactured by symbiotic bacteria which live in our intestines. When refined sugar is taken daily, these bacteria wither and die, and our stock of B vitamins gets very low."

Apr 24th, 2004, 03:11 PM
Yet another explanation of the evils of sugar - annoying because about 15 years ago, I thought I was eating too much sugar and getting problems because of it - I remember talking to my brother, a doctor, about it, and he said there was nothing wrong with sugar....hahaha.

Since becoming vegan, I rarely have anything with sugar in it - maybe once a month I have a small chocolate that has sugar in it, but I try to avoid even that.

Based on my experience, (not scientific, I know) its easy to believe that it contributes to vitamin deficiencies, i.e. Bīs.


99% vegan
May 14th, 2004, 10:30 AM
I found some interesting thoughts on sugar at http://www.lagusta.com/Pages/vegan_how_nutrition.htm:

here is where i talk about sugar endlessly

ok, so here is my new vegan crusade: SUGAR is evil, especially for vegans. here's what i learned in school about sugar:

first, a word on sugar cravings: if you are not getting enough protein, you can crave sugar because protein and sugar are on opposite ends of the food spectrum and therefore balance each other out (white sugar is 99.5% carbs, whereas proteins like meat are almost all protein and fats and water and no carbs. this is why 3- or 5-grain tempeh is a complete protein -- it has carbs and protein!). this is why everyone knows some schmuck who can eat lots of steak and lots of refined sugars and can sort of survive OK, until he has a heart attack and dies, of course. but for you, my little vegan love, sugar will wreck you, because most likely you're not getting a ton of protein (which, is better for you, as too much protein is not a good thing). sugar addiction is stronger in low protein diets and in low calorie diets -- if you're not getting enough calories, your body craves something simple it can digest quickly -- refined sugar fits the bill perfectly. ditto with not getting enough complex carbs. BUT the same is true if you're getting too much protein and not enough complex carbs -- you've swung over to the other side of the spectrum and will again crave the white devil. if you're dehydrated you might crave sugar, so drink some water before you go have a pint of rice dream ice cream. if you're eating really refined, fragmented foods you might crave sugar because you are not getting enough whole foods and your body is searching for fulfillment. if you're macrobiotic and are getting too many contractive foods (meat, salt, miso, grains, nuts, sea vegs) you might crave expansive things like drugs, alcohol, fruit, tea, coffee, and sugar and veggies. if you eat enough whole grains and quality protein sources you will not crave sugar as much.
* here is all that info phrased differently in case you're still confused:
* If sugar is eaten, the missing elements will have to be found elsewhere, or the body will show deficiency symptoms. High-density protein foods (like meat), vitamin and mineral supplements, and large amounts of water are needed to balance the intake of refined sugar (this is why you will find it harder to go vegan if you eat lots of sugar).
* refined carbohydrates (white sugar and flour), if not accompanied by enough protein and minerals, will draw on the body's own protein and mineral reserves. Without these the body cannot function property. for example, anemia can result from the body stripping itself of iron.
* people always say that sugar is "empty calories" but in actuality it is worse than that, it is calories that actively do harm - sugar is negative nutrition! If you think of your body as a bank, sugar is like constantly bouncing checks – you are taking something out without putting anything in.
* so, the outcome of all this longwindedness is that: you should also give up refined carbs when you go veg – a you don’t need them anymore because hopefully you are eating more balanced whole foods, and if you eat too many you will set up a craving for something that is hi protein like meat to balance them. this might be why some people crave meat when they go veg – they are eating high-sugar/carb diets. repeat after me: when you give up meat, you should also give up white sugar and refined flour.
* ok, some sugar facts:
* it lessens germ-killing ability in the body for up to 5 hours, it reduces the production of antibodies
* 9T of sugar need theoretically 28-30oz of water to counterbalance it. This explains the popularity of soda: when it’s cold it numbs the taste buds, the liquid fools the bod into thinking thirst is being quenched, the 7t of sugar in each can or bottle create a need for more water – and thus keep us reaching for soda. i'd rather have coke with real coke.
* it interferes with the transport of vitamin c (don't eat sugar when you're sick!)
* it neutralizes the action of essential fatty acids (like those that are in flax and hemp seed oil and that vegans typically don't get enough of anyway)
* it has been linked to mineral imbalances
* it can cause adult onset diabetes
* osteoporosis is linked to sugar consumption because sugar creates an acid imbalance in the blood. in order to fix it the body takes calcium and potassium from your bones. milk does the same thing because it has so much protein which screws up the acid/alkaline balance. so do caffeine and food in the nightshade family (peppers, tomatoes, potatoes, eggplant.) and processed vinegars.
* you know all those mood swings you get with sugar? it's all about your blood sugar. if you have low blood sugar a sugar snack can bring it back up to normal, and if you have high blood pressure it can make it go all crazy. if you are just trucking along trying to maintain homeostasis and you eat sugar your blood sugar goes a little nuts. your body kicks into high gear to try to regulate itself and return to homeostasis. this is what makes you get all loopy. this is why, for example, people eat salty peanuts in bars -- alcohol is a form of sugar and salty foods help control the sugar high.
* in order to deal with the wreckage brought on by sugar, the body depletes its own store of vitamins, minerals and enzymes. without these the body cannot function property, for example, anemia can result from the body stripping itself of iron. so, people always say that sugar is"empty calories" but in actuality it is worse than that, it is calories that actively do harm - sugar is negative nutirtion!

so what can you eat instead of sugar? well, first try to stop eating so much of it, because i know you eat way too much right now. then, after you're broken the addiction a bit (i have read, though, that sugar is highly addictive and the only way to truly get off of it is to stop it all together, like smoking.) here are some alternatives to use and substitutes to avoid:

* substitutes for sugar to avoid:
* brown sugar: stay away -- brown sugar is just white sugar with caramel color added. what a dirty trick.
* florida's crystals and other organic sugars: these are better for the environment than typical white sugar because they are organic, but they are no better for you, really. they are still refined until they have no nutritional value (actually they have negative nutritional value because they actually leach vitamins and minerals out of your bod).
* fructose: very refined fruit sugar. do not use.
* corn syrup: very professed
* powdered/confectioner's sugar: just white sugar with cornstarch added
* cane juice: it sounds so natural but is so refined.
* turbinado sugar -- i used to use turbinado all the time before i found out that it's really just refined white sugar that's a little less refined. it's not raw -- all sugar has been heated to kill insects and bacteria, etc. it's not so great. sugar in the raw is turbinado sugar.
* honey is a good substitute, but it's not because it's not vegan. i just found out yesterday that honey is really bee puke! it's been predigested by bees. only our society would think of stealing poor bee puke and putting it on pancakes. find out tons more on why honey is not vegan here
* obviously, you are a smart little chickie and know that anything with aspartame, sweet and low, and anything else like that is evil and will kill you. so stay away. Let me just talk about aspartame for a second though. the trade names for aspartame are nutrasweet and equal, and it's also in all kinds of other things: diet foods, toothpaste, "sugar free" foods, blah blah. there have been so many studies done on aspartame it's insane. it's been associated with, among other things:

headaches, mood changes, nausea, anxiety attacks, vertigo, hyperactivity,
hearing loss, heart arrhythmia, tinnitus (i don't even know what that is),
edema or swelling, insomnia, gastrointestinal disorders, numbness and tingling
of extremities, seizures, blurred vision, skin lesions, blindness, muscle cramps,
eye problems, joint pains, memory loss, fatigue, slurred speech, PMS, mild to
suicidal depression, menstrual irregularities, personality changes, chest pain, violent
episodes, increased appetite. it might also mimic or trigger the following illnesses:
fibromyalgia, epilepsy, chronic fatigue syndrome, hypothyroidism, epstein-barr,
ADD, post-polio syndrome, meuniere's disease, lyme disease, alzheimer's disease.

Obviously, this substance should be recalled by the FDA. But since it is not classified as a drug, the manufacturers are not even required to monitor its adverse effets! There was a bill written warning pregnant women, infants, and children against ingesting aspartme, but, of course, the bill got killed. Oh, and did you know that the Air Force has warned its pilots not to consume aspartame because of its connection to grand-mal seizures? Hmm. And, it tastes like shit! The other day I was on the bus and had this rare craving for gum. I think my wisdom teeth are coming in and I was teething. Anyway, I stopped at port authority and got some trident, which i knew was bad and which i never get, but i figured a little bit of nasty sugar and gum base wouldn't kill me. i was chewing away when i noticed that this gum tasted much, much sweeter than i remembered. i was overwhelmed by its sweetness, but convinced myself that it was because i hadn't had white sugar in a while. but soon i realized that it tasted chemically sweet, nastily sweet, and i got a sinking feeling. i checked the ingredients and there it was: aspartame! i threw out the package and the gum i was chewing. the next day (this was probably unrelated, but maybe not, who knows) i felt really ill all day, like i had food poisoning. i felt queasy all day, and weak and really, really tired. who knows what caused it, and i doubt 1 piece of gum could have, but, anyway, the point is that aspartame is the devil.

* alternatives to sugar to use (sparingly!)
* fruit. nature's only natural source of sugar. before you decide that you need a cookie, have a really sweet minneola tangerine and see what you feel like then.
* maple crystals, maple powder and maple syrup -- maple crystals and maple powder are dehydrated maple syrup. m.s. is much less refined than white sugar and is not as concentrated. try to get organic or Canadian maple syrup because otherwise there will most likely be formaldehyde residues. i use maple syrup and maple crystals almost exclusively as sweetners.
* rapidura: a new sugar alternative that i've heard is actually quite good and ok for you -- more info to come.
* barley malt syrup: much less sweet than sugar. b.m.s. is made from sprouted dry barley that's been ground up and cooked with water. it has a kind of molasses-y flavor.
* rice syrup -- like barley malt syrup but doesn't have as strong a flavor. i use it a lot.
* everyone used to think sucanat was so great, but really it's often just sugar and molasses! if you have to use it, use dehydrated cane juice sucanat which is a lot better, and make sure it has a mineral content listed on the label.
* date sugar: very very sweet! very expensive. date sugar is ground dry dates. it's good in baking. it's pretty good for you, it's not too refined.

* blackstrap molasses -- not to be confused with regular molasses which is really refined and not good for you. blackstrap molasses*is a good source of minerals and is very dark and not too sweet.
* stevia: i don't know too much about stevia, but i like it. it's actually an herb.
* organic fruit juice concentrates: sometimes can be a good substitute, but make sure they are organic because otherwise you're just getting pesticide concentrates.

Jul 22nd, 2004, 05:40 PM

What about stuff that's called "naturally milled"? Also if it's organic does it necessarily mean that it was "naturally milled"? i'm pretty sure succanate is vegan but that's the only kind i've heard that about.

what kind of sugar do you all use in baking or whatever?

Jul 22nd, 2004, 06:23 PM
Hi, there was an article comparing natural sweeteners in a macrobiotic magazine some years ago, and the conclusion was that maple syrup was the best alternative.
Regarding brown sugar: there are several kinds - one is actually white sugar that has been "brownified" (with molasses?), and is dark brown. The other one has a natural, light brown color. I don't think the natural brown sugar, like Demarara sugar, is processed with animal products.

There's also the rather expensive maple sugar, which is powderized maple syrup.

Jul 23rd, 2004, 04:19 AM
Raw sugar should be vegan. The reason that refined white sugar is technically not vegan is because some white sugar is processed through bone char.

I choose not to use it directly because the whole process strikes me as a little gross. One more yuck I was better off not knowing (Ignorance is bless ... well maybe).

It's better to use raw sugar ... or less refined sugar because it's better for you than refined sugar.

I use demarera and turbinado most of the time. I have tried sucanat (am I mixing things us now... it's rather dark and grainy. I stick to turbinado & demarera most of the time.... They really look the same to me ... (?).

Jul 23rd, 2004, 04:21 AM
I thought I'd add.... I really want to try date sugar. Another rather pricy sugar. I love dates. Has anyone tried it?

Jul 23rd, 2004, 09:18 AM
From http://www.vegsource.com/jo/qasugar2.htm

Are brown sugar and powdered sugar vegan?

Brown sugar is white sugar combined with molasses, which gives it a soft texture. Powdered sugar, also called confectioners' sugar, is granulated sugar that has been crushed into a fine powder. Brown sugar and powdered sugar can be made from either sugarcane or sugar beets. Bone char filtration is used for roughly half the cane sugar produced in the United States. This means that some cane sugar may be purified through charcoal made from animal bones. (Bone residue does not become part of the finished product.)

Click the link for more.

And http://www.vegsource.com/jo/qasugar.htm

I am trying to figure out why vegans don't eat plain old sugar that you buy at the grocery store. Can you please explain?

A. Half of the white table sugar manufactured in the United States is cane sugar and the other half is beet sugar. Beet sugar accounts for about 40% of the world's sugar, and the United States is the third largest producer. Sugar beets, which naturally contain 16 to 18 percent sucrose, flourish in temperate climates where the soil is rich and the growing season is about five months long. Thirteen U.S. states currently grow sugar beets. Sugarcane, which contains 12 to 14 percent sucrose, is a tropical grass and is grown in four U.S. states: Florida, Hawaii, Louisiana, and Texas. Both cane sugar and beet sugar are considered to be among the "purest" foods available because they are 99.9 percent sucrose

Click the link for more.

Jul 23rd, 2004, 09:36 AM
"Over half of the cane refineries in the United States use bone char (charcoal made from animal bones) as their activated carbon source. "
"Some vegans replace white table sugar with unbleached cane sugar or dehydrated and granulated cane juice, both of which are available in natural food stores. " http://www.vegsource.com/jo/qa/qasugar.htm

See also http://www.sugarintheraw.com/, which explains that "Sugar In The Raw Premium Hawaiian Turbinado Sugar is made using 100% pure Hawaiian cane sugar from the initial pressing of the cane, allowing the natural molasses to remain in the crystals."

In other words, it doesn't sound like it's bleached first with bone char and that molasses is added afterwards.

Nevertheless, there are so many bad side effects of sugar, white or not, that it's probably a good idea to avoid sugar totally.

Jul 24th, 2004, 07:59 AM
I live in sugar country, and bone char has not been used here for some years. The manufacturers told me that it is still used in the US though. I can't see that an occasional teaspoon of sugar would be harmful - 'moderation in all things'.

adam antichrist
Jul 26th, 2004, 06:29 AM
what about palm sugar? I've never used it but it looks good...

Anyone know if it is vegan?

Jul 26th, 2004, 02:28 PM
I use turbinado, Sucanat, and organic sugar. I definitely don't want bone-char stuff in my food. Even if you don't have a problem with it ethically or from a gross-factor standpoint, I wonder if there is risk of contracting mad cow from eating it. I don't know.

Jul 26th, 2004, 02:48 PM
I use either brown rice syrup, malted barley extract or orgainc maple syrup for sweeteners on bread,cereal,tea etc. and use pureed stewed prunes or dates or fruit juice concentrate in baking and have been very successful with all of them as I don't like what processed sugars do to my system (I get very shaky and edgy due to blood sugar fluctuations). Good luck with finding one that suits you!

Aug 1st, 2004, 02:09 AM

The largest selling drug addiction in the world is refined white sugar. It has no food value and contains no nutritional value. White is an empty carbohydrate of no value. Be Warned against sugar consumption.

- By Maneka Gandhi.( Eminent Animal Activist and Member of Parliament)

I stand for election from a sugarcane belt and once a year when the cane is sold to the sugar factories, the smell for miles around is unbearable. This smell pervades western UttarPradesh, making it difficult for anyone to live anywhere near a factory. I used to wonder why and so I started looking at what went into this production and found so many chemicals added in the processing.

In the process of making sugar from both cane and beets, they are heated and calcium hydroxide ( lime) which is toxin to the body, is added. This is done to remove those ingredients in the natural sugarcane that interfere with the complete processing of sugar. Carbon dioxide, which is another toxin, is then used to remove the lime and a lot of it remains in the sugar itself.

The sugar turns from a sticky black substance to a clear juice which is heated to remove other impurities. The sugar is then bleached white with a chemical solution that uses Pork by-products ( blood albumin and/or animal charcoal). The sugar is processed at least 3 times before it is in the form that we would normally use and by that time it no longer resembles a food, and is now an artificial substance.

Sugar is used for different purposes . There is the grade that is commonly used foe table sugar. Then there is the grade used in processed food ( such as cakes, ice-cream, candy and soft drinks). Sugar is also used for non food purposes such as making plastic, cement mixing , and leather tanning . You can make glue, for instance , by mixing table sugar along with white flour. Imagine what the combination dose in your stomach -your intestines get glued shut !

The chemicals used in sugar processing (phosphoric acid, acid calcium phosphate and others ) are potent and health- debilitating. Sugar has a tremendous amount of carbonic acid which disturbs the the nutritional balance in the body. Sugar robs the body or almost all nutrients, especially the minerals chromium, zinc and calcium , and vitamins C and B-complex

Sugar destroys food digestion enzymes in the mouth, stomach, the small intestine and the pancreas. It also reduces the amount of hydrochloric acid ( a necessary digestive acid) in the stomach . Without enough hydrochloric acid, the food isn't broken down properly. Therefore, we cannot properly absorb the nutrient and we will have frequent bouts of constipation.


Sugar interferes with activities of the small intestine which digests the food . The small intestine pushes the waste along and , most importantly, releases the nutrients in the food to give us energy and nourish cells. But when we eat sugar , digestion is disturbed.

Consequently ,the amount of food nutrients available to the body are limited. I addition to this , sugar is released into the blood.

This toxifies the blood and puts too much carbon in it which further damages the body cells. Since there is no real nutrition in sugar , it represents a toxic waste material in the body will try to get rid of. The lymphatic system will grab some of this waste in an attempt to purify the blood. When the lymphatic system becomes overloaded, health problems occur, which could have been avoided.

Too much sugar, salt and starch can work together to create an excessive appetite. These food cravings creates an imbalance in the body.

Sugar moves very slowly out of the stomach . This creates over-acidic conditions in the stomach which influence the secretion of enzymes and hydrochloric acids to help digest our food. This over-acidic condition also affects the entire body.


Diseases such as cancer, diabetes, high blood pressure and others are the result of eating too many highly acidic foods . How many pounds of sugar do you consume annually? A person who does not take sugar in his tea, may not be aware of the rest. Sugar is hidden in many foods such as cereals , ketchup, canned foods , frozen foods , etc.

I n fact, almost 70% of the sugar that we consume is hidden in foods . For instance , a typical 12-ounce soda contains 10 teaspoonfuls of sugar. The typical candy bar is almost all sugar . Pizza has the great sugar -flour mix which is probably why it is so sticky . The sweetness of pizza is hidden by putting in a lot of salt and other ingredients which give a semisweet taste.

Aug 5th, 2004, 03:46 AM
I really needed a kick in the butt about the whole "sweets" thing and I'm terrible about drinking diet sodas. I think I'll get back on my green tea which I never drank with sugar (vegan or otherwise) anyway. I'm inspired now :)

Aug 5th, 2004, 04:13 AM
Artificial sweeteners are POISON!

Splenda is "sucralose". Sucralose is produced by chlorinating sugar. This involves chemically changing the structure of the sugar molecules by substituting three chlorine atoms for three hydroxyl groups. Being that the sugar used by the chemists who manufacture this toxin do not make use of organic sugar, it is processed through bone char, making it neither a vegan or even a vegetarian product. Additionally, it was tested on thousands of animals before it was put out on the market, since only a handful of human studies have actually been conducted in a short period of time, and the "heavies" who are the proponents of this toxin needed to have "proof" that it was not unhealthy.

Now, wanna know about Nutrasweet and Saccharin or any others?

St George
Aug 17th, 2004, 11:00 PM
Hi. I havent used sugar in my tea and coffee for years,but i am not sure if the sweetener i use is suitable for vegans.

Can anyone advise me of a sweetener in tea/coffe that is suitable?

Aug 18th, 2004, 12:56 AM
Stevia, Organic Sugar (not an issue for those outside of the US usually), but PLEASE please don't use artificial sweeteners! They are ALL toxic! :(

Aug 18th, 2004, 02:24 AM
Agave nectar works for me, but I have odd tastes. There is vegan succant, which just real sugar...

Aug 18th, 2004, 03:02 AM
There is nothing odd about Agave Nectar...mmm, good! I actually use dates in all my food prep. that needs sweetness... ( I don't drink coffee etc., so it works for me)

Aug 18th, 2004, 10:26 AM
i love agave nectar!

Aug 20th, 2004, 05:29 AM
I've been a Vegan for two months now. It's fantastic, really. Life is so much better mentally, physically, spiritually. But enough of this personal jibber-jabber. What's the deal with refined sugar?

I would like to consider myself a "hardcore" Vegan, whatever that means. When I decide to do something, I do it. I don't just dip a toe in and test the waters. Both feet go diving in. Metaphorically.

I constantly check the labels and ask people, "what's in this?" I make sure to eliminate honey. None of that for me, thank you. But what's the deal with refined sugar?

When I read the label, what sugar is "out"? What sugar is "in"? What about artificial sweetener? Why do they call it "refined sugar" when I never see "refined sugar" written on any boxes of sugar? What's the deal with sugar?

Thanks to those who can provide some info.

(I know I'm a bit loony. It's 11:30 at night here. Kinda tired.)

Aug 20th, 2004, 03:07 PM
Some sugar is refined using animal bone char. I think it happens predominantly in the United States nowadays. Some people say that refined sugar is not considered an animal product because it doesn't contain animal ingredients, per se.

However, I think if we use refined sugar that was refined using bone char (you have to contact the company to find out; hopefully, they'd be honest), you are increasing the demand for bone char in a way. Maybe that sounds weird. Another reason I avoid it is because I think it's disgusting to use dead animals' body parts for any reason.

If you buy organic sugar or Florida crystals, you are safe. Look for sugars that are not bleached-white color. They will be ivory or off-white in color.

For brown sugar, I use Sucanat.

I think all turbinado sugar is fine because it is not "refined."

I hope that helps. :)

Aug 20th, 2004, 11:02 PM
Finch "When I read the label, what sugar is "out"? What sugar is "in"? What about artificial sweetener? Why do they call it "refined sugar" when I never see "refined sugar" written on any boxes of sugar? What's the deal with sugar?"

So first of all, the word sugar just means a carbohydrate that tastes sweet. English speakers of course love to take a word like that and apply it to everything under the sun or use it as a proper noun because english is by far one of the most unusable languages on the face of the planet. That's why most people call sucrose 'sugar' (as in THE sugar) even though there are many sugars. In fact sucrose is made of two sugars.

Sucrose is refined using the charred bones of corpses (in the US) to make it as white as possible. That's one of many reasons table sugar has no nutritional value. There are different kinds of sugars in different combinations, your tongue is made to taste these different kinds. I don't even like table sugar (sucrose), because fructose dominant foods taste better, and happen to be very common in fruits. If you want sugar that is much more healthy(and easy to find vegan versions of), use unprocessed or simply processed foods that are naturally high in sugar. Dates are a good one because they can be dissolved in cold water and used a kind of syrup (you can do this with some raisins too) or just blended in. Maple syrup and sugars are really only boiled down so they lose less nutrients (although some manufacturers do nasty stuff to maple syrup, especially US manufacturers). Agave nectar is just the sap of a succulent leaf plant. Again it's nutritionally superior to refined sugars. It also happens to taste a lot like honey, which is nice for honey freaks gone vegan. I eat fruit a lot these days after losing my taste for processed crap. Simply put, we have to take in simple sugars, we evolved to do so more than most mammals. The best way to get them as a "hardcore" Vegan, is to eat fruit.

Artificial sweeteners are easy. They find something that the human body can not digest, but tastes sweet, then they put it in a package and sell it too you. So far every artificial sweetener made has proven to be a bad idea. Since your body needs sugar, there's no reason to use the fake ones anyway.

Atlanta Newbie
Aug 21st, 2004, 03:06 PM
Is it just me, or does it seem like there is evaporated cane juice in an awful lot of health and organic foods? Even though it is less refined, surely the added sugar can't be good for you. I noticed that there was even added cane juice in my organic canned corn! Any thoughts on this one? Thanks!