What is Sugar by Christopher Walker
Sugars are naturally occurring carbohydrates that provide energy for the body in the form of glucose and fructose. Your brain for example, requires roughly 130 grams of glucose on a daily basis to cover the most basic energy needs. You can lose weight fast eating sugar.
The major internal organs, glands, and muscles all use glucose as their main energy source. If you deprive the body from this, it will try to make up for it by a process called gluconeogenesis, in which the body breaks down protein and fatty-acid to create glucose, do this long enough and your body goes into ketosis – which surely has some health benefits – but is also just another form of metabolic stress during glucose deprivation.
Almost all carbohydrates, starches and sugars, break down to glucose – the simplest form of sugar – after ingestion.
Although the low-carbers tried for years to confuse average people into believing that low glycemic index foods would be “it” for weight loss. Research showed time after time again that it was the total energy intake of daily calories, not the GI that is behind our ability to gain or lose weight.
The most common kinds of sugars in our diet include;
Glucose – the simplest form of sugar and the main energy provider of the cells in the body. The “blood sugar” in your veins is also glucose.
Fructose – found naturally in fruits and honey. It’s much sweeter than glucose and is metabolized in the liver instead of the gut.
Sucrose – (table sugar) is 50% fructose and 50% glucose, extracted from beets or sugar cane. Sucrose occurs naturally in vegetables and fruit.
Lactose – (milk sugar) is found in milk and dairy products. There’s also maltose, which is found in malted drinks.
The studies looking into the effects of sugar on various health parameters, often use pure fructose, pure glucose, or sucrose. In our normal daily lives, majority of the sugars we consume come in balance of ~50% glucose, ~50% fructose. The main difference between glucose and fructose, is the fact that the latter is metabolized in the liver and is more rapidly absorbed.
Some Real Health Benefits of Sugar
Due to the demonization of sugar, it may seem bit outer-worldish to claim that sugar consumption would actually have some health benefits.
Yet it does. And it makes sense.
Why would this source of energy that the body naturally prioritises be harmful for us? Why would the most easily attainable naturally occurring foods like berries and fruit (which are loaded with simple sugars) be the cause of our ever increasing weight and health problems? And lastly, why have these problems skyrocketed, all while our consumption of sugar has decreased?
I certainly don’t have the answers to all these questions, but if we start to look at the scientific evidence without any pre-existing beliefs about sugar, it becomes obvious that this stuff isn’t as bad as one would think.
There’s plenty of research showing how glucose and fructose actually negatively correlate with diabetes, and that fructose – due to the fact that it’s metabolized in the liver – doesn’t need insulin to be pushed into the cells, which is probably why higher intakes of fructose have been found to improve – yes, improve – insulin sensitivity.
Oh then what about the ever-claimed idea that sugar makes us fat?
Has anyone considered the fact that sugars are the primary fuel for the thyroid gland, and that the thyroid gland actually controls the rate at which your body burns calories, aka. metabolic rate? When you eat more simple sugars, your thyroid gland produces more T4 thyroid hormones, and with adequate sugars stored in the liver, your body can easily convert T4 into the active T3 form, which greatly improves energy production and metabolic rate.
Heck, when you lower your calories in order to lose weight, one of the most powerful compounds that can preserve metabolic rate, is in fact; fructose. It supposedly is the substance most notorious for making us gain weight, but in reality it’s pretty low in caloric content, has the ability to greatly support metabolic rate, and has a muscle sparing effect.
The liver provides about 70% of our active thyroid hormone, by converting thyroxine to T3, but it can provide this active hormone only when it has adequate glucose.
So what about fatty liver disease? That’s one of the key “evils” that fructose is blamed for.
In reality, fructose has been shown to be protective against hepatic liver problems, and when there’s adequate choline in the diet, over-feeding of fructose does not lead to fat accumulation in the liver at all. The problem of fatty-liver disease has nothing to do with fructose, and everything to do with eating too much polyunsaturated fatty-acids (which prevent exportation of liver fat) and lack of choline (which is a necessary micronutrient required in the exportation of fat from the liver).