To work properly, our brain needs only three things: sugar – glucose, oxygen –fresh air, and a good night sleep.
Yes, we need sugar. Sugar is a source of energy and the most common carbohydrate in our menu. It is contained in large amounts in staple foods – the foods that are eaten routinely, as often as every day or even every meal.
The staple foods form a dominant portion of a standard diet for a given nation, supplying a large fraction of sugar to cover our energy needs. It can be potatoes or wheat, corn or rice.
... it can be rice
Starch is a main component of a staple food. It is a polymeric carbohydrate consisting of a large number of glucose units joined by glycosidic bonds. Starch is a long-term source of energy. So, sugar is our daily bread, literally.
As we’ve said earlier, the major sources of starch intake worldwide are the cereals (rice, wheat, and corn) and the root vegetables (potatoes and cassava). Other foods rich in starch are: bananas, barley, beans, breadfruit, buckwheat, canna, millet, oats, sweet potatoes, rye, chestnuts, water chestnuts, yams, and many more.
The terms sucrose, glucose, fructose, maltose, dextrose, lactose, high fructose corn syrup, molasses, evaporated cane juice, fruit juice concentrates, cane crystals and corn sweetener all indicate the presence of refined sugars.
But when it comes to the way your body uses these sugars, these foods are hardly comparable.
NOT ALL SUGARS ARE CREATED EQUAL!
The mantra “sugar is bad” is not correct. We cannot exist without sugar – no sugar, no life. The problem comes from the AMOUNT and TYPE of sugar we eat. An average person consumes about 24-33 kilograms of sugar each year, which is about 17 teaspoons of sugar every day! Our ancestors were probably never in contact with as much sweet before in history.
The problem is NOT SUGAR; the problem is AMOUNT and TYPE of it.
Sugar breakdown in your body
Once in your digestive tract, sugar hydrolyzes into glucose and fructose. (Hydrolysis is the process involving the breaking of chemical bonds by water.) Sugar can be metabolized in your body both as a carbohydrate and as a fat. Glucose starts out as a carbohydrate, but is quickly stored as a fat. Fructose is metabolized through your liver, and mostly converted to a fat.
Sucrose is a naturally occurring carbohydrate. It is abundant in sugar cane, sugar beets, corn, and other plants. The molecule is a disaccharide consisting of glucose and fructose. When extracted and refined, sucrose makes table sugar or just sugar. Modern industrial sugar refinement processes often involve bleaching and crystallization, producing a white, odorless, crystalline powder with a sweet taste of pure sucrose, entirely free of vitamins and minerals. Sugar plays a central role in food production and food consumption all over the world.
Foods rich in glucose are short term sources of energy. Foods naturally high in glucose include honey, agave, molasses, grapes, blueberries and other fruits and dried fruit. It’s the human body’s key source of energy, through aerobic respiration, providing about 3.75 kilocalories of food energy per 1 gram. Glucose supplies almost all the energy for the brain. This is what our body draws on for its short term energy needs.
Once glucose is in your digestive tract, a major part of it goes to the blood stream and a small portion is stored as glycogen in your muscles and liver for times when the organism will need it. In your body glucose circulates as blood sugar. When blood glucose content falls below a certain level, then the insulin reaction and other self-control mechanisms start the process of converting glycogen into glucose, maintaining the optimum glucose level of 0.12%. Every cell requires glucose to survive, which is why our blood sugar level is so important.
If for any reason the concentration of glucose is steady too high or too low, the lasting negative effects can become dangerous, even fatal. This means our blood sugars have to be held in balance at all times for us not to become sick. Insulin is a crucial substance that maintains a perfect blood sugar level.
Insulin is a peptide hormone produced by the pancreas that regulates the metabolism of carbohydrates and fats by promoting the absorption of glucose from the blood to skeletal muscles and fat tissue and by causing fat to be stored rather than used for energy. Insulin also inhibits the production of glucose by the liver. That’s why our bodies go into fat storage mode when we eat carbohydrates – the way of lowering blood sugar levels. This fat storage mode stays until insulin returns to a normal level.
It worth mentioning that the insulin release and fat storage mode happen when we eat carbohydrates only; when carbohydrates are eaten with proteins, or fats, or fiber, it slows down the “speed” of glucose conversion to blood sugars and decreases the amount of insulin. It has been proven that even thinking of eating something sweet will instigate insulin to release, it is that sensitive.
Fructose is found in sweet fruits and some root vegetables and it is the sweetest of all natural sugars. Like glucose, fructose is absorbed directly into the bloodstream during digestion. After that they go in the separate ways. Fructose is metabolized in the body in a much different manner than glucose. Glucose can be easily used by every cell, whereas the entire burden of metabolizing fructose falls on the liver leading to obesity, diabetes, and a new condition called non-alcoholic fatty liver disease that now affects up to one-third of Americans.
And again, the problem is NOT SUGAR; the problem is AMOUNT and TYPE of it.