The Case Against Sugar*

*title borrowed from the book of the same name by Gary Taubes
Around 1 in 3 people in the United States have pre-diabetes, according to figures from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The most important reason to care about the effects of sugar on our body is INSULIN.

It’s not the lack of nutrients, amount of empty calories or the hyperactivity it causes in our kids or grands, or how it interferes with vitamin absorption or the cavities it cuts in our teeth, or how much weight we gain when we eat too much (although those are all good reasons)…it’s INSULIN.

Insulin helps our body turn blood sugar/glucose into energy. It also helps our body store it in our muscles, fat cells, and liver to use later, when our body needs it.

After we eat carbohydrates/sugar, our blood sugar (glucose) rises. This rise in glucose triggers our pancreas to release the hormone insulin into the bloodstream. Insulin travels through the blood to our body’s cells. It tells the cells to open up and let the glucose in. Once inside, the cells convert glucose into energy or store it to use later. Cells obtain energy from glucose or convert it to fat for long-term storage.

Carbohydrates are the quickest source of energy for the body. And carbohydrates also cause the greatest insulin reaction. 

When we eat carbs/sugar  a l l  d a y  l o n g …breakfast, lunch and dinner…we are creating an insulin response  a l l  d a y  l o n g.  Insulin will then become resistant…overworked…slow down and stop doing the job it is meant to do. 

Insulin resistance means that glucose/sugar remains in the blood too long and this can lead to pre-diabetes then type 2 diabetes, if something doesn’t change.

That something is our diet! The fewer carbs/sugar we eat the less insulin we need.

Diabetes is not the only negative health outcome of high blood sugar. Other common effects are: obesity, risk of heart disease and stroke, kidney disease, vision problems, nerve problems and high triglycerides to name a few.

One last note about Insulin: It is called the fat stimulating hormone because when insulin is active escorting glucose to our cells it also prevents fat from being broken down for energy. Insulin – like a traffic cop – is saying “go go go” to glucose and “stop” to the fat cells so they do not get broken down and burned as fuel. They stay stored in our body as fat until there is no more glucose left to burn. Unfortunately, too often there is always glucose to burn due to our carbohydrate filled diets. 

As I said above, cells obtain energy from glucose or convert it to fat for long-term storage. Eat less carbs/sugar throughout the day and stay active to burn up the carbs eaten to keep insulin from overworking and to keep fat from accumulating. It’s pretty simple.

I hope I made my case!!




The Case Against Sugar by Gary Taubes


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