Yet despite all the bad press (and the science fiction from Lustig et al), glucose is essential for life. The much maligned substance is actually one of the most important elements of our diet. Remember though, I'm only suggesting that it forms part of our diet and that it shouldn't be feared, not that you should ingest nothing but sugar.
I have previously covered the topic when I looked at some of the hysteria surrounding Jamie Oliver and his unjust crusade to implement sugar taxation. You can review that here. For this post I thought I'd take a look at some of the so called facts around sugar and compare them to that other substance that is devoid of nutrition...H2O.
- One of the main reasons we are told not to consume sugar is that it is has no nutrients and therefore has no benefit and is not needed. So, how does water compare? Well right away we can see that unless you add something to it (like you also could with sugar) then water is devoid of any nutrients. Yet we are still told to drink set amounts such as 8 glasses or 2 litres per day. One individual who consulted with me was consuming a massive 8 litres per day under the instruction of fairly well known guru. At that amount it caused a host of issues, as may drinking huge amounts of sugared drinks. Equally, avoiding either isn't wise. FYI you can get plenty of water from actual food, unless that is you're living on dried food.
- This neatly brings us to point number two, one which all of you sugar hating' water guzzlers out there will no doubt be screaming. That water is important for a multitude of various bodily functions, which is correct, without water your future doesn't look to bright. However, sugar, in particular glucose is essential. Metabolism is a series of organic reactions in order to produce the energy known as Adenosine Triphosphate (ATP) via the degradation of fuel. Many people seem to be under the illusion that what you eat is what you 'burn', ignoring the very complex processes which encompass the metabolism and its generation of energy. Metabolism itself is often thought of simply as how much you can eat. And it is common to hear people discussing others being lucky due to their high metabolism. Metabolism is the sum total of all the enzymatic reactions that occur within the cells, which has four main functions; Extract energy from organic nutrients, convert nutrients for use as building blocks within the cells, assemble the building blocks into other cellular structures form and degrade the biomolecules that perform special functions within cells. So, the energy utilised by your body is ATP and sugars are preferentially catabolised in order to form ATP. Limit your energy or make your body struggle due to the belief that carbs need to be complex, and you're on the way to the slow metabolism that you fear so much.
- Water helps you to lose weight. Typically people are encouraged to drink water before a meal to ensure they aren't mistaking thirst for hunger. You never hear it the other way round, someone being advised that maybe, just maybe their extreme thirst is malnourishment otherwise known as hunger. Personally I'd suggest that proper cellular metabolism, as in a body fuelled via oxidative metabolism at rest as opposed to fatty acid synthesis is a far wiser way to lose weight.
- It helps endurance athletes fight fatigue. Water is attributed as an essential part activity to prevent dehydration during long workouts. Those in the "know" often talk about drinking water treated with carbohydrates in order to maintain maintain fluid balance. What they mean by treated with carbohydrate is that it has been poisoned with that deadly white stuff, probably along with that other white product that suffered many years of bad press...no not cocaine, thats still acceptable, I meant sodium. I hands down guarantee that sugar will be the more effective than water in the fight against fatigue. While both are supposedly nutrient deficient, sugar is at least packed with vital energy. Combine the two and you have a winning recipe, stick in some coffee and may even taste nice.
The evidence doesn't stack up against sugar and the attempt to link it with obesity or tooth decay. The argument that it is unneeded and devoid of nutrients just isn't backed by science. The only thing it seems guilty of is calories, that thing everyone focused on in the '80's. Consume it as part of a varied diet, don't over indulge much the same as water.