Diabetes, Food

What is Sugar? ๐Ÿฏ (And Do We Need It?!)

do we need sugar - diabetes and sugar - what is sugar - what has sugar in it - do we need sugar - is sugar necessary - types of sugar

The short answer: No. ๐Ÿ™…โ€โ™‚๏ธ

But there's more to this sugar saga.

We love talking about carbs here at One Drop. It is, after all, carbs.

But did you know that carbs and sugars are one in the same? They are deeply intertwined, right down to their chemical makeup. Sugars, in fact, are carbohydrates; every carbohydrate we eat eventually breaks down into sugar.

So in the spirit of staying on topic, let's talk sugar.

The Science of Sugar โš—

what is sugar - agave nectar - Barbados sugar - table sugar - brown sugar - sugar and carbohydrates - list of sugars - beet sugar - molasses - agave syrup - sugar syrup - is real sugar bad

There are about 60 different types of sugars. ๐Ÿ˜ฑ

The first type of sugar that comes to mind for most is the white, crystalized version added to cakes, pastries, lollipops, key lime pies, and every other sweet treat.

This is what's commonly known as table sugar. And it's become very good at hiding itself everywhere.ย 

The Glucose Cycle ๐Ÿฎ

If you have diabetes, like me, you know that glucose is necessary to live. We check for amounts of it in our bloodstream every day.

And it's not just us humans who are dependent on glucose โ€” all forms of life, right down to algae, need it to survive.

But did you know that you can get glucose from kale? That it can be obtained through just about any vegetable? Even protein and fat sources?ย 

Eat food โ€“ any food โ€“ and it will turn into glucose. This is true even for green veggies!ย 

For example: Cows eat grass. The grass, which creates its own glucose through photosynthesis, enters the cow's body as cellulose; the cow's stomach breaks down the cellulose into glucose. This gives the cow the energy it needs to survive and provide for others. Some of that glucose trickles into the milk, produced by the cow, that we drink. It's the circle of life. Or, rather, glucose.

A similar process happens with just about everything we eat.

(Now, that's ๐Ÿ‘†ย a rather limited scientific explanation, but I'm hoping to spare you the trouble of a much lengthier article.)

Glucose, the most natural of all sugars, is absolutely vital to life.

We, people with diabetes, know this to a tee; if our blood glucose (the glucose levels in our blood) go too low, we die.

In that regard, we do need sugar. Glucose, to be exact. We do not, however, need other forms of sugar. And we don't need to eat sugar to get glucose, at all.

We Do NOT Need to Eat Sugar. Ever.

So why do doctors, nutritionists, and just about everyone keep telling us otherwise? Why are we told that sugars are an essential part of our diet? Because they're easy.

Sugars (carbohydrates) are the first energy source the body goes to: they are much faster to break down into energy than their protein and fat counterparts.

And, at the end of the day, we eat for energy. We need energy. Therefore, we need to eat. And it's sugars (carbs!) that are the preferred fuel source for cells in our body.

Why? Because they are so quick to break down into that energy our cells so desperately crave.

Sugar Fix? Indeed.

To a degree, we do need that sugar, that glucose. But, as we saw with our cow, people can get their sugar fix from just about... anything.

What we have been taught over the last 70 years, however, is that we need to be getting our sugar fix from a different kind of sugar: fructose.

sugar consumption - American sugar consumption - glucose consumption - is sugar bad - is real sugar bad - sugar and carbohydrates - sugar diet - sugar and diabetes Fructose: Need To Know Basics

Fructose, a simple sugar like glucose, is naturally found in fruits.

Unlike glucose, though, fructose is not the body's preferred energy source. It is exclusively metabolized by the liver.

Meaning that unlike glucose, which can be broken down and used for energy by every cell in the body, fructose is limited - it can only be used by the liver.

It's fructose that is at the core of every processed food, refined starch, and added sugar. This โ€” fructose, added sugar, refined sugar, refined starch, processed โ€” is what I mean by โ€œsugar.โ€

And we do not need it. At all. Ever.

Man Cannot and Should Not Live on Bread Alone

Sugar, in the way that most of the world understands it today, is not necessary for survival.

Much of the world understands sugars โ€” breads, pastas, wraps, grains โ€” as carbohydrates. And carbohydrates, we're told, are a necessary source of nutrition.

But it's just not true. Anything man-made is not necessary for our diets. Take it from Dr. Mark Hyman: โ€œBread is a treat.โ€

Instead, we should look to vegetables, fats, and proteins for our โ€œsugarโ€ intake. At the end of the day, the need for sugar (glucose, in this sense) arises from the need for energy. And we can easily get energy from vegetables. Meats. Dairy products. Seeds.

Bottom line: if it isn't nature-made, we don't need it. It really is that simple.

The Footnote

Those of us living and breathing diabetes have a bit of an asterisk to all of this. That asterisk points to our low blood sugars. And when we go low, we need sugar. Fast.

In which case, fructose and other sugars like it are life-saving. As mentioned above, these sugars break down uber fast! And hit our bloodstream hard with the glucose we need.

But, beyond our lows, and in the broader scope of mankind, sugar, in its westernized, processed, table version we have come to know it, is completely and utterly unnecessary for our survival. one drop for diabetes - one drop diabetes - one drop diabetes store - one drop diabetes supplies - one drop diabetes meter - one drop diabetes test strips

Link copied to the clipboard. ร—
MA
Mary Elizabeth Adams
Apr 18, 2019

Additional Reading

diabetes hypertension - diabetes and hypertension - diabetes type 2 high blood pressure - high blood pressure and type 2 diabetes - high blood pressure and diabetes - diabetes and high blood pressure - relationship between high blood pressure and diabetes

5 Steps for Treating High Blood Pressure With Diabetes

What is hypertension?ย // The link between diabetes and hypertensionย // 5 at-home treatments Diabetes and hypertension (high blood pressure) have common risk factors and often occur...

Read more >
low carb pasta - healthy low carb recipes - low carb recipes - healthy recipes for diabetics - healthy pasta - low carb pasta for diabetics - healthy recipes for diabetics - diabetes meal plan

RECIPE: Ricotta-Stuffed Cabbage Shells (Low Carb)

Looking for a rich, low-carb alternative to stuffed pasta shells? We've got you covered. Here's a hearty and cheesy dish that's sure to be a...

Read more >

Visit our store

Gorgeous gear. Supplies shipped to your door. On-demand support from diabetes experts.

Shop Now