A Logical Argument For Sugar (Part 1)
The biggest problem with most of the anti-sugar arguments being thrown around as if they’re gospel, is that they simply aren’t logically sound. The bulk of them aren’t based on real science, they’re just poor quality rhetoric.
Why does this matter to me? I’m not a doctor or scientist or a health practitioner of any sort, and to be honest I have very little interest in being the person who gives out nutritional advice. But I like to know the truth, and when it comes to using diet to improve metabolic health, I strongly believe that once the biggest lies and misconceptions (in relation to how metabolism functions) get cleared up, it becomes much easier to make genuinely helpful, rather than harmful food (and other) choices for yourself.
This is especially true when it comes to sugar, because if you haven’t already been told, sugar is an absolutely fundamental nutrient. You just can’t live without it, nor would you want to. If you don’t believe me, go look it up. Even Wikipedia won’t be able to avoid telling you the truth about this, at least up to a point.
When I say that you can’t live without sugar, I’m not trying to suggest that our bodies do not have mechanisms (gluconeogenesis for instance), which keep us functioning when sugar isn’t available. I think this is where a big part of the confusion exists, central to the illogical nature of anti-sugar ideology, and I’m going to address that here today.
But before I do that, I want to point out what I have concluded is one of the most common errors underpinning negative belief systems regarding sugar consumption. Most people conflate blood sugar dysregulation with excessive sugar consumption, but they are not the same thing, and the latter does not necessarily lead to the former.
To put it another way, eating too much sugar is not the cause of problems with the ability of the body to properly regulate blood sugar. Don’t worry, I am not denying the fact that blood sugar dysregulation issues are a fundamental problem associated with the onset and development of metabolic illness.
But what I am saying is that eating sugar is not the reason behind the occurrence of blood sugar issues, and it follows from that, that avoiding sugar consumption is not the solution.
Please don’t take from that, that what I’m suggesting is that everyone is, metabolically speaking, in a position to eat as much sugar as they want right now, without any consequences. And although I think this aught to be obvious, experience has taught me that I have to make it clear that I am also not saying that it’s healthy to eat only sugar and nothing else. At least not for too long anyway.
There is plenty of good quality experimental evidence, which shows what is actually responsible for blood sugar dysregulation issues (hint hint, PUFAs), and you can find a lot of it attached to other articles I have written here. But ignoring the studies for a moment, the more important thing, is to understand why it doesn’t make sense to blame sugar, especially if you want to have any kind of coherent understanding of the relationship between food and metabolic disease.
The basic premise is, if some thing (not sugar), is interfering with the ability of cells in the body to use sugar in an optimal manner, and if this then leads to blood sugar regulation issues (including a buildup of sugar in the blood), the fact that sugar is involved, does not mean that sugar is responsible. If you don’t understand this, nothing else I say will be as meaningful.
Even if a buildup of sugar in the blood (hyperglycemia), can be shown to be harmful to metabolism in and of itself, it still doesn’t change the fact that this doesn’t prove that sugar is the culprit. Nor does it imply that removing sugar is the right solution.
When I said earlier that you cannot live without sugar, I was not suggesting that a person cannot ever live without eating sugar. Obviously that isn’t the case, because people are doing it all the time, and some of them are still here.
But when you do stop eating it (and once you run out of sugar stores), your system will start to do what it is designed to do, in order to make sure there is a continuous supply of sugar. This is because, as I said earlier, you cannot live without sugar.
The problem is then, that many of the things that happen in order to ensure that there is never a moment where sugar is not available, are also things that promote stress, metabolic suppression, and progression towards disease, and they just so happen to be the same things that can interfere with the ability of cells to properly use sugar, and cause blood sugar issues. Can you see where all of this is headed?
The way the body is designed to go about ensuring that there is always sugar available, so that it can stay alive, is also involved in what causes the problems that are popularly blamed on sugar. Ironically, it is lack of sugar supply and availability, that is more likely to be the problem.
This is just the beginning of the story, and I hope that it isn’t confusing so far, because once you understand this, you’ll be in a better position to understand why there is no getting around the importance of sugar.
You will then hopefully start to see why it doesn’t make sense to blame sugar consumption, for problems that relate to issues with blood sugar, and that’s pretty much every metabolic illness, or just illness in general.
In the next installment, I’m going to talk a bit more about some of the things that happen to metabolism when sugar is not supplied, that promote issues with sugar. And I’ll talk about why you can be eating sugar, and still be having problems relating to lack of sugar availability (or accessibility), and how eating sugar can be part of a solution.
In the meantime, understanding just the information in this first installment, can take you a long way towards being able to make more logical decisions, with regards to what is and isn’t good for metabolism.
That doesn’t mean that I’m suggesting a specific diet, or even that I think you can control all your health issues. Nor am I saying that diet and health should necessarily be the number one priority in life.
I will say however, that learning how to tweak a diet avoiding the PUFAs, and including enough protein from sources like milk or cheese, as well as plenty of sugar from sweet ripe fruits, fruit juice, honey and white sugar, is one way to help maintain good metabolic function, and to avoid sugar related issues.
While you’re waiting for ‘A Logical Argument For Sugar Part 2’, feel free to search through previous articles (and attached studies) on this blog, discussing aspects of the same topic. You can comment below, and if you like what I have to say, please subscribe to the email list at the top, and please share this for others to see.
Image: Robot Chicken – The Sack