How Your Body Uses Sugar

Your body is designed to utilize the sugar in food as energy. Carbohydrates found in natural sugars and starches are broken down into their simple molecular components so they may be absorbed and converted to energy. In addition, these foods have other nutrients that your body needs and uses: vitamins, minerals, proteins, fats, and fiber.

Unfortunately, refined sugar, or sucrose, has no nutritional value. Although it is derived from plants (sugar cane and beets), it has been depleted of all other nutrients. What remains is pure carbohydrate in a form the human body is not built to utilize.

These empty calories (foods that contain calories but no viable nutrition are said to contain “empty calories”) cannot all possibly be used and are stored in the liver in the form of glycogen.

When the liver is full, excess glycogen is taken to the blood in the form of fatty acids and transported for storage all over the body, but particularly in areas that are relatively inactive, including your belly, butt, breasts, and thighs. When these areas are full, the fatty acids are distributed between your organs, reducing their ability to function.

Fact

Sugar cane originated in the Pacific Islands, migrated to Asia, the Middle East, and India. Crusaders brought “sweet salt” back from their expeditions, and by the 1400s sugar cane plantations were in full production throughout the Mediterranean. By the 1600s production began in the Caribbean, where it flourished. In the 1700s beets became a popular sugar source when a British blockade denied Napoleon his Caribbean imports.

Your body reacts so strongly to a sudden influx of pure carbohydrate that you can physically feel a rush of energy. Unlike the sugar you get from fruits, milk, or honey, refined sugar is metabolized instantly. And once your body uses it, it craves more, and sends you into withdrawal.

If more is not consumed, you experience the inevitable crash. Your body reacts to what is essentially poison by sending nutrients to help keep you in balance. Vitamins, minerals, and enzymes rush to the rescue, resulting in depletion of these nutrients throughout the body.

Sure, carbohydrates are essential for good nutrition. But you were never meant to eat it in a refined state. Your body needs the full benefit of the nutrients that come with a piece of fruit or even a taste of honey. These natural foods take time to digest, entering the body slowly, and are put to use where and when they are needed.

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