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Thread: Need short answer to 'but I thought all food was turned to sugar" page

  1. #1
    Helen in Oz's Avatar
    Helen in Oz is offline Senior Member
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    Need short answer to 'but I thought all food was turned to sugar"

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    when attempting to explain why I wasn't having sugar in my tea - that 4 mugs a day with sugars equals 40 grams of sugar with no nutrients - someone said that 'I thought all food was converted to sugar in the body...'

    all I could manage was 'well, yes and no...' and left it at that (too hard!)

    now I've been assiduously reading like mad but there's just too much information spinning round my head...

    can someone give me a short-and-naturally-sweet answer to this statement?

  2. #2
    Ry's Avatar
    Ry
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    The main point is that food contains carbs, proteins, and fats. All foods (atleast whole foods) contain all three of these but in varying amounts. The carbs will always turn to sugar, the proteins will sometimes, and the fats won't.

    When most people think of food they are thinking of something that is mostly starch (for example bread). Since starch is just a chain of glucose, and glucose is a sugar, it will turn to sugar inside the body. While protein can also turn into glucose, but the process is pretty metabolically taxing. Protein is more commonly used for other purposes. Fat will not be turned into sugar, as the body views it as a perfectly good source of energy.

    A counter example you could give is that a steak is certainly food, however very little of it will turn to sugar inside the body.
    Last edited by Ry; 04-18-2010 at 06:13 AM.

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    BarbeyGirl's Avatar
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    Right. Carbs, always. Protein, if consumed in excess. Fat, never.

    If you really wanted to get into it, you could explain that the rate at which the glucose enters the bloodstream is important for determining its hormonal impact (primarily insulin) on the body, which we know has a host of implications ranging from energy level to cardiovascular disease. So, a spoonful of C&H is more problematic than excess halibut, even if they do both ultimately turn to "sugar."
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    Samuel Hughes's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BarbeyGirl View Post
    Right. Carbs, always. Protein, if consumed in excess. Fat, never.

    If you really wanted to get into it, you could explain that the rate at which the glucose enters the bloodstream is important for determining its hormonal impact (primarily insulin) on the body, which we know has a host of implications ranging from energy level to cardiovascular disease. So, a spoonful of C&H is more problematic than excess halibut, even if they do both ultimately turn to "sugar."
    ^this. Intracellular conversion of protein/fat to glucose does not induce an insulin response like consuming carbs does. As a side note, though glucose is the most efficient/preferred fuel for aerobic respiration, your cells have mechanisms of using protein/fat directly as fuel---so glucose isn't actually necessary[/I] at all, though it definitely makes exercising easier.

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    Stabby's Avatar
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    Right-o. Lipolysis and beta oxidation involves no glucose and evoke no insulin. Protein does evoke insulin to store amino acids and then there will be some glucose for the brain via gluconeogenesis, but that would happen with carbs anyway + all of the muscles being fueled by the carbs, and protein evokes glucagon which is sort of the counter-hormone to insulin. All in all, the more carbs you replace with fat, the less insulin and the less blood sugar is out of homeostasis.

    And I agree with Sam though. If I'm doing a tough workout I'm going to want some fruit or something. But otherwise it's much healthier to be in fat-burning mode.

  6. #6
    Helen in Oz's Avatar
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    Thanks for these answers! That helps a lot. I think I'll have to write down some of the key facts and almost 'learn' them so that I'm not groping for words. Once my books arrive that will help (I seem to absorb information better from a page.)

    It's funny how anything you do that is counter to conventional wisdom or social norms requires you to be an expert in that topic - it's not enough to be convinced by the arguments of sound science, if you've got to defend your position.

    For me it's primarily about good health, of which weight management is a small component, so while I'm not being too strict with carbs, I've ditched the sugars and grain products straight up. As I learn more I'll fine-tune.

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