Sugar can be used medicinally to help regulate metabolism efficiently. It’s funny because, when we think about what we’ve been taught about sugar, using it as a medicine is not the first thing that comes to mind. I’m talking about fructose and sucrose, the sugars you get from fruit, organic table sugar, honey and below ground root veggies. Not the kind of sugar you get from starchy foods like pasta and breads and especially not from high fructose corn syrup, that’s an entirely different thing. The glucose in starchy complex carbohydrates can actually cause a spike in insulin, stimulate appetite and get stored as fat. Sucrose (glucose and fructose) actually inhibits that insulin spike, and glucose gets used for energy. So if you have a starchy veggie like a potato as part of your meal, have some fruit with that meal and make sure to add some fat and protein to the potato, like butter and cream. That way, you avoid the insulin spike from the glucose you get from the potato.
Sugar is a great tool for regulating metabolism, simply because it’s virtually impossible to do this efficiently without it. Your body craves a quick source of energy to work efficiently, and that is glucose. But if you get glucose from starchy complex carbohydrates only, you end up raising insulin levels rapidly and storing the excess glucose as fat. Ideally you want to use the glucose for energy, not store it as fat. Since sugars like fructose and sucrose are insulin inhibitors they get metabolized for energy right away and are not stored in the body as fat.
Eating a diet void of sugars can actually shut the thyroid down, since the process of breaking down protein and turning it into glucose for energy becomes very inefficient, using extra energy and resources. This process also leads to oxidation of free fatty acids in the body, which causes free radical damage, premature aging and sets the stage for disease.
Of course, it’s important to have a basic understanding of how much good fat and clean protein works for you in conjunction with eating the sugars (from fruit preferably), which can be discussed in a later blog. I really think it comes down to understanding on a deeper level how our bodies regulate themselves and what works for you. When we understand this, nutrition begins to make sense.