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What Produces Sugar Glucose Literally Out of Thin Air?

Glucose Is the Building Block Of All Plant Life.

Most of the glucose molecules in plants and trees are connected by unbreakable beta bonds that form the structural material for leaves, branches, and roots. However, the glucose molecules in starch are linked together by weak alpha bonds. These are easy for the enzymes of plants and animals to break and provide a ready source of energy.

 High Carbohydrate Foods

Plants manufacture glucose literally out of thin air. They combine carbon dioxide from the air with water from the soil using energy from sunlight. Both plants and animals transform some glucose to fructose, a sugar that is very similar to glucose except for a different arrangement of atoms.

Plants also produce the sugar sucrose, a double molecule consisting of one glucose molecule linked to one fructose molecule. Cane sugar, the kind of sugar we use to sweeten our coffee and tea, is pure sucrose. The digestive tract breaks down sucrose into glucose and fructose before it is absorbed into the bloodstream.

When we use the word sugar, we usually mean cane sugar, sucrose. However, when a doctor refers to blood sugar, he usually means glucose. This creates some confusion. It leads people to think that diabetes comes from eating too much sugar.

Some people even call diabetes “sugar diabetes”. In fact, most of the sugar in people’s blood does not come from sucrose. It comes from the breakdown of starch. According to the Nurse’s Health Study, a survey of the diets of more than 121,700 women, Americans get several times more glucose from starch than from sucrose. “Starch diabetes” would be a more proper name for diabetes.

A Diet Based Largely On Starches

The dramatic shift from a hunter-gatherer diet of meat and crude vegetation to a diet based largely on starches had profound effects on human health. As humans began consuming more carbohydrates, their bodies changed and became less muscular.

Potatoes by: By Scott Bauer, USDA

Humans became prone to what scientists call diseases of civilizations - obesity, diabetes, and heart disease. Is it possible that the  establishment of agriculture has brought these changes in our diet? Humans consumed carbohydrates before. The difference is that the plant parts we eat have become increasingly refined and stripped of their natural barriers to digestion.

The rates of obesity, diabetes, and heart disease are directly related to the lack of inhibitors to carbohydrate absorption in our diet. Today many people consume fewer natural sugar-blocking substances such as fiber and complex carbohydrates. As a result they have higher rates of obesity, diabetes, and heart disease than people who eat larger amounts of those sugar-blocking substances.

What is it about stripping plants of their natural barriers to digestion that makes us prone to these problems? It has to do with the hormone insulin.

Source: The Sugar Blockers Diet by: Rob Thompson, MD.

Find more about the hormone insulin in my next post.


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