Refined sugar is exceptionally bad for your health. It messes up your energy levels, your mood, your skin, your weight and, as if that wasn’t enough, it biologically ages you. But how does something so sweet and lovely cause such a decline in health? Gather round and make yourself comfortable children, because I’d like to tell you a story…
It’s been a great night at the hottest new joint in town, Club Glucose. The music has been pumping and the alcohol has been flowing freely. There’s been dancing and laughing and flirting and all kinds of fun stuff. But as the bar tender calls time and the lights go on Artery Street is quickly filled with happy, drunken Glucose party-goers. These folks know how to have a good time and they’re darned if they’re going to stop now. They’re running around in front of cars, flashing their knickers and making a whole load of noise. Luckily, Sgt Insulin, one of the local police station’s finest, is adept at calmly rounding up rowdy individuals and getting them home quickly and calmly. Within a few hours everyone is tucked up in bed, sleeping soundly, and they’ll all be ready to face the next day rested and with a few good stories to tell.
Club Glucose was heaving last night due to an increased door count. The bar sold out and the crowd was lively. When Sgt Insulin got the call at closing time he was not impressed at the thought of a second night hauling inebriated Glucose clubbers back to their family homes. In fact, due to the increase in numbers he wasn’t able to deal with them all.
To make matters worse, Club Fructose – the exclusive club for those who feel themselves above the pull of Club Glucose – has recently opened. The clientele of Club Fructose have such high connections that they do not have to answer to Sgt Insulin and so will not be escorted home in an orderly fashion.
Those left outside from both clubs started to vandalise the local shops up and down Artery Street, and so a vehicle was sent to cart them off to the F.A.T. cells where they will all stay until released on bail.
For the third night in a row Club Glucose and Club Fructose kick out their drunken clubbers. For the third night in a row the Glucose posse flood Artery St, running around in front of cars, flashing their knickers and making a whole load of noise while the Fructose lot score expensive drugs which they feel are offset by their charity work.
Poor Sgt Insulin takes the call to please round the Glucose hooligans up and get them to their cellular homes as quickly as possible. He’s really tired now. He gets some of them home and some, like their friends yesterday, are left staggering around up and down Artery Street ready for the F.A.T squad to come pick them up.
To make matters worse, some of the families of our Club Glucose clubbers have had enough of this rowdy behaviour. They bolt their doors and refuse to let Sgt Insulin escort them inside. There are now crazy numbers of the Glucose crowd running around and causing total havoc. As only large groups of drunkards can they vandalise not just Artery Street but the entire neighbourhood, smashing shop windows, urinating in alleyways and knocking down walls. As time goes on, and both clubs have their licenses renewed for seven days a week the local communities begin to suffer.
The local council does, however, have an emergency contractor who will very cheaply and effectively smooth over the worst of the damage to the buildings with a homemade soft and oily substance that hardens over time. This magic stuff is called Cholesterol. The only problem is that the more damage that is caused by the influence of Glucose, the more layers the cholesterol contractor will need to keep applying. And with increased layers the neighbourhood begins to resemble a ghetto, something akin to Gotham City.
I could go on. But I won’t, because I think my use of metaphor is just going to get more confusing. But do you see where I’m going with this? I’ll break it down for you – a very basic guide to what happens to sugar once it get’s absorbed into your bloodstream:
- Insulin is the hormone that lets glucose into cells to provide energy.
- If there’s too much glucose (or fructose, which doesn’t stimulate an insulin response) for immediate use it gets stored in the fat cells for future use.
- Too much circulating glucose causes damage (both internal and external) to the body.
- Continued high levels of blood glucose cause the insulin response to switch off. This is known as insulin resistance, and is the state of being pre-diabetic.
- Cholesterol is produced by the body to repair the damage caused by high levels of sugar.
I don’t know about you but I like stories that end well. So, here is my final chapter – I hope you like it too!
The local authorities persuade Club Glucose and even Club Fructose to limit their entries on the door, and even to close for a few days a week. Meanwhile a new cleaning contractor is called in, a highly recommended clean-up crew with buckets of saturated fat and Omega 3s to wash down the walls and sluice the streets. The cholesterol contractor returns to his preferred job, that of doing basic home maintenance. Both Glucose and Fructose party-goers are inspired to once again become useful members of society, with just the occasional party night at which to let their hair down and so, once our friend Sgt Insulin is able to catch up on his sleep, he is a happy man patrolling the streets once more.