The Brain Prioritizes Glucose and Does Not Prefer It
The concept that the brain needs and prefers glucose as a source of fuel is a misinterpretation.
It is true that the brain uses more glucose than any other organ in the body. It is also true that when glucose is present, the brain will use it rather than any other fuel options.
This does however NOT mean that the brain prefers glucose as a fuel source.
If we assume the brain has no subjective “preferences” we need to look at the efficiency and direct impact of different fuel sources to determine the brain’s preference if any.
Before we do this however, we must also agree that the body is intelligent and will always express the best functional option in every case, every time. This will happen whether we understand that expression or not. If we do not agree on this basic principle, then there is no point in discussing this.
The same type of process and prioritization happens with alcohol and fructose in the liver. This is once again not a preference by any means, but rather an immediate priority to protect the body and in particular, the brain.
Fructose and alcohol can both be metabolized, and both have energy values (calories) that do not contribute to structure or repair in the body. Alcohol also does not contribute to energy production (for the most part).
Neither are nutrients and neither has a single pathway in the human body that requires them, nor a simple reaction and nor do they act as a cofactor for any. Alcohol does have bacterial pathways and is made in different forms in minuscule levels in the gut. This is why it gets readily absorbed into the body, just at much higher levels than designed when we drink it.
Fructose takes advantage of its near glucose biochemistry with the only difference being that it has 5 rings rather than 6 molecules. This slight difference determines its function and potential role in our system and health.
Alcohol and fructose are the same thing that uses the same pathway and produces the same health impacts. The difference is that one is of them is ultra-refined (alcohol) and when concentrated, it passes through the blood brain barrier to produce intoxication.
Alcohol is at least self-limiting as we pass out when we consume high enough levels, whereas one can consume seemingly endless amounts of fructose all day and night long.
This makes fructose more dangerous to our health than alcohol, and it has all the same addiction issues and brain chemistry changes that come from alcohol abuse. Yet we intentionally give it to our children, although doing the same with alcohol will get you a felony conviction.
The body prefers not to be toxic, prefers nutrients over non-nutrients to ingest. The body prefers to be healthy and live well rather than to be broken down by poisons. We chose to do otherwise.
We can do better!