Functional Medicine/glucose


Hi Mr. Carney - My question is the following: Since whatever we eat is broken down during the process of digestion into mostly glucose, why not just drink some glucose solution- perhaps with a bit of minerals mixed in- instead of eating food. I know it sounds crazy, but wouldn't that be easier for the body by not having to use so much energy to break down solid foods- which only get converted to glucose in the end anyway? thanks

The question is an oversimplification for how digestion and metabolism works.

First, we need the macronutrients like proteins and fats too! Proteins are the building blocks for cells, organs and tissues, including muscles and gene function. Glucose provides part of the fuel for muscle and brain activity, but we also burn fats for fuel. Cells also need fats, as do some vitamins (A, D, E and K) in order to be absorbed, or they would pass through the body and create signifcant nutrient defeciencies.

Second, we also need micro-nutrients: vitamins, minerals and anti-oxidants. Our metabolism and digestive processes, as well as brain and nervous system all need trace amounts of vitamins, minerals and anti-oxidats for our organs and cells to work properly! For example, you need vitamins and minerals in the right amounts to process glucose. So just glucose with minerals would not only be unhealthy, it would lead to malnourishment!

Third, we all need fiber to help regulate our digestive tract and speed, including intestional tone and our gut bacteria. Pure glucose would quickly cause imbalances in gut bacteria, as well as spike blood glucose. When glucose spikes, such as after a soda, the pancreas has to secrete insulin, as high glucose levels are toxic to organs, tissues and arteries! Insulin turns glucose into fat so it can be stored and taken out of the blood stream. So using only a glucose solution like you are describing, you would quickly gain weight, develop serious hormonal imbalances, nutrient deficiencies, and compromise immune function and other organs and tissues. You wouldn't live very long!

We do need a range whole foods (veggies, proteins, fruits, fats, etc.), and all the nutrients they provide!

I hope that makes sense! :)  

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Steven Carney


I can answer questions that involve nutrition, fitness and weight loss issues. I'm also able to answer questions for chronic, lifestyle-driven conditions, such as high cholesterol/triglycerides, high BP/hypertension, atherosclerosis/heart disease, systemic inflammation, arthritis, high blood sugar, obesity, etc.


I've been passionate about health and nutrition for 20 years, and I have researched and written about the areas I listed above. I handled the ingredient and formula research for Amrion, a nutraceutical company. I also helped to create some of their formulas. See social media icons or more info. I have a blog ( with numerous posts I've researched and written. I've also compiled hundreds of research studies and other resources for the site.

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