Almost everyone has an opinion on sugar these days. You should or should consume it and how much. Parents spend a large part of their equity with children trying to get them to skip sweet things. Therefore, substitutes of sugar or sugar that may even have some benefits can quickly become the rage. Trehalose is sugar, which on the surface appears to have therapeutic value by regulating protein unfolding. It is found in chewing gum frozen foods and ration packs.

Trehalose is an interesting sugar substitute as it is significantly less sweet than traditional sugar. It is used as a preservative as it inhibits the degradation of protein, carbohydrates, and fat. Nutritionally it is equal to glucose because once ingested; it is rapidly broken into glucose. So much so that scientists question the therapeutic value as it is converted into glucose much too quickly preventing the trehalose in its original form from entering your cells. Therefore, the only way to benefit from it seems to be an oral application such as in the use of eye drops. Trehalose was historically expensive to make, but about two decades ago, a Japanese company developed an inexpensive process to extract this form of sugar from starch and enabled mass production.

In studies conducted this form of sugar was shown to inhibit insulin production and the formation of triglycerides. In another study, it was revealed to increase autophagy, the consumption of your dead cells by your body which reduces the risk of autoimmune diseases and cancer. Another positive impact of the sugar is to decrease the incidence of misfolded protein commonly found in people who have Parkinson’s or Huntington’s Disease.

As someone who has pretty much given up consuming sugar in all forms, with the rare exception of some sugar in my dark chocolate, I am wary of consuming sugar no matter what the professed virtues. Unless of course, it is medication.


Ritesh is a born again health enthusiast and holds a Certificate in Physiology from Harvard Medical School and a Certificate in Nutrition from Tufts University.

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