Jessie Inchauspé: Glucose Revolution (Book Overview)

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What is Jessie Inchauspé’s Glucose Revolution about? What is the key message to take away from the book?

In her book Glucose Revolution, Jessie Inchauspé explores glucose’s role as our body’s primary energy source while also examining the adverse consequences of too much glucose. She argues that glucose spikes are at the center of most common health issues and offers a collection of strategies for taking control of your health by stabilizing your glucose levels.

Below is a brief overview of Glucose Revolution by Jessie Inchauspé.

Where Does Glucose Come From?

In her book Glucose Revolution, Jessie Inchauspé explains that we need glucose to survive, but we can’t synthesize it ourselves. This means that we must get it from another source: plants. All the glucose in food we eat came from a plant at some point. 

Plants make glucose because they need it for energy just like we do, but they create it in a process called photosynthesis. They use the sun’s energy to turn carbon dioxide from the air and water from the soil into glucose. 

Glucose and Other Carbohydrates

Glucose is a carbohydrate, which Inchauspé defines as molecules that are created when carbon and water join together (as happens, for example, during photosynthesis). Plants bind glucose molecules together in various ways and for different purposes, forming three main types of carbohydrates: starch, fiber, and sugars. 


Inchauspé explains that starches are chains of glucose that plants use as energy stores when they don’t have access to sunlight at night (and therefore can’t photosynthesize to make more energy-giving glucose). 

During the day, plants make more glucose than they need, and with the help of enzymes, they join the excess glucose molecules into chains that form starch molecules. When a plant needs glucose again, it uses the enzyme alpha-amylase to break some molecules free from the starch chain. In our diet, we get starch from foods like potatoes, oats, and barley. 

Inchauspé notes that like plants, our bodies use alpha-amylase to break down starch into glucose. This process starts with the enzymes in our saliva and ends when glucose molecules are freed in our gut.


Inchauspé states that fiber is also made from chains of glucose molecules, but the molecules are joined together in different ways than those in starches. Fiber is tough, holding plants together and keeping them upright. 

Because of fiber’s strength, no enzymes in our bodies can break it down, so it retains its structure while moving through our digestive system. This means that it doesn’t provide us with energy from glucose molecules. However, it does help keep our gut microbiome (the bacteria living in our digestive system) healthy. 


Inchauspé defines glucose, fructose, and sucrose as sugars. They all taste sweet, but they serve different purposes for plants. Plants transform some glucose into fructose because fructose is sweeter. Fructose makes fruit sweet enough to attract animals, who then eat the fruit and spread the plant’s seeds through their waste. 

Sucrose (also known as table sugar) is also sweeter than glucose alone, and it’s made when glucose and fructose combine. Sucrose is a slightly smaller molecule than glucose and fructose, allowing plants to store more energy using less space.

When we eat fruit and other sweet foods, our guts absorb their glucose and fructose, which then enter the bloodstream. Sucrose takes a less direct route into the bloodstream: Sucrose from sweet foods breaks down into glucose and fructose with the help of enzymes. Some of the fructose molecules from sucrose break down further into glucose, but the rest remain intact. 

Where Does Glucose Go? 

According to Inchauspé, once carbohydrates break down into glucose in our digestive system, glucose enters cells throughout the body. Organelles in our cells called mitochondria transform glucose into energy, which powers all body systems. 

Additionally, when our glucose levels increase, our pancreas releases insulin. Insulin is a hormone that helps glucose that’s not being used for energy enter the liver, muscles, and fat for storage. The liver and muscles turn glucose into glycogen, a stored form of glucose that’s broken down whenever the body needs a quick boost of energy. 

This storage system is one of the reasons we gain weight—when our diets have too much glucose in them, we overload our liver and muscles, and the only way the body can store that glucose is by adding on fat. 

Additionally, whenever we eat foods containing fructose, we compound weight gain, as fructose can only be stored as fat. Unlike glucose, we can’t directly use fructose for energy. 

What Is a Glucose Spike?

Inchauspé states that glucose spikes happen when the glucose concentration in our body suddenly increases (and then dips) after we eat. In the short term, glucose spikes can make us feel dizzy, nauseous, and exhausted. In addition, they can cause excess sweating, heart palpitations, stress, food cravings, and brain fog. 

Glucose concentration is typically measured in milligrams of glucose per deciliter of blood (mg/dL). The concentration of glucose in our bodies shouldn’t increase by more than 30 mg/dL after we eat—anything above that is considered a glucose spike. Inchauspé argues that glucose levels are a good measure of our overall health because they affect every system in our body. 

Glucose Spikes on a Molecular Level

The author argues that the more frequently we endure glucose spikes of 30 mg/dL or above after eating, the likelier we are to experience the following problems on a molecular level:

Overloaded Mitochondria and Free Radicals

Inchauspé states that when we experience a glucose spike, our mitochondria become overloaded. Mitochondria are responsible for turning glucose into energy in our cells. This system works well when the amount of glucose our mitochondria receive matches the amount of energy our body needs. However, mitochondria overloaded with too much glucose can’t produce energy efficiently. 

Additionally, having overloaded mitochondria leads to the release of free radicals, which are small molecules that cause damage throughout the body. 

Oxidative Stress

According to Inchauspé, our bodies can handle a certain number of free radicals, but repeated glucose spikes over time can produce so many that we enter a state called oxidative stress. Our mitochondria become less efficient, and we have less energy. Without the proper fuel, our organs can’t function as effectively, and we struggle with frequent exhaustion. 


Glycation is another process that frequent glucose spikes exacerbate. It happens when glucose molecules touch other molecules in the body. Glucose damages the other molecules and literally cooks and browns our insides. Once a molecule is glycated, it’s damaged forever. This process is the main reason why we age and our organs decline, eventually leading to death. It’s unavoidable, but the speed of the process can be increased or decreased. Glucose spikes speed glycation up since more free glucose molecules are administered to the body at once. 

Glucose Spikes and Health Problems

In the last section, we covered the basics of where glucose comes from, how it works in the body, and how too much of it causes stress in the body on a molecular level. 

In this section, we’ll examine how frequent glucose spikes—and the corresponding effects of increased free radicals, oxidative stress, and glycation—contribute to many acute and chronic health conditions, including the following: 

Type 2 Diabetes 

According to the author, type 2 diabetes is the condition that’s most commonly associated with increased glucose levels. It results from the relationship between glucose and insulin: First, as previously noted, when we experience glucose spikes, the pancreas releases insulin to store away the excess glucose as glycogen in the liver, muscles, and fat. The more glucose there is, the more insulin is released, and the more glucose has to be stored as fat.  

Second, as the pancreas releases more and more insulin, our cells become resistant to the hormone. Because of this resistance, larger quantities of insulin are needed to store the same amount of glucose as glycogen. 

Eventually, the storage system fails—the body can’t store glucose as glycogen anymore. With nowhere and no way to store glucose molecules, their concentration in our bodies increases permanently. 

Heart Disease 

Inchauspé states that elevated glucose levels and frequent glucose spikes can also lead to heart disease in the long term. This is because glucose spikes contribute to cholesterol accumulation beneath the lining of our blood vessels, which sets off heart disease. 

How do glucose spikes lead to cholesterol accumulation? The cells lining our blood vessels are highly susceptible to mitochondrial stress, which glucose spikes directly contribute to. When experiencing mitochondrial stress, the blood vessel lining’s cells go from even to irregular in shape, making it easy for cholesterol to get caught in the grooves of the lining. 

Additionally, when our glucose levels make our insulin levels too high, our liver begins producing a small type of cholesterol called LDL pattern B that gets stuck more easily on the edges of blood vessels than other types of cholesterol. High levels of glucose, fructose, and insulin contribute to the oxidization of LDL pattern B, making it even more likely to stick under the lining of our blood vessels. Finally, we experience heart disease when enough cholesterol accumulates to start hindering our blood flow. 


According to the author, glucose spikes can increase our risk of cancer in three ways: 

First, the increased number of free radicals that result from glucose spikes can increase our risk of dangerous DNA mutations. Studies suggest that this may be how cancer begins. 

Additionally, high glucose levels lead to chronic inflammation, which encourages the rapid increase of cancer cells. Generally, inflammation is one way for the body to defend against harmful intruders, such as viruses and bacteria. However, the body attacks itself when it’s chronically inflamed, leading to tissue and organ damage. 

Finally, high levels of insulin that result from elevated glucose levels make cancer spread faster, increasing the likelihood that we’ll die from it.

Mental Health Issues and Cognitive Decline

Inchauspé also describes how glucose spikes can contribute to mental health struggles and cognitive decline. First, research suggests that people who eat diets that lead to frequent glucose spikes experience more mood disturbances and instances of depression than people whose diets result in more stable glucose levels.

Second, glucose spikes can contribute to the development of cognitive diseases such as Alzheimer’s. When the mitochondria in brain cells get overloaded with glucose after repeated glucose spikes, they go into oxidative stress. This then causes neuroinflammation, which can turn into cognitive decline as brain cells get damaged. 

Cravings and Hunger

Finally, according to the author, glucose spikes can cause various issues related to our relationship with food, including food cravings and too-frequent hunger.

Food cravings typically happen during the crash following a glucose spike. Studies indicate that when our glucose levels drop, we crave high-calorie foods. For example, during a glucose crash, we’re more likely to choose a slice of pizza over a salad.  

Additionally, we may experience too-frequent hunger when we have glucose spikes. This is because frequent glucose spikes lead to high insulin levels, and too much insulin can block the hormone leptin, which tells us when we’re full. Then, ghrelin—the hormone that indicates hunger—becomes more active, pushing us to eat more. Thus, when our glucose levels are dysregulated, we get hungry as soon as two hours after eating.

Strategies for Stabilizing Your Glucose Levels

Now that we’ve discussed some of the most dangerous and unpleasant effects of glucose spikes, we’ll touch on some of Inchauspé’s strategies for preventing them. In this final section, you’ll learn methods for stabilizing your glucose levels, including how to eat and what to eat. 

How to Eat to Prevent Glucose Spikes

According to Inchauspé, the key to preventing glucose spikes isn’t just in what you eat—it also matters how you eat your food. The following strategies can help you stabilize your glucose levels without requiring you to give up anything you like to eat: 

Strategy #1: Eat Fiber First

Inchauspé argues that you can dramatically reduce glucose spikes by simply changing the order in which you eat your food. Start your meal with fiber, then eat proteins and fats, and finish with starchy and sweet carbohydrates.

Studies indicate that this eating order is as successful at preventing glucose spikes as diabetes medications targeted toward the same issue. 

According to Inchauspé, you should eat fiber first because it prevents glucose from being absorbed into your bloodstream too quickly, thus preventing harmful spikes. Fiber accomplishes this in three ways. First, it slows the activity of the enzyme alpha-amylase. As a result, your body breaks down starch into glucose more slowly. 

Second, fiber reduces the speed at which your stomach contents empty into your intestines. Glucose is absorbed into the bloodstream through your intestines, so this slowing effect ensures that you won’t get too much too quickly. 

Finally, fiber creates a permeable barrier in your small intestine that makes it harder for glucose to pass through it into the bloodstream, preventing too many molecules from entering at once.

Inchauspé suggests making a vegetable dish the first course of every meal, so you never forget to start with fiber.

Strategy #2: Eat Fats and Proteins Second

Inchauspé expands on her advice, stating that eating fats and proteins second further amplifies the beneficial effects of lowered glucose spikes—fats and proteins also prevent the stomach from emptying too quickly, thus blocking rapid glucose absorption. You can still eat sweet foods and starches during your meal if you want, but they won’t have such a negative effect if you eat them last. 

Alternatively, if you eat your starchy and sugary carbs first, they move swiftly to your small intestine, and there’s nothing to slow their breakdown into glucose molecules. The glucose enters your bloodstream in a large, quick influx, causing a spike.

Strategy #3: Avoid Eating Carbs by Themselves

Inchauspé acknowledges that it isn’t always possible to eat the food types separately and in the right order—sometimes, you’re in a rush and can’t plan a balanced meal. Other times, you might be eating a dish that contains all the food types at once, like soup.

In these cases, Inchauspé suggests always accompanying carbs with one of the other food types to still prevent the quick absorption of glucose. For example, if you’re having an apple, eat it with unsweetened peanut butter so the fat and protein help prevent a glucose spike from the sweet fruit.

Strategy #4: Exercise After Eating

According to Inchauspé, you can also prevent glucose spikes by changing what you do after you eat—specifically, by exercising. When you move your muscles during exercise, they use an energy-providing molecule called ATP to contract. ATP is made from glucose in the mitochondria, so you burn glucose every time you exercise. Instead of letting glucose collect throughout your body and cause a spike, your muscles use it up. 

The rate at which your body burns glucose depends on the type of activity you’re doing. The more your muscles contract, the more glucose and energy they require. That being said, you don’t have to do intense exercise to achieve these benefits. Even just taking a short walk after a meal can help.  

What You Should Eat to Prevent Glucose Spikes

Here, we’ll highlight two of Inchauspé’s strategies for patterning your food choices in a way that prevents glucose spikes:

Strategy #1: Eat Savory Foods for Breakfast

The author argues that we shouldn’t eat sweet, carbohydrate-rich foods at breakfast because we’re especially vulnerable to glucose spikes first thing in the morning. After sleeping and not eating for hours, the first thing we eat gets digested very quickly, so glucose from carbohydrate-rich foods is absorbed too rapidly. Then, this causes glucose spikes that throw our glucose out of balance for the rest of the day. 

The easiest way to prevent glucose spikes at breakfast is to eat savory foods. Inchauspé suggests focusing on protein like eggs, then adding in some fiber and fat, such as kale and cheese. 

Strategy #2: Drink Diluted Vinegar 

Finally, Inchauspé states that drinking one tablespoon of vinegar diluted in a glass of water before eating something sweet can reduce a glucose spike significantly. Additionally, consuming one tablespoon daily can decrease your overall glucose levels. 

These glucose-lowering effects come from the acetic acid in vinegar, which briefly inactivates alpha-amylase. Without the enzyme doing its work, starch and sugars can’t change into glucose as quickly, and we absorb glucose more slowly, preventing spikes.

Jessie Inchauspé: Glucose Revolution (Book Overview)

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Like what you just read? Read the rest of the world's best book summary and analysis of Jessie Inchauspé's "Glucose Revolution" at Shortform.

Here's what you'll find in our full Glucose Revolution summary:

  • Why you feel hungry soon after you eat and get tired throughout the day
  • The role glucose plays in your body, both positive and negative
  • Strategies for taking control of your health and glucose levels

Darya Sinusoid

Darya’s love for reading started with fantasy novels (The LOTR trilogy is still her all-time-favorite). Growing up, however, she found herself transitioning to non-fiction, psychological, and self-help books. She has a degree in Psychology and a deep passion for the subject. She likes reading research-informed books that distill the workings of the human brain/mind/consciousness and thinking of ways to apply the insights to her own life. Some of her favorites include Thinking, Fast and Slow, How We Decide, and The Wisdom of the Enneagram.

One thought on “Jessie Inchauspé: Glucose Revolution (Book Overview)

  • July 9, 2023 at 6:39 pm

    I would like to know your suggestion on having a sandwich for lunch or dinner. Also what type of bread ?


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