Warren Buffet, 92 drinks 5 cans of Coke daily: Biology of sugar tolerance

Probiotic Dan

Warren buffet enjoying a coca colaPhoto byRick Wilking/flickr

Warren Buffet is a 92-old billionaire who has amassed a wealth of about $116 billion as of 2023. Amassing that much money is impressive in its own right, but doing it while enjoying all manner of sweets, sugary sodas, ice creams, and fast foods is another thing all together.

In fact, according to a story that appeared on the Business Insider, the Berkshire Hathaway CEO, “munches on McDonald's for breakfast, guzzles five cans of Coke every day, and demolishes cookies and chocolates”.

It gets even more interesting when you find out that Warren has lived like this his entire life. His 99-year old right hand man, Charlie Munger is also no different. Charlie has been on record joking that candies are the key to long life.

How Much Sugar is Too Much?

Here is where it gets confusing. Scientists have been bombarding us with information about the evils of sugar. In fact, most people are aware of these Healthline outlined risks of enjoying sugar including, diabetes, obesity, heart disease, and cancer among others.

It is for such reason that the American Heart Association (AHA) recommends that: “Men should consume no more than 9 teaspoons (36 grams or 150 calories) of added sugar per day. For women, the number is lower: 6 teaspoons (25 grams or 100 calories) per day”.

To put that into context, each can of coke contains 138 calories, 33g of sugar, and 29 mg of caffeine. So our billionaire investor is way above the daily limit recommendations.

This brings us to the main question for today: Are there people with a special biology that allows them to consume high amounts of sugar without experiencing health problems?

For some people, this question is even more direct: “Why can some people eat so much sugar and not get fat?”

Why Some People Struggle with Sugar More than Others

All indications are that the burden of sugar consumption is different for each individual. After some general research on the query, it does appear that; Technically, your body should be in a position to handle sugar…even a lot of it…But you need to be built for it!

What are these bits and parts that allow people to co-exist with sugar in harmony?

How Your Body Processes Sugar

We all know the basic biology explanation. When we eat carbs and other sugar-containing foods, our digestive system turns it into sugar. The sugar often enters the blood stream and that is where pancreas-produced insulin controls how glucose is absorbed into the cells to be used for energy or to be turned into fats for future energy usage.

It is that simple. You eat sugar, your body turns it into energy and fats.

So when does sugar become this big villain we have all come to know and hate?

Why Some People Struggle with Sugar More than Others

According to the government’s NLM resource, your body’s ability to produce and regulate insulin is one of the major determinants of the results of your relationship with sugar. On the other hand, researchers are still exploring the variations in insulin resistance and metabolic resistance from one individual to the other.

The daily recommendation for sugar intake is less than 10 teaspoons a day as per the AHA. Anything above this and you are taking too much of the sweet stuff.

What about those people who are messed up by 2 teaspoons of sugar? What piece of machinery is missing from their bodies that the Buffets of this world have?

According to the F8 Well Centers, the first enemy of sugar is an imbalanced gut bacteria and/or gut inflammation. You, see for people who have gut inflammation and an imbalance of microbiota, their bodies will often “overreact” to sugar intake.

Researchers are closing in on this connection, especially for those who have a leaky gut condition. Therefore, if you suffer microbiota imbalance issues, any teaspoon of sugar you ingest will go towards feeding your enemy (the bad bacteria over-colonizing your gut).

As per the research on mechanisms of microbiota, altering the human gut bacteria will lead to variations in insulin sensitivity and by extension, individual interactions with sugar. Therefore, people with imbalanced microbiota might experience terrible bloating, IBS, skin allergy problems, brain fog, and terrible mood swings after they take sugar.

What Can Help You Handle Increased Sugar Intake?

First, if you do not have insulin resistance problems, you are among those lucky people favored by genes among other factors. You have also passed the first hurdle of sugar enjoyment.

Secondly, according to research appearing on the Journal of Nutrients, unabsorbed sugar ends up in the colon where it undergoes fermentation before being excreted. This metabolic function means that if you lack the right bacteria in the colon, the unfermented sugar waste most-likely comes out in the form of diarrhea and gas.

As per these research findings, to “sweep up” excess sugar from your body, you need enough good bacteria colonizing your colon. If you have more of the bad bacteria, you are likely to have a lot of gas, bloating, and other digestive issues. Especially after enjoying your sugary treats.

What We Can Conclude

In this article, we concentrated on how the entry and exit points of sugar in your body determine your overall relationship with sugar. The entry point is mostly determined by insulin sensitivity. You need to conduct wider research on insulin sensitivity but from what we have covered, it is determined by genes, microbiota composition, and lifestyle among other things.

As per what we have seen, the exit point of sugar is the colon, whereby it should be fermented before finally being excreted. Having the right balance of bacteria will thereby determine the amount and types of problems you can experience from sugar consumption.

People like Warren Buffet who have enjoyed sugar their whole lives and live longer than most are indeed not rare. They are enough of them to show that sugar consumption impacts individuals differently.

What you need to understand is that genes and individual physiology play a big role in determining your overall relationship with sugar.

So the issue here is if your body allows you to enjoy sugar above the recommended limit…probably like Warren’s has allowed him to do in one way or another.

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Probiotic Lifestyle ambassador and Philosopher. Get wise or die trying!

Boston, MA

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