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April 1919


Author Affiliations


From the Laboratory of Pathological Chemistry, and the Department of Medicine, New York Post Graduate Medical School and Hospital.

Arch Intern Med (Chic). 1919;23(4):455-483. doi:10.1001/archinte.1919.00090210049005

In 1647 Thomas Willis recognized the presence of sugar by its sweet taste in the urine of diabetics. This sugar was identified as glucose by Chevreul in 1815. That diabetic blood also contained sugar was first recognized by Dobson in 1775, and his observation was confirmed the following year by Cullen.1

In 1831 Tiedemann and Gmelin2 showed that sugar was normally present in the blood after meals, and that it originated in the digestion of starchy food in the intestine. Up to this time sugar had been considered a pathologic product in the blood and urine of diabetics. The fact that sugar is present in the blood of an animal on a carbohydrate-free diet was first demonstrated by Claude Bernard in 1848. Eight years later, Chauveau asserted that sugar was a constant constituent of the blood, that its presence was not dependent on the diet, and that in the fasting