Whether a cell uses facilitated diffusion or active transport depends on the specific needs of the cell. For example, the sugar glucose is transported by active transport from the gut into intestinal epithelial cells, but by facilitated diffusion across the membrane of red blood cells. Why? Consider how different these two environments are.Epithelial cells lining the gut need to bring glucose made available from digestion into the body and must prevent the reverse flow of glucose from body to gut. We need a mechanism to ensure that glucose always flows into intestinal cells and gets transported into the bloodstream, no matter what the gut concentration of glucose. Imagine what would happen if this were not so, and intestinal cells used facilitated diffusion carriers for glucose. Immediately after you ate candy bar or other food rich in sugar, the concentration of glucose in the gut would be high, and glucose would flow "downhill" from the gut into your body. But an hour later, when your intestines were empty and glucose concentrations in the intestines were lower than in your blood and tissues, facilitated diffusion carriers would allow the glucose in blood and tissues to flow "downhill," back into the gut. This would quickly deplete your short-term energy reserves. Because this situation would be biologically wasteful and probably lethal, it is worth the additional energy cost of active transport to make sure that glucose transport is a one-way process.