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Why Can't Fat Be Converted To Glucose

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How Does Fat Get Converted Into Energy - _

This is perhaps a little on the 'nerdy' side of questions, but is something I don't quite understand. It's not really necessary to fully understand it, to follow a 'whole foods' diet, or an 'ssos' lifestyle, but still, I would like to get my head around it. So in that regard... I understand that carbohydrates are converted into glucose, which is then used as energy in the body, and whatever energy the body does not use, it then moves into the adipose tissue, with the help of our friendly hormone called insulin. I understand that protein gets converted into amino acids, that the body then uses to restore, rebuild, and construct muscle tissue, along with other healthy tissues throughout the body. Whatever protein is not used for amino acids, is then moved into the liver, where it is converted into glucose, and at that point, the body can then use this glucose for energy. Just like our buddy, carbohydrate up above, whatever glucose (that originated from protein) that is not used for energy, can then be shuffled on over to the adipose (fat) tissue, with the help of insulin, where it is stored as body fat. Now, with Fat, this is where things get a little confusing, because my understan Continue reading >>

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  1. Christian

    I read conflicting views about whether or not the human body can create glucose out of fat. Can it?

  2. David

    Only about 5–6% of triglyceride (fat) can be converted to glucose in humans.
    This is because triglyceride is made up of one 3-carbon glycerol molecule and three 16- or 18-carbon fatty acids. The glycerol (3/51-to-57 = 5.2–5.9%) can be converted to glucose in the liver by gluconeogenesis (after conversion to dihydroxyacetone phosphate).
    The fatty acid chains, however, are oxidized to acetyl-CoA, which cannot be converted to glucose in humans. Acetyl-CoA is a source of ATP when oxidized in the tricarboxylic acid cycle, but the carbon goes to carbon dioxide. (The molecule of oxaloacetate produced in the cycle only balances the one acetyl-CoA condenses with to enter the cycle, and so cannot be tapped off to gluconeogenesis.)
    So triglyceride is a poor source of glucose in starvation, and that is not its primary function. Some Acetyl-CoA is converted to ketone bodies (acetoacetate and β-hydroxybutyrate) in starvation, which can replace part — but not all — of the brain’s requirement for glucose.
    Plants and some bacteria can convert fatty acids to glucose because they possess the glyoxylate shunt enzymes that allow two molecules of Acetyl-CoA to be converted into malate and then oxaloacetate. This is generally lacking in mammals, although it has been reported in hibernating animals (thanks to @Roland for the last piece of info).

  3. blu potatos

    To be more detailed it is the irreversibly of the reaction carried by Pyruvate dehydrogenase that makes the conversion of the fatty acid chains to glucose impossible. The fatty acids chains are converted to acetyl-CoA.
    Acetyl-CoA to be converted into pyruvate need an enzyme that can do the Pyruvate Dehydrogenase's inverse reaction (in humans there is no such enzyme). Than the pyruvete inside the mitochondria is converted into glucose(gluconeogenesis).

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