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How Does Your Body Get Glucose If You Don't Eat Carbohydrates

> Carbohydrates And Diabetes

> Carbohydrates And Diabetes

Keeping your blood sugar levels on track means watching what you eat, plus taking medicines like insulin if you need to. Your doctor may also have mentioned that you should keep track of how many carbohydrates (carbs) you eat. But what exactly are carbohydrates and how do they affect your blood sugar? The foods we eat contain nutrients that provide energy and other things the body needs, and one of these is carbohydrates. The two main forms of carbohydrates are: sugars such as fructose, glucose, and lactose starches, which are found in foods such as starchy vegetables (like potatoes or corn), grains, rice, breads, and cereals The body breaks down or converts most carbohydrates into the sugar glucose. Glucose is absorbed into the bloodstream, and with the help of a hormone called insulin it travels into the cells of the body where it can be used for energy. People with diabetes have problems with insulin that can cause blood sugar levels to rise. For people with type 1 diabetes, the pancreas loses the ability to make insulin. For people with type 2 diabetes, the body can't respond normally to the insulin that is made. Because the body turns carbohydrates into glucose, eating carbohydrates makes blood sugar levels rise. But that doesn't mean you should avoid carbohydrates if you have diabetes. Carbohydrates are a healthy and important part of a nutritious diet. Some carbohydrates have more health benefits than others, though. For example, whole-grain foods and fruits are healthier choices than candy and soda because they provide fiber, vitamins, and other nutrients. Fiber is important because it helps you feel full and keeps your digestive system working properly. In fact, eating lots of fiber can even help to slow the body's absorption of sugar when eaten together with s Continue reading >>

The Science Behind Fat Metabolism

The Science Behind Fat Metabolism

Per the usual disclaimer, always consult with your doctor before experimenting with your diet (seriously, go see a doctor, get data from blood tests, etc.). Please feel free to comment below if you’re aware of anything that should be updated; I’d appreciate knowing and I’ll update the content quickly. My goal here is to help a scientifically curious audience know the basic story and where to dive in for further study. If I’m successful, the pros will say “duh”, and everyone else will be better informed about how this all works. [UPDATE: based on a ton a helpful feedback and questions on the content below, I’ve written up a separate article summarizing the science behind ketogenic (low-carb) diets. Check it out. Also, the below content has been updated and is still very much applicable to fat metabolism on various kinds of diets. Thanks, everyone!] tl;dr The concentration of glucose in your blood is the critical upstream switch that places your body into a “fat-storing” or “fat-burning” state. The metabolic efficiency of either state — and the time it takes to get into one from the other — depends on a large variety of factors such as food and drink volume and composition, vitamin and mineral balances, stress, hydration, liver and pancreas function, insulin sensitivity, exercise, mental health, and sleep. Carbohydrates you eat, with the exception of indigestible forms like most fibers, eventually become glucose in your blood. Assuming your metabolism is functioning normally, if the switch is on you will store fat. If the switch is off, you will burn fat. Therefore, all things being equal, “diets” are just ways of hacking your body into a sufficiently low-glycemic state to trigger the release of a variety of hormones that, in turn, result in Continue reading >>

Is The Brain Fueled By Fat, Protein, Or Carbs?

Is The Brain Fueled By Fat, Protein, Or Carbs?

The human brain consumes up to 20% of the energy used by the entire human body which is more than any other single organ. The brain represents only 2% of body weight yet it receives 15% of the cardiac output and 20% of the total body oxygen consumption. (source) Our brains create major nutrition demands on our bodies in order to function optimally. So is it best to fuel the brain with fat, protein, or carbohydrates? The answer is none of these. Even though the brain is composed of 60% fat, it is designed to be fueled by glucose. The brain accounts for 25% of the total body glucose utilization. 1. Glucose is the human body’s key source of energy. The breakdown of carbohydrates (eg: starch) yields mono- and disaccharides, most of which is glucose. (source) If glucose is available, the body will use it first since it is easiest and quickest to metabolize. Whole simple carbohydrates like raw fruit and whole complex carbohydrates like grains, legumes, and tubers are excellent sources of glucose for the brain. Refined carbohydrates can deprive the brain of glucose.1 Click: Know Your Complex, Simple, and Refined Carbs Glucose is virtually the sole fuel for the human brain, except during prolonged starvation. In starvation, ketone bodies generated by the liver partly replace glucose as fuel for the brain. (source) 2. If insufficient carbohydrates are consumed to meet our fuel needs, then fats and proteins can be converted into sugars. The human body has little capacity to store excess carbohydrates or protein, but can convert both to fat stores for later use as fuel when converted to glucose via gluconeogenesis. When fats are converted to sugar in the absence of carbohydrates, ketones are produced. These molecules are very similar to acetone in their structure. They affect br Continue reading >>

A Guide To Healthy Low-carb Eating With Diabetes

A Guide To Healthy Low-carb Eating With Diabetes

Diabetes is a chronic disease that has reached epidemic proportions. It currently affects over 400 million people worldwide (1). Although diabetes is a complicated disease, maintaining good blood sugar control can greatly reduce the risk of complications (2, 3). One of the ways to achieve better blood sugar levels is to follow a low-carb diet. This article provides a detailed overview of low-carb diets for managing diabetes. If you have diabetes, your body cannot process carbohydrates effectively. Normally, when you eat carbs, they are broken down into small units of glucose, which end up as blood sugar. When blood sugar levels go up, the pancreas responds by producing the hormone insulin. This hormone allows the blood sugar to enter cells. In healthy people, blood sugar levels remain within a narrow range throughout the day. In diabetes, however, this system doesn't work the way it is supposed to. This is a big problem, because having both too high and too low blood sugar levels can cause severe harm. There are several types of diabetes, but the two most common ones are type 1 and type 2 diabetes. Both of these conditions can be diagnosed at any age. In type 1 diabetes, an autoimmune process destroys the insulin-producing beta cells in the pancreas. Diabetics must inject insulin several times a day to ensure that glucose gets into the cells and stays at a healthy level in the bloodstream (4). In type 2 diabetes, the beta cells at first produce enough insulin, but the body's cells are resistant to its action, so blood sugar remains high. To compensate, the pancreas produces more insulin, attempting to bring blood sugar down. Over time, the beta cells lose their ability to produce enough insulin (5). Of the three nutrients -- protein, carbs and fat -- carbs have the grea Continue reading >>

What Happens If You Don't Eat Enough Carbohydrates?

What Happens If You Don't Eat Enough Carbohydrates?

While some fad-diet gurus may denounce carbohydrates as the root of all edible evil, the truth is that your body needs these nutrients to function properly. If your diet lacks carbs, you could feel rundown and face a variety of health woes. Rather than shunning carbohydrates, strive to obtain them from healthy, unprocessed sources that also provide a wealth of vitamins and minerals. Video of the Day Carbohydrates are your body's primary energy source, so you may feel sluggish if you don't eat enough of them. Your body converts carbs into a form of sugar called glucose, which it uses for immediate energy. It also stores excess glucose as glycogen in your muscles and liver for later use, such as during exercise. Therefore, you may peter out quickly on your walk or jog if you deprive yourself of carbs. Glucose is also your brain's preferred fuel, so when supplies get low you may have trouble concentrating. Digestive Distress Fiber is an important type of carbohydrate that's lacking in the average American diet. You need fiber to aid in digestion and may become constipated with low intake. Low-fiber diets are also linked to diverticulosis, a condition in which small pouches form in the colon that may cause abdominal bloating and cramping. These pouches can also trap pieces of stool, leading to diverticulitis, an illness symptomized by infection and inflammation of the colon. In rare cases, diverticulitis can be serious enough to require hospitalization. When carb supplies are low, your body creates extra ketones, which are fat byproducts that provide an alternative fuel source. Ketones are toxic in large amounts, so your kidneys must work harder than usual to flush them from your system. Low-carb diets also tend to be high in protein, creating additional byproducts that you Continue reading >>

The Truth About Carbs

The Truth About Carbs

"Carbs" are a hotly-debated topic, especially in the weight loss world, due in no small part to the popularity of low-carb diets such as the Atkins, Dukan and South Beach. The "carbs are bad" mantra from Dr Atkins and co. has left many people confused about carbohydrates and their importance for our health, including maintaining a healthy weight. Dietitian Sian Porter says: "Carbohydrates are such a broad category and people need to know that not all carbs are the same and it is the type, quality and quantity of carbohydrate in our diet that is important. "While we should reduce the amount of sugar in our diet, particularly added sugars, we should base our meals on starchy carbs, particularly the less processed wholegrain varieties. "There is strong evidence that fibre, found in wholegrain versions of starchy carbs for example, is good for our health.” On this page you can find out all you need to know about carbohydrates, their health benefits, healthier sources of carbohydrates and how they can help you lose weight. What are carbs? Carbohydrates are one of three macronutrients (nutrients that form a large part of our diet) found in food – the others being fat and protein. Hardly any foods contain only one nutrient and most are a combination of carbohydrates, fats and proteins in varying amounts. There are three different types of carbohydrates found in food: sugar, starch and fibre. Sugar is found naturally in some foods, including fruit, honey, fruit juices, milk (lactose) and vegetables. Other forms of sugar (for example table sugar) can be added to food and drink such as sweets, chocolates, biscuits and soft drinks during manufacture, or added when cooking or baking at home. Find out more about sugar. Starch, made up of many sugar units bonded together, is foun Continue reading >>

What Really Happens To Your Body When You Stop Eating Carbs

What Really Happens To Your Body When You Stop Eating Carbs

Many people think that the Atkins Diet marked the beginning of the low-carb diet craze, but that's simply not true. In 1862, an obese undertaker named William Banting, tired of experiencing hearing problems, sought the advice of an ENT named Dr. Harvey. Harvey told Banting his problem wasn't in the ears, but rather, in the fat pressing on his inner ear. He put Banting on a diet of meat, vegetables, wine and fish only — no starch or sugar (except for the wine). Banting lost weight, and his hearing problem disappeared. Over the years, many studies and many low-carb diets were tested. In most cases, subjects lost weight. That could be why, today, low-carb, high fat diets are still a thing. But are they safe? What happens to your body when you deprive it of carbs? You do lose weight Critics of the low-carb diet will say most of the weight lost is water weight. They're right. But, as former endurance athlete and Olympian Mark Sisson points out, that might not be such a bad thing. He says, "Retained water can amount to 10, 20 or more pounds depending on how large the person is." Since diets high in sodium and insulin-promoters (like refined carbs) force the body to store water inside and in between cells, the body doesn't really need it. So, when you cut out carbs, your body gets rid of it, resulting in weight loss. Keep in mind, however, that Sisson promotes the Primal Diet, one that encourages people to eat enough carbs to provide enough glucose for brain function and some anaerobic exercise. His point? Depending on how active you are, you may need to consume more carbs. A caveat here – no self-respecting nutritionist or dietitian (or former endurance athlete/nutrition guru) will tell you it's OK to eat refined carbohydrates. When these diets tell you to limit carbs, th Continue reading >>

Carbs! Are They Actually The Cause Of Your Weight Gain?

Carbs! Are They Actually The Cause Of Your Weight Gain?

Carbohydrates have got a bit of a bad rep. Between the Keto diet and the Atkins diet a lot of people believe that carbohydrates are the major fact in weight gain. Obesity in the western world has become an epidemic and it’s unsurprising that many people are looking to alternative diets in order to help them lose a few pounds. But do the arguments against carbohydrates hold any weight? Let’s take a closer look at carbs. How Does Your Body Use Carbs? When you eat a meal, that meal will consist of three basic food groups: protein, fat and carbohydrates. If you’re eating a balanced diet your body will break down protein into amino acids, fat into fatty acids and carbohydrates into glucose. The word glucose might seem a little scary at first, aren’t we told that eating sugar is bad? This process is normal and healthy, glucose is the body’s main source of energy and is designed to process carbs this way. When you eat, the carbohydrates you consumed will be used by your body as energy. Some of it will be stored in your liver for release between mealtimes should your blood sugar levels drop below a certain point and any excess glucose will be stored as fat. Remember that fat on the human body isn’t always a bad thing, we need some fat on the body to survive. You don’t gain weight by eating carbohydrates you gain weight if you’re eating more calories than you’re burning off. The human body needs calories even if you’re just lying down all day because there are thousands of different processes happening in your body that need energy. Carbohydrates and calories aren’t bad they’re your body’s fuel. There are also different types of fat that exist in and on the human body: visceral fat and subcutaneous. Subcutaneous fat is the fat that you are aiming to los Continue reading >>

Macronutrients

Macronutrients

Overview Carbohydrates, fats and proteins are macronutrients. We require them in relatively large amounts for normal function and good health. These are also energy-yielding nutrients, meaning these nutrients provide calories. On This Page: What are Carbohydrates? Carbohydrates Understanding Carbohydrates Every few years, carbohydrates are vilified as public enemy number one and are accused of being the root of obesity, diabetes, heart disease and more. Carb-bashers shun yogurt and fruit and fill up on bun-less cheeseburgers. Instead of beans, they eat bacon. They dine on the tops of pizza and toss the crusts into the trash. They so vehemently avoid carbs and spout off a list of their evils that they may have you fearing your food. Rest assured, you can and should eat carbohydrates. In fact, much of the world relies on carbohydrates as their major source of energy. Rice, for instance, is a staple in Southeast Asia. The carbohydrate-rich potato was so important to the people of Ireland that when the blight devastated the potato crop in the mid 1800s, much of the population was wiped out. What are Carbohydrates? The basic structure of carbohydrates is a sugar molecule, and they are classified by how many sugar molecules they contain. Simple carbohydrates, usually referred to as sugars, are naturally present in fruit, milk and other unprocessed foods. Plant carbohydrates can be refined into table sugar and syrups, which are then added to foods such as sodas, desserts, sweetened yogurts and more. Simple carbohydrates may be single sugar molecules called monosaccharides or two monosaccharides joined together called disaccharides. Glucose, a monosaccharide, is the most abundant sugar molecule and is the preferred energy source for the brain. It is a part of all disaccharides Continue reading >>

How To Re-wire Your Body To Burn, Not Store, Fat

How To Re-wire Your Body To Burn, Not Store, Fat

Like so many other Americans, Mike Berland had been struggling with a big problem: weight gain and a seeming inability to lose it. An avid golfer, skier, runner and triathlete, Berland could no longer enjoy the activities he loved without feeling terrible or gaining weight. Eating restrictions further dampened his sense of wellbeing. You may be wondering, how could someone gain weight while being so active? Turns out, Berland suffers from conditions that commonly plague other men and women like him: metabolic syndrome and insulin resistance. What is metabolic syndrome? Nearly 34 percent of American adults suffer from metabolic syndrome, also known as MetS or syndrome X. The condition causes the body to store food as fat rather than burn it for energy— the main reason our body needs food. Carbohydrates and simple sugars are the most problematic for individuals with MetS, and even highly active people who are diagnosed aren’t immune to this fat-storing problem. That’s partially because MetS is linked with insulin resistance. The hormone insulin is responsible for shuttling glucose into cells to be used as energy. Insulin receptors on your muscles operate under a lock and key system: The insulin docks in an insulin receptor, turns the key, and lets the sugar into the muscle. But with insulin resistance, the hormone doesn't open the door. People with MetS can't get sugar into their muscles as efficiently as someone without the condition. When muscles can’t use this sugar, it has to go somewhere else, so it gets shuttled away and is stored as fat. How can I burn fat that’s already been stored? The Fat-Burning Machine program requires strategically eating the right carbs at the right time to kick the body into burning fat rather than storing it. Foods high in sugar Continue reading >>

Carbohydrates 101: How To Eat Carbs To Your Advantage

Carbohydrates 101: How To Eat Carbs To Your Advantage

It’s no wonder most people are confused by carbs – there is a ton of conflicting information out there, with various opinions, fad diets, and theories piled on top of it all. Good carb, bad carb, low carb, no carb – it’s A LOT to take in. The truth is, the only thing that’s complicated about carbohydrates is sorting through that pile to pull out the relevant facts. Today, we’ll navigate these little nuggets of pure body fuel together, including what a carbohydrate is, how your body uses them, when to eat carbs, and what the best kinds of carbs are to eat. Plus, lists of healthy carbs so you always know the right way to fuel your body and brain! What Are Carbohydrates? Carbohydrates are organic compounds found in food that break down to the body and brain’s preferred energy source, which is a single unit of sugar: glucose. Carbs in our food are made up of fiber, starch, and sugar. The quality of a carbohydrate food depends on how much of each of these it contains. Simple carbohydrates consist of only one or two sugars and include foods like white flour, boxed cereals, and soda. The simpler a carb is, the faster it will be digested and taken into your bloodstream. Complex carbohydrates, such as sweet potatoes, apples, lentils, (sometimes called “starches”) are fiber-rich, and consist of three or more sugars. The more complex a carb is, the more slowly it is digested and absorbed by the body, leading to steadier energy and greater fat loss. This is why your best bet is to go for complex carbs that are higher in fiber – not only will they be more filling, but they’ll also keep you satisfied longer, which means they’re a good option whether you’re focused on fat loss or maintenance. How Does the Body Use Carbs? When you eat carbs, two things can hap Continue reading >>

Why Does Your Body Turn To Protein Or Fat For Energy If You Don't Get Enough Carbohydrates?

Why Does Your Body Turn To Protein Or Fat For Energy If You Don't Get Enough Carbohydrates?

Of the three primary sources of energy – protein, fat and carbohydrates – carbs are the preferred fuel source for physical activity. However, your body burns both fat and carbohydrates throughout the day, during activity and rest. If carbohydrate stores are depleted, the demand for energy to fuel everyday activities and exercise forces your body to use other fuel sources. Role of Carbohydrates When you consume carbohydrates, your body breaks them down into a single sugar called glucose, which enters the bloodstream and travels to muscles and organs that use the glucose for energy. Energy not needed for immediate needs is then stored in your liver and skeletal muscles as glycogen. Because glycogen storage is limited, glucose in excess of your storage capacity gets packaged in triglycerides and stored as fat. Both glycogen stores and fat stores are accessible as energy sources for later. Typical Energy Sources Between meals, your body taps into carbohydrates and fat stores for energy. Hormones tell your body when to release triglycerides for use as fuel. However, circulating blood glucose, when available, is a ready source of energy both during rest and physical activity. If you use up available blood glucose, carbohydrates stored as glycogen in the liver are released in order to raise blood glucose levels to meet energy demands. However, glycogen stored in a particular muscle is only available as energy to that muscle. Fuel for Exercise Your body typically uses protein for fuel as a last resort. During exercise, as during rest, a combination of fat and carbohydrates generally provide the necessary fuel. The intensity and duration of your exercise sessions affect the percentage of energy used from carbohydrates and fat. At moderate intensity, each provides roughly 50 Continue reading >>

Ten Reasons You Are Not Losing Fat On A Low-carb Diet

Ten Reasons You Are Not Losing Fat On A Low-carb Diet

“” —Passmore & Swindells, two British dietitians writing in the British Journal of Nutrition in 1963 Whether you agree with the above quote or think it’s hilarious nonsense, there’s no doubt that reduced carb diets are useful for losing body fat. A lot of people find that cutting carbs in favor of a higher protein, higher fat diet is the simplest way to get lean fast. However, people often make mistakes when going low-carb, especially if they are training hard in an effort to accelerate the fat loss process. With these 10 simple tips, you can make going low-carb a lot easier and get better fat loss results. Mistake #1: Not Restricting Carbohydrates Enough Low-carb, high-protein diets are effective for fat loss. This is a scientific fact. But, low-carb is a vague term. Simply cutting the average American man’s carb intake of 310 grams a day in half could be considered low-carb, but if you are overweight and your goal is fat loss, you most likely need to go a lot lower than 155 grams. A review in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition suggests the 50 to 150 g/day range is too high for losing body fat in overweight, sedentary populations. A useful definition of a low-carb fat loss diet is less than 50 grams of carbs a day, which will lead to the production of ketones. When the body is producing ketones it is no longer relying on glucose (sugar from carbs) for its fuel source, which is a state that provides significant metabolic benefits and easier fat loss. Fix It: For best results, get those 50 grams of carbs from vegetables and select fruits, such as berries, or other low-carb fruit. Eliminate all grains—whole and processed. Mistake #2: You are Lean, Active & Restricting Carbs Too Much The AJCN definition of a low-carb diet as less than 50 grams a day w Continue reading >>

What Happens If You Don't Replenish Glycogen?

What Happens If You Don't Replenish Glycogen?

Bit of a convoluted question. In regards to VLC diets... If you have, say, yogurt in the morning, what process does it follow to replenish glycogen in comparison to consuming a no carb, protein/fat meal? Does the lactose bypass the insulin fat-storage when it becomes stored as glycogen? When you eat the high protein/fat meal, are some of the nutrients there sequestered to replenish glycogen? Which of the two is more energy efficient? Are there any unsavoury by-products of either process? In the former case, would it be more beneficial to consume a small amount of carbs when breaking a fast to replenish so that you don't have create an undo process of other nutrients? Sorry if this is a horrible question, but I'm terribly curious :) Continue reading >>

Carbohydrates: A Complex Subject Made Simple

Carbohydrates: A Complex Subject Made Simple

While there are many hotly debated nutrition topics, few evoke as much passion and interest as carbohydrates (aka carbs). Popular low-carb diets like Zone, Atkins, South Beach, and Paleo limit the intake of carbs, while others like the Ornish diet call for high carbs as the path to optimal health. Who is right? Are carbs evil? What are carbohydrates anyways? While carbohydrates can be a very confusing subject, the following will break down all the important concepts, definitions, and topics related to carbohydrates to turn a complex subject into a simple one. Future articles will expand and explore each concept in more detail. What are Carbohydrates? Carbohydrates are found in foods including fruits, vegetables, grains, potatoes, pastries, and candy and are considered the bodies preferred energy source. More specifically, carbs are sugar molecules that are a union of carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen (CHO). Think of carbs as one, or more sugar molecules that are bound together and broken down by the body to be used as fuel. Here’s a quick list of carbohydrates for your reference: Types of Carbohydrates Carbohydates are classified in many different ways: healthy vs. unhealthy good vs. bad slow vs. fast simple vs. complex No wonder people get so confused! Remember, carbohydrates are just sugar molecules, all of which are broken down by the body into glucose. Glucose is a single sugar molecule that is used as fuel by the cells in your body from your brain to your muscles. There are 3 types of carbohydrates that are defined by the number of sugar molecules they contain: 1) Monosaccharide – one sugar molecule, examples include glucose, galactose (in milk), and fructose (in fruit) 2) Disaccharide – two sugar molecules, examples include sucrose (table sugar), lactose (in milk Continue reading >>

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