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How The Body Processes Glucose

What Is Glucose?

What Is Glucose?

Glucose comes from the Greek word for "sweet." It's a type of sugar you get from foods you eat, and your body uses it for energy. As it travels through your bloodstream to your cells, it's called blood glucose or blood sugar. Insulin is a hormone that moves glucose from your blood into the cells for energy and storage. People with diabetes have higher-than-normal levels in their blood. Either they don't have enough insulin to move it through or their cells don't respond to insulin as well as they should. High blood glucose for a long period of time can damage your kidneys, eyes, and other organs. How Your Body Makes Glucose It mainly comes from foods rich in carbohydrates, like bread, potatoes, and fruit. As you eat, food travels down your esophagus to your stomach. There, acids and enzymes break it down into tiny pieces. During that process, glucose is released. It goes into your intestines where it's absorbed. From there, it passes into your bloodstream. Once in the blood, insulin helps glucose get to your cells. Energy and Storage Your body is designed to keep the level of glucose in your blood constant. Beta cells in your pancreas monitor your blood sugar level every few seconds. When your blood glucose rises after you eat, the beta cells release insulin into your bloodstream. Insulin acts like a key, unlocking muscle, fat, and liver cells so glucose can get inside them. Most of the cells in your body use glucose along with amino acids (the building blocks of protein) and fats for energy. But it's the main source of fuel for your brain. Nerve cells and chemical messengers there need it to help them process information. Without it, your brain wouldn't be able to work well. After your body has used the energy it needs, the leftover glucose is stored in little bundles Continue reading >>

What Happens To Your Body An Hour After Eating Sugar?

What Happens To Your Body An Hour After Eating Sugar?

What happens to your body an hour after eating sugar? Humans are programmed to love sugar - this is what the substance does to our bodies Sugar is an important and popular part of our daily diet. Along with starch, it falls within the carbohydrate group as it consists of carbon, hydrogen and oxygen atoms and acts as fuel for the body. In fact, carbohydrates are our main source of energy, converted by the body to power our cells and keep us alive and growing. However, many of us are overindulging in the white stuff, with the average adult consuming approximately 63 grams (2.2 ounces), nearly 16 teaspoons, of sugar each day. Thats over twice the recommended daily intake. The main attraction to sugar, for both humans and animals, is its sweet taste. In nature, this is a useful indication of which foods are safe to eat, as poisonous fruits and plants tend to be sour or bitter, but in the modern world of processed foods and fizzy drinks, sweetness is mainly associated with pleasure. As a result, sugar is added to many of the foods we consume each day to artificially boost the flavour or texture, or act as a preservative by hindering the growth of bacteria. This may be good news for our taste buds, but its not so good for our health. By eating more sugar than our bodies actually need, we are storing the excess as fat, leading to an increase in obesity and many other health problems throughout the world. Keeping track of how much sugar we eat can be difficult, though, as it goes by many different names and is hidden in some unlikely foods. Plus, not all sugars are bad, but working out which ones are good can be a challenge. Find out below exactly what sugar does to your body. When we digest sugar, enzymes in the small intestine break it down into glucose. This glucose is then Continue reading >>

How Is Sugar Processed In The Body?

How Is Sugar Processed In The Body?

The carbohydrates you consume contain starch and sugars. Starch is a large molecule comprising glucose units arranged in a branched configuration. Food sugars are commonly monosaccharides, or single sugar molecules, and disaccharides, which are molecules of two sugars joined together. For example, glucose and fructose are monosaccharides, while sucrose is a disaccharide composed of one glucose and one fructose. Your body processes sugars through digestion, absorption and metabolism. Video of the Day If the food you eat contains starch, its digestion begins in your mouth, where salivary amylase cleaves glucose molecules from the starch molecule. The remainder of starch digestion occurs in your small intestine with the action of another amylase secreted by your pancreas. In addition, digestive enzymes known as disaccharidases split disaccharides into monosaccharides. For instance, sucrase clips sucrose into glucose and fructose, and lactase cleaves lactose into glucose and galactose. When your body processes all your digestible carbohydrates into single-sugar monosaccharides, they are ready for absorption by your small intestine. Lining your small intestine are multitudes of folds called villi, and lining your villi are structures known as microvilli. This architectural feature of your small intestine greatly increases the absorptive surface area of your digestive system. On the gut side of the villi and microvilli intestinal cells are special proteins called hexose transporters. These sugar transporters bind the free monosaccharides in your gut and ferry them, one by one, across the cell membrane to the interior of the intestinal cell. Once inside the cell, the sugars move to the other side of the cell, where different hexose transporters deposit them into the capillarie Continue reading >>

Why Sugar Is The Worst Thing Ever For You. Seriously. Ever.

Why Sugar Is The Worst Thing Ever For You. Seriously. Ever.

Sugar. Highly addictive, horribly debilitating, unfortunately pervasive, and freaking delicious. If I had to point to ONE culprit to our country’s expanding waistlines and rapidly deteriorating health, it would be sugar. The amount of havoc sugar and sugar substitutes have wreaked on our nation is horribly depressing. Fear not, as I’ve come up with the perfect solution! Eat less sugar if you want to live longer. The end. Just kidding, there’s so much more to this story than that. I’m sure you probably have a lot of questions about sugar: Is sugar THAT bad for you? Fruit has sugar! Is fruit bad for you? Are certain kinds of sugar better or worse for you? Can you really get addicted to sugar? What about sugar alternatives that are used in drinks like Diet Coke? What about natural sweeteners? Let’s nerd out about sugar and find out what you can do to kick your sugar habit and get your life back on track. Fair warning: This post is MASSIVE (over 4,000 words), even for Nerd Fitness standards. So before we jump into the GOOD, the BAD, and the UGLY of sugar, take a brief moment and enter your email below to download an in-depth, step-by-step guide to the Paleo Diet. American’s love affair with sugar Before we get into the biological and physiological stuff relating to sugar and how it affects our body, I want to talk about just how big of a factor sugar plays in our lives. This might be the most telling statistic relating to sugar, especially when that close to 70% of America is overweight with a THIRD of the nation obese: 1822: Americans consume 45 grams of sugar every five days, or the amount of sugar in a can of coke. 2012: Americans consume 756 grams of sugar every five days, or 130 POUNDS of sugar a year. As we have grown as a country (in more ways than one), Continue reading >>

Shaking Sugar, How Processed Sugar Functions In Your Body

Shaking Sugar, How Processed Sugar Functions In Your Body

Nutrition Web Exclusive It’s that time of year again – when sugary treats abound and temptations loom. Maybe you’re trying to eat healthier, or you’re cutting back on processed foods…but it’s surely difficult during all these holiday dinners and parties. Perhaps the temptations will be a bit easier to control if you know a little bit about how processed sugar works in your body and why you crave it. In short, sugar is a carbohydrate. When you eat sugars, your body either converts it into energy or into fat, which is then stored in your fat cells. How your body processes sugar partially determines your body’s go-to processing method. As sugar enters your blood stream it goes to your pancreas, which then releases a hormone called insulin – your body’s sugar regulator. The sugar is then stored in your liver, muscles and fat cells. However, our bodies are not perfect machines (and neither are the foods we eat, by a long stretch). Because of high refined sugar content in foods, our body gets a rush of sugar we are not necessarily prepared to process. When we consume too much sugar at once there can be too much insulin released, which then causes our blood sugar level to drop. At this point our body calls out for more sugar (cravings), which we often give it. Thus, the process continues and eventually your body responds to sugar not by using it for energy, but by storing it in fat cells for use later. Though this process of insulin spike and fat cell storage may not be noticeable, your body’s function certainly notices. Overconsumption of processed sugars can lead to diabetes, cardiovascular disease, kidney disease, and much more. So, why is it bad to eat refined sugar, but we are encouraged to eat fruit sugars? Though you should limit your intake of fruit Continue reading >>

This Is Exactly What Happens To Your Body When You Eat A Ton Of Sugar

This Is Exactly What Happens To Your Body When You Eat A Ton Of Sugar

As mouth-watering as a sugar-laden sundae or icing-topped cupcake is, we should all know by now that sugar isn't exactly healthy. In fact, it may be one of the worst things you can eat (that is, if you're trying to live a long, healthy life). One study from UC San Francisco actually found that drinking sugary drinks like soda can age your body on a cellular level as quickly as cigarettes. The way the sweet stuff impacts your body is way more complex than just causing weight gain. In fact, when you eat a ton of sugar, almost every part of your body feels the strain—and that's bad news for your health in both the short term and especially the long term. From an initial insulin spike to upping your chances of kidney failure down the road, this is what really happens in your body when you load up on sugar. Your brain responds to sugar the same way it would to cocaine. Eating sugar creates a surge of feel-good brain chemicals dopamine and serotonin. So does using certain drugs, like cocaine. And just like a drug, your body craves more after the initial high. "You then become addicted to that feeling, so every time you eat it you want to eat more," explains Gina Sam, M.D., M.P.H., director of the Gastrointestinal Motility Center at The Mount Sinai Hospital. Your insulin spikes to regulate your blood sugar. "Once you eat glucose, your body releases insulin, a hormone from your pancreas," Dr. Sam explains. The insulin's job is to absorb the excess glucose in the blood and stabilize sugar levels. And a little while later you get that familiar sugar crash. Once the insulin does its job, your blood sugar drops again. Which means you've just experienced a sugar rush, and then a drastic drop, leaving you feeling drained. "That's the feeling you get when you've gone to the buffet a Continue reading >>

How The Body Controls Blood Sugar - Topic Overview

How The Body Controls Blood Sugar - Topic Overview

The bloodstream carries glucose-a type of sugar produced from the digestion of carbohydrates and other foods-to provide energy to cells throughout the body. Unused glucose is stored mainly in the liver as glycogen. Insulin, glucagon, and other hormone levels rise and fall to keep blood sugar in a normal range. Too little or too much of these hormones can cause blood sugar levels to fall too low (hypoglycemia) or rise too high (hyperglycemia). Normally, blood glucose levels increase after you eat a meal. When blood sugar rises, cells in the pancreas release insulin, causing the body to absorb glucose from the blood and lowering the blood sugar level to normal. When blood sugar drops too low, the level of insulin declines and other cells in the pancreas release glucagon, which causes the liver to turn stored glycogen back into glucose and release it into the blood. This brings blood sugar levels back up to normal. Continue reading >>

Does The Body Process Fruit Sugars The Same Way That It Does Refined Sugar?

Does The Body Process Fruit Sugars The Same Way That It Does Refined Sugar?

Your body converts simple sugars in all forms -- including fruit sugar and refined sugar -- into glucose for fuel. However, this doesn’t mean that natural sugars from fruit and refined sugar from processed foods are interchangeable. The effects on your body and overall health is vastly different when it comes to natural versus refined sugar. While confusing information may lead you to believe that fruit sugar and refined sugar influence your body the same way, nothing could be further from the truth. Source of Confusion You may be taking a closer look at the sugar in your diet due to encouragement from health experts. You may have also heard confusing messages, such as some fruits have as much sugar as a candy bar. With so much conflicting information, it’s no wonder you’re looking for clarity on the matter. Fruit contains a mixture of sugars in the form of fructose, sucrose and glucose. Refined sugars come in many, many forms found in processed foods. In the past, sucrose -- or table sugar -- reigned as the most common type of refined sugar. Today, high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) takes that crown. Because table sugar is made of sucrose, and HFCS is made of fructose and glucose -- all three sugars found in fruit -- many people find themselves confused about the differences. Refined Sugar While all forms of simple sugars are broken down by your body into glucose, refined sugar is supplied in a way that causes negative health consequences when eaten to excess. Refined sugar is added to all sorts of processed foods to make them taste better. Even foods you may not consider sweet, like pasta sauces and ketchup, often contain significant amounts of refined sugar. Sugary drinks are the primary source of refined sugar in the American diet, followed by sweet snacks. These Continue reading >>

How Does The Body Process Glucose?

How Does The Body Process Glucose?

Chewing and swallowing begins the digestive process of breaking down into glucose the starches and large sugar molecules in the foods we eat. Enzymes in the mouth and intestines complete the breakdown with the help of the pancreas, a gland located behind the stomach and next to the small intestine that helps the body with the absorption and digestion of food. The pancreas produces hormones such as insulin, glucagon, and somatostatin that regulate the nutrients and energy your body uses. These hormones help the bodys cells to absorb glucose through the bloodstream. How can I reduce the harmful effects of simple sugars? Though I recommend eating as few simple sugars as possible, if you do eat them, you should always be sure to not eat that can... Carbohydrates so energy-rich and easily available and they have such a pleasant taste that they are often used as comfort foo... How much sugar does the average person consume every year? American's sweet tooth may not be so sweet for their waist. Americans, on average, are consuming 22 teaspoons of added sugar ... Glucose is a type of sugar found in food. Galactose and fructose, two other types of sugars, combine with glucose and with ea... Continue reading >>

How The Body Processes Sugar

How The Body Processes Sugar

The natural control of blood sugar is complex. It is important to understand what is supposed to happen in your body, and what is different when you have diabetes. The natural control of blood sugar is very complex and can become unbalanced when you have diabetes. It is important to understand what is supposed to happen in your body, and what is different when you have diabetes. These sections will introduce you to the different parts of your body and to hormones that are important in regulating your blood sugar. In this section, you will learn about: The liver and blood sugar: how the liver regulates blood sugar to keep the levels just right Blood sugar and other hormones: other pancreatic and gut hormones that have a role in glucose control Blood sugar and stress: the hormones that rise with stress and can affect blood sugar control Continue reading >>

This Is How Your Body Really Processes Sugar!

This Is How Your Body Really Processes Sugar!

This is how your body really processes sugar! Once that sweet treat passes your lips, do you know what it actually gets up to in your bod? Truth be told, different types of sugars are broken down and processed in a variety of ways. Lets take a look When you eat fructose, it gets dumped straight on your liver. Your body has sugar transporters for both fructose and glucose, but as we have minimal fructose transporters ( GLUT-5 ), fructose cant be absorbed by most cells. This means it heads straight to your liver to be processed , putting a lot of extra strain on this one organ. When you consume too much fructose (more than your six to nine teaspoons a day) it promotes lipogenesis (AKA a buildup of fatty acid) and can even lead to fatty liver disease . Eek! This sugar is easily metabolised by the body and due to an abundance of glucose transporters ( GLUT-4 ), its absorbed by most cells and can then be used for energy. This process is triggered by an insulin response, so as long as we dont overdo it, as the body is able to metabolise glucose effectively, its safe to eat in moderation . Put simply, maltose is two glucose units joined together. Its not as common in foods as the other sugars found mostly in malt products and beer and as its made from glucose, its processed by the body in the same way. Sucrose is simply another name for table sugar which is made up of 50 per cent glucose and 50 per cent fructose. When you eat sucrose, your body splits it into the fructose and glucose units and processes it accordingly. We still keep away from sucrose as the fructose will wreak havoc in your body. Learn how to enjoy a life without sugar on our 8-Week Program ! Continue reading >>

How Is Glucose Absorbed?

How Is Glucose Absorbed?

Your body can break down fats and even proteins to get the energy it needs. But it’s glucose, derived from the digestion of carbohydrates, that your body desires. Glucose is the main source of energy for every single cell, and it is the preferred energy type for brain cells. If you have diabetes, your body has problems handling glucose, which can be very dangerous for your health. Video of the Day All carbohydrates, with the exception of fiber, eventually wind up as glucose. However, the way they get there varies. Sugars, which are simple carbs, are very small molecules that convert into glucose quickly after combining with enzymes in your small intestine. Starches, which are complex carbohydrates, undergo numerous steps before glucose is formed. When you chew, your mouth secretes saliva, an enzyme that starts breaking down complex starch compounds. Saliva turns starches into a kind of simple carbohydrate. As the simple molecules approach your small intestine, the enzymes there kick in again to break them down further, converting them into glucose. Your intestinal tract is lined with numerous microvilli, which are tiny fingerlike protrusions that increase surface area for the maximum absorption of nutrients. These microvilli absorb glucose molecules and send them straight into your bloodstream. Once your brain senses that glucose is present, it sends signals to your pancreas to secrete the hormone insulin. Insulin is like a gatekeeper, opening up cell walls and allowing glucose to enter. Whatever glucose isn’t needed right away gets converted into glycogen, a polysaccharide that is stored in your liver and muscles as a backup source of energy. If you have diabetes, your body doesn’t regulate glucose levels well because it has a problem with insulin. With Type 1 di Continue reading >>

What Is Insulin?

What Is Insulin?

Insulin is a hormone made by the pancreas that allows your body to use sugar (glucose) from carbohydrates in the food that you eat for energy or to store glucose for future use. Insulin helps keeps your blood sugar level from getting too high (hyperglycemia) or too low (hypoglycemia). The cells in your body need sugar for energy. However, sugar cannot go into most of your cells directly. After you eat food and your blood sugar level rises, cells in your pancreas (known as beta cells) are signaled to release insulin into your bloodstream. Insulin then attaches to and signals cells to absorb sugar from the bloodstream. Insulin is often described as a “key,” which unlocks the cell to allow sugar to enter the cell and be used for energy. If you have more sugar in your body than it needs, insulin helps store the sugar in your liver and releases it when your blood sugar level is low or if you need more sugar, such as in between meals or during physical activity. Therefore, insulin helps balance out blood sugar levels and keeps them in a normal range. As blood sugar levels rise, the pancreas secretes more insulin. If your body does not produce enough insulin or your cells are resistant to the effects of insulin, you may develop hyperglycemia (high blood sugar), which can cause long-term complications if the blood sugar levels stay elevated for long periods of time. Insulin Treatment for Diabetes People with type 1 diabetes cannot make insulin because the beta cells in their pancreas are damaged or destroyed. Therefore, these people will need insulin injections to allow their body to process glucose and avoid complications from hyperglycemia. People with type 2 diabetes do not respond well or are resistant to insulin. They may need insulin shots to help them better process Continue reading >>

The Liver And Blood Glucose Levels

The Liver And Blood Glucose Levels

Tweet Glucose is the key source of energy for the human body. Supply of this vital nutrient is carried through the bloodstream to many of the body’s cells. The liver produces, stores and releases glucose depending on the body’s need for glucose, a monosaccharide. This is primarily indicated by the hormones insulin - the main regulator of sugar in the blood - and glucagon. In fact, the liver acts as the body’s glucose reservoir and helps to keep your circulating blood sugar levels and other body fuels steady and constant. How the liver regulates blood glucose During absorption and digestion, the carbohydrates in the food you eat are reduced to their simplest form, glucose. Excess glucose is then removed from the blood, with the majority of it being converted into glycogen, the storage form of glucose, by the liver’s hepatic cells via a process called glycogenesis. Glycogenolysis When blood glucose concentration declines, the liver initiates glycogenolysis. The hepatic cells reconvert their glycogen stores into glucose, and continually release them into the blood until levels approach normal range. However, when blood glucose levels fall during a long fast, the body’s glycogen stores dwindle and additional sources of blood sugar are required. To help make up this shortfall, the liver, along with the kidneys, uses amino acids, lactic acid and glycerol to produce glucose. This process is known as gluconeogenesis. The liver may also convert other sugars such as sucrose, fructose, and galactose into glucose if your body’s glucose needs not being met by your diet. Ketones Ketones are alternative fuels that are produced by the liver from fats when sugar is in short supply. When your body’s glycogen storage runs low, the body starts conserving the sugar supplies fo Continue reading >>

What Sugar Actually Does To Your Brain And Body

What Sugar Actually Does To Your Brain And Body

We consume an enormous amount of sugar, whether consciously or not, but it's a largely misunderstood substance. There are different kinds and different ways your body processes them all. Some consider it poison and others believe it's the sweetest thing on earth. Here's a look at the different forms of sugar, the various ways they affect you, and how they play a role in healthy—and unhealthy—diets. Of course, if you already know how sugar works and how your body uses it, feel free to skip down to the final section about healthier sugar consumption. The Different Types of Sugar There are too many types of sugar (and, of course, sugar substitutes) to tackle in a high-level overview like this one, so we're really only going to look at the two (and a half) that you regularly encounter: glucose and fructose. Glucose Glucose is a simple sugar that your body likes. Your cells use it as a primary source of energy, so when you consume glucose, it's actually helpful. When it's transported into the body, it stimulates the pancreas to produce insulin. Your brain notices this increase, understands that it's busy metabolizing what you just ate, and tells you that you're less hungry. The important thing to note here is that when you consume glucose, your brain knows to tell you to stop eating when you've had enough. But glucose isn't perfect. There are many processes involved when you consume glucose, but one that occurs in your liver produces something called very low density lipoprotein (or VLDL). You don't want VLDL. It causes problems (like cardiovascular disease). Fortunately, only about 1 out of 24 calories from glucose that are processed by the liver turn into VLDL. If glucose were the only thing you ate that produced VLDL, it would be a non-issue. Sucrose and High Fructose Continue reading >>

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