Blood sugar

Carbohydrates are part of a large group of molecules, which represent the main energy source for us.

After consumption, our body breaks down complex carbohydrates, or tries to break them down into the simplest ones, the monosaccharide. Our body turns most sugars into glucose and our cells can use them as a basic source of energy. Only then are the molecules small enough to enter our blood stream.

Fibres are an exception which are built in such a way that our body cannot break them down to monosaccharide and therefore they pass the intestinal tract intact. However, it is generally true that our body breaks down consumed carbohydrates into glucose, which then enters the bloodstream. The result is the increase of blood sugar and special cells start to secrete insulin. This is a sign that cells have to accept sugar from the blood, and that blood sugar supplies have to stop entering the blood stream. Slowly, the blood sugar level drops to its initial level.

An adequate regulation ensures that the blood sugar level does not increase too much, and that it quickly drops to the basic level, and that it is always available. In some people, this regulation is not adequate. In countless research, scientists have discovered that, due to mutations in the genetic makeup, two types of abnormalities occur: The body does not produce enough insulin, and the blood sugar level drops to an appropriate level more slowly. 

Cells are less sensitive to insulin, and liver cells, therefore, despite the fact that glucose and insulin concentration increases sufficiently, does not cease to secrete glucose supplies. All this can lead to a permanently increased blood sugar level and, consequently, to diabetes. This risk can effectively be reduced with an appropriate diet and lifestyle.

An exception is the metabolism of a monosaccharide fructose, which is carried out differently. Fructose, as opposed to glucose, does not influence the increase of blood sugar level, because it does not need insulin for its metabolism – this is why, in small amounts, it is allowed also for diabetics. However, exaggerating with fructose is far from healthy, because its metabolism is similar to that of fats.

Nowadays, in America, fructose is one of the main reasons for increased LDL cholesterol and triglyceride levels, as well as a decreased HDL cholesterol level and unresponsiveness to insulin. The majority of fructose is consumed as an added sweetener to various food products, and it is wise to read food labels (where possible) and choose foods without added sugars.