Blood Sugar Metabolism

Happy Father’s Day to all the dads out there!

     Today we’re going to start talking about blood sugar metabolism and break it down into a very simple explanation.  Your pancreas produces insulin.  Your liver and adrenal glands also plays a role in this.  The following is meant as a basic overview of the part that you can most influence through your daily food choices.

When you eat a meal:

1.  Glucose (sugar from food) enters the bloodstream.  Blood sugar levels rise, which tells the pancreas to make and release insulin.

2.  Insulin attaches to healthy cells.  Once attached, the insulin allows the glucose to enter the cell.

3.  Glucose then enters the cells and can be used as energy.

4.  Glucose slowly leaves the bloodstream, slowly bringing your blood sugar level back to normal.  Extra glucose is stored by the liver or muscles as glycogen.  Once the storage areas are full, extra glucose is stored as fat, to be available for use later.  Extra glucose happens when you eat a lot of sugar or when your activity level doesn’t require a lot of glucose.

5.  The return to normal blood sugar levels tells the pancreas to stop releasing insulin.

6.  The drop in insulin levels tells the brain to release serotonin (a neurotransmitter).

7.  The release of serotonin lets you feel full, so you’re not hungry any more.

Depending on your activity level, blood sugar stays stable.  You feel satisfied and have energy for a number of hours until insulin is depleted and blood sugar levels drop to the low end of the normal range.  This drop makes you feel hungry so you can replenish your glucose levels and cellular energy.  If needed, the stored glycogen is now converted back into usable glucose.  When glycogen stores are empty, stored fat may be used as energy.

For this natural cycle that controls hunger, blood sugar levels, energy, sugar and fat processing to function properly (this is called metabolism):

*The pancreas must be working correctly to release right amounts of insulin.

*The liver must be working correctly.

*The cell membranes (outer coating of the cell) must be healthy so the insulin receptor sites are work correctly.

*The adrenal glands must not be overworked (through physical, mental, and/or emotional stress).

*The diet must be in the correct balance and not overloaded with sugars, remembering that simple carbohydrates are quickly processed as glucose.

*We must be physically activity enough to use the glucose we eat.  This explains the importance of exercise in relation to weight and fat burning.

Some things that challenge our metabolism:

*Poor dietary choices

*Nutritional deficiencies or imbalances


*Unhealthy cell membranes

*Hypoglycemia, diabetes

*Too little exercise

*A toxic, overloaded liver

*High stress levels

Tomorrow we will talk about malfunctioning blood sugar metabolism.

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