You know, every so often I like to lead a little biology lesson. It makes me feel good to empower others with knowledge – especially when the lesson can help them live a little bit better. So, today, I’m going to teach you a little something about glucose metabolism. To start, we must first answer this question –
What is glucose?
If you’re playing along with our live studio audience, you might guess “glucose” has something to do with sugar. In fact, the word glucose is derived from the Greek word “glykós” which means simply, “sweet.” Glucose is a type of sugar you get from the food you digest. Your body takes the sugar from what you eat and turns it into energy. And as glucose travels through your bloodstream and finds its way to your cells, it becomes known as blood glucose – or more commonly, blood sugar. You’ve also probably heard people talk about insulin when they talk about blood sugar. That’s because, simply put, insulin transports the glucose from your blood to your other cells for energy and to store it for later.
Now, what is metabolism?
Metabolism, put simply, is the chemical process that occurs within any living organism in order for it to go on living. And the purpose of metabolism is to make sure –
- Your cells can achieve the processes for which they’re designed
- Your body can build the proteins, lipids, nucleic acids, and carbohydrates it needs
- You can eliminate nitrogenous waste
One more thing to know … there are generally two kinds of metabolism:
- Catabolism occurs when your body breaks down molecules to access energy
- Anabolism is the combining of compounds your cells need
In each case, the creation of energy is the purpose of the process.
So then, what is glucose metabolism?
Specifically, glucose metabolism is the process of converting the sugar from food into a form of energy that your cells can use easily. The cells in your body need glucose – the sugar from food – to keep them working properly. And with the help of glucose metabolism, your body can essentially supply the rest of your cells with the fuel it needs to keep going.
And what form of energy is that?
The energy your cells use is mostly adenosine triphosphate (ATP). And there’s even a fancy word for the transformation of sugar into ATP – glycolysis. Anyway, the body’s primary source of glucose is carbohydrates. After you eat carbohydrates, the sugars are metabolized in your digestive tract. Here, they’re converted to glucose and transferred to your blood. Then, your blood sugar rises. That’s when your endocrine system calls your pancreas to action. FYI, your endocrine system helps regulate your metabolism, helps you grow, helps your tissue function properly. Your endocrine system also helps you reproduce, sleep, and regulate mood levels. So, your endocrine system activates your pancreas and it releases insulin. When insulin is released, it functions to regulate your blood sugar by acting as transportation for the newly produced glucose – so into your cells it goes. Finally, it’s time for glucose metabolism to work – giving fuel to almost all of your body’s tissues and muscles. Even your heart muscles receive doses of glucose, so your heart can continue to steadily do its job. And, when your body has received all of the glucose it needs, the excess stores of glucose can be stored in your liver or muscles. This stored version of glucose is called glycogen – it’s basically glucose the body saves for later. Now, not all carbohydrate-dense foods contain toxins or lectins. In fact, some are great sources of essential nutrients. For instance, sweet potatoes happen to be a great source of Vitamin A. So, what are the best lectin-free foods to support healthy glucose metabolism? Check out the list below to make sure you’re supplying your body with the right kinds of carbohydrates and sugars. And, when you do eat the following foods, do so in moderation:
- Sweet potatoes
- Celery root
- Taro roots
- Green mango
- Green papaya
You don’t want to deny your body any of the foods it needs in order to continue to function properly. That could have a real impact interrupting necessary processes or challenging your body’s intended biological design. But, instead of eating processed foods like pastas or candy, look for natural sources of good carbohydrates, such as resistant starches or millet and sorghum. You’ll keep your body working in the way it wants to – and that’ll keep you healthier in the long run, too. For more helpful health articles, keep reading here:
Why You Need Prebiotics
Do You Have Leaky Gut? (4 Symptoms You Might)
Disclosure: The GundryMD team creates these articles as a way to provide you with the latest information on health and nutrition. Unfortunately, we cannot make specific product recommendations for our website visitors, such as “Energy Renew” or “Heart Defense” Please consult with your healthcare provider to determine the best products for you.
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