Glucose: What You Should Know

Glucose is typically the main fuel source for those not on low-carb diets, and its consumption is often associated with weight loss. 

In humans, glucose is necessary for energy production. It is needed to run the cells in the body and gives us energy by providing us with adenosine triphosphate (ATP). 

Read on to understand more about the function of glucose, the absorbtion process, how to correctly measure it, how it’s processed by our bodies, and more.

What Is Glucose?

Glucose is also referred to as blood sugar and is what keeps different mechanisms of the body functioning properly. 

When glucose levels are in a healthy range, you really won’t notice much, but once those levels go out of the normal levels, you will notice its effects.

Glucose is the simplest carbohydrate, composed of one sugar molecule.

Fat and glucose are the two sources of fuel our bodies like to run on. Our energy comes from the foods we eat, and glucose will come from carbohydrates.

If you’re following a ketogenic diet, your carbohydrate intake will be low, but glucose, in general, is best to be kept in moderation. 

If glucose levels go in the wrong direction, it can have a serious impact on our health. 

How Does The Body Process Glucose?

As soon as we eat food containing carbs, our body will start to process glucose right away. 

The body starts processing glucose from the simplest sugars, such as fructose and galactose, in the intestines and liver. 

Glucose is then used by cells to fuel various processes. The pancreas senses when the blood sugar levels are low and releases insulin in response.

Insulin plays an important role in how our bodies respond to glucose. 

Unfortunately, in some cases, some people cannot rely on their pancreas to do the job it’s supposed to and produce insulin properly. 

When the body cannot produce insulin correctly, this will result in diabetes. Diabetes is a chronic condition. This means that it lasts a lifetime and can be managed but not cured. 

Diabetes can lead to many complications such as heart disease, stroke, blindness, kidney failure, and even death.

Sometimes the body can become resistant to insulin as well, and the liver makes extra glucose that our bodies do not need. This is called insulin resistance

Insulin plays a major role in getting the glucose from our blood to our cells so that they can use it. The pancreas then releases more insulin, but sometimes it does not work effectively, and the sugar levels spike.

When it comes down to it, we want our bodies to have proper insulin responses because if our bodies don’t produce insulin in the amounts we need it in, this can lead to a condition called ketoacidosis. 

Testing Glucose Levels

You’ll want to test your glucose levels if you’re someone with diabetes or if you want to know what your blood sugar is doing at different intervals throughout the day.

The most common way to check your glucose levels is by pricking your finger with a lancet and drawing blood for a quick test.

You place a drop of blood onto the testing strip, put it into your glucose testing meter, and it will measure your glucose levels. 

A typical monitor will show your blood sugar level in milligrams per deciliter. 

What Is A Normal Range For Glucose?

An individual’s fasting glucose level range is between 70-99 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL). The normal range for a non-fasting glucose level is less than 180 mg/dL. (1)

Having glucose levels in the proper ranges will help keep the body running smoothly.

Here are a few ways that can trigger blood sugar to go up:

  • High amounts of stress
  • No physical activity
  • Eating a large meal
  • Missing any diabetes medication
  • Other illnesses

What To Do If Your Levels Are Out Of Normal Range

If your glucose level is above the normal range, insulin will bring it back into your normal range. If you’re diabetic, you may need to administer insulin to yourself. 

Physical activity can also help in reducing your glucose levels if they get too high if you’re a normal, healthy adult. 

If your glucose level is below the normal range, you need to be careful as you could be hypoglycemic. Hypoglycemia is very serious. 

Low blood sugar can be caused by too much caffeine and alcohol or meals that contain carbohydrates because they shut off the production of insulin which causes a spike in blood sugar. Other contributing factors would be stress and illness (though this is less likely).

Hypoglycemia can be easily confused with a diabetic reaction. In turn, this could lead to severe health consequences, including seizures, coma, and even death.

People who have hypoglycemia can find it challenging to lose weight, as their bodies are constantly fighting insulin production and glucose levels. 

To lose weight, the body must first be able to produce enough insulin, which will allow for the absorption of glucose.

How To Keep Your Blood Glucose In A Normal Range

Here are a few tips that will help you keep a normal blood sugar:

  • Physical activity. When you work out, you increase insulin sensitivity. (2)
  • Fast. If you have high blood glucose levels, you can decrease your levels by not eating anything. If you start with a 16 hour intermittent fast, you’ll benefit greatly from it. (3)
  • Eating a ketogenic diet. By restricting carbs, you’re minimizing blood sugar spikes in your body.
  • Measure. If you know which foods cause your blood sugar to take turns for the worse, you’re more likely to avoid them altogether.
  • Sleep. Sleep should be a priority for overall health but can really benefit your glucose levels. (4)

Summary

Tracking your blood glucose levels will be important in determining your level of health. 

Your blood sugar is in a good range if it’s between 70-100 mg/dl while in a fasted state if you’re an adult. 

If you’re higher than that, the risk for diabetes increases. Lower than that, you may be hypoglycemic. 

Measure your blood glucose levels through a glucometer and blood test strips. You’ll be able to see which foods cause your glucose levels to go out of normal ranges and can avoid them in the future.

Keep your glucose under control by exercising regularly, fasting, getting adequate amounts of sleep each night, and following a ketogenic diet. 

You should discuss this with a medical professional as well to see what’s best for your circumstances. You may have underlying conditions that you need to be careful with.

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