Featured topics

©2004 Weight Awareness
All Rights Reserved

 Topics   Nutrition   Carbohydrates and... 
Tell a Friend

Carbohydrates and glucose in diet

     Back to topic home page  

  Printer Friendly Format

Carbohydrates are essentially sugars. The primary sugar of the body is glucose. Glucose is the first line or preferential source of energy for the body. The body needs glucose in certain tissues and cells in order for them to function correctly. When the blood glucose (or ‘blood sugar') is low, the body will breakdown its glucose energy reserves to replenish the concentration of the blood glucose to the proper level. Glucose is stored in the body as a longer molecule called Glycogen. Glycogen is stored mostly in the liver and in much smaller amounts in muscles. When the blood sugar level drops, glycogen is broken down into its smaller units (glucose) and is released into the blood stream.


If the body does not have enough blood glucose, and has used up all of its glycogen storage units, the body will make glucose. This process is complex and results in new glucose molecules being produced so certain cell types can continue to function correctly. This recreation of glucose occurs at the expense of proteins in other tissues, usually muscles. In other words, muscle tissues are broken down, if necessary, to keep the blood sugar up to the correct level.


The minimum amount of carbohydrate required to prevent the starvation activation systems (ketosis) of fasting is 100 to 150 grams per day. Carbohydrate is needed to satisfy the glucose requirement of the brain (120 Grams per day), red blood cell (30 grams per day) and wound healing (20 to 60 grams per day).  These tissues primary fuel is blood sugar or glucose. Muscle tissue is preserved by providing 180 to 200 grams of carbohydrate per day. This is the minimum carbohydrate requirement without the body resorting to breaking down other tissues to build new glucose.


In simplistic terms, a person eats carbohydrates and the body absorbs the sugars for cellular function. If you eat enough carbohydrates, the body will keep its reserves in place. If you eat too many carbohydrates, the body will make the glucose storage molecule called glycogen. If you eat excessive amounts of carbohydrates, and the liver is full of storage molecules, the body will take the carbohydrates and make fat. If you do not eat enough carbohydrates, the body will break down its reserves from the liver. When the liver is ‘empty' of carbohydrate stores, it will make more blood glucose at the expense of other tissues, primarily muscle. So in short, too much sugar and you get fat, not enough sugar and you will loose muscle. As a last resort, the body will burn its fat reserves for energy, and will do so also using carbohydrate to burn the fat.

  Printer Friendly Format

     Back to topic home page  
Help us pick the Popular Picks!

Please rate this article!

Carbohydrates and glucose in diet

Current Rate: 


Votes: 78

Your Vote: 
All articles in this topic
Nutritional basics and some advanced concepts in diet
Understanding nutritional assessment of food in the diet
Caloric requirements in the diet
Carbohydrate, fat and protein are sources of energy
Carbohydrates and glucose in diet
Types of carbohydrates in the diet
Dietary carbohydrates and the Glycemic Index
Fats as energy in the diet
Protein requirements in the diet
Other nutrient requirements in the diet
How foods and hormones affect the body
Insulin, Glucagon are hormones involved in blood sugar levels
Brain function and blood sugar
Nutrition topic summary
How are food group and dietary recommendations created?
Dietary guidelines
Vitamins and minerals in the diet
Sodium in the diet
Water soluble vitamins in the diet
Fat soluble vitamins in the diet
Minerals in the Diet Information

Find medical articles or journals from over 14 million references

Click for Dictionary