The Carb Connection

The Carbohydrate Connection

Healthy, non-diabetic cells absorb glucose to turn into energy. If cells can't take in enough sugar they can't function properly. In very basic terms the process is as follows: (vii.318992)

  • As the food we eat is digested, carbohydrates are broken down into glucose (sugar) molecules.
  • Glucose enters the bloodstream through the intestinal wall, which triggers cells in the pancreas to release insulin. Insulin is a hormone that most cells need in order to absorb glucose. Some cells, such as in the brain and those that line blood vessels, don't need insulin to take up glucose.
  • Insulin binds to insulin receptor molecules on cell membranes and acts as a key to open a gateway for glucose into the cells.
  • Glucose binds to molecules that transport it into the cell through these open gateways.
Blood Glucose and Insulin Resistance

Figure VII.4: Blood Glucose and Insulin Resistance (vii.318992)

Ineffective Sugar Processing

Insulin resistance and diabetes develop when breakdowns occur in the normal processing of sugar. This typically happens when insulin receptors shut down and/or not enough insulin is produced. Our cells don't absorb and use glucose properly, causing high blood glucose levels. (vii.318992)

Inflammation Contributes to Diabetes

A growing body of research evidence indicates that inflammation plays an important role in the development and progression of diabetes. Evidence suggests this is especially due to the inflammatory effects of activating the transcription factor NF-κB(vii.93)

Why is High Blood Sugar Dangerous?

All the excess sugar in the blood causes damage throughout the body. This includes in blood vessels, kidneys, nerves, and eyes. Type 2 diabetes contributes to and is worsened by other metabolic syndrome conditions. (vii.318992)

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