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Glucose With Good Health: Think Beyond It

Glucose is a monosaccharide, the most basic carbohydrate, and contains only one type of sugar. One of the body’s preferred fuel sources is glucose which gets stored in the form of fat. Foods like bread, fruits, vegetables, and dairy products contain glucose. However, basing dietary and lifestyle decisions entirely on glucose cannot assure long-term health. The consumption of food has a broad range of effects on the body. They influence many biochemical processes that might have nothing to do with glucose but are essential for health and longevity.

However, scientists are now starting to understand the complex interactions between the components of metabolic dysfunction. Some dysfunctions are insulin resistance and glucose dysregulation. Scientists are also studying how the interactions may differ from person to person and change over time. Glucose might provide a singular view of some elements of metabolic health at any time as it is merely one component of the bigger picture.

HealthifyPro 2.0 can help make the proper eating choices. It is a straightforward approach to determining the connection between blood glucose levels and food. With the help of Continuous Glucose Monitoring (CGM) technology, one can learn which foods and amounts of physical exercise keep their blood glucose levels within the acceptable range. Thus, the HealthifyMe coaches can assist their clients in understanding what foods work better for their bodies. They can develop more individualised diet plans to help them manage and stabilise their glucose spikes. The intervention of the coaches becomes extremely important as one eats to approach the dietary modifications holistically. For that, along with stabilising blood glucose levels, one must add the proper micronutrients to stay healthy. 

Detrimental Impact of Food Components Other than Glucose

Refined Oil

Canola oil is primarily fat and will not increase your blood sugar. However, frequently taking canola and other processed seed oils might seriously harm your metabolism. That is a result of their high linoleic acid content, the metabolic by-products of linoleic acid rise along with it. These by-products cause fat cells to expand through a process known as hypertrophy. Hypertrophy is a process in which each fat cell grows more extensive as it absorbs more fat. As a result, it leads to insulin resistance. Additionally, cooking with polyunsaturated fat-rich oils, such as canola and sunflower can turn them into harmful trans fats.

Fructose

Fructose, unlike glucose, doesn’t cause a blood sugar increase. In other words, it does not affect insulin release. However, if people ingest too much fructose, it can lead to a series of metabolic issues. Contrary to glucose, the liver is primarily responsible for breaking down fructose. If you consume it more quickly than your liver can handle, it will store fructose as fat. It may result in non-alcoholic fatty liver disease and localised insulin resistance, ultimately impairing your entire body’s glucose response. Human bodies can tolerate fructose at the modest levels present in fruits. Hence, people should try to avoid over-consumption.

Dairy

Many people’s blood sugar levels remain remarkably constant when they consume ice cream. There can be many factors behind this situation. One aspect can be that lactose doesn’t cause a blood sugar increase as refined carbohydrates do. The absorption of sugar into the circulation is also often slowed by high-fat diets. 

The glucose statistics obscure that even unsweetened milk products can cause the pancreas to generate spike amounts of insulin up to six times more than expected based on their GI. As a result, they now have an insulinemic index that is comparable to that of white bread. Long-term hyperinsulinemia is a known cause of insulin resistance. This spike may assist in maintaining post-ice-cream glucose levels. However, it averts short-term repercussions like a blood sugar collapse that causes exhaustion.

Alcohol

Alcohol is unlikely to cause a blood sugar surge if there are no mixers with added sugar. But excessive drinking can harm pancreatic beta cells, impairing their capacity to release insulin and leading to alcoholic liver disease. As a result, liver disease has a higher risk of insulin resistance. Additionally, animal research indicates that a single binge drinking session causes a temporary increase in insulin resistance.

The HealthifyMe Note

Overall, glucose is a carbohydrate that is essential for supplying energy and supporting bodily functions. On the other hand, fluctuating blood sugar levels, known as hyperglycemia and hypoglycemia, can be risky if untreated. But there’s no need to worry because plenty of substitute foods are available that won’t raise blood sugar levels or interfere with insulin release. Some food items include refined oil, alcohol, dairy products and fructose. However, excessive use of these can potentially cause several metabolic diseases.

Micronutrients are Essential

Micronutrients are crucial for the general health of the body. Most play essential roles in cellular processes involving proteins, enzymes, and hormones that control every aspect of the body’s function. Even though people only require minimal amounts of them, micronutrients significantly impact the efficiency of cellular machinery. Glucose measurements provide no information about micronutrient levels or how they work. However, without these critical factors, the entire system may stumble and halt, leading to metabolic dysfunction.

For instance, zinc aids in properly operating neurological, reproductive, and immunological systems. More than 300 bodily enzymes require zinc. Zinc deficiency can cause obesity and type 2 diabetes. Also, omega-3 fatty acids are yet another essential category. Every cell in the body has them embedded in the membranes. Membranes help regulate cellular signalling, protein function, gene expression, and reducing inflammation. 

Animal studies found that omega-3 fatty acids help prevent insulin resistance. Conversely, a high-fat diet brought resistance by preventing alterations to insulin signalling.

Long-term health is not usually supported or guaranteed by foods that help short-term glucose stability. It is because optimal nutrition involves subtleties, and glucose is, though potent, just one of the components.

Eight subcellular disorders primarily cause all chronic illnesses. These are alterations in gene expression, glycation, oxidative stress, mitochondrial malfunction, insulin resistance, cell membrane instability, and ineffective removal of cellular waste. These disorders interact in intricate ways and are not mutually exclusive. If one manifests in your body, many others may also present. Glucose impacts many of these activities, but other substances in your body also have an influence.

For instance, a mechanism known as epigenetics allows specific dietary molecules to affect how genes function by turning them on or off. Because they serve as building blocks for the essential DNA-modulating chemicals S-adenosyl-L-methionine, nutrients including methionine, folate, choline, choline betaine, and vitamins B2, B6, and B12 can affect gene expression. Additionally, early research suggests that vitamin B12 may protect against diabetes and even the harmful health impacts of air pollution through its influence on the epigenome.

Optimal Glucose Range is Unclear

The ideal glucose range for individuals without a recognised metabolic impairment is yet unknown. Any reading below 100 mg/dl is considered normal fasting glucose, according to the American Diabetes Association (ADA). However, research reveals that persons with fasting results in the high-normal range are at a higher risk of health issues than those in the “normal” range. Therefore, it implies that they should not be satisfied to be there.

A study discovered that those with fasting glucose levels of 100 mg/dl had a greater risk of coronary heart disease than those with 90 mg/dl. Researchers did this study on Korean individuals.

Another study indicated that more than twice as many men had diabetes as those with fasting glucose levels between 82 and 86 mg/dl. 13,000 Israeli males aged 26 to 45 were part of this study. The idea is that there is a spectrum of metabolic health. However, further study is needed to identify the best ranges for a broad population.

Unclear Relation Between Glucose Levels and Health

Another barrier is that people are still learning about the subtleties of how glucose levels relate to underlying health. Many health-related variables have a J-shaped distribution, where low and high levels increase the risk of problems. An excellent example is an exercise: generally, any quantity is preferable to none. However, overtraining and excessive activity might have adverse effects.

The precise dose-response relationship for reducing blood glucose levels is yet unknown. But it’s also known that persistently high blood sugar raises the chance of developing various illnesses. These include type 2 diabetes and prediabetes, cardiovascular disease, blood vessel damage, weight gain, and other issues.

In a 2018 research, researchers grouped non-diabetic subjects by “glucotype” according to their post-meal glycemic variability (low, moderate, or severe). It shows that 15% of the time, a subset of individuals with “normal” glucose readings on a battery of standard glucose tests exhibited significant glucose fluctuations. It shows that glycemic variability is a crucial early indicator of insulin sensitivity that may be essential to spot individuals developing diabetes. However, some researchers contend that mean average glucose levels are just as adequate for detecting high-risk people.

Glucose Readings Do NOT Indicate Insulin Resistance

Insulin resistance, a major cause of metabolic dysfunction, is not usually evident in glucose levels. According to research, insulin dysregulation starts at least ten years before its consequences are visible in blood sugar levels. 

A study tracked more than 6500 middle-aged persons for 19 years. The study showed that those who acquired diabetes had warning flags in their insulin production and sensitivity levels. This warning flag existed almost 13 years before being diagnosed. As a result, two patients may have comparable blood glucose levels. However, significantly different insulin levels depend on where they are along the spectrum of metabolic dysfunction.

Even when you develop insulin resistance, your blood glucose levels may stay steady for years. Also, the body responds to insulin resistance by manufacturing increasing amounts of insulin. This way, they overcome the resistance and maintain glucose levels within the “normal” range. Unfortunately, doctors don’t check for impaired insulin processing regularly. Thus, people are unaware of the early signs of metabolic illness.

Up to 88% of adult Americans are insulin resistant, although most are entirely ignorant of their metabolic health. In addition, most significant chronic diseases, including heart disease, diabetes, stroke, chronic liver disease, and Alzheimer’s disease, have been linked to insulin resistance.

Limitations of Technology

Individuals must be aware of the limits of CGM technology and the sporadic possibility of inaccurate glucose readings. For instance, following strenuous, anaerobic activity, a glucose surge may occur and not be a cause for alarm. Additionally, it is a small possibility that excess dosage of vitamin C might interfere with the enzyme-based sensors used by CGM, which may lead to errors in glucose readings.

Diabetic patients showed this behaviour in some research. However, all those studies used intravenous Vitamin C levels far more significantly than most individuals routinely take. But it’s important to remember that any unusual chemicals in the bloodstream might interfere with a technology that depends on intricate biological processes.

It’s important to note that other glucose measurements may even be worse windows into the overall metabolic health. For example, the two most frequently used procedures to determine diabetes risk, oral glucose tolerance and fasting glucose testing, only record a brief period. However, even if both tests show the normal range, a person can still build insulin resistance in the background that may not come to attention since people are not monitoring insulin.

The HealthifyMe Note

Micronutrients are crucial for cellular function, even though you may need them at extremely minute levels. However, glucose monitoring reveals nothing about them. Even though the precise range of blood glucose for each individual is unknown, anything below 100 mg/dl considers a normal fasting glucose level. Persistent blood glucose levels increase the risk of developing other chronic conditions like type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Furthermore, because glucose measurements do not reveal insulin resistance, people are less likely to recognise the first indications of metabolic disorders.

Conclusion

​​For optimum health, glucose management is vital yet insufficient. The first mistake is letting glucose alone determine what you eat. Following your optimum diet is not the same as eating for stable glucose. It is a component, yet many foods do not induce glucose spikes but have detrimental health effects. Glucose is not the only thing that matters. Foods that enhance short-term glucose stability may not necessarily support or assure long-term health. A good diet is complex, and glucose is only one (strong) component of the picture.

Since insulin resistance can start years before its consequences manifest as glucose dysregulation, glucose is just a partial indicator of metabolic issues. Concepts of what is “normal” and “optimal” are continually developing since scientists just recently started to dissect how various aspects of glucose fluctuation relate to long-term health. 

A person must address the challenge of metabolic health on an extensive basis. Currently, glucose is the most helpful indicator since it is one of the few biological indicators that can test quickly, affordably, and in real-time. However, although glucose is essential, one should think beyond it for good health.

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