Although glucose makes up half of the refined sugar, it is better for the body than the other half: fructose. Glucose is the main energy source for the body’s cells. It is imperative for maintaining peak performance for mechanisms of the body. Glucose is found in most foods, such as bread, fruit, vegetables, and dairy products.
When glucose is consumed, the brain tells the pancreas to create insulin. The glucose is then absorbed into the bloodstream through the small intestine. Glucose uses the bloodstream to reach every cell in the body. The insulin helps glucose enter the cells. Any excess glucose is stored in the liver and muscles and is converted to glycogen. When you haven’t eaten in a while, glucose and insulin levels drop causing the pancreas to release a new hormone called glucagon. The glucagon signals the liver to convert the stored glycogen back into glucose to release back into the bloodstream. Low amounts of insulin are again created to help the glucose enter cells that need energy.
Some of the main cells that need glucose are the brain and nerve cells. These cells need glucose to process information. If the body is deprived of glucose, it can lead to loss of consciousness and eventual cell death. As a result, when you consume glucose, dopamine receptors activate. The body recognizes you are consuming something that will keep the cells alive, so it rewards you by making you feel happy.
Additionally, the liver can produce glucose when needed. This production of glucose often occurs when the body is deprived of it. One such instance is during a state called ketosis which taps into another excellent source of energy for the body. The state uses ketones instead of glucose to power the body. Ketones are a very effective and healthy alternative energy source.
Like fructose, a glucose addiction can be created, however, glucose is not an empty calorie. Glucose provides much needed energy. When glucose is consumed, it activates the production of insulin and leptin. The leptin helps to regulate glucose consumption. Glucose is harder to over-consume compared to fructose. But when it is over-consumed glucose can have many side effects including cell inflammation.
Glucose is also called blood sugar. So, when you hear a doctor or nutritionist say to avoid rises in blood sugar, they are saying avoid consuming a lot of glucose at one time. High blood sugar over long periods of time can lead to damage in the kidneys, eyes, and other organs. Besides glucose, stress, illness, and lack of physical activity can raise blood sugar levels.
The recommended amount of glucose per day for women is 6 teaspoons, and 9 for men. On average, people consume 22 teaspoons of added sugar a day!
The best way to avoid over consuming glucose is to dramatically cut down on carbohydrates using the Glycemic Index. Another way is to find a natural sugar substitute that contains no fructose or glucose. Natural sweeteners tend to have low levels of fructose and glucose, so they are your best options. One of the best natural sweeteners is monk fruit. Lakanto Monk Fruit Sweetener is a great 1 to 1 sugar replacement. The sweetener contains no fructose or glucose!
What Is Glucose? (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.webmd.com/diabetes/glucose-diabetes#1
Ancira, K. (2018, June 11). What Is the Difference Between Sucrose, Glucose & Fructose? Retrieved from https://healthyeating.sfgate.com/difference-between-sucrose-glucose-fructose-8704.html
Groves, M. (2018, June 8). Sucrose vs Glucose vs Fructose: What's the Difference? Retrieved from https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/sucrose-glucose-fructose#bottom-line
Nordqvist, C. (2017, February 08). Blood Sugar: High and low levels of blood glucose and lifestyle tips. Retrieved from https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/249413.php
Pointer, K. (2018, March 24). What Is Glucose and What Does It Do? Retrieved from https://www.healthline.com/health/glucose#takeaway