What is the Normal Blood Sugar Response?

It’s important to understand how sugar affects your body. Whether you’re diabetic or not, understanding how blood sugar is metabolized and how our body responds is important. From dietary choices to exercise, there are so many things we can do to hurt or help our blood sugar response.

The Basics

The basic blood sugar response is quite simple.

  1. You eat something with carbs.
  2. Those carbohydrates will break down into sugar molecules.
  3. Those sugar molecules will enter your blood stream.
  4. Your pancreas will make insulin.
  5. Insulin will signal to a cell to let the sugar in
  6. The sugar will go from the blood to the cell.

The video below highlights this relationship.

Some Basic Terminology

Blood Sugar: the amount of sugar in your blood

Insulin response: tells you how responsive your pancreas is to releasing insulin. In theory when you eat, your pancreas will release insulin, in proportion to how much sugar is in the blood

Insulin Sensitivity: refers to how sensitive your body’s cells are to insulin. High insulin sensitivity means your cells are able to use blood sugar effectively, which is a good thing.

Insulin Resistance: refers to when the cells are not reacting appropriately to the insulin. In other words the cells resist the insulin signal. Blood sugar tends to raise when your cells are insulin resistant. This is a bad thing.

Simple Sugars: simple sugars are simply carbs which break down quickly and have a quick impact on blood sugar. There are ‘good’ and ‘bad’ simple sugars, it depends on context.

Complex Carbs: these are foods that break down slowly and have a slower, more delayed response on blood sugar. Complex carbs can also be good or bad, depending on context.

Diabetes: diabetes describes a couple of conditions. Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease whereby there is insufficient insulin and therefor blood sugar is adversely impacted. Type 2 diabetes arises when the cells lose insulin sensitivity (ie they become insulin resistant); this too impacts blood sugar in a negative way.

Where Things Can Go Wrong

Things can go wrong in a few places such that a person can have faulty blood sugar metabolism.

  1. Poor diet: if someone eats too much of the wrong carbs
  2. Insulin/pancreatic issues: if insulin doesn’t work, or the pancreas is damaged in such as way that insulin cannot do it’s job, problems will arise
  3. Cell Response Issues: if the insulin doesn’t signal to the cell properly, blood sugar will rise.

Keep reading about the Diabetes here. If you need more support in dealing with blood sugar management or diabetes, please consider booking with our naturopath, or one close to you.

Interested in learning more?

Read on in our series of articles on Diabetes!

About the Author - Dr. Johann de Chickera

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Dr. Johann is a fully licensed Naturopathic Doctor. His approach emphasizes the importance of living a healthy lifestyle and improving one’s health naturally. Dr. Johann obtained a Doctor of Naturopathy at the Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine (CCNM). Education at CCNM is a vigorous four years, with a curriculum involving biomedical sciences, physical diagnosis, clinical nutrition, traditional Chinese medicine and acupuncture, botanical (herbal) medicine, physical medicine, homeopathy and lifestyle management.

While Dr. Johann has a general practice, he focuses on fertility, hormonal imbalances, gut health, and autoimmune disease.

To book in please call us at (519) 442-2206 or click here.

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