The conversion of sugar to fat
Sugar is sweet only as far as the tongue is concerned as it is the sweetest poison that damages our insides if consumed in large quantities. All the sugars and starches (carbohydrates) are converted into glucose, which is the body’s key source of energy. After each meal, the glucose levels in the body rise in the bloodstream and insulin is released by the pancreas.
Insulin is a polypeptide hormone produced and secreted by in the pancreatic beta-cells. Insulin aids in the transport of glucose into fat cells and muscle cells in human metabolism. It promotes protein synthesis, glucose utilization, and the formation and storage of neutral lipids. Insulin reduces the levels of sugar by helping it get into the body’s cells, where it is broken down and used as fuel. Insulin plays a key role in unlocking or opening up cell membranes and allowing the glucose to enter the cells. Insulin is required to controls blood sugar levels for the entry of glucose into muscle, by stimulating metabolism in muscle and adipocytes and glucose influx as well as by blocking gluconeogenesis in the liver. Insulin makes glucose available to the human body’s cells for energy. Once glucose is absorbed by the cells, the blood sugar levels go down. When the levels become low, we feel hungry and eat, thus begins another cycle. In a healthy person, the insulin and glucose rise and fall gradually in the blood, so there are no sudden hunger pangs.
Glucose that is not burned as fuel is then converted into glycogen, which is a starch that is stored in the muscles and liver. Some of it is also converted into fat. Usually, most of the glucose is burned as fuel and only a small quantity is converted into fat. However, when this mechanism goes out of balance, then a larger quantity of glucose is converted into fat. When these changes occur in the body, the changes in the glucose and insulin levels become extreme. The blood sugar rises high and everything is fine and then suddenly the insulin surges and blood sugar drops and the person plunges along with it.
Insulin is required for the regulation of carbohydrate metabolism by reducing blood sugar levels. The body’s inability to produce insulin results or the irregular production of insulin result in glucose metabolism disorders which include diabetes, insulin resistance, hyperglycemia, and hyperinsulinemia. When the insulin levels rise rapidly, the glucose level goes down and this low blood sugar level is called hypoglycemia, which leaves the person feeling tired, depressed, irritable, nervous and light-headed. The body then starts craving for sugar to feel good again.
Over a period of time, high levels of insulin lead to insulin resistance, a condition that occurs when the cells no longer react to insulin, making it difficult to absorb glucose. The pancreas then responds by releasing more insulin into the blood and this only worsens the problem, as the rising insulin levels only make the cells more stubborn. Slowly, the body loses its capacity to burn glucose and the energy levels go down. This is when it becomes extremely difficult to control weight, as insulin is unable to get glucose into the cells and converts more and more sugar into fat.
High insulin levels not only lead to accumulation of fat but also salt and water retention; making people feel bloated and fat. This also makes the person hungry. Usually, insulin has to signal the body to stop eating, but if a person has high glucose levels consistently, due to inefficient insulin, he may eat more.
As the cells become increasingly starved of glucose, carbohydrate cravings increase, which is known as the “carbohydrate hell.” These are the circumstances when any attempts at weight loss go in vain. If these problems are left untreated, they get worse with time and leads to dangerous ailments, including diabetes and heart disease.