Blood Sugar and Weight Loss

Instructor: Veronika Polozkova

Masters in International Health. Lesson development experience on different levels from basic alimentary school to academic master level. Languages: English, Dutch, Russian

Your body is a smart machine that is perfectly balanced to fulfill life needs. Not losing weight while dieting and excessive weight gain after quitting a diet are common problems. Find out why and what your blood sugar has to do with it.

What is Blood Sugar?

Your body always has a certain amount of sugar in the blood which serves as a fuel to provide energy for the brain, organs, and other body tissues to fulfill basic life needs. Carbohydrates provide this sugar for your body. While carbohydrates from foods can contain different kinds of sugars, glucose is the only sugar form that can be found in the human body and be used as an energy source. Your liver first transforms different types of carbohydrates into glucose before releasing them into the bloodstream. That is why blood sugar is also often called 'blood glucose'. In practice, these terms mean the same thing. Once glucose is released into the blood stream, blood transports it further to other tissues and organs. But the blood glucose values should always be within certain levels to maintain health. If your blood sugar is too high it can cause damage to nerves and tissue, negatively affecting one's health. If the blood sugar is to low, your body will be low on energy and you will feel tired and can even loose consciousness.

Blood Sugar Regulation

There are several mechanisms that regulate blood sugar. When you eat a meal, your blood sugar goes up, which provides the body with energy. Often your body does not need all the energy for life needs at that exact moment. To avoid high amounts of circulating blood sugar, your body releases the hormone insulin. Insulin works as a key to storing energy. It stores the excessive sugar in body fat tissues to save for later. At the moment when your body has used all the circulating sugar from the blood and the blood sugar level drops, your body releases another hormone called glucagon. Glucagon can unlock these fat stores and release the sugar back into the bloodstream. Insulin and glucagon are therefore both important hormones for maintaining blood sugar within normal levels.

Balanced blood sugar levels are important for staying healthy

Losing Weight

When you try to lose weight, usually you go on a diet or start exercising more often. When you are on a diet and you lower your food intake, the blood sugar levels tend to be lower. This means that your body needs to release the stored sugar from fat reserves to fulfill life needs. Although this process requires several metabolic steps, it is the core process of weight loss through dieting. When you exercise, your body uses more energy, which means that it needs more sugar (which is the primary source of energy). This situation forces the release the stored sugar to maintain blood sugar levels within norms. If you do both (exercising and dieting at the same time), your blood sugar drops even faster and that requires an even greater release of blood sugar reserves. This is why combining diet AND exercise makes you lose weight faster than either done separately.

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