What happens to the ‘delinquent’ sugar particles you’ve just consumed, when insulin is forced to manage them

Ok, so you’re in the Spar, picking up a loaf of bread and as you’re paying, you spy a bar of chocolate and decide it’ll keep you going ‘till dinner’s ready (you’re famished and frankly, can’t see how you’ll survive the next 90 minutes without some form of sustenance).

Within a short time of eating your snack, the carbohydrates in it – the chocolate, wafer biscuit, crisped rice, sugar, glucose syrup, rice flour, dextrose and invert sugar syrup (does she happen to have a chocolate wrapper in her bin from yesterday’s trip to the Spar?) – are broken down into simple sugars and absorbed into your blood stream.

Now, as the sugar in your blood starts to rise rapidly, your pancreas nearly has an apoplectic fit and starts producing huge quantities of insulin in response.  Insulin rushes in, grabs the sugar (glucose) particles and hauls them off the principal’s office (the muscle cells).

“Knock, knock”, goes insulin.  “Can I help you?” says the principal. “Oh, good grief yes” says insulin “I can’t have these delinquents running around the corridors during lesson time; take them into your office and deal with them.” The principal replies “Err; actually I’m full up – I’ve got a staff meeting on, so you’ll have to take them elsewhere.”  So off insulin goes, sugar in tow, and tries the school gymnasium (the liver cells).

“Knock, knock” once again, goes insulin.  “Can I help you?” says the PhysEd teacher.  “You’d better” says insulin “the situation’s getting serious … take these problem children and keep them safely in the gym.”  Says the PhysEd teacher, “Um, I can’t take them all – we’ve got a school rally on and 80% of the students are here already.  I can take a few, but you’ll have to find somewhere else for the rest!”

“!#@*!!” says insulin and hauls them off to the last place it can – the sick bay (the fat cells).  Repeating the process, the nurse agrees with spectacular enthusiasm, to take all the remaining children into her ward, saying “No problem at all – I’ve got plenty of room – you can keep them coming day and night!”

Pardon the school analogy (for those who’d prefer to forget the experience), but in effect the outcome of the above scenario is that every time you consume too many sugars (carbs) for the muscle and liver cells to utilise, you’ll end up storing this sugar as fat! Not only that, but eventually, the cells become very, very tired of having to answer insulin’s request for help and simply ‘ignore’ the knock at their door. This forces the pancreas to produce much larger quantities of insulin in order for the knock to be heard by the over-worked and tired cells and leads to what we term ‘insulin resistance’.  If this pattern continues, it results – ultimately – in diabetes.

So, save those poor cells and avoid packing the excess glucose into your fat cells by reducing the amount of carbohydrate-rich foods you consume on a daily basis … chips, chocolates, biscuits, table sugar, sweets, pies, breads, pasta, rice etc.  Eat veggies ‘till they come out of your ears and save the listed foods for those ‘special’ occasions.

Oh, and another thing.  Add more good quality fats to your meals (butter, coconut fat and cold-pressed plant oils) and make sure there’s some form of protein in every meal and snack in moderate amounts (raw nuts/seeds and meats). Both these will ensure that those delinquents behave themselves better … and stop you gaining weight. Bonus!

About The Author

Tanya started out as a professional ballet dancer. Swopping her pointe shoes for takkies, she decided being a hip hop dancer was way cooler, so chopped off her bun and joined a street dance company. For many years, she also taught dance and fitness classes in Cape Town before deciding that nutrition and lifestyle coaching was the way to help people change their state of health for the better. So, while writing two health and fitness books, she moved to London to study and began her ‘real life’ – that as a health and lifestyle coach. She’s been in private practice for 10 years now, is a mom of a 7-year old pig-tailed ball of energy, writes for various national and local health publications and is a health presenter when the occasion arises. Oh – and once a dancer, always a dancer – she’s also taken up ballet pole dancing.

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