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Thursday, November 28, 2013

No Carbohydrate Diet - Part 2

What Do Carbohydrates do for us

FBS - 11/2/7/2013 - 122
FBS - 11/28/2013 - 106 - still fluctuating with stress and work - not totally out of the woods yet

BP - 139/87  home machine and is slightly above 110/70 at this reading / HR - 61

I want to wish everyone a very happy Thanksgiving.  I know for my international readers this a United States holiday but I think we all have something to be thankful for - so we can all call this a Day of Thanksgiving.  Give it up to your higher power(s) and thank them for what they have done for you today.

My dad left me with three basic things to be thankful for:

  1. When you wake up in the morning, give thanks to God for he brought you through the night and you are looking down at the ground and not up at it.
  2. When you go to bed at night, give God thanks for every second he gave you during the day to experience the life he meant for you to experience.
  3. But most of all, thank God for the people he put in your life - and I thank God for each of you.  Strangely enough - I have to thank him for my diabetes because without it - I would not know any of you.

What are the functions of carbohydrates in our body.

According to most sources there are really six functions:

  1. Providing energy and regulation of blood glucose
  2. Sparing the use of proteins for energy
  3. Breakdown of fatty acids and preventing ketosis
  4. Biological recognition processes
  5. Flavor and Sweeteners
  6. Dietary fiber
I will take each one and provide some detail information  and at the end of the series, will wrap up with why we should not go without them.

Providing energy and regulating blood glucose

This might be considered the most important function and why not having them in our diet can be a major risk.

Glucose is the only sugar used by the body to provide energy for its tissues. Therefore, all digestible polysaccharides, disaccharides, and monosaccharides must eventually be converted into glucose or a metabolite of glucose by various liver enzymes. Because of its significant importance to proper cellular function, blood glucose levels must be kept relatively constant.

Among the enormous metabolic activities the liver performs, it also includes regulating the level of blood glucose. During periods of food consumption, pancreatic beta cells sense the rise in blood glucose and begin to secrete the hormone insulin. Insulin binds to many cells in the body having appropriate receptors for the peptide hormone and causes a general uptake in cellular glucose. In the liver, insulin causes the uptake of glucose as well as the synthesis of glycogen, a glucose storage polymer. In this way, the liver is able to remove excessive levels of blood glucose through the action of insulin.

Type 2 diabetes may have two problems - our cells do not recognize and take in the glucose thus leaving large amounts in our blood - or we do not produce enough insulin to manage the glucose produced.  This is much the same problem of a Type I diabetic.

In contrast, the hormone glucagons is secreted into the bloodstream by pancreatic alpha cells upon sensing falling levels of blood glucose. Upon binding to targeted cells such as skeletal muscle and brain cells, glucagon acts to decrease the amount of glucose in the bloodstream. This hormone inhibits the uptake of glucose by muscle and other cells and promotes the breakdown of glycogen in the liver in order to release glucose into the blood. Glucagon also promotes gluconeogenesis, a process involving the synthesis of glucose from amino acid precursors. Through the effects of both glucagon and insulin, blood glucose can usually be regulated in concentrations between 70 and 115mg/100 ml of blood.

Other hormones of importance in glucose regulation are epinephrine and cortisol. Both hormones are secreted from the adrenal glands, however, epinephrine mimics the effects of glucagon while cortisol mobilizes glucose during periods of emotional stress or exercise.

Despite the liver's unique ability to maintain homeostatic levels of blood glucose, it only stores enough for a twenty-four hour period of fasting. After twenty four hours, the tissues in the body that preferentially rely on glucose, particularly the brain and skeletal muscle, must seek an alternative energy source. During fasting periods, when the insulin to glucagons ratio is low, adipose tissue begins to release fatty acids into the bloodstream. Fatty acids are long hydrocarbon chains consisting of single carboxylic acid group and are not very soluble in water. Skeletal muscle begins to use fatty acids for energy during resting conditions; however, the brain cannot afford the same luxury. Fatty acids are too long and bulky to cross the blood-brain barrier.

Notice through fasting or starving, our bodies start to find a different source that is not as good.  Leave it to our "smart brain" to know this is not good for us.  If the brain knows not to consume fatty acids, then we should be smart enough to feed our brain some real glucose.  No carbohydrates - might be a danger to our brains.  When I went on my "no carb" eating; it might have saved my life but what did it do to my brain?  Oh yeah - forgot I do not have much of one anyway - I am okay!

 Therefore, proteins from various body tissues are broken down into amino acids and used by the liver to produce glucose for the brain and muscle. This process is known as gluconeogenesis or "the production of new glucose." If fasting is prolonged for more than a day, the body enters a state called ketosis. Ketosis comes from the root word ketones and indicates a carbon atom with two side groups bonded to an oxygen atom.

 Ketones are produced when there is no longer enough oxaloacetate in the mitochondria of cells to condense with acetyl CoA formed from fatty acids. Oxaloacetate is a four-carbon compound that begins the first reaction of the Krebs Cycle, a cycle containing a series of reactions that produces high-energy species to eventually be used to produce energy for the cell. Since oxaloacetate is formed from pyruvate (a metabolite of glucose), a certain level of carbohydrate is required in order to burn fats. Otherwise, fatty acids cannot be completely broken down and ketones will be produced.

It surely appears to me that these "No Carb" diets make no sense.  What I think makes a lot of sense is using these no carbohydrate snacks to help put a little fuel in our body.  Again, as I have stated many times, you must know what your body needs, on a regular basis on at the given moment you are ready to eat.

By the way, today is Thanksgiving and a day of coming together and sharing a great meal.  My family is not in Nashville and I have an ex-coworker, Steve Megow, who invites us to participate with his extended family each year.  See why my Dad said be thankful for each person God puts in your life.

Oh yeah - he smokes some great meet and none of his family are diabetics so they have a good time.  Lookout for my readings on Friday - for today I feast and thank God for every second he allows me to graze today!  Carbohydrates are in this blog and in the dictionary; but, they are not on a Thanksgiving table!

May God grant you many seconds each day for which you can be thankful.  May he watch over you at night while you sleep and bring you through those unguarded times.  Most of all, I ask that he opens my eyes and allows me to see the "real" person he put in my life today, not one based on race, religion, or political views; but, the one he created.

God bless each of you and have a most Thankful day!



  1. Hi Bob and a very late Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!

    While I agree that eating carbohydrates is important, there are many for years that have controlled their diabetes with very low carb and their goal is to stay in Ketosis. I just don't see it as an enjoyable or healthy way to control my diabetes. Type 2 can have ketoacidosis or DKA, but it is much more likely to happen to Type 1 people with diabetes. You might like to read this at the community regarding DKA In type 2 diabetes having high blood glucose over an extended period is much more likely to cause DKA than is a very low carb diet where the blood sugar is well-controlled.

    I love meat, but in truth I could never go on an extreme low carb diet and prefer my meal plan to be better balanced and something I can live with for the rest of my life. Also, I think our member who has a blog has written a very informative article regarding Ketones, Ketosis and DKA and the difference if each.... It might be of interest to you as well.

    It is great to see you back and I hope your life will settle-down in regard to your work-load....

    I will be waiting to see your fbg in the morning....LOL We had our dinner last night and I posted my readings this morning and a bit of info about the meal.


    1. Marty,

      Good to be back where I can hear from you.

      You are always so smart and ahead of me - but you are on the right track - balance.

      I hope everyone learns from me and does not go the route of panic and no carbs. I did it and it was crazy.

      Also worried so many try crazy fad diets and that will be the end - not worth it. Balance up and eat balanced low carb meals.

      I will check out the links - always up for a pound of knowledge.

      I did have mine tonight and went to 158 two hours later - when I got home. Hate to think of what it was at 1 hour. Oh well, still alive counting the seconds I have left today! :)

      Thanks again for comments and reading.



Please leave your comments or suggestions - looking to getting some good discussions going. Tell me what you have tried and what has or has not worked.

Thanks for the support