Following on from World Health Day yesterday (7th April) which focused on Diabetes, doctor of science at Revive Active, Dr. Daniel Jones has put together the facts on carbohydrates and fats in our diet and the impact it has on our liver and the link with diabetes.
"Balance and moderation in a healthy diet is key, but when we think of Proteins, Carbohydrates and Fats we are often very aware that the two we should particularly be aware of are carbohydrates and fats. The calorie content of both of these in excess can cause serious damage to the body and increase the chances of development of obesity, diabetes and heart disease.
Then there is sugar.
Sugar is both fat and a carbohydrate. This makes sugar particularly harmful, especially when in excess.
It’s due to what sugar is made of. Sugar is essentially made of 2 parts: glucose and fructose.
Glucose and fructose are very different.
Glucose is a building block of sugar which itself is mildly sweet. Glucose can be utilized by every organ in the body and is the main source of life energy. If the body doesn’t have adequate amounts of glucose available, it can easily make it. The body uses about 80% of the glucose we intake and stores about 20% for later.
But not fructose. Fructose is very sweet and the source of our sugar cravings. Only the liver is able to utilize and metabolise fructose, much like alcohol. 100% of fructose goes to the liver and almost all of it is stored as fat. This can lead to fatty liver disease, compromising liver function.
Excessive fat drives insulin resistance within the liver, forcing the pancreas to have to make more and more insulin, which is the progression of diabetes. This also drives obesity, high blood pressure and heart disease.
Athletes and very active people are able to have a moderate intake of sugar without major problems, because the body is able to use sugar to replenish energy stores which can be depleted after periods of high activity. However, for those who do not have depleted energy stores in the body from high amounts of exercise, which is most people, sugar is turned into fat and stored in the liver.
When it comes to a healthy diet - balance and moderation is everything. But when it comes particularly to sugar - less is more."
Dr. Daniel Jones, Director R&D Revive Active
8th April 2016