At what point does dietary glucose become excess?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created June 02, 2013 at 9:01 PM

I am currently reading the "perfect health diet", and there is a section discussing the optimal carb intake.

The author explains, how at a low carb intake the body will manufacture glucose from protein to meet its glucose needs, and at a high carb intake the body will dispose of "excess glucose" (via fat storage), as the bodies glucose utilization will be lower than the dietary intake. He therefor suggests that the optimal carb intake is in the middle.

My question is this, say I am getting 80% of my caloric needs from glucose, a high carb diet no doubt, and I am not consuming excess calories, would there still be an "excess of glucose"? Is there really such a thing as "excess glucose", or is it just excess calories?

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on June 02, 2013
at 09:43 PM

Excess glucose would be glucose your muscles & liver can't store. In some cases fat can be more insulin sensitive, with the muscles either full and/or insulin resistant after years of bad dieting. Even people who are reasonably thin could be cycling glucose into fat stores and then bringing it out again to burn later.

Calories are a fast and dirty metaphor for what is really going in our bodies, and it sometimes gives us the wrong info. Calories are burned, but we arrive at energy via biochemical processes. So, if they were burning different energy sources in a lab, well, it would be 'just excess calories', but since we are talking about the merry-go-round of chemistry that can go on in our bodies, it is not.



on June 02, 2013
at 10:45 PM

To piggyback on August's great answer above, I would like to say that, like virtually everything to do with nutrition and health, it depends. It depends on your personal carb tolerance, activity levels, degree of insulin sensitivity, food allergies, inflammation levels, etc.

If you are consuming 80% of your diet from carbohydrates, even with a caloric deficit, Some glucose will likely be converted to palmitic acid and stored in fat cells. But fat cells are like a revolving door, and if you are at a caloric deficit, much of what you store would still be released to be used as energy. I think you are likely to have some other issues eating that many carbs, but that's besides the point.

I am extremely active and I have actually lost a bit of fat the past few weeks eating 200+ carbs and 4000+ calories a day. If somebody else where to eat exactly what I am, they would almost certainly have a completely different reaction. There is a huge degree of genetic difference between people and how they react to different glucose levels (and virtually everything else). Again, it depends.

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