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Can fat make glycogen? and is this a problem for a diabetic?

Answered on September 12, 2014
Created July 10, 2013 at 4:17 PM

My brother has just been diagnosed type 2 diabetic. He has been told to cut down on starch and sugar and fat as they all raise blood glucose. He believes fat turns to glycogen. He may be right - I don't know - but I'm pretty sure it's not a blood glucose problem, but what do I tell him?

96440612cf0fcf366bf5ad8f776fca84

(19413)

on July 11, 2013
at 10:52 AM

LOL, the mind boggles at the idea of a diabetic being told to avoid fat by a medical professional. Since when does fat trigger an insulin response? Yes, the glycerol backbone of fat can be converted to a very small amount of glycogen, but not so much that you'd get an insulin response, or in this case perhaps require insulin.

7e36094a0f7a2fbad24290225405220b

(2064)

on July 11, 2013
at 06:17 AM

Thank you. That's what I thought.

7e36094a0f7a2fbad24290225405220b

(2064)

on July 11, 2013
at 06:16 AM

He's been told to avoid starch, sugar and fat by the diabetic nurse and that is his reason for fat being bad for diabetes. I know what you are saying but I don't think he will believe me rather than a 'professional' without some evidence. I want him to try paleo (of course!) and he's thinking of joining Weightwatchers.

72cf727474b8bf815fdc505e58cadfea

on July 11, 2013
at 03:18 AM

What's the concern here? Does he want to avoid producing glycogen? I don't think having glycogen is bad for people with diabetes; it's more about managing dietary sources of glucose.

7e36094a0f7a2fbad24290225405220b

(2064)

on July 10, 2013
at 06:58 PM

Wow! Thank you! He is very scientifically minded and will understand that better than I do, I am sure. It is just what will convince him.

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2 Answers

2
3fc95bca9e723edfbbb72b172798ab49

(1354)

on July 10, 2013
at 04:39 PM

Off the top of my head there doesn't seem to be a readily available pathway for this, though there may be a rarer, more esoteric, pathway that I'm not aware of.

A quick and dirty Google search came up with this interesting write-up on gluconeogenesis from various substrates. If I'm looking at this right the interesting part you're looking for is:

Glycerol: Oxidation of fatty acids yields enormous amounts of energy on a molar basis, however, the carbons of the fatty acids cannot be utilized for net synthesis of glucose. The two carbon unit of acetyl-CoA derived from ??-oxidation of fatty acids can be incorporated into the TCA cycle, however, during the TCA cycle two carbons are lost as CO2. Thus, explaining why fatty acids do not undergo net conversion to carbohydrate. The glycerol backbone of lipids can be used for gluconeogenesis. This requires phosphorylation to glycerol-3-phosphate by glycerol kinase and dehydrogenation to dihydroxyacetone phosphate (DHAP) by glycerol-3-phosphate dehydrogenase (GPD). The GPD reaction is the same as that used in the transport of cytosolic reducing equivalents into the mitochondrion for use in oxidative phosphorylation. This transport pathway is called the glycerol-phosphate shuttle.

7e36094a0f7a2fbad24290225405220b

(2064)

on July 10, 2013
at 06:58 PM

Wow! Thank you! He is very scientifically minded and will understand that better than I do, I am sure. It is just what will convince him.

1
00cd3b6f51530a6832fcda1712edbec3

(2411)

on July 11, 2013
at 01:05 AM

The short answer is no. The longer answer is that the body can inefficiently convert protein to glucose (gluconeogenesis), and in rare cases, it can convert fatty acids to glucose in very small amounts, but the body doesn't convert fat to glycogen.

7e36094a0f7a2fbad24290225405220b

(2064)

on July 11, 2013
at 06:17 AM

Thank you. That's what I thought.

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