What Is Blood Glucose?
Blood sugar – or more correctly, BG, Blood Glucose – is the fuel your body runs on. It is in the blood for only MINUTES… before it is transferred out into the cells of the body – EVERY SINGLE CELL – to fuel them, so they can live.
Without glucose, they die – and once enough of them have died, you die; when that actually happens, it’s the cells of your brain that go first… thereby shutting down everything else.
What Is A Normal Blood Glucose Range?
In non-diabetic humans, BG ranges from about 90 to 120 mg/dl (5.00 to 6.67 mmol/L) all day long, with occasional “spikes” into the 140’s mg/dl (up to 7.8 mmol/L), and drops into 80’s mg/dl (as low as 4.4 mmol/L). It spends 80% of the day BELOW 100 mg/dl (5.55 mmol/L).
As your BG gets low – your body begins burning fat tissue; this is the concept behind the ketogenic diet.
By forcing your body to use it’s fuel stores (that is what fat tissue is for – to “fuel” your body during lean times), you’ll “burn off” excess weight. Of course, if you don’t have any excess weight – you’ll waste away; after all fat tissue is gone, you’ll start burning muscle tissue. BUT… that won’t happen with a proper ketogenic diet; that’s an extreme example – it’s what happens during the process of starvation. The keto diet doesn’t go that far.
What Happens If Your Blood Glucose Gets Too Low?
IF BG gets too low (below 70 mg/dl, or 3.9 mmol/L), you’ll experience hypoglycemia – or low blood sugar. When this happens, you’ll start to become irritable, shaky, lightheaded, weak, and confused.
This RARELY happens to anyone that is not using insulin, or an insulin secretagogue (a medication that stimulates insulin production).
Hypoglycemia is a rare disorder in itself – but is common among insulin users (ALL Type 1 diabetics, plus many Type 2’s). It is ultimately the cause of death of about 5% of all T1s (Type 1 diabetics). We MUST use insulin, ALL of our lives – or we’ll die. However, it can kill in minutes.
What Happens If Your Blood Glucose Gets Too High?
Bringing us to hyperglycemia (high blood sugar) – the more common issue. Elevated BG levels cause damage to the cells of the body – ALL of them. But first and foremost, the vasculature – circulatory system – starting with the finest (smallest) blood vessels, and working up.
Glucose – blood sugar – is a crystalline structure; it abraids the inner walls of the vasculature. Think of a garden hose. That’s your circulatory system. Now think of a sandy beach. The water at the edge is sandy as you sink one end of the hose into it; then you start pumping the water out through the hose.
As it passes through the hose, the sand is tearing up the inside of the hose. It will start to develop leaks over time. That’s one of the things going on inside your blood vessels when your BG is too high; the concentration of glucose, when it’s too high, is “beating up” your vasculature from the inside – and the finest blood vessels are damaged first.
These are found in the nephrons of the kidneys, and the retinas of the eyes. This is why retinopathy (leading to blindness) and CKD (Chronic Kidney Disease) leading to renal failure are two of the most common “complications” of DM – Diabetes Mellitus.
However, AGES (Advanced Glycation End Products) are the major culprit of damage. When there’s too much glucose present in the blood, the hemoglobin in the blood binds chemically with it; this is called glycation.
This creates these AGES as a sort of by-product of the glycation process. These AGES are then “floating around” in your circulatory system – and attaching themselves to the tissue of your organs. AGES are a sort of “sticky-sweet gunk” that adheres to, and smothers, the tissue of every organ it comes into contact with. The nerves, the heart, the kidneys, and so on.
Ultimately, all the so-called “complications” of DM are promoted by these chemical vandals – and they are created (in excess) by elevated BG levels, which cause elevated levels of glycation.
Keeping BG as close to the “normal” (non-diabetic) range as possible, for as much of the time as possible, is the key to living a long life with DM. If you don’t have DM – paying attention, and keeping your BG in non-D range, is the best way to avoid it.
A note on Diabetes Mellitus:
There are three types of DM, and only one of them involves dietary issues – but NONE of them are CAUSED by diet or lifestyle. That’s a myth.
T2 (Type 2 DM) is the most common and has been thought of as a “lifestyle disease” for a long time – about 20–1/2 centuries. But recently, we’ve discovered that it is GENETIC – without the genetic markers, you don’t get the disease.
HOWEVER – following the proper dietary guidelines (limiting carb consumption) and getting regular exercise (at LEAST 150 minutes per week, spread over at least 4 different days), WILL forestall the onset of the disease – possibly forever.
For more on this, read
There is currently no known way to prevent Type 1 or Type 3c DM. But they are quite rare – though T3c is suspected to be more common than previously thought; currently, it’s cited as less than 1% of all DM patients – but recent research suggests that perhaps 5% of all T2s are actually T3cs.