Not too little, not too much, juuuuust right. Our bodies need a steady stream of fuel for our various body systems to use. One form of fuel is blood glucose, commonly known as blood sugar. The body tightly regulates the amount of blood sugar circulating in the blood stream using a carefully orchestrated dance mediated by our PAALS system.
PAALS stands for:
It manufactures insulin and glucagon on-demand and releases them into the bloodstream to lower or to raise circulating blood glucose levels.
When blood sugar gets too low, the body releases cortisol and epinephrine to raise levels to ensure a steady supply of fuel.
Our adipose tissue (also known as body fat) stores energy in the form of triglycerides. These fat stores release a hormone called leptin which supports satiety and reduces hunger.
If the body has sufficient blood glucose to meet its energy needs, any excess blood sugar is converted to glycogen in a process known as glycogenesis. Glycogen is made up of long chains of carbon that can easily be converted back into blood glucose during exercise, sleep, or another time of need. The process of converting glycogen into glucose is called glycogenolysis. Protein and fat can also be converted into blood glucose by the liver in a process called gluconeogenesis.
The liver can store some glycogen, but much of it is stored in the muscle tissue itself for quick access during times of need, like exercise. Muscle (and fat) tissue can also be converted into blood glucose.
People often think of meat and seafood as a good source of protein. And then, in contrast, we tend to associate high vitamin content with fruits and veggies. Get ready to test your assumptions in this jam-packed feature.
The "right" ratio of the three macro-nutrients - proteins, fats, and carbohydrates - is a hotly contested topic in the nutrition world. The "right" ratios are probably unique for each individual, however, these core principles can help you find the right balance for you.
I'm not saying we should revert back to a hunter and gatherer lifestyle, but attending to what we evolved to eat has benefits. Take a look at this quick timeline of humans and food to see just how abnormal our current eating patterns are in the scope of human history.