Thursday, September 17, 2009

Glucose, Glycerol, Glycogen, Glycemic, Triglycerides, Thermogenesis -- Too Many Dang Words That Look Alike

I have to write these things down, or I'll forget them and then have to reinvent them later, if I do. That's a hassle.

All calories are, by definition, thermogentic. Calorie is a unit of heat measurement. That doesn't seem like a very smart way of measuring nutritional value. Sort of a blunt instrument. In any case, here's a way to explain how high carb diets can result in less body fat. First, it's not refined carbs, so the uptake is slower. When we say carbs, we generally mean glucose. Glucose wants to be used right away. It's instant energy. It's the preferred fuel for emergencies. That's why it's blood sugar, and not tissue sugar. It's right there in the pipes, waiting.

So, it's used first by the brain and organs, as energy. Then it's formed into glycogen in cells. Then it's stored as fat in cells. Too much glucose all at once stimulates a hysterical response from the liver to form triglycerides, and by insulin to store the triglycerides away. So we want a low, steady drip, like an IV -- not a huge inundating bolus, the way we see villains murder bedridden victims in hospitals.

There is a normal range of body temperatures. One of the ways the body regulates blood sugar -- a non-insulin way -- is by using glucose to bump up the temperature. Once that upper level of the safety gauge is reached, insulin secretion becomes more aggressive. Implications here. In the hierarchy of uses, brain/organ energy first, body heat, emergency muscle energy, fat creation, tumors.

As long as the IV drip is steady, you can eat more carbs/glucose without fat gain, because any slight excess will be used as heat. When carbs are too easily digested, the body doesn't opt for fever, but for fat, via insulin and glycerol.

Meanwhile, the glycerol byproduct of glucose combustion can itself be used as fuel. If glucose levels are good, low, the body will opt to use glycerol as an auxiliary fuel source. When glucose becomes too abundant, glycerol stops burning as fuel and is used as the glue to bind free fatty acids into triglycerides, which get stored as blubber.

The trick is, low insulin. High insulin short-circuits the homeostasis process, and brings on a cascade of health problems. We achieve low insulin not by eating lots of fat and protein, but by eating sensible carbs as well, which are complex carbs, which are unrefined carbs, which are slow-to-digest carbs, which are fibrous carbs. Some grains, sure, once in a while. But low glycemic index, and a low-calorie to high-nutrient ratio. Fructose powder, then, sucks -- low glycemic index, but no nutrients at all. And it provokes a low but long-term insulin reaction -- which amounts to at least an equal overall exposure to raised insulin. Insidious.

Now, I just made a lot of this up, in terms of body temp and glycerol use. I wanted to get it down while I was thinking about it. Otherwise it fades away. Oh, the ideas I've had. But you don't have to read this. It's just notes to myself. Pretend you didn't.



Carlos said...

Okay, I am by know means smarter than you or am being sarcastic, But I do have a question regarding " One of the ways the body regulates blood sugar -- a non-insulin way -- is by using glucose to bump up the temperature. Once that upper level of the safety gauge is reached, insulin secretion becomes more aggressive".

If there is an aggressive spike in insulin during fever then why does the body basically become catabolic and start burning body fat at an significantly increased pace? You hear of people dropping 10 pounds with a bad fever over 3 or more days. In the hospital the bastard, murderous villians(a truer description of doctors was never written) would at least (well, common sense would hope) have a NS drip of about 150/hr thus keeping the PT hydrated. No? Anyways, I'm just trying to find as much info as possible on the subject.

Much thanks, Carlos(A murderous, villianous bastard, who protects the weak and bedridden from the murderous villianous bastards)

Jack H said...

Ah, Carlos, you villainous bastard ... we meet again. I almost had you in Taipei, and again in Ouagadougou, but Natasha betrayed me. I had thought you died when that hidden offshoot of the Jenolan Caves collapsed. Understand, old foe, there is no place you can hide. I will find you, and extract justice.

But as I said, I'm riffing on theory here. To address your point, I'd take fever to be an entirely different mechanism than a homeostatic rise in body temp to maintain healthy bodyweight. More specifically, if there's an insulin spike during fever, then there's less sugar energy in the blood as it's being stored away as fat. Thermogenic fat is already stored in cells, so would be the catabolic source of heat. What contribution to heat there might be from muscular activity, contractions or shivering or whatnot, I couldn't say. Likewise from any frictive heat from contracted veins/capillaries. Just don't know. Sounds like you'd have a better grasp on the details of fever.

I don't know that there is an insulin spike during fever. I wouldn't think so, on general principles. There is a fever rise during an insulin drop, however -- I see from an instant google search.

Fits my expectation -- burn off the extra fuel.

But enough. I see I have a call from The President. I shall deal with you apace.

Au revoir, but not adieu.