How does utilizing carbohydrates help to regulate blood sugar?
hen you use carbohydrates during exercise your body doesn't have to work to regulate the amount of sugar in the blood.
Carbohydrates affect our blood sugar levels because our bodies turn them into glucose. Glucose is used to fuel exercise otherwise it is turned into glycogen to be stored. Higher intensity exercise is fueled almost primarily by glucose.
Glucose: Our High-Intensity Exercise Fuel Source
We can only have so much available glucose at one time and too little is detrimental because it means that we are low on an important fuel source. But having too much glucose, or when levels are too high, it is also detrimental and can be damaging over time. (Picture glucose as sharp and damaging in your veins). When you are using glucose during exercise your body doesn't have to use insulin to regulate the amount of sugar you have in the blood. Insulin is the hormone which tells your body to either store glucose as glycogen or make more readily available (if you get too low). The insulin system is fragile, and does not like having to be utilized much. When sugars are chronically high, the insulin system is in hyperdrive and it eventually burns out and becomes less effective, this is known as insulin resistance.
Carbohydrates are sugar molecules & our main source of energy
If you are looking for ways to lower your glucose, exercise is effective. Our blood sugar fluctuates on a daily basis, so knowing when your body is burning fats vs. when your body is burning carbs (or sugar) during exercise puts you in control of your health goal. Often times people will exercise yet still wonder why the pounds are not coming off, why their cholesterol remains high, or why their A1c is not changing. If you know your fuel utilization numbers, you can exercise with purpose.
Everyone's MIM Prescription will vary, but typically if your health goal is to lower your glucose, your heart rate zone range will be higher than if you are trying to just lose weight. Burning sugar requires a bit more intensity than burning fat.