Glucose gets the lion’s share of attention in diabetes, but dysregulated metabolism of free fatty acids (FFAs) also plays a role in its progression. High levels of FFAs damage beta cells (which produce insulin), leading to insulin resistance.
Glucose is obtained by ingesting food, primarily carbohydrates, but also fat and protein. The blood carries glucose to energy-requiring tissues throughout the body, where it is broken down into ATP, which fuels a wide variety of bodily processes.
Diabetes is a disease characterized by blood glucose levels that are too high. In type 1 diabetes, the immune system destroys the pancreatic beta cells that produce insulin, a hormone that tells cells to absorb glucose and use it for energy. In type 2 diabetes, the body still produces insulin, but not enough to meet metabolic needs, typically because the body’s cells have developed resistance to that insulin.
Diet, primarily carbohydrates, directly affects blood glucose levels. Consequently, low-carbohydrate diets can help to improve acute glycemic control and reduce total daily insulin requirements in people with diabetes, but these diets are often difficult to adhere to, and don’t appear to be superior to high-carbohydrate diets for blood sugar regulation in the long term. The current evidence suggests there is no ideal macronutrient distribution or eating pattern for people with diabetes, and the diet should be tailored to the individual.
Also, vitamins and minerals that are involved in glucose metabolism and whose deficiency has been associated with an increased risk of diabetes, such as zinc, magnesium, chromium, and vitamin D have garnered immense interest in the context of blood sugar.