Doc Talk #206 – You Can’t Outrun a Bad Diet

Blood sugar is generally not very well understood but is popularly referred to in every day speech. It is normally very well controlled and in general, unless you have an underlying medical condition or participated in extreme exercise, your blood sugar will not go low. What we call blood sugar, is really glucose. It is fuel for the brain – and indeed glucose is the only fuel source for the pink squishy organ.

Your body is also very good at avoiding excessively high blood sugar and it’s only with conditions like diabetes, that this normally tight control is lost.

Glycogen is used by the body to store glucose and it can be found in muscle and liver tissue. During exercise, your body breaks down this glycogen to release glucose.

Dr Dan often gets asked if people should take a snack or a sugary drink with them if they are exercising? Because of the body’s glycogen stores, it’s not necessary unless your exercise is prolonged (more than 60 – 90 minutes).

We also discussed diabetes and blood sugar.

Finally, we talked about an experiment with mice (where they ran 300 miles on a hamster wheel over the course of 6 weeks!) where a poor diet and persistent high blood sugar meant that the beneficial impact of exercise was lost.

Just having a poor diet means your exercise may not be as effective and the key takeaway from this show – you can’t out-exercise a bad diet (and in fact, the exercise may be less helpful).

Here is the original New York Times article we referred to in the show.

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