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What is Glucose?

By S. Mithra
Updated Mar 03, 2024
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Glucose is a simple sugar that provides the body with its primary source of energy. This type of sugar comes from digesting carbohydrates into a chemical that the body can easily convert to energy. When glucose levels in the bloodstream aren't properly regulated, a person can develop a serious condition, such as diabetes.

From Carbohydrates

People get most of their glucose from digesting the sugar and starch in carbohydrates. Foods such as rice, pasta, grain, potatoes and processed sweets contain carbohydrates that can be converted into glucose. The body's digestive system, using bile and enzymes, breaks down the starch and sugar in these foods into glucose. This functional form of energy then gets absorbed through the small intestine into the bloodstream. It is then carried throughout the body, providing energy for the person to perform all types of activities, such as simple movements, demanding physical exercises or even thinking.

Glycemic Index

Foods can be rated according to the glycemic index, which indicates how quickly the carbohydrates are broken down by the body and the glucose is released into the bloodstream. White bread and most breakfast cereals have a high glycemic index, which means that the carbohydrates are broken down and the body's blood-sugar levels raised more quickly. Most fruits, vegetables and nuts have low glycemic indexes. Whole-wheat products and some types of potatoes have glycemic indexes in the middle.

Regulating Levels

Glucose it is such a vital source of energy, and it interacts with both the digestive and endocrine system in the body, so keeping its levels — also called blood-sugar levels — in the bloodstream within a normal range is extremely important to a person's health. The human body has adapted to maintain this ideal level by storing extra glucose in the liver and muscles as glycogen, so that it can be reabsorbed into the bloodstream when the body's blood-sugar levels drop. Insulin, a hormone that is released by the pancreas, regulates the body's blood-sugar levels.

Excessively high blood-sugar levels, a condition called hyperglycemia, might be caused by too much sugar or too little insulin in the blood. In a person who has Type 1 diabetes, for example, the pancreas does not produce insulin, so he or she typically must receive regular insulin injections. Extremely low blood-sugar levels might result from eating too little food or having too much insulin in one's bloodstream.

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Discussion Comments

By anon993624 — On Nov 29, 2015

There are 2 forms of Glucose as it is a chiral molecule. Which form does the body consume? What happens to the other form?

By anon990266 — On Apr 13, 2015

Glucose is broken down by bile and enzymes and carried into the bloodstream through the small intestine.

By anon942933 — On Mar 30, 2014

I was lactose, glucose, wheat intolerant until I had stomach cramps so bad I went to the hospital and now I wear a colostomy bag due to colon cancer.

By anon314776 — On Jan 19, 2013

I'm diabetic and glucose, gluten and wheat and lactose intolerant. So now what?

By anon275769 — On Jun 20, 2012

@anon33580 Post 7: Glucose is not gluten. Glucose is a type of sugar.

As glucose can be made from any type of starch, it may also be made of cereals containing gluten such as wheat.

So people who suffer from gluten intolerance should make sure they only eat glucose made from potatoes, corn or other gluten free foodstuffs!

By anon269855 — On May 20, 2012

Is glucose a monosaccharide?

By anon250895 — On Feb 27, 2012

How is glucose transported into your cellls?

By anon195222 — On Jul 11, 2011

who is the author of this article?

By anon193244 — On Jul 04, 2011

Glucose does not require insulin to enter the brain. Basic biochemistry here people

By anon180676 — On May 27, 2011

under what conditions does a patient need to be on a drip of glucose?

By anon151506 — On Feb 10, 2011

what is the difference between glucose and sugar?

By anon147816 — On Jan 30, 2011

does glucose affect your joints?

By anon136112 — On Dec 21, 2010

how does glucose in food get to your muscles?

By travisje — On Nov 23, 2010

can glucose be tested on animals?

By anon122542 — On Oct 28, 2010

I heard that oxygen itself is not used as a fuel but is used to burn the glucose for the working muscles. is this true?

By qwe123 — On Sep 28, 2010

I'm designing a lab for my bio class and i don't know how to find the glucose that gets digested by lactase from lactose.

Does anyone know how i can find the glucose?

My lab is to see if lactase at different pH level, will have different results at digesting lactose, so i need a way to find the glucose that is digested by the lactase.

By anon105146 — On Aug 19, 2010

what are the other types of glucose? and kindly give their functions.

By anon103668 — On Aug 13, 2010

Does the ability of glucose (dextrose) to raise blood sugar deteriorate over time due to effects of normal ambient environmental conditions? Is there a reputable scientific resource available to support the answer?

By anon99594 — On Jul 27, 2010

when glucose is convert to glycogen and citric acid how many moles of ATP are produced.

By anon80387 — On Apr 27, 2010

what level of the your glucose should be fasting and no fasting?

By anon79795 — On Apr 24, 2010

What sugar substitutes can affect yeast?

By anon79794 — On Apr 24, 2010

How is glucose different and alike from sugar substitutes?

By anon79793 — On Apr 24, 2010

Why is it that glucose doesn't show up on the back of foods, on food labels, my 5th grade science experiment has to do with glucose

By anon70126 — On Mar 12, 2010

How does glucose work in the type 2 diabetes patient?

By anon68604 — On Mar 03, 2010

glucose is needed?

By anon67685 — On Feb 26, 2010

Glucose cannot be used without the combustion process! glucose is oxidized by the oxygen we breath releasing water CO2 and heat. exhale near a window and you will see fog. it's the water produced in the reaction and CO2 is also exhaled.

C6H12O6+ O2: CO2 + H2O + heat.

By anon63386 — On Feb 01, 2010

what causes changes to the blood glucose concentration?

By anon63181 — On Jan 31, 2010

how does it give energy to our body? is it unique? or any alternative for glucose?

By anon55107 — On Dec 04, 2009

what color is glucose?

By anon54526 — On Nov 30, 2009

is glucose found in the vena cavae?

By anon52868 — On Nov 17, 2009

1) why is glucose a very important food??

2) why is it important that a food such as glucose is soluble?

By anon52632 — On Nov 16, 2009

how fast dose glucose travel from one place to another?

By anon52229 — On Nov 12, 2009

what is the scientific notation of glucose?

By anon51097 — On Nov 03, 2009

Is glucose good or bad? I am sorry. I am in third grade and only have a fifth grade reading level.

By anon50642 — On Oct 30, 2009

well now i know about glucose because im doing a science fair about it in middle school.

By anon49167 — On Oct 18, 2009

What is the thermodynamics of glucose?

By anon49060 — On Oct 17, 2009

Glucose in food gets broken down in our small intestines then into you're bloodstream and you're body excretes insulin to help glucose get into your cells. If you have too much glucose in your body is gets converted to either fat or glycogen "correct me if I'm wrong" and when dextrose levels aren't high your body then can re-convert glycogen back into glucose.

By anon44497 — On Sep 08, 2009

can glucose be found in soil?

By anon43173 — On Aug 26, 2009

does sugar feed cancer?

By anon41560 — On Aug 15, 2009

sugar doesn't feed cancer and glucose and gluten are two completely different things.

By anon39304 — On Jul 31, 2009

is glucose in pie?

By anon36351 — On Jul 11, 2009

Where can glucose be found?

By anon34643 — On Jun 25, 2009

gluten is a protein found in flour.

By anon33580 — On Jun 08, 2009

Glucose is not gluten. Glucose is a type of sugar.

By anon31710 — On May 10, 2009

when glucose is produced in solid, can it be reassured and committed to a full length attachment? i am very concerned.

By anon31677 — On May 10, 2009

Is glucose, gluten?

By anon31567 — On May 07, 2009

What types of chemicals are necessary for skeletal muscles to contract?

By anon24356 — On Jan 11, 2009

What happens to the sugar we eat? Does sugar feed cancer as claimed?

By anon3940 — On Sep 25, 2007

how does glucose in food get to your muscles?

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