Why Fat Can Be A Factor In Elevated Glucose Levels

When we enjoy a dinner with high fat content, such as fettucini, buttery garlic bread, and a rich dessert, we might go to bed with our glucose level in target range, but wake up to a surprisingly high number.

The reason for the surprise may have nothing to do with the meal's high carb content. Fat is more metabolically active than once thought, and can contribute to glucose elevation in a couple ways.

Fats can raise blood sugar by increasing our level of free fatty acids, and by altering the absorption of glucose following a meal.

More FFAs

Eating a high fat meal raises the free fatty acids (FFAs) circulating in our bloodstream. This is not a problem if it occurs occasionally. However, having chronically high FFA levels from the regular consumption of high-fat meals is associated with insulin resistance in skeletal muscles, and in the liver.

When muscle and liver cells are insulin resistant it takes extra insulin from the pancreas, or from an injection, to transport glucose into cells from the bloodstream. If the extra insulin is not available, glucose levels will rise.

There is also some evidence that FFAs reduce the release of insulin by beta cells in the pancreas, but this mechanism is not well understood.

Slow Mover

Besides elevating FFAs, eating a high fat meal changes the timing of glucose absorption because fat digests slowly. It moves leisurely through the digestive tract, sometimes taking four to six hours for complete processing.

This is primarily an issue for those taking insulin since fast-acting insulins work in the body for three to four hours. After a fatty meal the insulin might become active before a substantial amount of glucose reaches the bloodstream, and may be finished working before all available glucose is processed.

This is why a glucose reading two hours post-meal may be on target, but five to six hours post-meal could be high.

Common Sense

Though high fat intake can affect blood sugar levels, fat should not be considered a villain. We need a certain amount of healthy fats daily to keep our body functioning optimally. Common sense tells us:

  • Enjoying an occasional fatty meal is okay, but realize that consuming 40 grams or more of fat - especially a lot of saturated fat - may make glucose control more difficult.
  • Those on oral diabetes medications should consider increasing physical activity following a high fat feast; individuals taking insulin may need to make dose and timing adjustments.

It can help to stop thinking of healthy eating as being a low-fat, or low-calorie affair. It’s really about giving our body plenty of fresh whole foods most of the time, and then adjusting for the effects of occasional high-carb, high-fat indulgences.

Source: Joslin Center
Photo: Pexels

Get Free Diabetic Supplies

Get free diabetic supplies delivered to your door. You will get a free glucose meter, lancing device, 100 test strips, 100 lancets, control solution and carrying case. Just pay shipping.

More Articles

The medical community relies heavily on the goodwill of its citizens, as giving blood and organ donations help save thousands of lives every year...

There are several misconceptions about Diabetes. Learn more about the top misconceptions vs. facts surrounding Type 2 Diabetes below.

86...

It is estimated that 80,000 children and adolescents each year are diagnosed with juvenile diabetes. Juvenile diabetes is diagnosed when the body...

As the summer months come to an end, we throw aside our swimsuits and bring out our favorite team jerseys! In America, fall means football, and...

Evidence is mounting that consuming black cumin helps to manage type 2 diabetes. The spice lowered blood glucose...

More Articles

It's not uncommon to spend several years living with type 2 diabetes and not even know you have the condition. Despite regular check-ups with your...

Type 2 diabetes has become so common in Western culture and media that this often lifelong, serious condition doesn't really raise an eyebrow...

Limiting our intake of highly processed foods, and eating more whole and lightly processed fare can boost our nutrient and fiber intake, lower...

Lantus is a once a day insulin injection that is taken at the same time every day. It replaces anywhere from the average three to five insulin...

Improving your A1C reading requires you to maintain consistently healthy blood...

Just because you have diabetes doesn't mean you can't help your community by being a blood donor. When persons with diabetes maintain good control...

Most of us do not regularly keep the fruit that scientists call Fortunella margarita in our refrigerator. That these small, yellow-orange...

A diagnosis of diabetes usually comes with a list of recommended lifestyle changes. To make these diet and exercise...

Having diabetes affects your body’s ability to handle hot, humid weather, and steamy temperatures can degrade diabetes supplies. But all of this...

Fashion and function come together in clothing developed by AnnaPS, making life a bit more comfortable and convenient for insulin users. The...

Not only is dry skin uncomfortable, but scratched or cracked skin is also susceptible to bacterial and fungal infections – common medical...

One way to ensure our body gets a variety of nutrients is eating nutrient-dense foods, and one of the most nutrient-dense foods on our planet is...

Financial aid and scholarship money are available for people with diabetes, but acquiring it requires an investment of time and patience. Whether...

Any sweetener you use to replace table sugar is a sugar substitute. One type of sugar substitute is artificial sweetener. Three other types...

Smoking is a proven health hazard for everyone, but it is an especially dangerous habit for those with diabetes. Research shows that smokers with...