We use it almost in every sentence within Clear: ‘glucose’. But what exactly is glucose? We explain the meaning of glucose and what it does exactly.
The difference between monosaccharide and disaccharide
To understand the meaning of glucose and its effect on the body, we must first know what monosaccharides and disaccharides are. A monosaccharide consists of one sugar molecule such as glucose, fructose and galactose. Disaccharides consist of several monosaccharides. Let’s take sucrose – table sugar – as an example. It consists of one glucose molecule and one fructose molecule. When you eat sucrose, your body breaks it down to make individual glucose and fructose.
What does glucose mean?
Glucose is therefore a monosaccharide and can be immediately absorbed into the blood. The blood sugar level that is often looked at during blood tests is also called the glucose level. This is the amount of glucose in your blood.
You often do not get glucose directly, but via a disaccharide such as table sugar. Only through dextrose – grape sugar – you get glucose directly. But in the end, your body reacts exactly the same to the glucose molecule from a disaccharide as it does to ‘pure’ glucose from dextrose.
What does glucose do?
The glucose is transported via the blood to, among other things, your muscles to provide energy. So you need glucose for your body to function properly. For example, your brain and other organs need this fuel. The hormone insulin also plays a role in this.
What is glycogen?
We also need to understand this word before proceeding with our explanation of glucose. Your body stores some glucose in your liver and muscles. This stored glucose is called glycogen. When you suddenly need a lot of energy, this stock is used, such as during exercise.
If your body needs more glucose than it takes in (imagine you eat no more carbohydrates at all), then your body is able to make glucose in the liver. That process is called gluconeogenesis. Your body can make glucose from other substances, such as proteins.