does glucose have protein

does glucose have protein

does glucose have protein

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Glucose is a simple sugar with the molecular formula C6H12O6. It is the most abundant monosaccharide, a subcategory of carbohydrates. Glucose is mainly made by plants and most algae during photosynthesis from water and carbon dioxide, using energy from sunlight, where it is used to make cellulose in cell walls, the most abundant carbohydrate in the world.

In energy metabolism, glucose is the most important source of energy in all organisms. Glucose for metabolism is stored as a polymer, in plants mainly as starch and amylopectin, and in animals as glycogen. Glucose circulates in the blood of animals as blood sugar. The naturally occurring form of glucose is d-glucose, while l-glucose is produced synthetically in comparatively small amounts and is of lesser importance.


Glucose is a monosaccharide containing six carbon atoms and an aldehyde group, and is therefore an aldohexose. The glucose molecule can exist in an open-chain (acyclic) as well as ring (cyclic) form. Glucose is naturally occurring and is found in its free state in fruits and other parts of plants. In animals, glucose is released from the breakdown of glycogen in a process known as glycogenolysis.

does glucose have protein
does glucose have protein

Glucose, as intravenous sugar solution, is on the World Health Organization’s List of Essential Medicines, the safest and most effective medicines needed in a health system. It is also on the list in combination with sodium chloride.

The name glucose is derived from Ancient Greek γλεῦκος (gleûkos, “wine, must”), from γλυκύς (glykýs, “sweet”). The suffix “-ose” is a chemical classifier, denoting a sugar.

Carbohydrates, Proteins, Fats, and Blood Sugar

The body uses three main nutrients to function— carbohydrateprotein, and fat.

These nutrients are digested into simpler compounds. Carbohydrates are used for energy (glucose). Fats are used for energy after they are broken into fatty acids. Protein can also be used for energy, but the first job is to help with making hormones, muscle, and other proteins.

After a meal, the blood sugar (glucose) level rises as carbohydrate is digested. This signals the beta cells of the pancreas to release insulin into the bloodstream. Insulin helps glucose enter the body’s cells to be used for energy. If all the glucose is not needed for energy, some of it is stored in fat cells and in the liver as glycogen. As sugar moves from the blood to the cells, the blood glucose level returns to a normal between-meal range.


Several hormones and processes help regulate the blood sugar level and keep it within a certain range (70 mg/dL to 120 mg/dL). When the blood sugar level falls below that range, which may happen between meals, the body has at least three ways of reacting:

  • Cells in the pancreas can release glucagon, a hormone that signals the body to produce glucose from glycogen in the muscles and liver and release it into the blood.
  • When glycogen used up, muscle protein broken down into amino acids. The liver uses amino acids to create glucose through biochemical reactions (gluconeogenesis).
  • Fat stores can be used for energy, forming ketones.

Other hormones can raise the blood sugar level, including epinephrine (also called adrenaline) and cortisol released by the adrenal glands and growth hormone released by the pituitary gland.

metabolism and effect on blood glucose levels


Insulin is required for carbohydrate, fat, and protein to be metabolized. With respect to carbohydrate from a clinical standpoint, the major determinate of the glycemic response is the total amount of carbohydrate ingested rather than the source of the carbohydrate. This fact is the basic principle of carbohydrate counting for meal planning. Fat has little, if any, effect on blood glucose levels, although a high fat intake does appear to contribute to insulin resistance. Protein has a minimal effect on blood glucose levels with adequate insulin.

However, with insulin deficiency, gluconeogenesis proceeds rapidly and contributes to an elevated blood glucose level. With adequate insulin, the blood glucose response in persons with diabetes would expected to be similar to the blood glucose response in persons without diabetes. The reason why protein does not increase blood glucose levels is unclear. Several possibilities might explain the response.


A slow conversion of protein to glucose, less protein converted to glucose and released than previously thought, glucose from protein incorporated into hepatic glycogen stores but not increasing the rate of hepatic glucose release, or because the process of gluconeogenesis from protein occurs over a period of hours and glucose can disposed of if presented for utilization slowly and evenly over a long time period.

does glucose have protein
does glucose have protein

The Glycemic Response of Foods

Have you ever noticed that even though you carefully measure your “carb” servings or count your carbohydrate grams, you still cannot always explain your glucose level(s) after a meal?

The term we use to describe how quickly a “carb” breaks down and gets into the blood or the effect of the meal or snack you have had to eat called the “glycemic response” of food, meal or snack.

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A High glycemic response means that the glucose from the food or meal you have eaten enters the bloodstream rapidly. A low glycemic response means that the glucose enters the bloodstream slowly and steadily.

The following are a few examples of low glycemic meals and snacks:

  • a slice of sprouted grain toast with 1/3 mashed avocado mashed and a fried egg
  • a cup of blueberries on top of 6oz low-fat greek yogurt and a handful of nuts (almonds, cashews, walnuts)
  • 4-5ozs. of lean protein (chicken, fish) with a cup of cooked barley, farro grain, quinoa, or beans and a side of non-starchy vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, salad with cucumber and tomato.

Choose high fiber carbs and pair them with lean protein foods and heart-healthy fats and see how your glucose levels respond!

To see your “glycemic response” of the food or meal you have eaten, monitor your glucose levels 2 hours after you eat and you will be able to see how your glucose levels respond!

How the body breaks down protein

Although proteins broken down similarly to carbohydrates, they have different effects on blood glucose levels. Protein breakdown begins in the stomach where they broken down into smaller substances and reach the intestines where they broken down further into amino acids.

In the liver, some amino acids converted to glucose while others used to make protein again or for muscle cells. Recent studies indicate that  amino acids in persons with or without diabetes increases gluconeogenesis (the creation of sugar by the liver), but amino acids don’t increase how fast sugar released by the liver. In other words, eating protein has an insignificant effect on blood glucose levels.

Protein and Insulin

Insulin a hormone produced by the pancreas to help breakdown and use food for energy throughout the body. Insulin helps amino acids in protein enter the body cells and influence muscle function. According to several studies, protein has a minimal effect on blood glucose levels if adequate insulin is available. With adequate insulin, the blood glucose response in persons with diabetes would expected to like the blood glucose response in persons without diabetes.

Proteins sources in the diet

Here some proteins found in the diet. Persons with diabetes should continue following the dietary guidelines for diabetes, such as consuming complex carbohydrates, lean sources of proteins and sources of monounsaturated fat. For an individualized plan, follow up with your dietitian and Certified Diabetes Care and Education Specialist.



Proteins consist of units called amino acids, strung together in complex formations. Because proteins are complex molecules, the body takes longer to break them down. As a result, they are a much slower and longer-lasting source of energy than carbohydrates.


There are 20 amino acids. The body synthesizes some of them from components within the body, but it cannot synthesize 9 of the amino acids—called essential amino acids. They must consumed in the diet. Everyone needs 8 of these amino acids: isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, threonine, tryptophan, and valine. Infants also need a 9th one, histidine.

does glucose have protein
does glucose have protein



The percentage of protein the body can use to synthesize essential amino acids varies from protein to protein. The body can use 100% of the protein in egg and a high percentage of the proteins in milk and meats. Body can use a little less than half of the protein in most vegetables and cereals.


The body needs protein to maintain and replace tissues and to function and grow. Protein not usually used for energy. However, if the body not getting enough calories from other nutrients or from the fat stored in the body, protein broken down into ketone bodies to used for energy. If more protein consumed than needed, the body breaks the protein down and stores its components as fat.


The body contains large amounts of protein. Protein, the main building block in the body, is the primary component of most cells. For example, muscle, connective tissues, and skin are all built of protein.


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