The foods we eat are composed of three macronutrients: proteins, carbohydrates, and fats. Carbohydrates (sugars and starches) are broken down into smaller sugars called glucose during the digestion process. Glucose is then absorbed in the stomach and small intestine into the bloodstream where it will be used immediately for energy production, or stored for later use. It is important that blood glucose levels do not rise too high or fall too low. Long term blood sugar imbalances may cause damage to organs and tissues. Symptoms of blood sugar imbalances may include headaches, fatigue, light-headedness, dizziness, cravings for sugar and carbohydrates, and sleep cycle disturbances.
In normal situations, the elevated concentration of glucose in the blood signals the pancreas to release insulin, the hormone that tells the cells to absorb glucose. When blood glucose levels remain high over a long period of time, it forces the pancreas to work harder to release insulin creating an over-saturation of insulin in the blood stream. Eventually the cells become resistant to insulin and do not absorb the glucose efficiently, leaving excess glucose in the blood. The excess glucose can cause damage to tissues and organs by glycosylation reactions. Hemoglobin, a constituent of red blood cells, becomes glycosylated creating a marker for analyzing long term blood glucose levels.