Why is fat the preferred fuel for the human body over glucose?
There are many arguments as to whether or no fat is the preferred fuel for the body over glucose. What is the difference between fat and glucose when it comes to our body’s fuel? Which do our energy levels and our bodies prefer?
We depend on our daily food intake to replenish our daily fuel supply. The body requires this fuel in order to function at a normal rate. The bodies fuel takes on three forms: Carbohydrates, which are converted into glucose, fat, and protein. The body can also store some fuels in a form that offers our muscles an immediate supply of energy.
What is glucose and how do our bodies use it?
Glucose comes from carbohydrates and it is the bodies main source of energy. Glucose can be used immediately for fuel or sent to other parts of the body. It is stored in the liver and muscles as glycogen. The bodies liver can convert the glycogen back into glucose. It is then directly released into the bloodstream in order to maintain the bodies blood sugar level also known as blood glucose levels.
How fat converts to fuel
While glucose is the principal source of energy for our bodies, Fat is the most concentrated source of energy. Fat supplies more than twice the amount of energy of carbohydrates (glucose) and protein. As you exercise, stored fat is broken down into fatty acids. They are then transferred through the blood to the muscles for fuel. The process is slower than carbohydrates being broken down into fuel. Fat is also stored in the muscles where it can be easily accessed during vigorous activity. Unlike the limited storage of glycogen, fat has a virtually unlimited supply of energy.
Fat is also a more efficient fuel in comparison to carbohydrates, mostly because carbohydrates must be stored along-side water. If our bodies were to use the same amount of fuel from carbohydrates as fuel from fat; we would be double our body weight, due to the added weight of the water needed to store the carbohydrates. Thus leaving glucose as an unrealistic source of all our bodies energy supply. The body also continuously converts and stores excess calories from all of the named energy sources as body fat. In turn, we burn off as an energy source. Fat provides a much more concentrated amount of energy compared glucose and it aids in endurance by preserving glycogen reserves within the body.
Protein used for energy within our bodies
As for protein, it doesn’t stand much of a chance in this argument. Our body’s do not maintain official reserves of protein for later use as energy. Protein is more used towards building and maintaining body tissue and synthesizing certain hormones and enzymes. Typically, protein only meets 5% of the body’s energy needs. Except when glycogen is depleted within the body. Then the muscle is broken down and used as energy.
Overall, fat is the most substantial source of energy for our body’s for many reasons.
- Though glucose is the body’s principal source of energy, it is not the most substantial. Glycogen stores are limited and can burn out easily. This can leave you depleted and low on energy. Especially when involved in a highly vigorous activity.
- Fat is also, the most concentrated form of energy for our bodies. Fat supplies us with more than double the amount of energy supplied by carbohydrates and protein. Thus, allowing your body to withstand more vigorous activity for longer periods of time.
- Fat is a far more efficient source of energy for our bodies due to the water storage needed to store glycogen. Fat is virtually an unlimited supply of energy for our bodies. It has no limit on its storage capacity within the body.
- Though too much fat can be a bad thing, leading to obesity. It is also, extremely beneficial to the bodies source of energy. Since the body can continuously store fat, you also need to continuously burn fat in the form of energy.
Do we need more of one or the other?
In conclusion, our bodies need both Fat’s and glucose in order to function properly. Both supply our body’s with different energy sources, of which we need. In the long run, they work together. Fat helps to reserve the glucose stores within our body. We count on it to supply our brains with an adequate amount of oxygen.
Which otherwise, would quickly deplete when solely depending on glucose as a source of the entire bodies energy supply. But fat can be stored in smaller quantities and it doesn’t deplete the same as glucose. This provides us with a longer lasting supply of energy. Fat is also a more concentrated form of energy . Providing your body with the energy needs for longer periods of activity.