The human body relies on two main food-related fuel sources for energy – carbohydrates and fat. Cells in the body make decisions on which to burn depending on what is available. Stored fat fills the need when you’re hungry, while carbs provide quick energy after a meal or during exercise. When cells make the right decision at the right time, blood sugar levels maintain normal ranges.
However, when the energy supply exceeds demand – either because of overeating or lack of exercise – cells become confused about which fuel to choose. According to Deborah Muoio, PhD, a Duke researcher who studies metabolic diseases, there is growing evidence to suggest a link between cells choosing the wrong fuel source, and diseases associated with poor blood sugar control, such as diabetes.