The sugar (glucose) present in food such as bread, rice, pasta, sweets and cake is transformed into energy in the body under the tight control of insulin, which is the main hormone produced by the pancreas.
Insulin helps the absorption of glucose as a source of energy from the blood into different cells. Extra glucose remaining in the blood is then stored in the liver under the instruction of insulin. The stored energy in the liver can later be released when the body metabolises or burns significant levels of energy during exercise. This is produced by the second most important hormone in the pancreas, “glucagon”.
Following the consumption of food, glucose levels in the blood rise and prompt the release of insulin. Conversely just before having meals (when the stomach is empty) or after strenuous exercise glucose and insulin levels drop. If the concentration of glucose in the blood is not controlled tightly by insulin it will accumulate in the blood, which can be damaging to different organs and arteries, leading to serious illnesses.