How is insulin related to carbohydrates?

Heidi Skolnik, MS
Sports Medicine

Sports medicine and nutrition specialist Heidi Skolnik explains how insulin is related to carbohydrates in our bodies. Watch Heidi Skolnik's video for tips and information on active nutrition.

Carbohydrates tend to raise insulin levels in your blood. When you consume carbohydrates your body breaks them down into glucose and other simple sugars. They are absorbed, then show up as blood sugar (glucose). In response to elevated blood sugar, the pancreas sends out the hormone insulin into your blood stream to help push glucose into your cells. If you eat too many simple or complex carbohydrates, your body will produce too much insulin and either create long-term problems or aggravate an existing one like diabetes.

Continue Learning about Carbohydrates


Starches, sugars and fiber are the carbohydrates in food. Carbohydrates are a molecule that plants make during photosynthesis, combining carbon, hydrogen and oxygen. They are very important in your body's metabolism because they a...

re generally the part of food that is digested most quickly. Carbohydrates can give you quick energy, and cause a rise in blood sugar levels. Diabetics, in particular, need to pay attention to the carbohydrates they eat to help manage their blood sugar. Some carbohydrates, those found in whole grains and leafy vegetables, for example have a much slower impact on blood sugar than carbohydrates in fruits or candy. It's easy to consume a lot of carbohydrates, as foods like breads, pasta, cake, cookies and potatoes are loaded with them. Nutrition experts suggest that you should only get 45 to 65 percent of your daily nutrition from carbohydrates.

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.