Does Your Post Workout Protein Shake Need More Carbs
Does Your Post Workout Protein Shake Need More Carbs?
The above image shows the effects of carbohydrates on muscle recovery. When carbohydrate intake exceeds the amount required for energy, it causes a rise in blood sugar levels which results in increased insulin secretion resulting in an increase in glucose uptake into muscles and other tissues. This leads to greater amounts of amino acids being released from proteins during exercise, thus increasing protein synthesis and endurance performance. However, when too much carbohydrate is consumed, this leads to excessive glycogen depletion and fatigue.
Carbohydrates are not only used for fuel but they also serve as a source of non-essential nutrients such as vitamins and minerals. These essential nutrients must be ingested prior to or following exercise in order to support optimal performance. For example, creatine is needed before exercising in order to maintain high levels of energy during training sessions and recovery periods between training sessions. Vitamin C is necessary for the prevention of muscle damage caused by exercise.
It is important to note that there are two types of carbohydrates: simple and complex. Simple carbohydrates include sugars (table sugar, honey), starches (potato starch, white rice) and some fruits and vegetables like potatoes, yams, sweet corn, etc. These are all absorbed fairly quickly and can be digested within the Human body within minutes.
Complex carbohydrates include foods such as whole grains, legumes, fruits and vegetables. Unlike simple carbohydrates, these are digested slowly and break down within the body over a period of time. These are beneficial to consume before or after exercise sessions since they take a longer time to digest.
In addition to this, it is important to note that not all carbohydrates are the same. Some carbohydrates are high in fibre and others are “empty.”
Fibrous carbohydrates include whole grains, fruits and vegetables, which contain fiber, whereas refined carbohydrates do not have any fiber as they have been stripped during processing.
Carbohydrates can be further classified by their glycemic index (GI). The GI refers to the rate at which carbohydrate foods are broken down into sugar within the body. Low-glycemic carbohydrates, such as whole grains, vegetables and some fruits (like apples and oranges) are broken down slowly within the body. Medium-glycemic carbohydrates, such as some fruits (like bananas and grapes) and some pastas, are broken down at a moderate pace.
High-glycemic carbohydrates include foods like white bread and most types of candy and are broken down quickly.
The rate at which carbohydrates are broken down and absorbed into the blood stream has an effect on exercise performance. Low-glycemic carbohydrates are absorbed slowly and therefore cause a gradual release of glucose (blood sugar) within the body. This type of fuel supply is perfect for people who engage in continuous or long-lasting physical activity since this type of fuel supply will not lead to rapid drops in blood sugar and fatigue. Fruits, vegetables and whole grains are rich in complex carbohydrates and have a low-glycemic index.
This type of carbohydrate is ideal for endurance or aerobic exercises since these foods will fuel the body during exercise.
High-glycemic carbohydrates are absorbed quickly into the blood stream and cause rapid increases in blood sugar levels. If large amounts of high-glycemic carbohydrates are ingested, there is an increased risk of gastrointestinal problems since the body has to deal with a sudden increase in blood sugar. This type of fuel supply is ideal for short, high-intensity exercise sessions since the body will rely on these quick sources of energy during the activity and these carbohydrates are rapidly available for use.
When it comes to endurance activities, a combination of all three types of carbohydrates is best (fibrous, complex and simple) since all three are digested, absorbed and metabolized at different rates.
In general, endurance athletes benefit most from eating small amounts of carbohydrates at regular intervals (so called “grazing”) throughout the day. This method is preferred since it stabilizes blood sugar and reduces the risk of “hitting the wall” or “bonking” – a state associated with low blood sugar, and characterized by weakness, fatigue, shivering, dizziness and even depression.
The “glycemic index” and “glycemic load” are two terms that describe how fast carbohydrates are broken down into sugar and absorbed into the blood stream.
The glycemic load (GL) is a newer method of describing the effect of carbohydrate foods on blood sugar levels. It takes into account both the quality and quantity of carbohydrates in a particular food. For example, some foods like honey and dried fruits have a high-glycemic index but are limited in quantity, so they have a low glycemic load. In contrast, highly refined and readily available starchy foods like white bread and potatoes have a low-glycemic index but are commonly eaten in large portions, so they have a high glycemic load.
The “glycemic index” (GI) is a method of quantifying the effect of carbohydrate foods on blood sugar levels. This is defined as the amount of glucose raised to the power of the carbohydrate serving divided by 100. This number is then compared to the equal amount of glucose or white bread, both of which are given a value of 100.
A food with a high-glycemic index, such as white bread or boiled potatoes, causes a large rise in blood sugar.
Sources & references used in this article:
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