Avoid Carbs and Stimulate Amino Acids Uptake

best post workout mealFebruary 19th. 2010 – You’ve probably heard that eating a high carbohydrate meal after training is better than a low carb meal. However, this may not be the case. Keeping post-exercise carbohydrate consumption low can prolong the nutrient uptake window created from training (via increased insulin sensitivity). (1) This is because training increases the muscle cells demand for nutrients, including amino acids, for repair and sugars to replace muscle glycogen.

The resulting increase in insulin sensitivity after exercise enhances the flow of nutrients to the muscle cells in need, as well as increases the use of fat as an energy source since sugars are not available. As glycogen stores fill up, however, the cells ability to take up amino acids (for growth) and fat (for fuel) will decrease.

The idea behind the high carb theory is that when you exercise, you use up muscle glycogen. The most efficient way to replenish your glycogen stores is through carbohydrate intake. If your training frequency has you exercising several times a day or every few hours, you’ll need too replace your energy stores more quickly to prepare your body for the next workout, and eating more carbs post exercise will help. If, on the other hand, you train once per day or several times a week and are more concerned with body composition, a carbohydrate restricted eating approach may prove more effective.

References –

1. Amino Acids & Proteins for the Athlete

Mauro D. Pasquale

Taylor And Francis Group 2008 Pages 356-358

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Insulin’s Effect on Blood Pressure

lower blood pressureFebruary 19th, 2010 – In a previous article, I talked about how high carbohydrate diets can increase triglycerides (blood fats), or high cholesterol. It also appears that high carbohydrate consumption can increase hypertension, or high blood pressure.  Check this out.

It’s not actually the carbohydrates doing the damage; rather it’s their corresponding hormone – insulin.  The more carbs we eat, the more insulin our bodies pump into the blood stream to shuttle the glucose into cells for storage.  When we are in a hyperinsulinemic (high insulin) state, like the one you’re in when you eat a high carbohydrate diet, the kidneys will retain more sodium than normal. (1)  This is the body’s protective mechanism to maintain proper electrolyte balance, by retaining water to keep the sodium sufficiently diluted.  More water leads to increased blood volume, and thus more pressure on the walls of the blood vessels.

Insulin also stimulates the smooth muscle cells of the arterial walls, acting like a growth hormone and causing them to enlarge and thicken. (2) As they grow, the interior space of the blood vessels decreases, which further increases blood pressure.  Combine narrowed vessels with increased blood volume and you have a perfect recipe for a heart attack.

References –

1. Insulin and renal sodium retention in obese adolescents.

Rocchini AP, Katch V, Kveselis D, Moorehead C, Martin M, Lampman R, Gregory M.

Hypertension. 1989 Oct;14(4):367-74  PMID: 2676858

2. Protein Power

Dr. Michael Eades

New York, NY: Creative Paradox LLC (2000)

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