Glucose is used by every cell in the body as fuel for energy. Some of the glucose is carried around in your bloodstream to supply your brain and other organs, but most of it is stored as glycogen in the liver and skeletal muscle. Carbohydrates protect your protein from being converted to glucose when blood sugar and glycogen are low. Your body burns more energy when you exercise, so its need for blood glucose increases.
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Glucose is used by every cell in the body as fuel for energy. Some of the glucose is carried around in your bloodstream to supply your brain and other organs, but most of it is stored as glycogen in the liver and skeletal muscle. Carbohydrates protect your protein from being converted to glucose when blood sugar and glycogen are low. Your body burns more energy when you exercise, so its need for blood glucose increases. A review on diet and anaerobic exercise weightlifting in Strength and Conditioning Journal concluded that diets containing less than 42 percent carbohydrates do not meet the energy demands or provide adequate glycogen stores for bodybuilders, given their intense workouts.
The physical demands bodybuilders place on their bodies creates a greater need for the kind of heavy-duty nutrition that repairs muscle fiber and sustains growth. Rather than becoming big and hard with full dense muscles, you feel flat, small, and weak! In the process known as ketosis, the body breaks down triglycerides for use as a source of energy.
Ketosis is not nearly as efficient as using carbohydrates for energy or glycogen replenishment. Certain amino acids in the protein you eat and in the protein that makes up your muscle tissues can be converted to glucose. As mentioned earlier, this process is called gluconeogenesis. Amino acids are the building blocks of protein and muscle tissue. Two such acids used for gluconeogenesis are glutamine and alanine. Carbs are essential for glycogen replenishment and sparing aminos in muscle tissue.
Another common mistake bodybuilders make is avoiding soy as a protein supplement. Soy is one of my favorite protein sources because of its high bioavailability. And unlike meat, milk, and whey proteins, which are acidic, soy is less acidic and easier on your stomach. When you are taking in large amounts of protein, this is very important. Macrobolic Nutrition stresses the importance of low-glycemic carbs and utilizing a variety of protein sources, which are the backbone of my nutrition program.
Carbohydrates are too important a nutrient for bodybuilders and athletes to completely restrict from their diets. You will never make the gains in size and strength you are looking for on a low-carb diet. True, low-carb diets can be effective in reducing body fat, but they can also burn off precious muscle. Remember the goals of Macrobolic Nutrition are to build muscle, increase strength, and control body fat. Olympia was a dream. Thankfully, I had the opportunity to work with Gerard Dente to help structure my nutrition and some of my supplementation program.
I was usually cut but always lost a lot of size leading up to a show. During my layoff I really let my physique go and put on a lot of body fat.
My first instinct was to cut carbs; however, Gerard convinced me that if I wanted to be bigger and better than ever, I had to change my diet. Amazingly, using the Macrobolic Nutrition regimen along with my Return to Dominance supplementation program, I competed bigger, harder, and fuller at the age of 40 than I did in my last pro show at the age of Photo by Sumio Yamaguchi. While all carbohydrates yield four calories per gram, their impact on the body can greatly differ.
Carbohydrates can be broken down into three general categories: monosaccharides, disaccharides, and polysaccharides. Monosaccharides and disaccharides are commonly referred to as sugars or simple carbohydrates, while polysaccharides are called complex carbohydrates. Monosaccharides are carbohydrates that have one sugar molecule.
Common sources include glucose, fructose, sorbitol, galactose, mannitol, and mannose. Disaccharides are carbohydrates with two sugar molecules. Common sources include sucrose and lactose. Polysaccharides are carbohydrates with three or more sugar molecules. Sources include dextrin, cellulose, and starches. Another kind of carbohydrate is fiber, which is composed mainly of undigestible polysaccharides.
Fiber plays an important role in the next topic of discussion, the glycemic index GI. Though the classifications of monosaccharides, disaccharides, polysaccharides, and fiber help differentiate carbohydrates, Macrobolic Nutrition puts great emphasis on the glycemic index when choosing carbohydrate sources.
Table 2. What Is the Glycemic Index? The glycemic index GI was developed in as a way to classify carbohydrates. As defined by Jennie Brand-Miller,Associate Professor of Biochemistry at the Human Nutrition Unit of Sydney University, Australia, the glycemic index of a food is a measure of the power of the carbohydrate content in a specific food to raise blood glucose levels after being eaten.
The glycemic index is a ranking of carbohydrates based on their immediate effect on blood glucose blood sugar levels. It compares carbohydrate foods gram for gram.
Carbohydrates that break down quickly during digestion have the highest glycemic indexes and a blood glucose response that is fast and high. Carbohydrates that break down slowly, releasing glucose gradually into the bloodstream, have low glycemic indexes. The GI of a carbohydrate is determined by measuring blood sugar levels after ingesting 50 grams of the carbohydrate in a fasting individual. Foods that measure a GI of 70 to are considered high GI foods, foods that measure 56 to 69 are considered medium GI, and foods that measure 55 or less are low GI.
Insulin is a hormone released by the pancreas in response to changes in blood sugar levels. The faster carbohydrates are digested and converted to glucose, the more rapidly insulin is produced to stabilize blood sugar levels, using the glycemic index as a measure.
Using the glycemic index as a measure, carbohydrates that are digested faster have a higher GI because they cause a greater increase in blood glucose and insulin levels. A bodybuilder wants to avoid high insulin levels, because insulin suppresses fat utilization and promotes fat storage. The rapid increase in blood sugar caused by high GI carbohydrates can also have a negative impact on performance. High GI carbohydrates also elevate free fatty acids in the blood, further promoting increased body fat.
They have also been shown to predispose the development of type 2 diabetes in insulin-resistant individuals. In response to fast-rising blood sugar levels, your pancreas releases large amounts of insulin in an effort to compensate and stabilize the blood sugar. Often, the overproduction of insulin can result in low blood sugar levels or temporary hypoglycemia, a condition in which blood sugar levels drop below normal range. Nothing will zap your energy, strength, and performance like a bout of hypoglycemia during your workout.
Temporary hypoglycemia can usually be corrected by consuming more carbohydrates, but it is a condition you want to avoid. If you ever get to this point of temporary hypoglycemia, you will know it.
If you experience these symptoms, grab yourself some carbohydrates and scoff them down. Macrobolic Nutrition places great emphasis on consuming carbohydrates with low to moderate GI for these reasons.
Low-to-moderate GI carbohydrates are digested more slowly, providing a gradual, steady supply of blood sugar. This slow, steady supply of blood sugar is critical for peak energy and performance. It also maintains muscle glycogen stores and helps to regulate two very important hormones, insulin and glucagon, for optimum muscle growth and fat loss. Insulin and glucagon are both influenced by blood sugar levels.
Highglycemic carbohydrates such as sugar cause insulin levels to be high and glucagon levels to be low. Lower glycemic carbohydrates, especially when they are consumed with protein, shift the levels of these two hormones, lowering insulin and slightly raising glucagon.
Try to limit your selections to moderate and low whenever possible. When these carbohydrates are consumed with these other foods as part of a Macrobolic meal, they will yield lower glycemic values. TABLE 2. This may seem very confusing, but there is an accepted and reasonable explanation for this. Different methods of processing used by particular manufacturers can lead to significant differences in the rate of carbohydrate digestion by the human body.
The degree of starch gelatinization used in the process may differ, for example. Also, there may be botanical differences in the type of food being tested. GI values can vary greatly due to the amount of time the researchers used to conduct the test or different portion sizes of the test foods, or even due to the source of the drawn blood venous versus capillary. Macrobolic Nutrition has devoted valuable time and resources to creating what I believe is the most accurate and relevant GI table available.
This GI table lists the foods that you will most commonly eat on your Macrobolic Nutrition program. So, you can use this guide with a great degree of certainty. The key to building lean mass is to control insulin to promote muscle growth and burn body fat. Is insulin needed for muscle growth or does it just store fat? How does insulin affect performance? What are some of the other negative effects of insulin? What is insulin resistance? These questions are addressed in the following sections.
Fiber is the most recognized of all carbohydrates in terms of being important for disease prevention and general health. Fiber is classified into two different types: soluble and insoluble.
Insoluble fiber aids in intestinal cleansing and slows down digestion through the gastrointestinal tract, an important concern for a bodybuilder, since it allows for more thorough nutrient absorption.
According to a study published by M. Chandalia, et al.
Macrobolic Nutrition : Priming Your Body to Build Muscle & Burn Fat
Download eBook Many people want to attain the muscles and lean body of a bodybuilder but wonder how to do it right. This book gives readers the key to attaining that sculpted body without wasting their efforts in the gym. It explains the principles of the Macrobolic Nutrition plan, which can be used to get bigger, leaner, and healthier. Readers will gain an understanding of the impact food has on the many biochemical processes in the body that influence muscle growth and fat burning. Gerard Dente is a nationally ranked bodybuilder, who understands the importance of nutrition and supplementation for maximum performance.
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