Carbohydrates are one of the most hotly debated topics in the health world, and opinions run very strong on both sides. Some claim a strictly no carb diet will get you the best results for weight loss and muscle gain. The ketogenic and paleo diets fit in this category.
Others swear that carbs play a crucial role in their nutrition and performance. Most sports drinks and muscle-gain powders contain some variant of sugar: fructose, sucrose, dextrose, or maltodextrin.
To make matters more confusing, both sides can cite peer-reviewed scientific literature to support their claims.
Before we can sort this out, we need to start with the fundamentals of what is actually going on in your body.
First of all, let’s be clear: glucose is the body’s primary fuel. Glucose is a carbohydrate. A simple sugar. Most of the time, this is what your body and brain are fueled by. This can change in states of fasting or ketogenic diets, where ketones become the primary fuel, but this is a special case that we will return to in a minute.
When you eat carbohydrates, they are broken down into simple sugars. As these enter the bloodstream, your blood sugar level rises. Your body works hard to maintain a pretty narrow range of conditions for optimal functioning, like pH, for example. And temperature. Blood sugar, too.
Special cells in your pancreas sense this rise and begin releasing insulin, a hormone that triggers cells to begin taking the sugar from the blood and storing it. Your blood sugar level begins to drop, which is again sensed by the pancreas, and now it starts releasing glucagon, a hormone that releases glycogen (stored sugar) from the liver.
You can see there is a bit of a back and forth between your insulin and glucagon to maintain optimal levels of blood sugar. The tricky part here is that the more your insulin levels spike, the more your blood sugar crashes. Dramatic swings in your blood sugar like this are at the root of many of the problems associated with carbohydrates:
So what spikes insulin?
The short answer is carbs, but the reality is a bit more nuanced than that. The faster the carbohydrate enters your bloodstream, the faster blood sugar levels rise. The faster your blood sugar levels rise, the stronger your insulin response.
Some carbohydrates, like refined sugar, are very simple and very pure and spike your insulin levels a lot. Other carbohydrates, brown rice, for example, are larger, more complex, contain fiber, and take a while to break down. The simple sugars are released into your blood slowly and the insulin response drawn out over time.
How quickly different sugars raise blood sugar is measured by the glycemic index. The higher the number, the more it raises your blood sugar.
Now that we have the basics covered, let’s get into
When you exercise, you consume both your blood sugar and your glycogen stores. If you deplete your glycogen stores, your body begins breaking down protein for energy, which is not terribly helpful for gaining muscle mass and improving performance.
So having enough glycogen is important for anyone training or trying to maintain healthy weight. And this is why so many sports drinks and protein powders have sugars in them. The idea is that in order to replenish glycogen stores and maximize muscle gain, you need the carbs.
This makes sense, to a degree, but because they are mostly using simple, high-glycemic sugars that spike your insulin levels, they don’t take the after-effects into account. One of the most common additives, maltodextrin, has a glycemic index 2x that of sugar!
We are faced with a bit of a riddle: how can we quickly replenish our glycogen stores for energy and performance without spiking insulin?
Hidden within peas is a special carbohydrate. Isolated and purified it is called Carb10tm. Peas are often used as a protein source for many vegan protein powders, so it often was simply overlooked by those focusing on its protein content.
This is an astounding low-glycemic starch that has almost no effect on blood sugar or insulin. And yet, it’s still processed quickly by the body. Measures of gastric emptying show that it actually moves through your system faster than maltodextrin. And no blood-glucose response.
Even more unbelievable is that it has even been found to be keto-friendly. Participants in a preliminary study with people on a ketogenic diet ingesting over 20g of Carb10 maintain ketosis.
So what does all this mean?
Fast energy for your body and brain. Faster recovery. Better response times.
And all with none of the typical carbohydrate downside.
No protein catabolism. No energy crash or brain fog. No worries.
This incredible advancement in performance nutrition is the perfect complement to our proven PerfectAmino formula. And that’s why we put them together as a part of our newest and most innovative performance nutrition product: PerfectAmino PowerMeal.
We combine these two powerhouses of performance with ketogenic MCT oil, a full dose of vitamins and minerals, and a nutrient-packed Superfoods blend.
This is the ultimate in meal replacement.
Try PerfectAmino PowerMeal and experience the difference.
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So, we’re going to dig into a big one: macros – aka macronutrients.
Now you’ve probably heard about macronutrients, especially in relation to a paleo or ketogenic diet.
So, what’s the big deal? What’s actually important? What’s fluff? And what’s worth paying attention to?