Carbohydrate’s or Carbs are the energy source we use to live, after digestion carbs are broken down into glucose, which is when the body can use it for fuel.
There is always some glucose in the bloodstream but usually not enough to keep you going between meals (if you only eat 3 meals a day). Add in a hard workout and you can see that you would need more glucose to keep you at your optimum.
When you run out of glucose your body then starts to use up carbs stored in your liver and muscles this is called glycogen. When glycogen has nearly been used up your body then turns to using up fat in your fat cells.
Lastly if you’ve used up the energy in your fat cells your body then starts to use up protein in your muscles.
So how do we get the body to use up fat cells?
Consume fewer carbs so you force your body to use fat as an energy source. When you eat less carbs you reduce the production of insulin, which means less fat is stored in the beginning. This is because insulin works to transport the nutrients from food into 3 different places:
- The muscle cells – which is where you want protein and carbs to go.
- The liver – where it stores glycogen.
- The fat cells – these take what is leftover after your muscles and liver are full.
Everytime you eat insulin is released but more is released when you eat carbs. You of course need insulin to take glucose and amino acids out of the bloodstream into your muscles.
Your bigger muscles store more protein and glycogen than the smaller muscle groups, so when you train with weights more nutrients get into the muscles and are used, which means fewer nutrients are stored in the fat cells.
The more weight training you do the better your muscles get at taking insulin. The more carbohydrates you consume in a meal means that more insulin is produced. You do have key times when you must get carbs and protein into your muscles, straight after training and first thing in the morning.
At these times your muscle tissues needs these nutrients for building bigger muscles. So make sure to use insulin at these key times during the day. If you consume too many carbs at other times then insulin can push these nutrients into your fat cells and not where you want it.
How do you make insulin work for you?
If you have a lot of fat around your stomach it probably means your body is producing too much insulin. So you need to reduce the amount of insulin your body is producing, but how?
Well, by only eating fast acting carbs like fruit and protein straight after a workout, your body will really use these nutrients and put them to good work. At all other times you need to be eating slow digesting carbs like vegetables and beans that are high in fibre.
Because it takes longer to digest slower released carbs, less insulin is produced. If less insulin is produced less nutrients are taken from the blood stream, which means some will be used as fuel, some will be stored in your muscles and only a small amount will be stored in your fat cells.
As stated earlier vegetables are the best source of carbs along with beans such as pinto and kidney. Grains should be limited as they are high in calories and do not offer much nutritional value.
Fruit offers many nutritional benefits but it also is high in calories and they are made up entirely of carbs most of which are fast acting, so while fruit can be important for over all health and well-being you have to be careful when you consume it, make sure it’s only for breakfast or straight after a workout.
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