To carb or not to carb? That has become one of the most heavily debated topics in the diet industry today. With low carb diets popping up all over the place, more and more people are proceeding to cut all the carbs from their diet that they would typically consume in hopes that this will lead them to the lean body they’re after.
But, the key to note here is that if you’re an athlete in training, you don’t necessarily have to go low carb – in fact, going low carb could very well hinder your performance since your body needs glucose as a fuel source.
What you do need to know is the main difference between quick digesting carbohydrates and slow digesting carbohydrates as well as how to apply these to your diet plan.
Let’s take a look at what you need to know.
Quick digesting carbohydrates are going to be those carbohydrates that are made up primarily of simple sugar molecules and consist of foods such as white bread, white rice, yogurt, pastries, cereals, and so on.
When these simple carbohydrates enter into your body, they will produce a rapid rise in blood sugar, causing a high amount of insulin to be released which will quickly shuttle those carbohydrate molecules into your muscles, liver and fat cells.
Due to this process and risk of gaining fat, you want to time your quick digesting carbohydrates so they are consumed right after your training session. During this time, your muscles and liver are typically depleted of glucose and will absorb glucose much more quickly. With this in mind, you’ll experience rapid muscle glycogen replenishment as the fast digesting carbohydrates move quickly to your muscle cells at this time, therefore enhancing your recovery.
You also won’t run the risk of having these carbohydrates move into the body fat cells as you would if you had eaten them earlier in the day.
Slow Digesting Carbohydrates
On the other hand, you have your slow digesting carbohydrates. These are the carbohydrates that are going to break down much more slowly by the body and because of this, they won’t produce the high blood sugar spike or high insulin release that fast digesting carbohydrates do.
This form of carbohydrate is found in complex food sources such as black beans, oatmeal, brown rice, quinoa, whole grains, and vegetables.
These foods are going to supply a more long-lasting form of energy since they will break down slowly and raise blood sugar levels a small amount at a time. In addition, less insulin will be secreted when you eat this type of carbohydrates, so they won’t run the risk as high of a risk of being shuttled into your fat stores.
Time these carbohydrates so that you eat them at a time in the day away from the workout period when you’re are less active and your muscles don’t need as much energy as quickly.
Eat the higher calorie varieties (oats, barley, brown rice, etc) earlier on when you are more likely to burn off those calories through your daily activity and then switch over to lower calorie vegetables later on in the evening hours.
If you can be sure that you understand the key differences between these two types of carbohydrates and eat them at the right times when they will benefit the body, you will be able to see better recovery from your workouts, enhanced muscle growth, and higher levels of body fat loss.
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