View Full Version : Carbohydrate reaction

Paul Kayley
12-27-2003, 12:06 PM
I've been eating low-carbs for nearly 6 months now. I just recently started to use high GI carbs with whey protein, straight after training to help speed up the glycogen replenishment.

Is it normal for the metabolism to crank right up due to this. My pulse is 10-15 beats higher for at least two hours after and I sometimes feel a bit unwell. Is this just my body working to process the carbs?

Paul Kayley
12-27-2003, 12:17 PM
Does anyone have any info about what sort of quantity of carbohydrates are stored in the muscles as glycogen.

This will help when deciding how much to eat to replenish without causing 'Overspill'.

Robert Wolf
12-27-2003, 08:28 PM

What you are describing is an accute hyperinsulinemic response with likely repound hypoglycemia...(insulin high, blood sugar low).

IMO this is not a desirable state and can/will undermine much of the benefits of CrossFit and an otherwise sound nutritional approach (assuming their is one).

Total systemic glycogen storage depends upon muscle and liver mass so it can vary quite a bit according to size. 400g is likely a good average value.
Good luck

Paul Kayley
12-28-2003, 11:39 AM
Rob, I thought that a strong insulin response was desirable. I have been taking 30g whey isolate with about 60-70g high GI carbs, twice, in the 2 hrs after training, and thought that the high insulin response was optimal to increase the drive of aminos and glucose into the muscles?

Perhaps my muscles are less depleted than I think, due to good glycogen sparing ability achieved through fat-adaption, and there is insufficient space to accomodate the carbs, therefore the body is struggling to clear the blood of the excess glucose. Does this sound feasible?

Kevin Roddy
12-28-2003, 03:17 PM
You sound about on.

Generally, the high GI protein shake (Dex+malto+whey) is recommended towards bodybuilders, whose workouts are normally geared towards the depletion of glycogen. You needn't worry about such things here - crossfit is much more geared towards generating a powerful neuroendocrine response.

Robert Wolf
12-28-2003, 03:19 PM

It does sound feasable. Look through the archives for similar topics to this as there have been some excellent contributions. Perhaps most notably from Dan John.

My opinion on this subject is that chronic insulin spiking is asking for problems. My experience is that it is inferior to a more moderate approach(Zone) or even a low carb approach (think NHE or Metabolic diet). I always recomend that people tinker and monitor progress to see what works...just be carefull with this protocol.

Barry Cooper
12-28-2003, 06:35 PM
It sounds like you're basically drinking Kool-Aid with some protein. Especially if your diet is normally super low carb, you're going to get a spike of seismic proportions. The whole goal of the low carb type approaches, as I understand it, is to increase your insulin sensivitity, i.e. you need less insulin to accomplish the same thing, and so you avoid the negative effects of hyperinsulinemia.

In my personal opinion--and I'm just an opinionated amateur--you also need to guard against hypoinsulinemia. My personal experience has been that I feel like crap if I don't get enough carbs. There seems to be, as Barry Sears says, a Zone where you are getting enough to feel good--and this is how you eat all day every day-- but not so much that you're developing the problem of decreased insulin sensitivity. What I like about that diet is you're very close to eating Paleo--you're eating good quality protein, lots of veggies, and some fruit, nuts, and some vegetable oils, if you want.

The thing to remember about Barry Sears is his background in developing delivery systems for AIDS and Chemotherapy drugs. What he noticed was that if you failed to get enough drugs in, the effect was lost, but if you got too much in, you killed the patient. The road from that (I would suppose, retrospectively, obvious) insight to the Zone is short. In the case of the high Glycemic Index carb loading you're doing, you're way overdosing.

He may be glib, salesey, and writing books prescribing fish oils only he makes, but I can tell you from my personal experience that paying attention to the proportions of my meals has made a huge difference for me. Almost without exception, I can tell within an hour or two of eating when I've screwed up.

Paul Kayley
12-29-2003, 12:05 PM
Thanks Barry. What amount do you think would be about right? Or perhaps you recommend experimenting?

Barry Cooper
12-29-2003, 01:51 PM

I just looked at your picture: that's FUNNY. As far as diet, I would suggest just following the Zone diet. There are a number of threads on here on the athletes version of it. Normally, it's 40% carbs from low GI fruits and veggies, 30% from fairly lean protein, and 30% from "good" fat like olive oil and nuts. You base the whole thing on your estimated lean body mass, and its' estimated protein requirements. For athletes you eat a lot more fat, but keep the protein/carb ratios about the same. By eating carbs constantly, you replenish your glycogen stores in a much more subtle and sustainable manner.

Coach recommends The Omega RX Zone, I think, as the best Zone book. Enter the Zone, and Master the Zone are also of course good as well.

One thing to note as well: Mark Allen actually didn't have a formal diet plan in his later years, according to my recollection. He just paid close attention to what his body was telling him, both as far as cravings, and as far as its' reaction to foods he was eating. That may be a good exercise for you. I'm pretty sure Barry Sears has a daily worksheet in the Omega Zone book you can use to actually chart how you're feeling.

Paul Kayley
12-30-2003, 02:37 AM
Thanks Barry... good advice. I also need to chill out a bit and find an attitude somewhere between my own and Homer's! It would be nice not to give a damn.

Jan de Jong
12-30-2003, 02:56 AM
Paul, I basically did the same as you after training, a dextrose/whey shake. The problem was that after an hour I was hungry again and even worse I got extremely moody. Because I need carbs after a workout I dropped the dextrose and switched to slow cooking oatmeal, a whey shake with some olive oil added.
It made a world of difference. I feel a lot better, not hugry anymore and my mood is stable.


Jay Edvardz
12-30-2003, 06:57 AM
Jan - since the oatmeal would not cause near the insulin spike, this does not surprise me. However, utilizing low GI carbs partly defeats the purpose of post workout carbs; elevate insulin, drive amino acids into the muscles, accelerate anabolism, downplay catabolism (At least this is how it's suppose to work in theory).

Personally I function much better with no carbs at all post workout. If I did decide to ingest carbs post workout it would be with something like a sweet potato - at least I am getting a large amount of nutrients with the carbs.

Also, IMHO, you need to be careful about adding fat to your protein shake, if you are going to have carbs as well. Carbs and fat don't work well together and elevated insulin levels + ingested fat may lead to your adipose tissue making some new friends.

Lastly. You said you "need" carbs post workout. If you don't mind me asking, why is this?

This is all simply my opinion. In the end, do what feels right/works for you :-)


Paul Kayley
12-30-2003, 08:49 AM
I dont use dextrose (dont know what 'kool-aid' is?), prefering to eat more complete foods. I also miss being able to eat breakfast cereals... so I use these with warm skimmed milk, GI about 80-90. I have reduced the quantity and feel much better. I eat approximately half the energy expenditure of the previous workout in carbs... so just did 2 hrs biking which cost about 1300 Kcal, 50% from fat 50% from carbs, so consumed 2 x 300 Kcals in 90 mins. I guess that before I was eating the same after only an hour session where I hadnt depleted my glycogen as much, causing high blood sugar with no where for it to go with topped-off muscle glycogen stores, in a system now trained to use ketones rather than glucose for energy.

In training I have noticed that I reached a level, when I started knocking out 18+ hours per week training, that it was becoming difficult to replish glycogen properly on no carbs. Now that I am replenishing in the 60-90 mins immediately after training, with an appropriate amount in relation to the intensity and duration of the training session, I am recovering better than ever before.

Jan de Jong
12-30-2003, 01:11 PM
Yes Jay, you have a valid point there when you say that oatmeal doesn't cause a large insuline spike and by that you are defeating the post workout carb theory. But I feel so much better now and like you said when it feels right.

About the need for carbs. After for example a low HR 5K run then no but most of the time I feel very empty after a workout. Just protein and fat isn't enough for me, not even a 50 gram shake with two or three tablespoons of olive or flax oil. Like Paul I can't recover properly without carbs post workout.

And I don't have a problem with adding fat to carbs, mabey I'm just lucky. I'm very picky when it comes to my BF percentage but I'm able to keep it around a stable 7% even when I eat white rice with fat added. But I will be switching to the zone diet soon to see if I can increase my preformance this way.


Robert Wolf
12-30-2003, 02:01 PM
My "athletes" version of the Zone has me eating ~ 30g protein, 40g carbs and 40g fat at my big meals. I tend to dial that carb number back if it is the evening or I have not exercised in a while.

Paul Kayley
12-31-2003, 02:18 AM
I have questions regarding the 'fear' of eating fats with carbs. Sure it makes sense that in the presence of insulin fats will be stored. But, fats are digested at a different rate to carbs. From my basic understanding of the digestive system, carbs are absorbed relatively rapidly into the bloodstream (except fructose and galactose), while fats are taken slowly (through lacteals as chylomicrons in the villi) via the lymphatic system before they are eventually released into the blood. I'd suspect that with good insulin sensitivity the insulin will have cleared the blood by this time in individuals on a cyclical diet.

The main reason I avoid fats with carbs is to maintain a good insulin response.

Jay Edvardz
12-31-2003, 06:59 AM
Jan - Seeing as how I tend to be ignorant, I failed to realize you are an endurance athlete. Make a lot more sense now.

Rob - How's the Athelete's Version of The Zone working for you in comparison to past dietary experiements?

Paul - Interesting stuff. I have noticed, while following a Cyclic Diet, I can indulge in a good deal of pizza and not suffer an ill consequence. Hmmm... Sounds like a plan to bring in the new year ;)


J. D. Hernandez
12-31-2003, 09:57 AM
IMO, post workout shakes are good in theory and theory only. I totally undertsand the rational behind it, but find I function alot better without it. I f I do eat anything post/preworkout it's usually a small protein based meal. JMHO.

I've to noticed the same thing about pizza. I can eat as much as I've wanted and totally don't lean out, which I think is pretty intresting.

If you are intrested in the zone books, shoot me an email musclehed4life@yahoo.com , I'll let them go for next to nothing.


Paul Kayley
01-01-2004, 03:04 AM
Thanks J.D.
I already have The Zone.
I found it most useful for learning about oils and fats and came to the conclusion that I'd only use ALA free oil (I just use X-V Olive), butter, and coconut oil.

Jan de Jong
01-01-2004, 02:32 PM
Jay, I'm by no means an endurance athlete. I just sneak a 5K run in here and there. It has a relaxing effect on my mind me after a hard days work. But overall I just follow the WOD's and some krav maga. After most WOD's I feel depleted to some degree depending on the intensity. My body is probably still to much of a sugarburner. I tend to think that when I switch to zone parameters in the future that the feeling of depletion will fate away.

Rob, 40gr of fat? What sources do you use on such a meal?


Jay Edvardz
01-01-2004, 03:53 PM
If I recall correctly, he uses copious amounts of olive oil. Though, he'll have to clarify this for you.