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December 08, 2020 4 min read

Ketogenic diets are increasing in popularity, encouraging people to reduce the number of carbohydrates they eat to aid in weight loss. However, for many people, carbs are an essential part of our body’s fuel to keep us moving and energized as we go about our days. Instead of avoiding carbohydrates, learn how to use carb supplements to prevent muscle loss, increase muscle gains, and boost your metabolism.

What Are Carbohydrates?

Our dietary choices contain various nutrients, vitamins, and minerals that help our bodies stay balanced and fuel our muscles and brain for our daily activities. Carbohydrates are natural starches, sugars, and fibre found in the foods we eat. Sugar molecules make up all carbohydrates. When sugar molecules link together, they create fibre and starch. In our digestive system, sugar and starch break down to form glucose, also known as blood sugar. Glucose is a natural fuel that powers our body and gives it energy. Unlike sugar and starch, fibre doesn’t break down and instead passes through our bodies. 

Carbohydrates are broken up into two styles:

  • Complex carbs: This type includes fibre and starch and is found in whole grains, beans, and vegetables.
  • Simple carbs: These carbs include naturally occurring sugars from milk, fruits, and vegetables, and any sugar that companies add to our foods during manufacturing.

If you’re an athlete, the type of carbohydrate you select is important because it determines the length of time it takes for your body to digest it. The glycemic index is a scale that measures the digestion rate of carbohydrates. Carbohydrates with higher levels digest more quickly than those that rank lower on the scale. The rate of digestion is important because it impacts our body’s insulin levels.

Carbohydrates cause muscle growth by triggering your body to release insulin. Protein synthesis increases with the introduction of insulin, which helps increase lean muscle in the body. Insulin also helps protect muscles by preventing muscle loss caused by our body’s lack of necessary fuel sources.

Carb Supplement Uses

Your metabolism prefers carbohydrates when creating energy. Although fat and protein can also serve as energy sources, they are not nearly as efficient as carbs. Your body consumes carbohydrates in two ways: immediate use and storage.

  • Immediate use: Carbohydrates break down into glucose to create energy for our brain and muscles to fuel our daily activities. If our body doesn’t need energy immediately, the glucose becomes glycogen and remains in the liver and muscles for use in the future.
  • Storage: The body can only store limited amounts of glycogen at any given time. If you’re not using as much energy as the body is consuming through carb supplements, the glycogen becomes unwanted stored body fat.

Understanding the number of carbohydrates your body needs to fuel your goals while avoiding a carb overload is essential to maintaining a healthy weight and muscle mass.

Food Carbs or Carb Supplements? 

Carb supplements are a fantastic resource for athletes looking to maximize their fitness output during their workouts. Many carb supplements feature sources that digest more quickly than carbohydrates in food. Understanding how carbs impact your workout will help you understand why a carb supplement is the better choice for workouts while whole food carbs are preferable for sustained energy throughout the day.

Adenosine Triphosphate, also known as ATP, is the only form of energy that causes our muscles to contract. Unfortunately, ATP is short-acting and must be replaced continuously by breaking down creatine phosphate (CP). Our bodies only retain enough CP for up to 12 seconds of strenuous activity. Carbohydrates come into play when your body runs out of CP and enters glycolysis.

Glycolysis is the use of stored carbohydrates or glycogen. For every moment of exertion in the gym, your body needs to replace ATP levels by creating fuel from glycogen. However, if your body doesn’t have enough glycogen and glucose to fuel your muscles, you won’t be able to perform at peak levels to achieve the gains you’re working towards.

We love carb supplements because they are convenient, easy to transport, and contain prime nutrient levels without added sugar or other unnecessary ingredients. To achieve the best results possible, consume slow-digesting carbs at breakfast and two to three hours before your workout, as well as beginning an hour after your workout and right before bed. Use a carb supplement to provide a massive increase in energy immediately before your workout, as well as during and immediately after. A carb supplement will help keep you energized during your workout, restore depleted glycogen levels, and protect your muscles from unwanted breakdown.

What Is a Mass Gainer?

Adding a carb supplement or mass gainer to your routine is a quick and easy way to give your body the fuel it needs to push through even the most challenging workout. A mass gainer is similar to a carb supplement and provides essential nutrients in powder form to increase your calories and overall muscle development. Whereas a carb supplement focuses on carbohydrates, a mass gainer helps increase weight and muscle mass by providing a mix of carbohydrates and protein, and other essential nutrients.

Carb supplements and mass gainers are useful for more than just athletes and bodybuilders. For many young adults, gaining weight can be challenging, especially if they engage in high physical activity levels during their growth spurts. Constantly consuming high protein foods to achieve the nutrients needed to support their metabolism can mean almost endless eating. Adding a mass gainer or carb supplement can be a healthy way to supplement their growth without eating every minute of the day.

Mass gainers are also useful for people going through various medical treatments that may cause a decrease in appetite. Although eating a complete meal may be a struggle, supplying your body with essential nutrients is critical to recovery. A mass gainer or carb supplement can help provide the support they need to maintain energy levels or increase body weight.

It’s essential to speak with your doctor or a trusted medical professional before adding a carb supplement or mass gainer to your diet, especially if you are undergoing medical treatments or taking prescription medications.

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