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|How Many Carbs For Muscle Growth? by crazybulking: 3:25pm On Oct 25, 2017|
When looking for muscle growth, the proportion of carbohydrates, protein and fats should be 40%-40%-20%. Remember that I'm talking about the complex carbohydrates and high quality fats. If proteins are well-known for their beneficial effects for muscle growth, what about carbs, and how many carbs for muscle growth?
What are carbs?
Carbs, or carbohydrates, are the main source of energy for your body. When you eat carbohydrates, your pancreas releases a hormone called insulin, which you have certainly heard of. In addition, in regulating blood sugar levels, insulin is very important because:
it attaches to carbohydrates and it either stores them in muscle and liver for future use (glycogen), or stores them as fat.
it hooks up to amino acids (proteins) and stores them in the muscle for repair and recovery (this is also called the increase in protein synthesis).
Many people face obesity because of the high levels of carbohydrates in their diet, which forces the body to release large amounts of insulin, which favors the deposition of adipose tissue. Issuing large amounts of insulin is also not recommended for those who do sports and want to lose weight because insulin inhibits fats metabolism and slows down the athletic performance, so tips like 'eat some carbs before training to be energized' are not recommended to be followed.
Complex carbohydrates versus simple carbohydrates
Carbohydrates are divided into simple carbohydrates and complex carbohydrates.
Complex carbohydrates are hundreds of sugar units linked together in unique molecules (the reason why they are called complex carbohydrates) and that offer much more sustained energy (and because they generally have a low glycemic index) as it lasts longer until the body gets rid of those molecules.
On the other hand, the complex carbohydrates with a high glycemic index behave like a simple sugar that is rapidly digested.
There are 2 types of complex carbohydrates:
Starch - gives the body raw energy. Good sources are oat flakes, brown rice, leeks, and potatoes.
Fiber - can not be absorbed, but they have vitamins and minerals. They are also recognized as an intestinal cleanser, which ensures better absorption of nutrients. Mixing starch with fiber reduces starch's carbohydrate digestion, lowering the glycemic index. We have good sources of fiber in asparagus, broccoli, celery, cauliflower, mushroom, lettuce, pepper, spinach, and pumpkin.
Simple carbohydrates are 1, 2, or 3 units of sugar bound in a single molecule. They give you energy immediately, and then it will drop as quickly as it occurred.
Many fruits, such as apples, pears, oranges, cherries, strawberries, peaches, bananas, and grapes, contain simple carbohydrates. That is why fruits are not recommended in weight loss diets but should be considered more like dessert.
It is very important to understand the importance of carbohydrates in the diet, whether or not you want to lose weight.
Simple carbohydrates are not recommended for weight loss diets as they lead to the rapid release of large amounts of insulin that lead to fat storage, compared to complex carbohydrates that, due to slow digestion, gradually release insulin, give you more energy, offer satiety, and are not favoring the storage of adipose tissue (fats).
Some of the best carbohydrates are:
nuts of all kinds
How many carbs for muscle growth?
Low carbohydrate diets have become popular among those who seek to get rid of excess fat without losing muscle mass. Is this method an effective way to develop muscle mass or just to keep it at the same level?
A team of experts at University of Connecticut decided to find out. They published their research results in the Journal of Metabolism.
These scientists have made the following experiment.
They have put a group of men on a ketogenic diet, meaning they have switched from a normal carbohydrate intake (in their case around 50% of the daily total caloric intake) to a very low intake . The foods they consumed during this period were:
beef (in the form of steaks or hamburgers)
various nuts and seeds
Subjects have been trained to avoid eating fruit and fruit juices, dairy products (except cheese and sour cream), bread and other bakery products, cereals, rice, beans, and sweets.
The subject have been divided into 2 groups with the following characteristics.
The Control Group's diet (normal diet):
Total calories - 2540 kcal / day
Protein - 113 g (20% of total caloric)
Carbohydrates - 306 g (48% of total calories)
Lipids - 91 g (32% of total calories)
The Active Group's diet (low carbohydrate diet)
Total calories - 2334 kcal / day
Proteins - 176 g (30% of total calories)
Carbohydrates - 46 g (8% of total calories)
Lipids - 157 g (62% of total calories)
The results of the study showed that the group with a low carbohydrates diet lost around 8 pounds of fat in 6 weeks and gained around 2.2 pounds of muscle mass, while the control group did not show any weight loss and only a slight increase a few hundred grams based on the development of muscle mass.
Can we conclude that low carbohydrates diets represent the solution to what many of us want, namely the elimination of fat while growing muscles?
Not quite, not exactly!
First, subjects who followed the low carbohydrates diet consumed more protein (176 g compared to the 113 g of protein in the control group's diet), and this additional protein supplement had an important role in muscle development.
It can not be said that this type of diet has a decisive influence on the increase of the muscle mass, its main goal being the reduction of the adipose layer.
According to researchers from all over the world, the most effective diet for muscle growth is the hypercaloric one, but the one which brings a normal carbohydrate intake or even an increased intake.
Researchers team's leader, Jeff Volek, believes that a substantial amount of carbohydrates is needed for those who seek to develop their muscles.
'If you're trying to gain weight, the ketogenic diet is not the best solution because it will induce fat loss, so there's a total weight loss overall,' said Volek.
An alternative to the low carbohydrates diet, the strict form is the cyclisation of carbohydrate intake during the week.
This means that on the first 3 days you should consume very small amounts of carbohydrates and the caloric total to be reduced. Then you should gradually increase your carbs intake during the next 2 days, so that on days 6 and 7 you reach a maintenance diet, or you can remain on a low-calorie diet with a 10-20% deficiency over the maintenance diet.
Note that not only your total body weight is important, but also the percentage of body fat, which for a normal man it must be around 15%, while for a woman about 22%.
So, the combination of a low carbohydrates diet and intense exercise regimen is a very bad one.
During intense physical training (heavy weight lifting, sprinting, cross-fit, karate, swimming, etc.), the body has to use glucose as fuel. The body can not use fats for fuel and can not use any ketones. Either use glucose directly from the blood, or burn a large amount of glycogen (reserve glucose) stored in the muscle. But if you do not eat carbohydrates at all and you are in a state of ketosis or have a little muscular glycogen, then the last solution for your body to gets its needed fuel is to take it from the muscles.
That is, you're just destroying the muscle tissue you're trying to grow.
So, if you combine an intense workout routine with a very low carbohydrate diet (less than 100 g per day) you will probably lose muscle mass, lose weight, you will lose testosterone, you will not be able to sleep properly, you will be weaker, and you can develop all sorts of other metabolic disorders.
Once you have calculated your daily intake of proteins and healthy fats, you should fill your daily calories intake with carbohydrates, for muscle growth.
Most carbohydrates consumed should be starch carbs because they are the ones used to replenish the lost glycogen stored in the muscle.
On the other hand, the people who have a sedentary lifestyle should choose the fiber carbs or a mixture of starch and fiber.
How many carbs for muscle growth is in reality dependent on your weight, on your daily caloric, protein and fats intake, and as well as on your workout session intensity. Therefore, if your training session is really demanding eating more than 100 g of starchy carbs per day (in general) should be enough for muscle growth. However, for better results, some experts recommend 350 g of carbs per day and intense daily workout sessions.
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