Most people know sugar isn’t the best calorie source in their diet. It can cause long term damage to your teeth, and plays a prominent role in weight gain.
Surprisingly, there’s actually a good time to eat sugar and simple carbs even if you’re on a diet.
Eating Sugar After Your Workout
If you’re on a diet, or just trying to get back into shape, having more muscle mass is a good thing. It increases your natural metabolism, and helps you burn extra calories throughout the day.
The more muscle mass you have, the higher your metabolism. Everyone will agree, this is a positive. There are two primary concepts when it comes to muscle building and preservation:
Catabolic: During and after a vigorous workout, your body breaks down muscle tissue to use as energy.
Anabolic: The process of muscle growth and protein synthesis.
Basically, catabolic means you’re losing muscle. Anabolic means you’re gaining muscle.
So what does this have to do with sugar, right? In the catabolic phase there’s a hormone released called cortisol. When this hormone is elevated you start to break down and lose muscle tissue.
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There’s also a hormone that naturally counters the cortisol hormone — insulin. If you can elevate your insulin level after a workout, you’ll counter the cortisol hormone, reduce muscle breakdown and stay in the anabolic phase for a longer period of time.
So how can we naturally elevate insulin — here comes the payoff — SUGAR!
Studies have shown consuming fast digesting simple carbs within an hour after vigorous workout can help reduce muscle loss and increase muscle growth.
So if you have a sweet tooth, and need to consume some chocolate, do it after your workout with a protein shake. It’s not a guilty pleasure, and it’s not cheating.
It’s a good way to promote muscle growth and satisfy your daily sugar cravings without gaining excess body fat.
It’s very important to keep in mind this is only beneficial immediately after a vigorous workout. So if you’re on the couch watching a movie, eating sugar doesn’t counter anything.
Elevating your insulin levels at any other time, other than after a workout, will increase your body fat storage.
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