Carbohydrates 101

Carbohydrates 101

How quickly carbohydrates are metabolized is measured by something called a glycemic index. A high glycemic index (large increase of serum glucose) means the carbohydrates are metabolized quickly; a low index (relatively small increase of serum glucose) means they are metabolized more slowly or differently. Simple carbs are now categorized as those with a high glycemic index (fruits, processed sugar), and complex carbs are characterized by a low glycemic index (starches, cellulose). Carbs with a low glycemic index provide their energy over a period of time, and therefore have a kind of time-release effect.

Ice cream, because of the fat it contains, has a relatively low glycemic index. The kind of rice you get in a Chinese restaurant, has a surprisingly high glycemic index .Carbohydrates are the easiest form of food for the body to convert into energy. Once ingested, they are turned into glucose, which circulates in the bloodstream and fuels muscular contraction, and glycogen, which is stored in muscles and the liver for future use. Adequate supplies of carbohydrates are essential for the serious bodybuilder for a number of reasons:

1) Carbohydrates are a primary form of energy. The carbohydrates stored in the muscles as glycogen are what allow you to do heavy and intense bodybuilding training.

2) Muscle size increased when the body stores glycogen and water in the individual muscle cells.

3) Carbohydrates in the body have a "protein-sparing" effect, keeping the body from burning up excessive protein for energy.

4) The carbohydrates glucose is the main source of energy that fuels the functioning of the brain, and deprivation can have severe effects on mood, personality, and mental ability.

The reason that carbohydrates are so important as fuel to intense bodybuilding training is that most workout like this is anaerobic- that is, it takes place in short, intense bursts and outruns the ability of the body to supply enough oxygen to sustain the effort. But the structure of carbohydrates is such that they can continue to fuel exercise for short periods in the absence of oxygen, So when you do a hard set of bodybuilding training or run a 100-meter sprint, the source of your energy for those efforts is primarily carbohydrates.

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