Understanding Our food and how it works.
- 01-28-2003, 08:14 PM
Understanding Our food and how it works.
There are 3 energy sources from food that the body can utilize: carbohydrates,
proteins, and fats. Each is processed slightly differently than the other
and each has different functions in the body.
Carbohydrates: These guys are the energy source that our body basically relies
on and is most efficient at in using. As well the main two
hormonal releases (insulin and growth hormone) that push amino's
into the muscle for building and aid in fat breakdown. They are
also coverted into muscle glycogen to fuel those cells.
Note: Fibre is considered a carbo but your body cannot digest
it unless you're of the bovine nature (ie a cow.)
Proteins: These are the muscle building blocks. The body breaks them down into
amino acid chains, and peptide chains. Both can be used as fuels for
the body but only the former can be used to replenish and build
Fats: I know many people cringe when I mention this energy source but it is
neccessary for our bodies to function properly. Glycogen can be seen
as our short term energy source and our fat stores are our long term
energy source... which would you rather be using your fat stores or your
muscle proteins? As well fat is easliy converted into the sterol rings
which provide some of most basic body functions like cholesterol, bile,
testosterone and estrogen amoung a few others. So fat is needed in our
daily intake... we just have to watch it closer than the others.
Note: In a very simplistic model a fat gram is a fat
gram but different fats are actually used differently in our bodies.
For instance medium chain triglycerides (MCTs) are used exclusively for
fuel and cannot be stored as fat cells in our body. (One of the reasons
why doctors urge mothers to breast feed as breast milk is high in fat
but this fat is in MCTs... but I digress... sorry about that. 8^) )
2) Food in the stomach & digestive tract
What actually goes on when food is digested is still not clearly understood
even by the experts. It's kind of like a map with none of the street names
marked on it... 8^). Here is what is known:
View all your food in your stomach as one big chemical bath... your proteins,
your carbs and fats all waiting to de digested. Your carbs (excluding fibre
which isn't digested at all.) are extracted mainly in the stomach and
small intestine. Proteins are mainly extracted in the small and large
intestines. As well fats are also mainly extracted in the small and large
intestines. (There are some exceptions to this but normally this holds true.)
(BTW... this is why high protein diets give you more gas and bowel movements
than a lower protein diet.)
So what causes your stomach to 'dump' its contents into the intestines...
simple it's the carbs you're ingesting, and the amount of fats and proteins
in your food. This is commonly referred to as the glycemic index of food.
A food with a high gyclemic index will be rapidly ingested into the system
through the gut and thus the stomach contents will be quickly dumped into the
intestines for further processing. A food with a low glycemic index takes
longer to digest and thus dump.
As a rule of thumb, adding proteins, fibre and fat into one's food is going
to lower the glycemic index. What does this mean? Well since a lower glycemic
food doesn't raise the blood sugar levels as much (if comparing equal calories)
it won't trigger an insulin reponse as frequently and thus most of the blood
sugar will be absorbed by the liver; a higher glycemic indexed food will be
more likely to trigger an insulin response and thus push aminos and glucose
into the muscles and adipose (ie fat) tissue. Both are important and both
can be used to get results. I have a small gylcemic index available via
email if anyone is interested in it.
This is one of the main drivers of the human body. Basically, as the blood
sugar gets high insulin clears the glucose out of the blood stream. This
action pushes amino acids and glucose into the muscle (for fuel and glycogen
building but not for muscle building!... insulin is anti-catabolic not
anabolic. This is why insulin 'regulating' supplements will NOT add lean
muscle mass. It isn't physiologically possible... from everything I've read
IMHO.) Insulin puts about half of the possible amino types into muscles and
restores glycogen (but only if the muscle has been exercised... otherwise
it doesn't need fuel and glycogen). The remaining glycogen get's pumped into
the fat cells... thus if you don't exercise you're going to get fat.
As well insulin is an INHIBITOR of fatty acid breakdown... if you want to
burn fat you don't want to have insulin in your system! Thus is you eat a
chocolate cake and then work out none of your fat reserves will be depleted
by the exercise you're doing.
Injecting raw insulin (if you're not diabetic) is plain silly. Similarily
with IGF-1 or any other insulin derivative. It will not help you gain
muscle mass, it will not prevent muscle breakdown (in most cases. It's very
selectively anti-catabolic.), and it will likely put you in the hospital for
a diabetic coma. This sounds silly but there are pros and amateurs out there
who do this....
4) Growth Hormone (gH)
This is one of the anabolic agents in the body. It is the main reason why
muscle growth occurs and muscle is protected... bad news men... women have
more gH than us. (And who said life is fair?) Thus less of their body
protein is broken down in any activity that they do... they hold onto muscle
better than men. (Of course we have more testosterone which is a big
anabolic in our favour since it binds to muscle cells aiding in mass
production. We just have to live with facial hair and baldness.)
Growth hormone is excreted when there is a low blood sugar level and the amino
arginine is in the blood stream. (But arginine is 99% in our blood stream
anyways if we're on a proper diet.) So we want the low blood sugar to
trigger this... ie we want insulin to clear the blood of glucose. Insulin and
growth hormone work hand in hand. Growth hormone pushes all aminos into the
muscle (and is the only one that can.). Once all 20 are in gH triggers actin
and myosin (ie. muscle) rebuilding and growth (if neccessary.) Aminos are
only held for about 3 hours in the blood stream... thus you want to trigger
your amino peak in the blood stream when your insulin and growth hormone
are there to do their jobs. (ie you want to time your proteins and carbs for
gH also promotes fatty acid breakdown (fat burning) indirectly, and stops
cortisol from acting (the chief catabolic hormone in the human body.)
The body has the greatest ability to produce gH when you're sleeping.
- 01-28-2003, 09:48 PM
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