Sugar Consumption After Workout: The Ultimate Guide!

Question : I have been trying to gain volume and for years they have been telling me that I need to consume simple sugars immediately after workout to produce the anabolic insulin hormone. And then I hear negative things about how sugar can upset my blood sugar and cause me to gain weight. Who is telling the truth?

Answer : Both are correct. It makes sense to consume sugar to trigger insulin in order to maximize the post-workout anabolic process. But sugar can also upset your blood sugar levels, causing fat storage and damaging your overall health.

Timing is crucial, as the link between sugar and insulin is like a double-edged sword.

Can Simple Carbohydrates Be Consumed After Workout ?

Sugar Consumption After Workout: The Ultimate Guide!

Let’s consider the benefits first. Insulin plays an important role in protein synthesis and recovery after and during workout. In this 3-5 hour frame, insulin works well.

Helps prevent muscle loss due to workout: During a workout, breaking down muscle to make it stronger in the future is necessary for the continuous development and growth of your physique.

However, it is not necessary to shred muscle during your workout for your body to use those muscles as fuel.

Simple carbohydrates taken just before, during and after the workout will strategically trigger the secretion of insulin hormone. Insulin neutralizes cortisol hormone. Cortisol is a catabolic hormone that rises during your workout sessions and is the main cause of muscle breakdown.

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Helps to increase insulin sensitivity after workout: Immediately after workout, the insulin sensitivity of your muscles reaches the highest level during the day.

This means that the carbohydrates and amino acids that you consume during and immediately after your workout are tailored to your muscles for growth and recovery.

Research shows that shake drunk after workout increases insulin sensitivity for 12 to 24 hours. This means that for the rest of the day what you eat is used for good (muscle building), not bad (new fat cells).

In addition to preventing workout-related muscle loss and increasing post-workout insulin sensitivity, simple post-workout sugars help restore and replenish muscle energy stores.

Those were the Good Parts; Now Let’s Get To Their Bad Side

Sugar Consumption After Workout: The Ultimate Guide!

Simple sugars outside of the concept of workout will ruin your blood sugar control and waist width.

How does it ruin? Simple candies are very easy to consume very quickly. When was the last time you saw someone drink half the can of Coke and discard the rest?

Simple candies also move very fast. They increase blood sugar by mixing with the blood very quickly.

The body needs to keep blood sugar levels at certain intervals. For this reason, in case of excessively simple sugar intake, it does a kind of cleaning by secreting insulin. However, if you take simple sugar before but after workout, in this case, insulin takes sugar from your blood and carries it to fat cells.

While doing this, insulin also activates three basic metabolic processes:

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Stops the removal of fat from fat cells (for example fat burning),

It causes the sugar to turn into fat in fat cells (for example, it increases the body’s fat storage),

It greatly reduces the body’s ability to burn fat to produce energy (for example, negatively affecting food breakdown).

By correctly timing simple carbohydrate intake, you can minimize these bad effects and maximize their positive effects.

Now Let’s Come To How All Of These Should Be Included In Your Diet

Sugar Consumption After Workout: The Ultimate Guide!

Foods that contain significant added sugar (more than 10-15 grams) in your meals should be your nutritious workout shake.

Start sipping your shake 20-30 minutes before your workout starts and continue sipping it throughout your workout. If your shake is not finished after your workout is over, finish it before leaving the gym.

Eat your next meal 45-60 minutes after your workout ends. Avoid simple sugars in this meal and consume foods that contain carbohydrates, such as rice, pasta, and whole grain bread, which quickly enter the bloodstream.

If your main goal is to build more muscle, repeat this meal (or a similar meal in terms of carbohydrates) after two to three hours.

If your goal is to lose weight, change the type of carbohydrate on your plate for your next meal and use your preference for fruits, vegetables and legumes.

Keep consuming these types of carbohydrates until you get a faster simple sugar break in your next workout session.

With the right timing, you can continue to build muscle and gain volume in the most effective way by getting rid of the effects of simple candies that increase your waist width and worsen your health.

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  • Mary M. Cameron

    Mary M. Cameron is a registered dietitian nutritionist with a Bachelor's degree in Nutrition Science from the University of California, Davis and a Master's degree in Public Health Nutrition from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). With over 8 years of experience in the nutrition field, Mary is an expert in weight management, plant-based nutrition, and overall health and wellness. As an author at FitGAG, she shares her knowledge and expertise on a variety of topics, including nutrition plans, healthy recipes, and overall health and wellness tips. Mary believes that nutrition is the foundation of overall health and wellness, and she strives to inspire her readers to prioritize a balanced and varied diet, while also incorporating physical activity and self-care into their daily routines. Through her articles, Mary aims to empower her readers to make informed decisions about their nutrition and lifestyle choices, and to help them achieve their health and wellness goals.

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