A little Q & A

Filed under: Nutrition

Q. Since a lot of fructose (albeit hard to consume just from fruit) can
give those with malabsorption issues problems and grains are vastly
overrated nutritionally and also give a lot of individuals issues
related to food intolerances, wouldn’t we still want a bit of glucose
+ maltodextrin or waxy maize (even though the latter two may still
pose issues for those with grain sensitivities)? Above and beyond
glycogen re-synthesis, wouldn’t spiking insulin to help drive amino
acids into the muscles at a time when protein synthesis is elevated be
an additional goal of PW nutrition?

It seems like the best idea might be to include a glucose/maltodextrin
blend up until a certain amount of the alotted PW carbs and then
consume the rest of the “remaining” PW carbs from fresh fruits. ¬†Or do
you feel that a whey hydrolysate or isolate + some additional leucine
is enough to trigger muscle protein synthesis and spike insulin?

Thank you for your time.

A. Well this is a pretty loaded question. OK lets start with the first part. While it is true that a lot of fructose can cause malabsorption issues, that would require A LOT of fruit. I tend to recommend people consume a banana, maybe with a cup of frozen strawberries. That won’t cause issues, what it will do is promote better fuel oxidation as it has been shown that we run better when consuming at least 2 different carb sources. Also combining fructose and glucose helps the rehydration process more than just glucose alone. Since I also recommend milk (usually whole, depends on the person and situation) that also increases the rehydration process significantly.

I would also agree that grains tend to be overrated, but if people really need a significant amount of carbs post training, then I would rather they get them from say oats than maltodextrin, I almost always pick the food with more nutrient density. An example post training shake for a large athlete who is trying to gain mass might be something like:

  • 16oz Organic Whole Fat Milk
  • 1 scoop Whey (I like Biotest Grow)
  • 1 banana
  • 1 cup frozen strawberries
  • 1/2 cup oats
  • 5 grams creatine
  • 5 grams leucine
  • blend
A better carb source to me

A better carb source to me

This way you are still getting a whey/casein blend, milk is very insulinogenic, whole milk is excellent post training, and getting your carbs from more nutritious sources. The idea of needing a HUGE insulin spike is overrated. If you read a lot of Alan Aragon’s work, which I would highly recommend, he also points out that the initial increase in protein synthesis occurs in the absence of insulin. The insulin mediated increase occurs much later, and that shake will have certainly spiked insulin enough at that point to continue that process. Between the milk, whey, carbs, and free leucine there will be plenty of insulin hanging around. New research is clearly showing that speed of delivery is not the greatest factor in recovery and growth from training. If speed was the greatest factor, then whey would defeat casein in post training shakes, though it does not. We want some fast, and some slow to reap all the benefits for optimal gains.

So in the end, yes I think this is more than adequate to increase protein synthesis, decrease protein breakdown, and increase glycogen resynthesis all while contributing a boatload more vitamins, minerals, electrolytes, and phytonutrients. This will also help you reach your fruit and veggies quota, and build maximal amounts of muscle. It just seems to me that if this is going to one of, if not the biggest serving of carbs in the diet, I would much rather see people consume carbs with nutrients, than refined sugars. There are always exceptions to the rule, but I tend to lean this way for the majority.

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Posted on December 8th, 2008 by Brian St. Pierre


  1. frozen bananas | Digg hot tags Says:

    [...] Vote A little Q %26amp; A [...]

  2. Kujo Says:

    Lyle McDonald has a great article on Milk PWO over at http://www.bodyrecomposition.com/research-review/milk-the-new-sports-drink-a-review-research-review.html

    I currently use 8 oz’s of skim milk PWO since my goal is fatloss right now, but I’ll switch to whole when I start bulking.

  3. Super-Trainer Says:

    So I guess I don’t need to eat 2 slushies and chase it down with honey in order to fuel my muscles post-workout – haha -

  4. Mike T Nelson Says:

    Good stuff here Brian! I like the format and excellent info! How was the CISSN experience?

    If athletes have not eaten within 2 hours I will have them consume a shake with carbs before training, but as you pointed out, another one with a boat load of carbs post strength training is most likely over kill (and insulin will probably stay high for 2 hours at least anyway)

    Have you seen any data on waxy maize and insulin levels? I see this proclaimed, but I have not see any data backing this up.

    Rock on
    Mike N

  5. Brian St. Pierre Says:

    Thanks Mike, I appreciate it.

    I have not personally looked at waxy maize data. I’ve read some stuff from Lyle McDonald and Dave Barr talking about how it is supposed to be the fastest carb source, and best at refilling glyocgen while the least likely to be stored as fat. Allegedly. I’m not holding my breath. It may work well, but again, unless you are doing multiple training sessions per day or are Michael Phelps, glycogen resynthesis speed is not the most important factor. It is a result of maximizing protein synthesis.

  6. mark Says:

    I want to say – thank you for this!

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