Over the course of this blog we will look into the differences between the glycemic index and the insulin index; understanding these indexes is vital for our health and also eating the proper foods at the proper times. Utilizing these indexes to our advantage is a great tool to be able to utilize. Over the course of this blog we will dive into both of them and arm you with a new tool in your health tool box.
The glycemic index is the scale of foods that has influence over your blood sugar; there are foods such as soda that will have a large effect on blood glucose; dumping a lot of glucose into your blood in a rapid fashion which in turn increases blood glucose and insulin levels rapidly.There for soda would rank extremely high on the glycemic index due to the fact it spikes blood glucose rapidly. Celery on the other hand is a carbohydrate that would not cause a rapid spike in blood sugar and therefore would rank low on the glycemic index. The glycemic index tells you how fast carbohydrates will be absorbed and the effect this will have on blood sugar levels. Before working out it is best to eat carbohydrates that rank low on the glycemic index; let's say you decide to eat a peanut butter and jelly sandwich prior to working out this will lead to a rapid spike in blood sugar levels which will be followed by insulin being secreted to remove the blood sugar from circulation and bring it into the liver and muscle cells; this can lead to you becoming hypoglycemic during your workout which will leave you feeling tired, weak and mentally hazy. Choosing foods that rank low on the glycemic index prior to working out will not cause this problem to happen; they will lead to a very slow and gradual spike in blood glucose which your body will handle well.
Why does insulin matter to working out ?
Insulin is an anabolic hormone; aka it is important for recovery and helping us hit our goals in the gym. Why is it anabolic? It is anabolic because its role is to bring blood glucose out of the blood and into our cells. The problem with spiking insulin before a workout is that as discussed above you can become hypoglycemic which will lead to a decrease in exercise performance. Following a workout when you have depleted muscle glycogen stores and are looking to be in an anabolic state consuming foods which are high in carbohydrates and will have a large effect on blood glucose is beneficial in the post workout period. After working out GLUT4 receptors are brought to the cellular membrane which makes us extremely insulin sensitive; combine this with a need to resynthesize glycogen stores and you have the perfect storm for consuming foods that rank high on the glycemic index and will lead to a rapid increase in blood sugar levels.
foods that are great pre workout = little effect on blood glucose
- berries; black, strawberries, blueberries.
food sources that are great post workout = large effect on blood glucose
- white rice and potatoes
- sprouted bread with natural peanut butter and jelly
- rice cakes with peanut butter
- you should also combine a protein source with your post workout carb source as muscle protein synthesis has been shown to