Low GI for fat loss and muscle building

There are a number of different kinds of carbs – simple, complex, fibrous, low GI, high GI etc. What do these mean? If you are not sure, please read my previous post here.

A number of articles are pointing out that LOW GI carbs are lean friendly. What does this exactly mean? Does it mean that carbs help us burn fat or do they helps us gain muscle mass?

In very simple terms, Low GI carbs are the carbs that get absorbed into our system very slowly and at a low rate. GI (glycemic index) determines how quickly a particular carbohydrate increases the blood sugar level. The lower the GI, the slower the rise in blood sugar levels. You may ask the question – Why do we need slow absorbing carbs? Well, basically when the carbs get absorbed very quickly, the amount of sugar is increased quite a lot. Your body tries to lower the carbs, as it doesn’t require that many carbs. The body releases a hormone called insulin which does three things:

- Lowers the carbs
- Stores them as fat
- Tells the body that ‘we already have too many carbs, don’t use the fats for energy’.

The above are not good for you. Insulin is very useful for you right after a workout (as you tend to use most of the carbs and the insulin helps you build muscle), it should not be spiked at any other time of the day. The LOW GI carbohydrates give your body constant energy at a steady rate so that you don’t get too many or too little carbs in your system and you avoid turning carbs into fats. But remember, if you take too much of any kind of carbs (even LOW GI), you increase the chances of converting them to fat.

Tom Venuto once wrote that it doesn’t matter whether individual items in a meal are low or high GI. You should make sure that the overall meal is low GI. E.g. potato on its own is high GI, but if you eat it with a chicken steak, it becomes low GI after mixing with proteins that gets absorbed at a very slow rate. Hope this makes sense.

If you stick to low GI for a fat loss program, you will minimize the chances of converting carbs to fat and also burn extra fat. If you want to build muscle – again, stick to low GI throughout the day, but take High GI with half an hour of a vigorous workout. I hope this has helped you understand what kind of carbs you should eat. Ohh, one more thing. Try not to take carbs after 6 – 7pm or keep them low in the evening/night. This again may increase chances of your storing carbs as fats over night because your metabolic rate slows down at night and if you don’t use up the carbs (or any other macro-nutrient), it will convert to fat.

Right!! I think that’s all for today…stay tuned. I will shortly start posting some workout routines and also a HOW TO guide. See ya!!

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