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by WorkoutHealthy  on October 24, 2012Comments(0)

Healthy Fast Digesting Carbs

fast digesting carbs

For years we’ve all heard that fast digesting carbs are the enemy.  They will make you fat.  Sugar is poison or whatever other silliness you’ve been told.  The fact is your body needs carbs to function.  The majority of energy your body uses come directly from carbs.  A normal person should ingest around 45-60% of there daily caloric intake from carbs.  Up to 70% for endurance athletes. So is here a healthy fast digesting carb? Lets look at carbs as a whole first.

Carbs form the cornerstone of the nutrition foundation.  Exercise depletes both muscle and liver glycogen (sugar) stores, and dietary carbs are needed daily to replenish them.  A minimum of 5 grams of carbs per kilogram of body weight daily is recommended to replenish enough muscle glycogen to exercise on consecutive days.  However 6 to 10 grams of carbs per kilogram of body weight per day is recommended for athletes in training so muscle glycogen is fully restored and near maximum levels can be maintained.

The range is narrowed based on the intensity and duration of the training.  This is true for both strength and endurance athletes, as both types of exercise deplete muscle glycogen.  Athletes who train for shorter periods of time can restore muscle glycogen with a moderate carb intake.

Carbs come in  two forms,  complex and simple.  Complex carbs are an unrefined carb.  Meaning it hasn’t been processed.  Think of whole gains, vegetables and beans, things high in fiber. Simple carbs have usually been refined or processed.  Think white bread, white rice things high in sugar.  Complex carbs are a slow digesting carb while simple carbs are a fast digesting carb.  So what’s a healthy fast digesting carb?  The easy answer is fruit.  Fruit is sweetened by fructose.  This is a natural sugar and is processed more efficiently by the body than refined or simple carbs are.  Yet, depending on when you ingest a fast digesting carb, they can all be healthy.  But here is a list of healthy fast digesting carbs:

  • Ÿ  Apple
  • Ÿ  Apricot
  • Ÿ  Banana
  • Ÿ  Blackberry
  • Ÿ  Cherry
  • Ÿ  Clementine
  • Ÿ  Cranberry
  • Ÿ  Fig
  • Ÿ  Grapefruit
  • Ÿ  Grape
  • Ÿ  Guava
  • Ÿ  Kiwi
  • Ÿ  Lemon
  • Ÿ  Lime
  • Ÿ  Mango
  • Ÿ  Melon
  • Ÿ  Nectarine
  • Ÿ  Orange
  • Ÿ  Papaya
  • Ÿ  Peach
  • Ÿ  Pear
  • Ÿ  Pineapple
  • Ÿ  Plum
  • Ÿ  Pomegranate
  • Ÿ  Strawberry
  • Ÿ  Watermelon

Generally speaking if a fast digesting carb isn’t burned as energy right away it will increase blood sugar levels, affecting insulin production and ultimately lead to fat storage.  Yet, there is a time during the day were we want that carb to digest fast.  Post exercise the body needs a carb to replace used ATP in the muscle and start the muscle re-synthesis process.   This process start to happen 90 minutes post exercise.  That’s were the fast digesting carbs comes in.  Complex carbs are healthier 90% of the time, yet not post exercises.  They would take to long to digest and the muscle re-synthesis process needs carbs right away.  On the other hand, fast digesting carbs can be transported quickly to the muscles were they are needed.

So what is a healthy fast digesting carb?  Any fast digesting carb can be healthy when it’s ingested are the right time.  Ingest fast digesting carbs post workout to aid in muscle re-synthesis and to refuel your body!

About the Author
Josh Morrison is the owner of Optimum Performance Training in Mt Zion, IL. He has a M.S. in Performance Enhancement, B.A. in Physical Education, certified as an NASM-PES, NASE-CSSE, NASM-CPT, NESTA-CPT, Human Kinetics-Advanced Exercise Nutrition and APEX-FitPro. 

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