Carbohydrates…The Body’s Most Preferred Source of Energy

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Carbohydrates are the body’s chief source of energy for all metabolic functions and anaerobic muscular exertions.  Additionally, carbohydrates are necessary for the digestion and absorption of the other macronutrients.  Fats, for example, require carbohydrates for their breakdown in the liver and to provide energy intermediates for their complete oxidation in the muscle cells.

Dietary carbohydrates can be characterized as sugars, starches, or cellulose.  Simple sugars, such as those found in fruits and honey, are easily digested by the body, as are the double sugars maltose and sucrose also known as table sugar.  Starches, however, because of their long polymer  chains of glucose, require prolonged enzymatic action in order to be broken down into glucose for metabolic use within the body.  At some point all dietary sugars and starches must be converted by the body into a common molecule; glucose (also referred to as blood sugar) before they can enter the anaerobic phase of energy metabolism.  A large portion of the circulating glucose, once it enters the bloodstream is used as a source of fuel bu the brain, blood and nervous system.  Excess glucose is converted to glycogen and stored in the muscles and liver as an immediate energy reserve.  Any remaining glucose (even after glycogen stores have been completely gilled) is likely converted to fat and stored throughout the body in addipose tissue.  This action helps to explain how body fat stores can increase even when the over consumption of calories are derived from carbohydrates exclusively.

 Although carbohydrates are considered the body’s chief source of energy, foods that contain high concentrations of refined sugars tend to have an adverse effect on blood glucose levels and can actually decrease the energy supply to the brain and nervous system. 

 This is of primary interest to most athletes, since eating large amounts of refined sugars can dramatically raise blood glucose levels, causing a rapid secretion of the hormone insulin.  Insulin, which is produced and secreted by the pancreas, functions as an energy storing hormone, that enables muscle, liver and fat cells to take up and use glucose either as an immediate source of energy or as an energy reserve in the form of glycogen or glycerol.  Excessive amounts of insulin however, force blood sugar levels to fall to unacceptably low levels, simultaneously causing sugar cravings and feelings of lethargy.  This is turn, creates a strong desire to consume more sugary foods in an attempt to reestablish normal blood glucose levels.

In good health,
Thunder!

William Smith is the President / CEO and Founder of the INTRAFITT Corporation which was established in California in 1992. Will has won more than twenty-eight bodybuilding championships and is also known for his role as “THUNDER” on television’s American Gladiator between 1990 – 1992. He is a National and International Speaker on Performance Nutrition and Exercise Science.

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1 Comment

  1. This studff is awesome!!! Who comes up with it!!??

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