The Whole Grain Truth

Processed grains often get a bad rap, but at certain times they can be bodybuilder-friendly
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Processed grains often get a bad rap, but at certain times they can be bodybuilder-friendly

May 12, 2011

FLEXONLINE.COM

In the media, processed grains come across as the root of all evil. Processed grains have had the bran and germ removed–think white rice. They also include products made with white flour, such as white bread. Since processed grains digest rapidly, they provide a quick and short-lived supply of energy and cause large insulin spikes. That's bad news for the average couch potato because that process can lead to fat gain, energy crashes and overeating (due to less satiety).

Immediately after workouts, you want to eat fast-digesting carbs, such as white bread. This leads to high blood-glucose and insulin levels when you want them. Insulin is an anabolic hormone that will jump-start the processes of muscle growth and drive critical nutrients such as glucose, amino acids and creatine into muscle cells. That's a good thing.

Postworkout, processed grains are acceptable. Preworkout, though, is a different story; opt for whole grains. They include the entire grain and digest slowly. Slow-digesting carbs are better for you at most times of the day because the slower the digesting time, the slower they release energy, thus providing longer-lasting energy and increased satiety. Studies show that when athletes eat whole-grain carbs before exercise, they have greater endurance, burn more fat during exercise and at rest, and they eat fewer calories during the day. So eat whole grains and other slow-digesting carbs, such as whole-wheat breads and pastas, brown rice and sweet potatoes, before workouts and at most other times during the day. However, after workouts, reach for processed grains and other fast-digesting carbs, such as white bread, plain bagels, white potatoes and even–gasp–table sugar.

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