These days the idea of sugar is closely link to fat or unhealthy for the body. But like everything in the world, sugar has a purpose. Intake of sugars, from refined sugars in baked good to natural sugars in fruits, are useful when consumed for the right purpose. So when is the best time to eat sugars?
First a quick science lesson to understand the role sugar plays in the body. Carbohydrates are broken down as sugars in our body, or more accurately as blood glucose, and stored as glycogen. Intake of glucose to our bodies will release the insulin hormone. Insulin tells the brain to provide the body with energy, assist in muscle growth, and other important body functions. If the body doesn’t need the excess energy, the body will produce fat for later energy use. In order words, if you don’t use the carbs as energy you store it. Therefore moderating the intake of carbs is important to provide the body with the right amounts energy it needs.
If all carbs broken down to sugars, are they all the same?
No, not all carbs the same, they can either be simple or complex in nature. Simple carbs, are baked goods, soda, white bread, and other refined sugars. These type of carbs quickly break down in the body to increase the sugar levels, i.e. glucose, and ramp up the insulin. Which means you better start burning energy, if not you’ll be storing it. Complex carbs are fiber and starches, such as vegetables, nuts, beans, and whole grains. These are harder for the body to break down, thereby digesting longer and contributing to feeling full. These complex carbs keep the sugars levels steady, so energy can be burn slowly. For list of foods for simple and complex carbs.
So when are simple carbs useful?
Pick the carbs needed for the energy you will be disbursing. If your burning slow amounts of energy through out the day, pick foods with fiber. This will keep you both satisfied and have sustainable energy. If your going for a run, an intense workout, or a quick boost. A simple, high sugar carbs will give you the energy you need.
As for post workout carbs, unlike the popular belief in replenishing body with carbs to rebout energy, it not as necessary. As the body only uses both fat and carbs to source the energy for workout and only used 28% of stored glycogen. So rule of thumb is .25-.50 gram of carb for pound of body weight.