To gain muscle and lose fat, it's not only unnecessary to separate carbohydrates and proteins - it's counterproductive. Here are 8 convincing scientific reasons why. Read them and then you be the judge of whether you want to eat a meal without your protein and carbohydrates.
1) To maintain positive nitrogen balance, a state where you are retaining more protein than you excrete, resulting in a net gain of muscle tissue, you must consume protein approximately every three hours. Proteins cannot be stored like carbohydrates. This requires protein feedings with every meal. Eat carbohydrates by themselves without protein, and your body must break down muscle to get the amino acids it needs (You "eat up" your own muscle tissue!)
2) To get the protein (amino acids) into the muscle cells efficiently requires insulin. Insulin is secreted most readily in response to eating carbohydrates. Therefore, a moderate (but not over-sized) portion of carbohydrate should be eaten with your protein to facilitate the uptake of the amino acids into the muscle cell. The exception to this rule is when you're on a "contest diet," and carbohydrates are being restricted (More on carbohydrate restriction in chapter 12).
3) Eating carbohydrates by themselves, especially the simple variety, causes a rapid increase in blood sugar. Peaks in blood sugar are always followed by valleys in blood sugar (also known as "hypoglycemia"). Cravings, hunger and fatigue usually follow. If you get hunger or bad cravings, it could be because you're eating too many simple carbohydrates by themselves (Fat-free snack foods, etc.).
4) Quick elevations in blood sugar caused by eating carbohydrates by themselves cause a large release of insulin to remove the excess glucose from the bloodstream. A slow, moderate output of insulin is desirable; a large release of insulin is not. High concentrations of insulin in the bloodstream are lipogenic; they promote the storage of body fat as well as prevent stored body fat from being mobilized. In the long run, this can also lead to a diabetes-like condition in those genetically prone to it.
5) The body's stores of muscle glycogen are very limited (Between 300 and 400 grams). Muscle glycogen is the primary source of energy for weight training. If your glycogen levels become severely depleted, your training will suffer. Advocates of very low carbohydrate, high protein, high fat diets claim that your body will learn to function on fat and protein and they make convincing scientific-sounding arguments to back up their position. However, if you were to ask any champion bodybuilder how a low carbohydrate diet affects their training, virtually all of them would tell you that it reduces their energy, lowers their intensity, and makes it difficult to get a pump. Even on carbohydrate-restricted programs it's important to get some carbohydrates or your workouts will suffer badly. If you cut out your carbohydrates completely or separate your protein and carbohydrate feedings in a food-combining diet, your glycogen stores will be compromised. You need a slow and moderate, but steady flow of complex carbohydrates throughout the day. Eating too many carbohydrates at once can cause fat storage, so the ideal way to consume them is in moderate portions at every meal.
6) Protein eaten with every meal slows the digestion of the carbohydrates, resulting in steadier blood sugar and energy levels and a more moderate output of insulin - without the ups and downs of eating carbohydrates by themselves.
7) Eating fiber-containing carbohydrates at every meal slows the digestion of the carbohydrates, resulting in a steadier blood sugar level and more moderate insulin output.
8) Eating protein at every meal enhances the thermic effect, which helps to speed up your metabolic rate. A meal consisting of only carbohydrate is less thermic than one containing a lean protein and a complex carbohydrate. A meal or snack that's high in fat without protein is the least thermic of all (sugar and fat, i.e., doughnuts, pastries, potato chips, etc.).
Was this article helpful?