Rise & Shine: Best Carb & Protein Sources
by Chris Aceto
For the most part, building mass is about eating a lot of food, seemingly non-stop from sun-rise to bedtime. That’s because muscle growth is directly proportional to two things: total calories and nitrogen. To build mass, you have to eat more calories than you need each day. Laying down new muscle tissue requires energy. If you don’t eat enough, you wont grow, regardless of protein intake. On the flip side, nitrogen, the unique ingredient common only to protein foods is a marker for growth and the more nitrogen your body can retain, the better your chances in attaining greater mass.
What part of the day are you at greatest risk of slipping? Falling too low in calories and nitrogen? The last 3 hours of slumber and immediately upon wakening. This is the period where the body slides backwards. With no incoming calories and protein, growth ceases and catabolic hormones begin to rise. And this is why breakfast truly is the most important meal of the day. It all boils down to jumpstarting the day’s growth process, reversing catabolism and setting the stage for anabolism, growth!
With that in mind, I’ve put together various carbohydrate and protein sources and who can use them to get the ball moving onto a growth path.
Here’s a slow burning carbohydrate and a good start for mass building bodybuilders who struggles to control body fat. Slow burning carbohydrates last longer in the stomach preventing over eating at forth coming meals. They also initiate a small insulin surge and bodybuilders carrying a higher level of body fat would benefit as tempering insulin surges help off set rises in body fat.
For dieters, this is the #1 carbohydrate again due to its slow burning character. Gram for gram compared to many other carbohydrates, oatmeal exerts a more satisfying effect on the appetite and is less likely to be deposited as body fat.
These fall into a mid range- they digest not too fast not too slow- which make them a good mass building carbohydrate. If body fat is not an issue, mass building bodybuilders ought to combine mid burning carbohydrates like potatoes with a faster carbohydrates like fruit juice, jam, jelly or fat free muffins.
Pancakes with Syrup
Here’s an example of super fast digesting carbohydrates. When carbohydrates flood the bloodstream with rapid speed, they have the ability to completely shut down the catabolic process within minutes of eating. So for building, they’re great. If you’re on the lean side with a fast metabolism, you could make this your daily standard at breakfast. Better yet, go with honey, which is slower burning than syrup. That’s the ideal approach for breakfast – to combine a fast and a slower burning carbohydrate. The fast kicks in right away with the slower burning carbohydrate thereafter for continuous energy. Not the best choice for mass builders struggling with body fat.
Alternative: Buckwheat Pancakes
Buckwheat – no, not whole wheat – is a very slow burning carbohydrate so you can eat these pancakes to build mass – as long as you include some fast digesting carbohydrates like syrup or fruit juice for a slow/fast combo. For dieting, you can eat these every morning and top with Equal and cinnamon. Cinnamon helps regulate blood sugar levels and is a very mild thermogenic – it mildly boosts calorie burning.
Cream Of Rice (or cream of wheat)
Fast acting carbohydrate making it a good mass carbohydrate for lean bodybuilders. Leaner bodybuilders respond to carbohydrates very differently than heavier body builders – those with a slower metabolism. Lean bodybuilders release less insulin which means when they eat fast digesting carbohydrates, they actually break down at a moderate pace, slower than what glycemic index tables typically indicate. Struggling to control body fat? Stick with oatmeal, oatbran or cream of brown rice all of which contain more fiber which slows the absorption of the carbohydrates, an important point in limiting the build up of body fat.
There’s an argument that fruit’s not a good carbohydrate but I don’t buy it. Fruit contains fructose which is nothing more than two molecules of glucose – the same found in cream of rice and carbo drinks – bound together. While other types of carbohydrates predominantly are deposited as muscle glycogen, fruit increase liver glycogen. The benefit is that when liver glycogen stores are full, you’re more apt to remain in an anabolic state. Every mass seeking bodybuilder ought to have a serving of fruit for breakfast: bananas, apples, apple sauce, blueberries, strawberries to help recovery. The bad –rap of fruit likely comes from the fact that saturated liver glycogen stores increases the fat storing machinery in the body. Truth be told, once muscle or liver glycogen stores are full, the fat storing machinery always increases. However, to build, to grow and to add muscular bodyweight, you have to keep glycogen stores as close to full as possible.
Fastest digesting source of protein around which means it hits the blood stream within 30 minutes providing a source of anti-catabolic amino acids. To give the body an immediate dose of nitrogen, you can’t go wrong here.
For gains in mass, look no further. The white hits the body nearly immediately and the yolk – because of their fat content – are a back-up, coming into play an hour or so later. Therefore, you have nonstop protein to cease a catabolic environment.
Fat Free Cheese
Because it’s lacking fat, it hits the blood quickly- though not as fast as egg whites- which is helpful in reversing the overnight catabolic scenario.
Low fat Cottage Cheese
Tremendous source of protein and digests slower than egg whites, somewhere in between eggs and steak. Because it yields casein and whey, some amino acids hit the body quick, though the majority take about an hour. Still, a great choice.
Steaks a good source of protein loaded with B vitamins and zinc, the testosterone supporting mineral, but it breaks down a little bit too slow which makes it not the top choice for breakfast. However, you can scramble 4-5 egg whites for fast acting protein along with your 6 oz of steak to give you 43 grams of first class protein.
This is a very fast acting protein – on par with egg whites – and versatile. You can mix it with water or combine it with skim milk or mix it directly into oats, cream of rice or oatbran along with some fruit or Equal. Adding 30 grams with 2 cups of skim milk is a great advantage because you’d get over 400 mgs of calcium from the milk and calcium from dairy mildly alters hormones in the body which encourage the burning of fat for energy. You get the building blocks of the protein – to grow – and the hormonal shift from the calcium – to lose.
Meal Replacement Shakes
The real benefit here is 2 sources of protein: whey which is fast to digest along with casein which is slower. This provides a one-two punch for continual amino acid delivery to remove you from a catabolic state and keep you in an anabolic state. Be sure to see if your meal replacement offers both proteins.