To Carb or Not to Carb: How One Sugar from Peas Solves a Metabolic Riddle

by Dr. David Minkoff September 21, 2017 4 min read

To Carb or Not to Carb: How One Sugar from Peas Solves a Metabolic Riddle

Carbohydrates are one of the most hotly debated topics in the health world, and opinions run very strong on both sides. Some claim a strictly no carb diet will get you the best results for weight loss and muscle gain. The ketogenic and paleo diets fit in this category.

Others swear that carbs play a crucial role in their nutrition and performance. Most sports drinks and muscle-gain powders contain some variant of sugar: fructose, sucrose, dextrose, or maltodextrin.

To make matters more confusing, both sides can cite peer-reviewed scientific literature to support their claims.

Before we can sort this out, we need to start with the fundamentals of what is actually going on in your body.

 

Crash Course In Carbohydrate Metabolism

First of all, let’s be clear: glucose is the body’s primary fuel. Glucose is a carbohydrate. A simple sugar. Most of the time, this is what your body and brain are fueled by. This can change in states of fasting or ketogenic diets, where ketones become the primary fuel, but this is a special case that we will return to in a minute.

When you eat carbohydrates, they are broken down into simple sugars. As these enter the bloodstream, your blood sugar level rises. Your body works hard to maintain a pretty narrow range of conditions for optimal functioning, like pH, for example. And temperature. Blood sugar, too.

Special cells in your pancreas sense this rise and begin releasing insulin, a hormone that triggers cells to begin taking the sugar from the blood and storing it. Your blood sugar level begins to drop, which is again sensed by the pancreas, and now it starts releasing glucagon, a hormone that releases glycogen (stored sugar) from the liver.

 

What Does an Insulin Spike Really Do?

You can see there is a bit of a back and forth between your insulin and glucagon to maintain optimal levels of blood sugar. The tricky part here is that the more your insulin levels spike, the more your blood sugar crashes. Dramatic swings in your blood sugar like this are at the root of many of the problems associated with carbohydrates:

  • Insulin insensitivity and type two diabetes,
  • Obesity,
  • High blood pressure
  • Heart disease
  • Some types of cancer.

So what spikes insulin?

The short answer is carbs, but the reality is a bit more nuanced than that. The faster the carbohydrate enters your bloodstream, the faster blood sugar levels rise. The faster your blood sugar levels rise, the stronger your insulin response.

Some carbohydrates, like refined sugar, are very simple and very pure and spike your insulin levels a lot. Other carbohydrates, brown rice, for example, are larger, more complex, contain fiber, and take a while to break down. The simple sugars are released into your blood slowly and the insulin response drawn out over time.

How quickly different sugars raise blood sugar is measured by the glycemic index. The higher the number, the more it raises your blood sugar.

Now that we have the basics covered, let’s get into

 

How Carbs Improve Your Performance

When you exercise, you consume both your blood sugar and your glycogen stores. If you deplete your glycogen stores, your body begins breaking down protein for energy, which is not terribly helpful for gaining muscle mass and improving performance.

So having enough glycogen is important for anyone training or trying to maintain healthy weight. And this is why so many sports drinks and protein powders have sugars in them. The idea is that in order to replenish glycogen stores and maximize muscle gain, you need the carbs.

This makes sense, to a degree, but because they are mostly using simple, high-glycemic sugars that spike your insulin levels, they don’t take the after-effects into account. One of the most common additives, maltodextrin, has a glycemic index 2x that of sugar!

We are faced with a bit of a riddle: how can we quickly replenish our glycogen stores for energy and performance without spiking insulin?

 

Carb10: The Carbohydrate Solution

Hidden within peas is a special carbohydrate. Isolated and purified it is called Carb10tm. Peas are often used as a protein source for many vegan protein powders, so it often was simply overlooked by those focusing on its protein content.

This is an astounding low-glycemic starch that has almost no effect on blood sugar or insulin. And yet, it’s still processed quickly by the body. Measures of gastric emptying show that it actually moves through your system faster than maltodextrin. And no blood-glucose response. 

Even more unbelievable is that it has even been found to be keto-friendly. Participants in a preliminary study with people on a ketogenic diet ingesting over 20g of Carb10 maintain ketosis.

So what does all this mean? 

Fast energy for your body and brain. Faster recovery. Better response times.

And all with none of the typical carbohydrate downside.

No protein catabolism. No energy crash or brain fog. No worries.

Just fuel.

 

Carb10 and PerfectAmino PowerMeal: The Best In Performance Nutrition

This incredible advancement in performance nutrition is the perfect complement to our proven PerfectAmino formula. And that’s why we put them together as a part of our newest and most innovative performance nutrition product: PerfectAmino PowerMeal.

We combine these two powerhouses of performance with ketogenic MCT oil, a full dose of vitamins and minerals, and a nutrient-packed Superfoods blend.

This is the ultimate in meal replacement.

Try PerfectAmino PowerMeal and experience the difference.

Dr. David Minkoff
Dr. David Minkoff

Dr. Minkoff graduated from the University of Wisconsin Medical School in 1974 and was elected to the “Phi Beta Kappa” of medical schools, the prestigious Alpha Omega Alpha Honors Medical Fraternity for very high academic achievement. He then worked as an attending physician in infectious disease, co-directed a neo-natal intensive care unit and worked in emergency medicine until 1995. In 1997, his interest in alternative and complementary medicine led him to open LifeWorks Wellness Center, which has become one of the foremost alternative medicine clinics in the U.S. His search to find a source of the highest quality nutritional supplements led him to establish BodyHealth in 2000, a resource that could provide doctors with the best possible supplementation and education for their patients. Today, the BodyHealth products are used by hundreds of practitioners and individual consumers who seek all-natural wellness and detoxification supplements with a demonstrated high level of quality and effectiveness. In addition to their use by patients looking to heal disease, the BodyHealth products are also used by sports enthusiasts interested in achieving and maintaining optimal performance. As a 42-time Ironman triathlon finisher, (including 8 appearances at the Ironman World Championships) Dr. Minkoff has first-hand experience to help athletes achieve optimum conditioning. His expertise in protein synthesis, detoxification, and nutrition allow them to run, swim, and bike faster and longer. Today, Dr. Minkoff is an alternative healthcare expert, guest lecturer, writer, tv and radio show guest. He also authors two weekly newsletters, the BodyHealth Fitness Newsletter and the Optimum Health Report.


Leave a comment

Comments will be approved before showing up.


Also in BodyHealth

The Ultimate Longevity Hack With Intermittent Fasting Hacks & Protocol
The Ultimate Longevity Hack With Intermittent Fasting Hacks & Protocol

by Dr. David Minkoff September 11, 2019 7 min read

Your own metabolism is killing you. 

The incomprehensible bazillions of biochemical reactions firing off every nanosecond in every one of your cells have consequences. 

Because there is no free lunch.

Not even in biology. The truth is...

Read More
The Anabolic Secrets of mTor and Our Optimization Protocol
The Anabolic Secrets of mTor and Our Optimization Protocol

by Dr. David Minkoff August 28, 2019 6 min read 2 Comments

There is a master anabolic switch hidden deep inside your cells. It unlocks rapid muscle growth, stimulates tissue repair, activates your immune system, and generally makes us stronger and more capable. 

It’s known as “mTOR.”

You may have heard of it in the bodybuilding and biohacking worlds. 

However, this master anabolic switch is not as straightforward as some might like you to believe. 

The equation is more complicated than mTOR = more muscle gain. 

Read More
What Might Be Causing Your Fatigue, Depression, and Insomnia
What Might Be Causing Your Fatigue, Depression, and Insomnia

by Dr. David Minkoff July 30, 2019 5 min read 1 Comment

The following is adapted from The Search for the Perfect Protein.

At our clinic, the LifeWorks Wellness Center, we have many clients—male and female—who have problems with low energy, depression, and insomnia. With these patients, we’ll measure neurotransmitter levels. The results tell the same story:

Symptomatic patients have neurotransmitter levels far below the optimal standards.

Even when patients have been given prescription psych medications by their doctor, their levels remain low because the drugs do not correct the underlying cause.

Read More