T Nation

Berardi, Aceto and Carbs

Another “re-think…”

This weeks “Essential Berardi” indicated that JB wasn’t a big fan of Ketogenic diets for various reasons (decrease in insulin sensitivity, their overall catabolic nature, “rebound” effect, etc), and Chris Aceto tried to drive home the fact in one of the recent mags that we really need to start thinking of carbs as a truly anabolic foodstuff, and that if we’re not growing (and our protein intake is in order), it could be that we’re not ingesting enough carbs. Interesting stuff.

I know that I’ve often looked at carbs as “merely” an energy source and a source of certain micronutrients and vitamins. But not so much as being “anabolic” (mainly through the carbohydrate influence on insulin) like I did protein.

What do you guys think?

Carbohydrates are definately anabolic. They provide the insulin release needed to build muscle. They provide the energy to work out hard and are especially important to provide energy for sets lasting longer than 15-20 seconds. They are protein sparing because having access to carbohydrates prevents the body from utilizing protein (especially BCAA’s) to provide glucose during high intensity exercise. That is all I could think of off the top of my head. For bulking, you need carbs.

Agree. It’s funny, though…when you think of carbs (for the most part), the first thing that pops in your head is not “anabolic”…BUT…
(like you said)…they are protein sparing; lead to accellerated release of THE most anabolic hormone we have (insulin, NOT GH or Thyroid); fuel…

Again…a “re-think”…

I had thought that protein could not be utilized in absense of carbohydrates. I have always considered carbs to be essential during a building phase and for maintaining during a cutting phase.

My thoughts:
Keto diets are no more catabolic than any other diet, what determines a diets catabolic nature is calorie restriction not necessarily what type of diet it is. Although you lose water in your muscles, and insulin is nill, ketones have the ability to promote muscle anabolism (i.e., if you were overconsuming on fat)…so again, not necessarily a bad thing…the insulin sensitivity standpoint, once carbs are reintroduced…that could be a possible criticism

As for carbs, it takes energy to synthesize tissue…sure, protein could be there, but without EXCESS ENERGY, in the form of CHO (or fat), tissue can not be synthesized…in the case of carbs, you would think that the body would prefer them, over fat for the energy necessary becuase they are a much more efficient energy source (readily usuable) and they also potentiate the hormone insulin…however, excess energy is needed to synthesize tissue, and while fat might be more likely to be stored, carbs would have to go through de novo, as such, they would most likely be much more likely to be used as the muscle synthesizing energy source.
I am out

I think good carb is perfectly fine. I think this whole anti-carb thing started (I’m not talking about bodybilder’s keto, but Atkins and all other no/low-carb diets targeted toward housewives, etc.) cuz a lot of junk food is carb heavy. I’ve yet to find a junk food (a real junk food like candy bars and cookies) that is high in protein and low in carb. And we all know what happens if you eat a ton of junk food daily. So perhaps going no or low carb it’s easier for people to cut out junk in their diet.

Carbs got a bad rap because nobody used to be aware of how/when to consume your carbs to manage the power of insulin. We all now know that insulin is a double edged sword and if consuming the wrong kinds of carbs with the wrong meals (with fats) or at the wrong times can and will lead to fat storage. And people used to not know the difference between high GI and low GI carbs and when each should be consumed. Even now, mainly only BB’s and maybe some other athletes know what kind of carbs to eat at what times to manage the power of insulin. And if you don’t know how to manage insulin with proper carb selection and timing, you’re probably better off to limit carbs entirely. And IMO, the most effective way for most people to cut is by manipulating carbs. I know if I’m not careful with my carbs, I gain fat easily and when I limit carbs I lose fat easily. Most people don’t understand carbs and the rest of us are just starting to realize the best way to utilize carbs.