T Nation

Effects of Carbs "Sugar vs Complex"

In terms of the negative effects of carbs i.e inflammation raising of blood sugars etc. does the body care what the source is or is the total amount of carbs per day more the issue?

Would one cause more “damage”?

-400 grams through out the day from mostly whole food sources


-a box of kids cereal 200g of carbs 100g from sugar before training.

Are you diabetic or sumshit?

Do you know wut glycemic index is? Google has got your back.

Maybe if you’re drinking straight corn syrup

Wut damage? Unless you have a medical condition it’s not “damage” worth worrying about. Maybe worry about the positive effect of carbs on training and how best to fuel your workouts using them.

“Food is the ultimate drug.” Dr Barry Sears

Figuratively speaking, it mean the the body cares “what the source is” and it definitely care about the “total amount of carbs per day”.

With that in mind, let’s look at some factors the dictate that amount of carbohydrates one needs.

Dan Duchane

Duchane (aka The Steriod Guru) was als the “Guru’s” of Bodybuilding Nutrition, as well. He pass away years ago.

Duchane stated that he was more concerned with the amount of carbohydrates consume more so than if they were complex or simple.

Glucose Threshold Per Meal

Dr Layman’s research found the body efficiently handles approximately approximately…

  1. 30 gm per meal without exercise

  2. 40 gm per meal, at the most.


Also, how your body responds carbohydrates

  1. Insulin Sensitivity: These individual can handle higher carbohydrate intake

  2. Insulin Resistance: These individual cannot handle high carbohydrate intake.

Sport Energy Source

Your sport or activity dictates the amount of carbohydrates you need to consume.

  1. Phosphagen Energy System: Power and/ or Strength Movement that take less than 30 seconds, have a greater dependence on ATP than glucose.

  2. Glycolytic Energy System: Sports that last 30 second to about 2 minutes with fluctuations of short burs of high intensity, moderate intensity and low intensity movement have a greater dependence on glucose.

Soccer is an example. Sprints, Moderate Jogging and Walking.

  1. Oxidative Energy System: Sport last over 3 minutes that are low intensity utilize more ketones (body fat), less glucose.

[Quote]Would one cause more “damage”?

400 grams through out the day from mostly whole food sources


a box of kids cereal 200g of carbs 100g from sugar before training.[/quote]

Simple Sugars

Simple sugars are rarely a good choice. To be more specific High Glycemic Index (as khangles noted) and Insulinogenic Index food consumption isn’t good and should be limited.

400 grams

The number of grams of carbohydrate per day is dependent on some of the factors listed above (Genetics: Insulin Sensitive or Resistant, Sport: Phosphagen, Glycolytic, Oxidative, etc.)

A Poor Choice

Consumption of cereal for any reason is poor choice.

Secondly, the only group that needs a higher consumption of carbohydrates in their diet or before training or competition is the Glycolytic Energy Sports Athlete.

Phosphagen and Oxidative Energy System utilize less glucose in their training. Thus, they need less glucose (carbohydraes) in their diet or none prior to training.

Carbohydrate Misconception

The conception that carbohydrates are needed prior to ALL type of training is a misconception that is promoted and won’t go away.

Kenny Croxdale

Cereal is a poor food choice? Why?

1 Like


I’ll get back later but I see carbs as coming in 3 basic categories: 1) slow glucose polymers, 2) fast glucose/glucose polymers and 3) sucrose/fructose/hfcs.

Second, there are types of weight training that will be catabolic and insulin can reduce catabolism but there are other methods of training and strategies that minimize cortisol release. The percentage of glucose to fat burning spikes fast with caloric output and cortisol does spike when muscle glycogen gets depleted. At 300 kcal/hr you only burn about 25 grams of glycogen an hour but at 600 you will burn up about 75 and at 900 about150, however those who eat more fat and fewer carbs will use more fat and less glycogen at each level because their muscles will be loaded with more ffas and they will have more fat burning enzymes in their muscles. As a result, training on carbs increases peri-workout carb dependency because it will downregulate enzymes for beta oxidation and also reduce storage capacity available for ffas, but it will actually increase insulin sensitivity.

As I see it, the only muscle building benefit of carbs at most weight training calorie outputs is insulin and if you need periworkout insulin, glucose and fast glucose polymers are the way to go. If you train long and with a lot of work output though, fat will not be able to provide enough energy to keep going. Fat burning is maximized at an overall caloric output at or above 500-700 caloies an hour (fat accounting for about half of energy needs at that level).
indent preformatted text by 4 spaces

1 Like

Do you consider “a box of kids cereal” to be a good food choice?

If so, why?

Kenny Croxdale

Debate pls

Name and Exlpain

  1. Name the exercise that are"catabolic

  2. Explain why they are catabolic


Acute Cortisol elevation during exercise and after isn’t the villain it has been portrayed to be…

The Two Faces of Cortisol

Here’s what you need to know…

  1. Cortisol, despite its bad reputation, is required for optimal health and actually burns fat, under the right circumstances.

  2. You WANT cortisol high while you’re exercising. During exercise, cortisol works with your other fat burning hormones to increase fat release.

Chronic Cortisol Elevation

Long term elevation of cortisol promotes heath issues.

“2. Chronically elevated or continuously suppressed cortisol can be destructive. The key is balance.” Source: The Two Faces of Cortisol


An elevation of insulin blocks the fat burning process.

Insulin blocks the fat burning hormones: cortisol, growth hormone,epinephrine, and nor-epinephrine.

Glycolytic Energy System

A greater percentage of glucose is used and needed for athletes that utilize this energy system.

Also, individuals who are on high carbohydrate diets are glucose dependent.

Research Indicates Otherwise

…" the whey protein group reduced more total and abdominal area fat when compared to the carbohydrate group…

… larger relative increase (per kg bodyweight) in fat-free mass was observed in the protein vs. carbohydrate group without significant differences to the combined group."
Source: The effects of whey protein with or without carbohydrates on resistance training adaptations [https://jissn.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12970-015-0109-4]

Kenny Croxdale

It is a rhetorical question.

Kenny Croxdale

Weight training with very heavy weights that stimulate a significant adrenaline surge will be catabolic. The exact load will depend in how neurally efficient in the exercise. In the simplest terms, if training is above a threshold such that blood sugar rises during the activity then it is catabolic. This is why Louie Simmons regularly states that you should not psych up for big lifts and why he/Russians avoided maxing with high stakes competition lifts.

If training raises blood sugar, independent of what you ate pre-workout then muscle protein will be or has been turned into glucose. It is either the result of gluconeogenesis or glycogenolysis which will demand glucose intake and insulin, or gluconeogenesis.

Regarding the last part, I only claimed that the only plausible benefit of carbs at most training intensities and workloads was insulin release. I didn’t say it was a valid one.

Of course fat burning will increase if you train without spiking insulin with carbs, but that doesn’t void the possibility that training with insulin in your system may be beneficial in some cases-as a direct signal of protein synthesis.

Brick didn’t say kids cereal (not that they’re all bad) but I still remember a friend who was a national level powerlifter who had Froot Loops as his post workout. Lean AF.

Brick and My Post

Good point.

My reply was to xXSeraphimXx’s “a box of kids cereal”. Inadvertently, I didn’t specify that in my original post, referencing it only as “Cereal”.

Brick wasn’t clear in his reply. It appeared to me that he was referring to xXSeraphimXx’s “a box of kids cereal”.statement.

If Brick meant cereal such as oats, then I agree and stand corrected.

Thanks for pointing that out.

Kenny Croxdale


A catabolic component to training is necessary to increasing muscle mass and/or strength. Muscle tissue is traumatized and then recovers.

The end effect with a well written and executed program is an increase in muscle mass and/or strength.


High Carbohydrate Diet individuals are glucose dependent. The body runs off glucose and is inefficient at using body fat (ketones) for energy.

That means when glucose levels are low, the body converts protein into glucose, via Gluconeogensis. If not enough protein is available in the diet, it will cannibalize protein from muscle tissue. This type of catabolic state is counterproductive, as you stated.

Ensuring A Better Outcome

Two method that ensures the body does not venture into a destructive counterproductive state is…

  1. The Ketogenic Diet: The body learns to utilize ketones (fractured fats) for energy.

Research indicated (Drs Jeff Volek and Stephen Phinney/The Art and Science and Science of Low Carbohydrate Performance) that Low to Moderate Protein Intake (up to
25%), High Fat Intake (over 65%) and Low Carbohydrate Intake (50 grams or less per day) safeguards muscle mass (blocks Gluconeogenesis)

A Ketogenic Diet has been shown to increase Leucine levels. Leucine it that “Anabolic Switch” that triggers muscle growth.

My Keto Diet

I was diagnosed with Metabolic Condition about a year and a half ago. Research has shown the Ketogenic Diet is an effective tool for my condition.

As with most things, I went through a learning curve with the Ketogenic Diet and Strength Training. The end result is the I am now “Keto Adapted”. The Keto Diet and my Strength Training are now in sync. I enjoy the Keto Diet; it is second nature to me.

With that said, I am not a proponent of the Ketogenic Diet for the majority of the population. The issue is it’s…

Demanding and Restrictive

The harder you make something for someone, the less likely they are to comply and adhere to it. It takes an extremely dedicated individual to follow the Ketogenic Diet

My dedication and adherence is driven by the detrimental consequences that I face if I don’t.

Another alternative to ensure an individual become more adapt at utilizing both glucose (carbohydrates) and ketones (fats) is…

  1. Intermittent Fasting

I am a huge proponent of this method; primarily due to the ease of it. No food preparation is necessary, no work is involved. You just skip a meal every once in a while, which everyone has done at some point.

This method produces…

“Metabolic Flexibility”

The body become efficient at using and switching from glucose to ketones.


This is the dominate fat burning hormone (Epinephrine). Thus, an elevation of “Adrenline” ensure you are utilizing body fat for fuel.

In conjunction with Epinephrine, Nor-Epinephrine, Cortisol, Growth Hormone and Dopamine are elevated and assist in the “Fat Burning Process”; utilizing ketones and protecting muscle mass.

Glycolytic Energy System Sports

Athletes in sports that involve this energy system are reliant on glucose. Thus, high carbohydrates are essential for them.

However, Intermittent Fasting for this group provides them with “Metabolic Flexibility”; enabling them to utilize more ketones (fats), preserving glucose (carbohydrates). The preservation of glucose secures their energy/endurance levels later in the game.

Phosphagen and Oxidative Energy Athletes

These two groups are less dependent on glucose.

  1. Strength/Power Athletes primary fuel source is ATP.

With that in mind, here is some interesting research regarding this…

One Off Event (performed one time)

  • a 6 second sprint relies on 50% PCr and 50% anaerobic glycolysis

Source: Joe Eisenmann, PhD, National Strength and Conditioning Association Presentation

However, things things change with

Multiple Sprint training Training

Interval Sprint Training

  • Sprint 1: 40% Glycogen.

  • Sprint 6: 9% Glucose, 40% fat.

Source: SNR #82: Dr. Jacob Wilson – Ketogenic Diets, Strength & Body Composition

Take Home Message

  1. Acute Elevation in Epinephrine, Nor-Epinephrine, Cortisol, Growth Hormone and Dopamine are essential for burning body fat.

  2. The acute (short term) condition is part of the muscle building process.

  3. Chronic (long term) elevation of Cortisol, etc creates a lot of detrimental health issues

  4. Insulin suppresses fat the fat burning process.

  5. Insulin promotes “Global Growth”. It not only increases muscle mass but increased body fat, as well.

Kenny Croxdale

Perhaps not not the best choice but you can’t prove its “bad”.

However, research definitive demonstrates that simple sugars promote fat storage and block fat burning.

However, for most individual, consuming a small amount of junk food every now and then is fine.

As the saying goes, “The Poison is in the dose”.

Kenny Croxdale

100 g of sugar in one sitting would not be bad? Would the activity before and or after change this?

100 grams of JUST sugar? Anyway there are plenty of sugar free cereals. Rice Krispies, Cheerios are low sugar. And by the way, there is no real difference between fast glucose polymers and pure glucose. Rice becomes glucose within minutes and the blood sugar profile of someone eating 75 grams of rice is virtually the same as for glucose syrup.

One problem with just 100 grams of ‘sugar’ is the 50-60 grams of fructose which will tend to raise triglycerides though intense exercise could burn up fructose fast enough to prevent triglyceride formation. Another issue would be rebound hypoglycemia.
Fast carbs tend to produce two large insulin spikes and if you are active you can become hypoglycemic. High carb runners have high rates of hypoglycemia which is linked to micro vascular disease.

Not just sugar. I was still thinking in terms of a box of sugary cereal.

Edit: So, just in terms of the effects what would be the best thing to do before, during, and after a large consumption of carbs in one sitting i.e the box of kids cereal.

Go swimming. Nothing extreme. Moving around in a swimming pool is about the fastest way to make you more insulin sensitive. Jumping on a trampoline is pretty close.

What makes those activities better than say running are other cardio machines?