047. Carbohydrates – Friend or Foe? – The World Of Muscle

047. Carbohydrates – Friend or Foe?


What are carbohydrates?

What do the different types do for you?

Can you handle them?

Randy goes through the history of carbohydrates and their role in the past and how that role has gone through ups and downs both for him and in the words of the media and the medical field.

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The World of Muscle

Link: www.theworldofmuscle.com

Hosts: Randy Roach and Tamas Acs

Episode #47

In This Episode:

Simple Carbohydrates



Complex carbohydrates



Their rise in popularity

Their pitfalls

Early carbohydrate knowledge

The Specific Carbohydrate Diet

Related Links:

Specific Carbohydrate Foods – by Matthew Legge at ATP Science:

Episode Summary and Updating:

Randy and Tamas chose the macronutrient, carbohydrate for discussion because it has been a compound overstated, understated and maligned especially over the past 40 years

Much hyperbole surrounds carbohydrates and most people do not accurately understand them

As Tamas stated, they have often been touted as your best friend and then your worst enemy

Randy added that he also has some doubts concerning carbohydrate research that he would mention later in the show

Randy had been studying carbohydrates since the early 1980s when he researched the subject of nutrition for school presentations

He said because he couldn’t see well enough to use cheat notes he had to know his subject material well enough to speak on it for nearly an hour

Much of this information has stayed with him all through the years

During that period of the early 1980s carbohydrates were becoming very popular due to the fat hysteria filtering through the media

Randy said that there has been confusion by many in using carbohydrate terminology regarding what are classified as simple and complex carbohydrates

Simple carbs have been labeled as refined sugar while complex carbs have been associated with whole grains

These statements are not necessarily wrong, but there is just a bit more to it

Refined sugars such as cane sugar (table sugar) and high-fructose corn syrup do contain simple carbohydrates but so do fruits as well

Simple carbohydrates are known as monosaccharide’s and disaccharide’s

The three prominent monosaccharide’s are: glucose, fructose and galactose

Glucose is the blood sugar found in the body, fructose in fruits and galactose in milk

The three monosaccharide’s bind to form the disaccharide’s: sucrose, lactose and maltose

Glucose and fructose form the disaccharide sucrose (table sugar)

Glucose and galactose bond to form the disaccharide lactose found in milk

Two glucose molecules bond to form the disaccharide maltose

Glucose is a part of all simple and complex carbohydrates

Glucose is composed of carbon, hydrogen and oxygen with its structure formed out of six carbon atoms
Another simple sugar known in the bodybuilding community is ribose, but it is a five carbon structure associated with ATP, DNA and RNA

Simple sugars are found in fruits in the form of fructose and sucrose

Complex carbohydrates are known as polysaccharides and oligosaccharides

These carbohydrates are composed of long chains of glucose

Oligosaccharides such as raffinose are found in soy and are more difficult for the body to handle

Polysaccharides such as starch are more commonly associated with our diets

Non starchy polysaccharides are cellulose and pectin

It was originally believed that simple sugars raised the blood sugar glucose levels quicker than complex carbohydrates until the arrival of the glycemic index in the early 1980s

It was found that polysaccharides such as starch could raise the blood sugar quite quickly compared to milk sugar and a number of fruits

The term glycemic load was also introduced which was a measure of just how much of the carbohydrate was being delivered into the bloodstream

The glycemic index was also dramatically effected by what foods were consumed along with the carbohydrates

Randy reiterated how it was in the early 1980s that carbohydrate consumption increased dramatically due to the heavily reported dangers of dietary animal fats and cholesterol

There was no social media back then but the fat hysteria was broadcast loudly through television, radio, newspapers and magazines

With the fat scare raging and fats being eliminated from the western diet, those fat calories had to be replaced and only so much protein could fill the void so carbohydrates picked up the slack

Carbohydrate consumption rose to become 60% to 80% of total calories depending on a number of factors such as gender and activities

It has been Randy’s experience that he has found that women tended to eat more carbohydrates than men

Many knew books popped on the scene during the 1980s touting a much higher intake of carbohydrates

Robert Hass wrote Eat to Win and Eat to Succeed, Harvey Diamond released his Fit For Life series which brought to popularity a vegetarian and vegan way of eating

Tamas mentioned what an industrial bonanza this new paradigm ushered in as carbohydrate foods were easy and cheap to produce, not to mention, what a long shelf life many of them had

Randy stated that the problem was that proceeding through the 1980s and 1990s many people were eating more and more processed/refined carbohydrates thus creating more health issues and certainly no resolve to obesity

The bodybuilding diet also took a big change in the direction of more carbohydrates compared to the previous 100 years

The effectiveness of lowering carbohydrates for weight loss went back to William Banting’s Letter on Corpulence in the early 1860s

Banting could not lose weight on any regimen until Dr. William Harvey put him on a low carbohydrate diet that shed almost 50 pounds from Banting

On the bodybuilding front, Al Treloar released his book, The Science of Muscular Development in 1904

In 1906, Adolph Nordquest (aka Young Sandow) published his own book, Strength and Health

Both men at that time had a certain grasp of controlling carbohydrates when attempting to lose weight

Tamas reminded readers that Muscle, Smoke & Mirrors, Volume I covered all the dietary strategies at the turn of the 20th century including Randy’s two dietary templates LV (Lacto-Vegetarian) and HPF (High Protein and Fat)

Randy made mention of Vilhjalmur Stefansson’s stint in Bellevue Hospital in New York in 1928 in order to prove to the medical community that one could survive without carbohydrates

Nonetheless, others in the medical field new that a carbohydrate free diet would remedy juvenile epilepsy

the brain would function fine off of ketones as well as glucose

Ketones are two-carbon break down products of fatty acids

Due to the Lipid Hypothesis (fat and cholesterol cause heart disease )campaign beginning in 1956 the push for higher carbohydrates did in fact begin much earlier than most realize but it was the decade of the 1980s that saw their explosion into western diets

Randy brought up how carbohydrates directly effect insulin and insulin is a storage hormone meaning it facilitates the uptake of nutrients into the cells

If there is more carbohydrate in the bloodstream than needed for fuel or glycogen storage in muscle and the liver then excess carbohydrate will easily be stored as fat

So lowering fat intake and increasing carbohydrate intake did not solve any obesity issues

Tamas said that some do better with carbohydrates than others

Randy conceded that he likes carbohydrates but they do not like him

His body responds rapidly to a lowered carbohydrate intake as he reminded listeners of his experience back in 1994-1995 when he switched to eating primarily animal products

Randy made mention of another slam on carbohydrates, that being Advanced Glycation End-products (AGES) and acrylamides

AGEs are a cross-linked toxic byproduct of glucose reacting with proteins and fats that allegedly increase the aging process

Randy stated that he took issue with this because when viewed historically carbohydrate consumption has always been there and there are no real notable life-span differences when compared with low carbohydrate eating cultures

Randy did say however there may be more legitimate concerns with acrylamides which form when frying, roasting or toasting foods to the point of browning

Tamas and Randy both agreed that the more you complicate things the more stress is brought into the human equation

Randy said he really has to pay attention to what carbohydrates he eats and when he eats them

He is very sensitive to these foods and if he is not careful they can really bring him down physically and mentally

He also has a much harder time controlling the volume of carbohydrates compared to raw animal products

Tamas then threw Randy under the bus by divulging how fast he saw Randy down an entire pizza

Randy confessed that if he orders pizza he will typically get a vegetarian pizza with no cheese or commercial meats

A lady friend will also make them a gluten free, organic vegetarian pizza where at times they will add raw cheddar

Randy also stated that for many, especially in bodybuilding, the right amount of carbohydrate intake at the right time can have a dramatic effect on the body in terms of pulling water into the muscles and not under the skin

Carbohydrate loading the muscles is a hit and miss craft in a number of fields of athletics

Although Randy is primarily a raw food eater he still includes some cooked starchy carbohydrates in his diet

He knows the carbohydrates that he has to stay away from and those he needs to minimize such as when he has his vegetarian pizza

People have to be honest with their own bodies and listen and feel the impact of eating carbohydrates, when they eat them and how much they consume

Randy admitted that he will often eat some refined carbohydrates in order to create an insulin response

Randy reminded listeners that when eating more refined carbohydrates for muscle loading that all the nutrients originally found in a whole grain have been stripped away thus not available to assist in the assimilation of the starch

He said if you eat a good nutrient dense diet that you can get away with a limited amount of this practice

Bodybuilders use carbohydrates as a tool

Tamas brought up the fact that we cannot digest fibre (cellulose) and many people suffer from excessive consumption of fibre

Degenerative bowel disease such as irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), colitis, Crohn’s disease, diverticulitis and enteritis are very prevalent conditions in western culture

Tamas then mentioned the Specific Carbohydrate Diet promoted by Elaine Gottschal in her own book, Breaking the Vicious Cycle

The Specific Carbohydrate Diet calls for a significant switch from complex carbohydrates to simple carbohydrates alleviating GI tract irritation and inflammation with the reduction of fibre

Randy had read both of Elaine Gottschal’s books Breaking the Vicious Cycle (1994) and Food and The Gut Reaction published first in 1987

Randy recalled that there were still too many foods in her protocols that he could not tolerate

Tamas read off a list of foods to avoid and foods that were good on this diet

This list of foods can be viewed at the link provided above under Related Links

The discussion on bowel disease prompted Randy to tell of former Muscle mag Int. editor, Greg Zulak who had suffered from colitis terribly in the early 1980s

Randy and Greg had determined that the odds were pretty good that they had overlapping stays at St. Michaels Hospital in Toronto during the very early 1980s

Randy was in several times for eye surgery while Greg was dealing with his colitis

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Jim Bryan

Another good Podcast! Going to get me a pizza!

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