Carbohydrate supplements have been specially created based upon a beneficial process followed by athletes which is known as “carb loading”. Carb loading is often carried out by athletes, bodybuilders, powerlifters etc, just before a big contest or sporting event. The idea is to basically saturate the muscles, or rather the cells within the muscles, with carbohydrates, which will by then have been broken down by the body and converted into glucose and glycogen, which is basically fuel for the muscles. Think of carb loading as refuelling your muscles before an event, just as you’d refuel your car before going on a long journey. The reason why this is so beneficial is that during endurance or high intensity based exercises, 90% of an athlete’s energy comes from carbohydrates which primarily are stored as glycogen within the muscles. Carbohydrate supplements are made up of various carbohydrate sources such as dextrose, maltodextrin, and waxy maize starch. These carbohydrates are absorbed at varying rates, allowing each one to be absorbed and processed individually, rather than the body attempting, and failing, to absorb and process numerous carb sources at once.
What are the benefits of carbohydrate supplements?
Carbohydrate supplements offer users multiple benefits, with some of the more prevalent examples including the following:
They promote muscle growth
The body is an incredibly complex organism and it responds to various stimulus and nutrients in a number of ways. Carbohydrate supplements for instance, help to indirectly promote muscle growth in several ways. To begin with, the supplements work by helping to flood the muscles with glycogen, which is where we get 90% of our energy from when we train intensely, or for prolonged periods of time. The more energy we have, naturally the more we can do and therefore the more productive our workouts become. The second way in which they can help improve muscle mass is that they help to create an ‘insulin spike’ if consumed immediately following a workout. This insulin spike allows even further nutrients to be absorbed by the muscles, allowing them to begin re-growing and repairing themselves almost immediately.
They're fantastic for athletes
Athletes and carbohydrates have a very complex (no pun intended) relationship with one another. Are carbs good, are they bad? Well, it all comes down which forms of carbohydrates are consumed, and when. Carbohydrate supplements are perfect because they are fast absorbing so the necessary nutrients and energy will be pushed into the muscle cells almost instantaneously, this in turn carries over into an increased rate of performance on the running track, the sports field, in the gym or anywhere else for that matter. Not only that, but they also prevent muscle wastage and breakdown following intense workouts and spells of physical activity.
They're great for people looking to bulk up
Not everybody strives to lose fat and trim down, some people deliberately look to improve their body mass for athletic or health reasons perhaps. People looking to bulk up and build muscle mass for example, will need to consume carbohydrates alongside proteins and even healthy fats as well. Carbohydrate supplements are easy to consume, you can easily track exactly how many carbs you’re consuming, and help to promote increases in muscle mass whilst keeping body fat percentages under control.
How should they be consumed?
Though the amounts consumed should vary depending on your overall goals and targets, generally speaking, experts recommend consuming two scoops mixed with water 3 – 4 times daily, in between meals, never with meals. For females or individuals with smaller body masses, the serving size can be reduced to 1.5 scoops instead.
Are there any side effects or dangers to be wary of?
Always read the ingredients label on any new product to check whether or not the supplement contains ingredients you may or may not be allergic to. Always use as instructed and never exceed the recommended daily dosage. Individuals sensitive to sugar and those suffering from diabetes may find the product not suitable for them. Overconsumption can lead to spikes in blood sugar levels and insulin and too much could lead to individuals suffering from type 2 Diabetes so never exceed the recommended daily dosage. Excessive consumption may also lead to weight gain. If any negative side effects are recorded whilst using this supplement, immediately discontinue use and seek medical advice.