Simple carbs can kill muscle growth

Bodybuilders need carbs – and lots of them – to get the energy needed to get big and strong. But that’s not all: Bodybuilders also need carbs to protect muscle tissue and protein from breaking down. Carbs not only supply energy but also are anti-catabolic. But not all carbs are created equal. In fact, some might cost you muscle.

A study looked at the impact of carbohydrates on the cardiovascular system of young, lean, healthy test subjects. The subjects were given three meals in a random order, with each meal providing 50 grams of glucose, bread or pasta. Blood samples were then taken and analyzed zero, one, two, three and four hours after each carbohydrate-rich meal. Researchers found that mega-increases in blood glucose “aggravate inflammatory processes in lean, young adults. This mechanism may help to explain relations between carbohydrates, glycemic index and the risk of chronic disease.”


Although it’s common to chug a high-glycemic-index carb drink following a tough workout, be sure to be precise. Take in only the exact amount of simple carbs you need to replenish glycogen stores and trigger the optimal insulin response. And avoid ingesting simple carbs at all other times of the day as much as possible. They’ll not only make you fat but also can make you sick and ultimately kill your muscle growth.


Dickinson S, Hancock DP, Petocz P, Ceriello A, Brand-Miller J. High-glycemic index carbohydrate increases nuclear factor-kappaB activation in mononuclear cells of young, lean healthy subjects. Am J Clin Nutr. 2008 May;87(5):1188-93.

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