Intricacies Of The Glycemic Index

The bodybuilder looking to gain the most from his/her training, the glycemic index is pretty familiar territory. Most of us understand the differences between low and high, which foods are high or low...
For the bodybuilder looking to gain the most from his/her training, the glycemic index is pretty familiar territory. Most of us understand the differences between low and high, which foods are high or low. We go to great lengths to make sure we do everything right with the glycemic index in hopes to manage our insulin levels in a way that will maximize out gains in muscle and hopefully not in fat.

My Rules

I personally am a strict follower of the basic rules of the glycemic index an have seen great improvements since I started doing so. The one thing that seems to come up more and more is the fact that when most people do this, they can eat the same amount of food and calories and actually loose body fat. That's great and I had just accepted that fact that it could be done. However, one question that always haunts me, no matter what the situation, is "Why?"

Well I've done my homework once again and I think that I may have an answer. I've come across a string of studies that play off of each other and the final one looked into the very matter. The first two studies I came across looked at if consuming a diet had any effect on the size of adipocytes (fat cells), overall fat tissue and bodyweight. The study compared diabetic subjects vs. normal subjects. This aspect made me weary at first, because 9/10 things turn out to work better for diabetics than for the healthy ones. That wasn't the case here.

Normal subjects had lower levels of body fat. It wasn't much, but it was enough to note. However, the actual size of the adipose cells was dramatically smaller. Also the amount of glucose and insulin tended to be lower, which is really just verification the GI is pretty accurate. What was most interesting to me was that in both diabetic and healthy subjects, Glucose was converted into fat much faster as a result of the high GI diets. So the results are pretty clear.

Say What?

But here is the kicker, the scientists noted that there was no difference in bodyweight between the normal or diabetic subjects or the two diets. If there is one thing that scientists need to learn, it's how to communicate so everyone can understand what you are saying. So, lets think about this - the normal rats on the low GI diet reduced their size of the fat cells and reduced overall body fat tissue, but didn't loose any weight. What exactly does this mean?

They lost fat, but gained muscle mass in the process? WITHOUT EXERCISE. So the results are pretty conclusive here. Diets that are comprised of a lot of foods high on the glycemic index result in higher amounts of fat accumulation. Where as the foods lower on the glycemic index seem to reduce fat while slightly increasing muscle mass. Now, it is interesting to note that it is almost a biblical rule for bodybuilders who are "bulking" to eat a lot of potatoes and rice. And these are foods that are very high on h glycemic index. Maybe it's no coincidence that bodybuilders expect to gain body fat while bulking?

Now the last study is the one that answered my question, why? And it answered it very well. This study dug deeper than any study has yet to dig in regards to the glycemic index. They didn't just look at gains and losses of various tissues. They didn't stop at hormonal interactions. They even went past the cellular level interaction and went right to the source. They looked at DNA and gene expression! More specifically, they looked at not only the expression of the genes that make the enzymes responsible for fat metabolism, but also the overall activity of those enzymes as a result of the two diets.

The Two Enzymes

Now, to set so base information, there are two basic enzymes that are the nuts and bolts of fat metabolism. The first, Lipoprotein Lipase is the one that breaks fat down into triglycerides for various functions in the body. The second, Fatty Acid Synthase is the one responsible for making new fat cells and storing energy in them. It makes fat in other words. So what happened?

Well the diets comprised of high glycemic carbs resulted in an over expression of the gene that is responsible for the creatine of fatty acid synthase. That means that there was more of this "fat making" enzyme around. And surprisingly, this was seen only in healthy subjects, not diabetic. Not only were their more of these guys floating around, but they were highly active. More than 160% more active in healthy subjects than in diabetic! That's a double death; tons of "fat makers" hard at work.

What about the other enzyme you ask? Well that is the good news. The researchers found there to be no difference between the diets or subject health status regarding the lipoprotein lipase enzyme. That means that there was no increase in gene expression, nor was there an increase in activity of the existing enzymes. However, they also concluded that the Low GI foods may have a slight inhibitory effects resulting in a moderate "nutrient partitioning" effect. Which means the calories we eat go where we want them and not were we don't.

The Effects

Well folks it doesn't get much more conclusive than that. The effects of high glycemic foods on body composition go way beyond just the amount of glucose or insulin in response to the food you eat. They literally changes how our body operates at a genetic level, and basically screw with our DNA! And once again, my theory on building muscle and loosing fat is possible is proven a very obtainable possibility. A simple change in the type of food you eat will have a great impact.

There's no need to be "carbo-phobic" and go on a keto diet... unless you actually like it. There's really no need to expect gains in fat while bulking. And you don't even need to "diet" to loose body fat. I won't guarantee that you can eat 4,000 calories and walk on stage, but you know what I mean. And yes, you can eat starches, in fact starch was the carb of choice in all of these studies. However, you must be particular about the kinds you eat. So brush up on your glycemic index listings.

Works Cited: I train MAX-OT Style (Are you happy Xtreme4Life?)

1. Morvarid Kabir, Salwa W. Rizkalla, Annie Quignard-Boulang鬠Mich鬥 Guerre-Millo, Josette Boillot, Bernadette Ardouin, Jing Luo, and G鲡rd Slama A High Glycemic Index Starch Diet Affects Lipid Storage-Related Enzymes in Normal and to a Lesser Extent in Diabetic Rats J. Nutr. 1998 128: 1878-1883.

2. Kabir M., Rizkalla S. W., Champ M., Luo J., Boillot J., Bruzzo F., Slama G. Dietary amylose-amylopectin starch content affects glucose and lipid metabolism in adipocytes of normal and diabetic rats. J. Nutr. 1998; 128:35-43

3. Lerer-Metzger M., Rizkalla S. W., Luo J., Champ M., Kabir M., Bruzzo F., Bornet F., Slama G. Effect of long-term low-glycaemic index starchy food on plasma glucose and lipid concentration and adipose tissue cellularity in normal and diabetic rats. Br. J. Nutr 1996; 75:723-732