SailorSam - Yes, can you explain the whole carb/protein balancing a little more?
Well, Iím not in any way an expert, but I do find this stuff interesting. General caveats about not being a chemist.
Here are a few givens:
1. Our cells need energy in order to contract. Important!
2. The energy packet they prefer (like Pandas prefer bamboo) is ATP
3. BUT cells can only store ~3 seconds worth of ATP inside themselvesShit!
My heart is only going to keep beating for 3 seconds!? Fear not BECAUSE our muscles can store a complex carbohydrate called glycogen.
1. Glycogen is actually a bunch of glucose molecules hooked together
2. Our cells can take a glycogen molecule, and break it back into a glucose molecule
3. Once the cell has glucose, it can break the glucose molecule into ATP
Cells have 2 different recipes for making ATP. One needs oxygen (aerobic), and one doesnít (anaerobic). This point isnít important right now, but it is fascinating!BUT
where does the muscleís glycogen come from? The magic liver!
1. The major building blocks of all the food we eat are protein molecules, fat molecules, and carbohydrate molecules.
2. When protein
and carbohydrates are digested, one of the results is glucose
2.1 Carbohydrades convert easily, protein less easily.
3. This glucose enters the blood stream through magic I don't really understand. It just does, okay?
4. The liver takes the glucose from the bloodstream, and squishes the glucose together to make a glycogen
5. If cells in the body start to get low on glycogen, the liver will convert glycogen back to glucose and send it out via the bloodstream.
6. The cells get glucose, which can be made into ATP, which keeps your heart beating, etc
In the above system, the main driver of energy is glucose, which comes from carbohydrate molecules. The process is called glycogenesis, and our bodies really like to exist in that energy state. BUT
what if the body doesnít take in enough carbohydrate molecules to keep all the cells full of energy?
1. First the cells, then the muscles, then the liver gets depleted of glycogen.
2. Once that happens, a back up energy system comes on line.
3. Instead of using glucose to make ATP, the backup system uses fatty acids to produce ATP.
4. While in Ďbackupí the liver takes fat molecules, and turns them into something called ketone bodies
5. Iím a shaky on the conversions, so donít ask, OKAY?
6. The liver sends the ketone bodies into the bloodstream, the cells snarf them up, and make ATP. Your heart keeps beating
Moral of story: if you stop eating enough carbohydrates, the muscles and liver runs out of glycogen. The liver shifts over to metabolizing fat.The plot twist(!)
, the liver doesnít really like to burn fat. It will try to limp along making glucose with minimal carbohydrates. Protein can also be used to make glucose, so if you eat enough protein even in the absence of carbs, you may stay in glycogenesis.
1. When glycogen shortage happens, the liver prioritizes the important organs, shorting the muscles and sometimes the brain
2. WHICH MEANS, carb levels that are below ideal energy but still above switching to ketosis make you tired, angry, hungry, exhausted, etc. If you've ever experienced an exercise 'bonk' then you know glycogen depletion. It's not a happy place.
That was hard. Anyone still reading?