What's Cool In Road Cycling

Sugar Rushes, Insulin Spikes And Lopping Around The House

Training Tips – By Mike Carter –

So here we are, deep into winter. The roads are icy, full of snow or they are wet. The indoor trainer is looking more and more like a torture machine than it is a positive influence on conditioning. Holiday parties
still leave evidence of “Dun-lops Syndrome.” (You know, the ol’ belly “dun lop” -ping over your belt). In boredom, you reach for a sugar cookie or a chunk of chocolate as you search for that bit of motivation you need to swing your leg over the saddle as it sits on your bike in
your basement or garage. If you only knew what the cookie was going to do to your blood, maybe you wouldn’t reach for that tasty, quick bit of 30 second satisfaction, only to suffer the consequences for hours.

Insulin levels play a major role in our fat metabolism, and body weight. Most people do not realize that foods that cause insulin spikes are also responsible for prohibiting stored fat from being metabolized and used
as energy. If stored fat stays stored, then the net result will ultimately be a gain of those unwanted pounds. An insulin spike occurs when glycogen is dumped into the blood stream. Our bodies respond by injecting insulin into our blood stream, because insulin is needed to
get that glycogen to our muscle cells. Foods that are easily digestible, foods that convert carbohydrates into glucose quickly cause that insulin spike.

So what is the big deal with insulin? Well, the American Diabetic Association performed research on the effects of certain foods and what happens when different types of foods are consumed. Diabetics are restricted to diets low in sugar because diabetics lack insulin, the key
element to metabolizing blood sugar, or glucose that is in the blood. Since insulin is needed to metabolize glucose, the A.D.A. set out to discover what types of food result in elevated levels of insulin, and which types of foods do not. They found that foods can be categorized into a “Glycemic Index.” This index is meant to determine the rate at which carbohydrates release glucose into the bloodstream. The higher the number, the more quickly the glucose is released into the bloodstream. Pure glucose is assigned a rating of 100 on the glycemic index scale. The glycemic index is affected by how easily the food is digested, the
way the food is cooked, how processed the food is, and by the fiber, fat and protein content.

Insulin has a number of detrimental side effects. After the glucose is burned off, insulin remains in excess and this causes a signal to be sent to the hunger center of the brain. The signal sent is one that says
to eat more sugary types foods. The urge to eat more of these types of food is very tough to resist, and typically results in a cycle of eating more high glycemic foods to satisfy the urge, resulting in another insulin spike, resulting in yet another urge to eat more, and on and on.

If you are spending more time in a sedentary state than you are active, it is a good idea to consider the glycemic index of your next food choices. Foods like chick peas (36), lentils (29), soybeans (20), bulgar and buckwheat (34) have favorably low glycemic index ratings. Pasta
(60), pinto beans (60), slow cooked oatmeal (49), beets (64), green peas (56) all have mid-range glycemic index ratings. High glycemic index foods are puffed rice (133), white bread (100), carrots (92), brown rice
(82) and banana’s (79), to name few. One surprise is ice cream, which has a glycemic index of 36, due in large part to the amount of fat.

High glycemic foods do have a place in our diets. They will provide quick energy in the closing moments of a race, and research has found that if consumed within 30 minutes after exercise, high glycemic foods also aid in recovery and aid in more effective use of muscle glycogen.

Choose your food wisely. Avoid those dun-lopping causing foods when you are watching the snow-plows drive by, but be sure to do all you can for recovery from those torturous team rides that happen on those sunny
winter days!

“Nothing tastes as good as being thin feels!” Oh, those chick peas.

Mike Carter is a former top level pro, having ridden in the Tours de France, Italy, and Spain, 5 World Championships and countless other international events. Mike is now a certified cycling coach and trainer, and works with www.athleticamps.com.

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