Consuming the proper nutrition after a workout is crucial to support your body’s recovery and maximize gains. Among the various options, high glycemic index (GI) carbohydrates stand out as an effective and essential choice for post-workout nutrition. In this guide, we closely examine high GI carbohydrates, explain why you should give them a test run as post-workout fuel, and share our favorite high GI carbohydrate to consume after an intense workout.
What are high GI carbohydrates?
High GI carbohydrates are high glycemic carbs, a category of food containing a significant proportion of sugar that is quickly digested and absorbed in the body.
The glycemic index ranks carbs according to the amount they raise blood sugar compared to the equivalent amount of pure sugar. This metric is designed to help people understand how the food they eat will affect their bodies. A food with a GI of 30 raises blood sugar 30% as much as pure glucose, while a GI of 90 acts almost like pure glucose. High GI carbohydrates quickly spike blood sugar, and low GI foods have a smaller and slower impact.
For reference, low GI foods measure a GI of 55 or less and include most fruits and vegetables, legumes, nuts, and nominally processed grains. Moderate GI foods range from 56 to 69, including corn, sweet potatoes, and white rice. High GI foods measure 70 and up, including white bread, cakes, doughnuts, and candy.
For most people in most circumstances, it is healthiest to choose foods with a low GI, go easy with moderate GI food, and avoid high GI food. For people with diabetes, paying attention to GI scales and keeping blood sugar levels as even as possible is crucial. However, there is a context in which consuming high GI carbs is necessary to maintain optimal health – after an intense workout.
How does consuming high GI Carbs benefit you post-workout?
Glycogen is a stored form of sugar and a primary fuel source for your body. On an average day, the glycogen stores in your body remain full. During an intense and prolonged workout, such as a long-distance run or heavy-weight day at the gym, your body uses up all the glycogen stored. If all of the glycogen is depleted during a workout, you will feel tired and metaphorically hit a wall or “bonk.” It feels like all of a sudden, you do not have any energy left because you do not. Research shows that handgrip strength will plummet, and performance in sprints, for example, will drop. The longer your glycogen stores remain empty, the longer they will take to refill, and the longer you will feel completely exhausted.
To maximize athletic performance and minimize fatigue, it is crucial to properly fuel your body before, during, and after intense exercise. Consuming high GI carbohydrates after a workout is beneficial because it spikes insulin, replenishes muscle glycogen, and repairs muscle tissue. Insulin helps speed the delivery and absorption of nutrients, reduces muscle breakdown, and improves net protein balance. After an intense workout, the body efficiently uses high GI carbs to repair muscles and build strength. The faster you can replenish glycogen, the better off your muscles will be, and the faster and smoother your recovery will go.
What kinds of high GI carbs should I eat after working out?
What you consume immediately after a workout is just as important as the workout itself. As we have discussed, consuming high GI carbs is essential. Research suggests that consuming high GI carbs in the form of glucose plus fructose will replete both the muscle and liver glycogen most efficiently. Technically, something like a berry-filled donut would fit the high GI criteria, but you would miss out on valuable nutrients like vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and amino acids that take recovery to the next level.
To make the most of your high GI carb consumption, enjoy our Recover Post-Workout Supplement Gummies. These gummies are made from premium, high-quality ingredients that are gluten-free and junk free. They contain a BCAA blend to support muscle growth, a vitamin B complex to facilitate energy storage, ginger to minimize oxidative stress and muscle soreness, and a complementary carbohydrate complex to rapidly recharge muscle cells. They were developed by a group of Ph.D. scientists and medical professionals who are also moms, dads, runners, athletes, and multi-taskers.
To take your workout to the next level, shop Seattle Gummy Company sports gummies today!