This insight describes the interrelationship between carbohydrates, fats and proteins.
Each food source is used, stored and processed in different ways.
The balance of our food intake, our genetic characteristics that determine our ability to digest these sources and our activity levels, have a significant impact upon our weight and performance.
We start our journey in the stomach and digestive tract.
Here, our bodies breakdown carbohydrates, fats and proteins to be released into our blood stream.
The rate of digestion depends upon the composition of each of these food groups.
Carbohydrate GI (glycemic index) influences the rate of creation of blood sugars.
Similarly, the composition of fats (saturated, unsatured, long-chain, short-chain, etc) will influence their rate of digestion, storage and energy creation.
are broken down in glucose
Fats are broken down into Fatty Acids.
Proteins are broken down into Amino Acids.
Our blood stream acts as the delivery mechanism of glucose, fatty acids and amino acids the the many different cells within our body.
Once in the blood, glucose can be stored within cells as glycogen through Glycogensis
Similarly, glycogen can be released back into the blood stream as glucose through Glycogenolysis.
The vast majority of Glycogen is stored within our muscles, with a small amount stored in the liver.
The level of Glucose in the blood is maintained at a steady level through the increase and decrease of Insulin
, both of which are created by the pancreas.
An increase in blood glucose results in an increase in Insulin, increasing Glycogensis and storage of Glycogen.
A reduction in blood glucose results in an increase in Glucagon, increasing Glycogenolysis, releasing Glycogen and restoring blood Glucose.
If excess Glucose cannot be stored through Glycogensis, the excess is stored in fat cells as Triglycerides through a process known as de novo Lipogenisis (simply meaning creation of fats from non-fats).
Our baseline metabolism will result in Muscle Glycogen being expended to contract muscles.
Initially Muscle Glycogen is converted to Cell Acetyl-Coa through initial Glycolysis.
Cell Acetyl-Coa is then converted into ATP through the Krebs Cycle, which is used to drive muscle contraction.
The rate of conversion is dependent upon the demanded activity level.
The second part of the story involves fat.
Fatty acids in the blood can be stored in cells as Triglycerides through Lipogenisis.
The vast majority of fat is stored within our Fat cells (Adipose Tissue), with a small amount stored in muscle cells.
Fat cell Triglycerides can be released back into the Blood Stream as Fatty Acids through Lipolysis.
As with Muscle Glycogen, Triglycerides in the muscle, can be converted to Cell Acetyl-Coa to provide Muscle Power via ATP.
Our next story for fat is how is can be processed by the liver.
When Insulin levels are consistency low,
Fatty Acid Oxidation in the liver creates Liver Acetyl-Coa. This in turn creates Ketones, which are released back into the blood stream.
Insulin levels are sufficiently low through a restricted carbohydrate diet and/or a focus upon low GI food groups.
can be absorbed into muscle cells and converted into Cell Acetyl-Coa
The Cell Acetyl-Coa
is converted to ATP
, which in turn enables muscle contraction
Last in our digestive story are Proteins.
Proteins are broken down into Amino Acids in the blood stream.
The primary purpose of these amino acids is to optimise cell biology, repair and grow.
Another pathway for Amino Acids is through Gluconeogenisis.
The liver converts Amino Acids into blood glucose.
This mechanism is typically secondary to the creation of glucose through carbohydrate digestion.
As with Ketone production, Gluconeogenisis typically occurs during times of low carbohydrate digestion.
Ultimately, all of these food sources provide us with 3 ways in which muscle cells can operate.
Balancing the following aspects regulates both muscle strength (performance) and body composition (fat cell triglycerides).
1) Carbohydrate volume and GI composition
2) Fat volume and composition of MCTs and LCTs
3) Protein volume and amino acid composition
4) Activity levels regulating ATP demands and muscle capacity requirements
Balancing these factors influences the levels of Insulin and Glucagon, thereby optimising creation and storage of glucose, ketones, amino acids and triglycerides.