Many fitness magazines and consequently gym-goers have long recommended ingesting sugary drinks or foods directly after a workout. The thought process behind this advice was that the consumption of these items would result in a higher blood glucose level and thus an increased insulin level. Insulin’s role in the body is mainly to store glucose as fat but it is also highly anabolic, which is why it may seem beneficial to “Insulin Spike” directly after a workout.
For the most part this is a myth, however there is a little truth to the old advice. There was recently a study done which compared insulin levels after eating two different meals. One consisted of high protein and low carbohydrate while the other consisted of high carbohydrate and low protein. Both of these meals consisted of 675 calories.
As you can see from the graph, the high protein meal actually resulted in a slightly higher, but statistically insignificant, insulin response. So as long as you are getting adequate protein in your diet, which you should be doing, you needn’t worry.
Furthermore, it was found in a study conducted in 2007 that an increased co-ingestion of carbohydrates (including glucose), did not increase muscle protein synthesis given adequate protein consumption. So next time after hitting the weights, don’t worry too much about getting your sugar.
Relevant Studies: http://ajpendo.physiology.org/content/293/3/E833.long
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