Straight To The Carbs: How Bread Can Increase Testosterone
All Three Macros are Important
Any discussion about carbohydrates needs to include some information about fats and proteins. This is because the way your body reacts to any one of these macronutrients largely depends on the amounts of the other two in your diet.
For example, when you increase carbohydrate levels in the diet your protein requirements tend to go down. This is especially true in terms of maintaining muscle tissue. When calories per day are kept at or above maintenance, high protein diets do little to further muscle growth.
As calorie levels are lowered to below maintenance protein’s relative importance increases. At this point protein’s effectiveness at maintaining or increasing muscle tissue is greatly enhanced and the percentage of calories coming from protein can be increased.
Another example of the interaction between the macronutrients is the interplay between carbohydrates and fats in the diet. Generally, carbohydrates are a better energy source for high intensity activities. This is because short to medium duration, relatively high intensity activity is fueled by glycogen.
Glycogen is a stored form of carbohydrate that is found in the liver and muscles of the body. It provides one of the main fuel sources for anaerobic activity, the others being creatine phosphate and adenosine triphosphate.
Fat is generally a better fuel source for relatively low intensity activities like sitting, standing and walking. Regardless of the preferred fuel source, fat or carbohydrate, the body relies on these two macronutrients to meet its energy needs.
You Don’t Want Protein Used For Energy
The last thing the body wants to use for energy production is protein. The reasons for this are numerous, but one of the main ones is the complexity of protein molecules themselves. Protein molecules are difficult for the body to break down into a useable source of energy.
However, when you cut out carbohydrates or fats from the diet, the body is forced to use some of its protein stores for energy. While there are numerous places the body could get protein, organs, proteins used for enzyme production ect…., the body chooses a much less vital source for amino acids, namely the body’s muscle tissue.
The reason the body chooses muscle tissue to break down is that skeletal muscle provides a massive supply of protein that is not needed for any immediately vital processes in the body. The body can simply break down muscle tissue and replace it later when resources become available again. In many unfortunate cases, the body simply never replaces these lost proteins.
So not only will you have a less efficient source of energy to use, but you will potentially be breaking down your own muscle tissue when your carbohydrates and fats are kept too low. What’s worse is that the enzymes involved in protein metabolism are upregulated while those involved in carbohydrate and fat metabolism are downregulated.
This might sound good if you are obsessed with protein, but it’s not. It means that you will have a hard time metabolising carbohydrates and fat when you do end up re-introducing them into your diet. At this point you will have more difficulty than you otherwise would digesting and assimilating these sources of energy.
Finally, you want to get all of your macronutrients in balance because the body has well defined uses for all three macronutrients. As mentioned previously the body uses carbohydrates and fats for high and low intensity activities. The third macronutrient, protein is used in the synthesis of enzymes and body tissues.
Paradoxically, the importance of protein in the body’s essential processes is one of the main reasons carbohydrates and fats are so important. Without these vital sources of energy, proteins cannot be used for those processes they are most suited for.
You Really Do Want Carbs
As you can see by now, it doesn’t make sense to neglect any of the macronutrients in the hope of getting more of the benefits of one over the other. It’s important to work with the body and not against it. In the same way that you dont want to be fighting against yourself with your goals, you dont want to be fighting against your body with your diet.
The key to your diet on the TestShock program is to nourish the body. The combination of both micronutrients and macronutrients, in the correct quantities, eaten consistently is what allows the body to optimize its hormonal production over time.
Ultimately things like nourishing carbohydrates are going to give your body what it needs to be comfortable doing things like creating anabolic hormones such as testosterone. With any hormones you are trying to “optimize” it’s important to keep in mind that things like high testosterone are not considered essential to the body.
This is why you need to keep in mind the idea of working with your body whenever you are talking about maximizing your body or getting it to an ideal state. Not only do carbohydrates allow the body to get energy quickly, but they can actually help the body to relax as well.
Carbohydrates do this by causing the release of neurotransmitters such as serotonine. Serotonine is sued by the body to help it relax and causes subjective feelings of wellbeing. This is one of the main reasons people enjoy eating carbohydrates so much. They like to feel good. This makes sense, I mean who doesn’t like to eat carbs.
The main sources you should be focusing on are nutrient dense vegetables and whole food starches such as sweet potatoes, yams, potatoes and rice. You don’t need to concern yourself with things like being gluten free or avoiding wheat all the time.
While it’s best to get your carbohydrates from the most easily digestible sources such as yams, there is no need to be obsessive. As mentioned in the post “should I eat dessert?” Micromanaging your diet and becoming obsessive is counter productive.
If you are insulin resistant or have some type of issue with processing glucose, the advice to not worry about what you are eating may not apply. In this case you might have to experiment with lower glycemic load carbohydrates or periods of fasting.
These types of specific circumstances are beyond the scope of the article. Suffice to say, most people will not fall into this category and should regularly indulge in tasty carbohydrates. One thing I have noticed over the years is that the guys I worked with who had the most problems were the ones restricting carbohydrates.
The guys who were constantly on low carbohydrate or low calorie diets had the most problems maintaining testosterone levels and muscle mass. Pretty much all my clients that complained of either of those symptoms were in one of those two camps. Usually the guys that were eating enough were on high protein low carbohydrate diets.
Over time this was just wrecking their endocrine systems. So if you do not have a medical reason to be restricting carbohydrates I suggest eating between 30-50% of your calories from carbohydrates. For most people I recommend a 20/40/40 macronutrient split with 20% of the calories coming from protein, 40% coming from fat and 40% coming from carbohydrate.
As with most recommendations, I suggest using this as a starting point from which you can adjust based on your body. Finally, if anything I wrote causes you to over analyze your diet, forget it and go back to the basics. Agonizing over minutia will bring you no closer to your goals. And for more on your bodily needs head over to Testshock™ for more information.