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  Click here to go to the first staff post in this thread.   Thread: Canning the 6 meals, 'clean' eating, the Post Workout Anabolic Window and GI myths

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    Default Canning the 6 meals, 'clean' eating, the Post Workout Anabolic Window and GI myths

    I have compiled a mix of biological, physiology information, articles and studies etc that will hopefully give everyone an understanding on the body's digestion processes, maconutrient functions and insulin responses and some other useful facts.

    That in turn will clear up the myths of needing to eat 6 meals a day every 3 hours for metabolic function and 'keeping protein up', that identical macronutients/ calories from your typical 'clean' and 'dirty' are the SAME (Yes micronutrients - vitamins and minerals - content will vary but that is not the point of this) and that the GI of carbohydrates and the typical thoughts on their insulin response is of little meaning once a mix of multiple macronutrients is added.

    Please note that how your body reacts in a 'fed' state (with food) compared to a 'fast' state (without food) is different. Many of the typically 'bodybuilding' and 'broscience' protocols, that as a few people tend to promote as being 'done for 20,30 or even 40 years and that is why it works' , are and have been based on either lack of understanding of the digestive system as well as focusing on studies that have been done after a fasting period and or a fasting period followed by exercise.

    To expand on that more, when a Fast (usually 24 hours) is done, our metabolic rate actually INCREASES, see link to studies -

    Enhanced thermogenic response to epinephrine after... [Am J Physiol. 1990] - PubMed result

    Resting energy expenditure in short-term starvatio... [Am J Clin Nutr. 2000] - PubMed result

    Our metabolic rate does not DROP until between the 60-92 hour mark. See link to study -

    Leucine, glucose, and energy metabolism after 3 da... [Am J Clin Nutr. 1987] - PubMed result

    As you will read, you should be able to see why due to the digestion process why we are continuously in a 'fed' state and how all the 'myths' simple hold no bearing and are of no relevance. Most times the only real application some of the typical 'bodybuilding' protocols are if you have completed a 'fast' and then going to train or have a number of back to back events in the same day.

    Before moving on to the info, I must say that if you want to eat 6 times a day and every 3 hours, YOU CAN but YOU DON'T NEED TO. If you want to eat 'clean', YOU CAN but YOU DON'T NEED TO. If you want to go by the GI, YOU CAN but YOU DON'T NEEDED TO. This is merely for the understanding that for body composition, those sorts of minor details and protocols DO NOT determine what your BODY COMPOSITION is/ will be.





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    Default How long does it take food to digest - Overview

    Food digestion varies depending upon the type of food. I will break down the process into its steps and provide a timeline for each step.

    First we see the food. This stimulates our brain to ready our stomach to receive food, by increasing gastric secretions. Then, we eat the food. Amylase is a digestive enzyme in our saliva that helps to break down carbohydrates. Mechanical manipulation by chewing breaks the food into smaller pieces which provide more surface area. This increased surface area helps the enzymes in the small intestine absorb the nutrients in our food better. This is why it is important to chew your food well. Next, we swallow and food arrives at the stomach.

    The stomach is responsible for further mechanical breakdown of food and some chemical breakdown. Proteins are broken down by pepsinogen into peptide chains and fat is broken by gastric lipase (to help you navigate through these terms, any word with “ase” at the end generally denotes an enzyme responsible for some kind of digestion). When food has been through the stomach, it becomes chyme; an acidic mixture of hydrochloric acid from our stomach, pepsinogen, lipase and amylase. The entrance to the small intestine from the stomach is controlled by the pyloric sphincter; a controlled doorway that prevents too much chyme from entering the small intestine at once.

    The duodenum is the first part of the small intestine. The duodenum’s job is to neutralize the acidic chyme before allowing it to continue through the rest of the small intestine by way of bicarbonate from pancreatic juice. The food then enters the jejunum, the part of the small intestine that is responsible for the majority of nutrient absorption. Fat, peptides and carbohydrates are further broken down by enzymes into units that are small enough to be transferred in the bloodstream to the target organs. The primary fuel the body needs to run properly is glucose; so much of the food is broken down and recombined into glucose.

    At this point, the food has spent between 30 minutes and 2 hours in the stomach and between 2 and 6 hours in the small intestine and 90% of the nutrients have been extracted. The left over material has lots of water and sodium left in it. The body wants to reclaim these substances before defecation; food takes 72 hours to be processed in the large intestine. The jobs of the large intestine are to reclaim the water from the food, reclaim the sodium from the food, and provide healthy bacteria to ferment fiber that has not been digested. This fermentation provides nutrients to keep the cells in the large intestines healthy. Fiber that has not been digested adds bulk to the waste products to facilitate elimination.


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    Default Fates of Ingested Nutrients: Oxidation or Storage

    So what happens after nutrients get through the stomach and intestines and into the body? Broadly speaking, there are two primary fates for nutrients at this point which are oxidation or storage. A third that I should at least mention is that, under certain conditions, nutrients will sort of ’sit’ in the bloodstream either causing problems there or eventually being excreted in the urine. Outside of various pathophysiologies (e.g. runaway diabetes where glucose is lost in the urine in large amounts), the urine excretion route is generally minimal approaching insignificant and I won’t focus on it further here.

    Oxidation simply refers to the direct burning of fuels for energy. This can occur in the liver, skeletal muscle and a few others places and all 4 macronutrients can strictly speaking undergo oxidation after ingestion. So fatty acids from dietary fat ingestion can be used to produce energy, carbohydrate can be burned off, a little appreciated fact is that under normal circumstances as much as half of all dietary protein ingested gets metabolized in the liver via a process called deamination with some of it simply being burned off for energy.

    Storage should be fairly clear and the nutrients (with the exception of alcohol) can be ’stored’ in the body for later use. Carbohydrates can be stored as liver or muscle glycogen, under rare circumstances they are converted to and stored as fat. Dietary fat is stored either in fat cells or can be stored within muscle as intra-muscular triglyceride (IMTG). Under certain pathological conditions, fat gets stored in places it’s not supposed to go, a situation called ectopic fat storage. In a very real sense there’s no true store of dietary protein although amino acids from protein digestion are used to make various proteins and hormones in the body. Skeletal muscle is, in essence, a ’store’ of protein in the body.

    As it turns out, the size of a nutrient’s store in the body is inversely related to the body’s propensity to oxidize it after ingestion. This is especially true in terms of the size of the store relative to the amount consumed on a daily basis.

    Put a little more clearly, the better the body’s ability to store a given nutrient, the less it tends to alter/increase oxidize that nutrient after ingestion. And vice versa, the smaller the store in the body of a given nutrient relative to intake levels, the more likely the body is to oxidize that nutrient after ingestion.


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    Default Protein

    The body’s total protein stores (and note again that this isn’t a true store in the sense of body fat and glycogen) is maybe 10-15kg or so when you add it all up. Which is pretty high compared to an average daily intake. The ‘RDI’ for protein is only about 50-60 grams per day for the average person and even people eating 200-300 grams per day are still eating far less protein than stored. Which is why protein oxidation rates can change with intake.

    As mentioned above, an under-appreciated fact is that about half of all ingested dietary protein is metabolized in the liver. Some of it is oxidized for energy while others are converted into other things (including glucose and ketones) for use elsewhere. But, protein oxidation rates do change in response to intake. So, when protein intake goes up, oxidation will increase; when protein intake goes down, oxidation rates decrease. This change isn’t immediate (as it more or less is for carbohydrates) and takes 3-9 days to occur but mis-understanding of this process has led to some goofy ideas such as protein cycling.

    It also explains one other issue of importance to protein which has to do with speed of digestion. Early studies, including the oft-cited study on whey and casein by Boirie find that fast proteins are burned off for energy to a greater degree than slower digesting proteins. Since the body doesn’t have anywhere to store the rapidly incoming amino acids, it simply burns off more for energy. This, along with differences in handling e.g. the fact that fast proteins are absorbed by the gut are a big part of why slower digesting proteins invariably lead to better overall protein retention in the body; not only does more make it into the bloodstream but less is burned for fuel.


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    Default Protein Digestion

    Protein hits the stomach where digestion and breakdown occurs via hydrochloric acid and the enzyme pepsinogen.

    The majority of protein digestion occurs in the small intestine where protein is broken down into smaller and smaller amino acid (AA, the building blocks of protein) chains via a variety of protein digesting enzymes. You can think of proteins as being a long chain of the AAs, the enzymes basically act like scissors, cutting the chains into smaller and smaller bits.
    Prior to absorption into the bloodstream, whole proteins have been broken down to provide single AAs along with two and three AA chains (called di- and tri-peptides); further breakdown occurs in the intestinal cells themselves, finally releasing individual amino acids into the bloodstream.

    Generally speaking, AA chains larger than three in length will not be absorbed to any appreciable degree. Note that occasionally very small amounts of longer amino acid chains can slip through and this is especially the case in situations like leaky gut syndrome where the normal functioning of the gut has been compromised.

    This is actually a very bad thing as the body tends to launch immune/allergic responses to the presence of undigested protein in the bloodstream; which is a big part of why the gut is set up to not allow larger protein chains into the bloodstream under normal circumstances.

    Related to this is a recurrent idea, usually in sports nutrition, of supplements containing protein based hormones such as Growth Hormone (GH), Insulin-Like Growth Factor 1 (IGF-1) or others being orally consumed. This can’t work due to the way human digestion of protein works, such peptide hormones will simply be digested in the gut and lose their biological availability.

    Put this a different way: major pharmaceutical companies have been trying to make an oral insulin (another protein based hormone) for diabetic treatment and have basically given up on it; it took weirdly functioning drugs and there were huge problems with implementation. If the big drug companies haven’t figured out how to do it, neither has the protein powder company claiming it in their ads.


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    Default Digestibility

    Food Source Protein Digestibility (%)
    Egg 97
    Milk and Cheese 97
    Mixed US Diet 96
    Peanut Butter 95
    Meat and Fish 94
    Whole Wheat 86
    Oatmeal 86
    Soybeans 78
    Rice 76
    Source: National Research Council. Recommended Dietary Allowances, 10th ed. National Academy Press, 1989.

    Speed of Digestion

    One researcher collected what is available –

    Protein Absorption Rate (g/hour)
    Raw Egg Protein * 1.4
    Cooked Egg Protein * 2.9
    Pea Protein 3.5
    Milk Protein 3.5
    Soy Protein Isolate 3.9
    Casein Isolate 6.1
    Whey Isolate 8-10
    Tenderloin Pork Steak * 10.0

    * Measurements marked with an asterisk should be considered as the roughest estimates as the studies used indirect measurements of protein digestion.

    Clearly there is a large variety for protein digestion rates although, as noted, some of the above values should be taken as very rough estimates.

    Note again that this has some implication for the idea that you must eat protein every three hours. With the exception of whey, where 40 grams of protein would take roughly 4 hours for complete absorption), all proteins listed would still be digesting for far longer than the magic 3 hour period.

    Most whole food proteins were on the slow end of the digestion scale. This actually makes perfect sense. Whole food proteins are generally contained within a matrix of connective tissue and such (e.g. think of the chewing that you have to put into eating meats such as beef, tuna, or chicken) and that alone will slow the process of digestion down.


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    Default Fat

    Body fat stores are effectively unlimited as individuals reaching 1000 lbs (and 70-80% body fat) have demonstrated. Even a relatively lean male at 180 lbs and 12% body fat is carrying 21 pounds of fat. Each pound contains maybe 400 grams of actual stored fat and that means about 8500 grams of fat stored in the body. Contrast this to a relatively high daily intake of perhaps 100-150 grams per day and you can see that the body’s store of fat is much, much higher than what you eat on a day. And most people aren’t 12% body fat.

    But for the most part, ingested dietary fat has little impact on fat burning in the body; that is, when you eat dietary fat, your body doesn’t increase fat oxidation. One exception is if an absolutely massive amount of fat (like 80 g) is consumed all at once but even then the effect is fairly mild. Some specific fats, notably medium chain triglycerides, are somewhat of an exception to this; they are oxidized in the liver directly. Rather, the primary controller of dietary fat oxidation in the body is how many carbohydrates you’re eating.

    Fat Digestion

    Fats and other lipids do not dissolve in water, instead they tend to congeal together and line the stomach. This separation from water within the stomach makes it much harder for the lipase enzymes to start the breakdown process. The liver is then forced to product bile which aides in the digestion process (by this time has passed into the small intestine where much of the digestion process occurs) as is both water and fat soluble. It can be over 4 hours for fat to pass through to final digestional process.


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    Default Carbohydrate

    For carbohydrate, the body’s stores are relatively close to the daily intake. A normal non-carb loaded person may store 300-400 grams of muscle glycogen, another 50 or so of liver glyogen and 10 or so in the bloodstream as free glucose. So let’s say 350-450 grams of carbohydrate as a rough average.

    For this reason, the body is extremely good at modulating carbohydrate oxidation to carbohydrate intake. Eat more carbs and you burn more carbs (you also store more glycogen); eat less carbs and you burn less carbs (and glycogen levels drop). This occurs for a variety of reasons including changing insulin levels (fructose, for example, since it doesn’t raise insulin, doesn’t increase carbohydrate oxidation) and simple substrate availability. And, as it turns out, fat oxidation is basically inversely related to carbohydrate oxidation.

    So when you eat more carbs, you burn more carbs and burn less fat; eat less carbs and you burn less carbs and burn more fat. And don’t jump to the immediate conclusion that lowcarb diets are therefore superior for fat loss because lowcarb diets are also higher in fat intake (generally speaking). You’re burning more fat, but you’re also eating more.


    Carbohydrate Digestion

    All carbohydrates absorbed in the small intestine must be hydrolyzed to monosaccharides prior to absorption. The digestion of starch begins with the action of salivary alpha-amylase/ptylin, although their activity is slight in comparison with that made by pancreatic amylase in the small intestine. Amylase hydrolyzes starch to alpha-dextrin, which are then digested by gluco-amylase (alpha-dextrinases) to maltose and maltotriose. The products of digestion of alpha-amylase and alpha-dextrinase, along with dietary disaccharides are hydrolyzed to their corresponding monosaccharides by enzymes (maltase, isomaltase, sucrase and lactase) present in the brush border of small intestine. In the typical Western diet, digestion and absorption of carbohydrates is fast and takes place usually in the upper small intestine. However, when the diet contains carbohydrates not easily digestible, digestion and absorption take place mainly in the ileal portion of the intestine.
    Continue the digestion of food while their simplest elements are absorbed. The absorption of most of digested food occurs in the small intestine through the brush border of the epithelium covering the villi. Carbohydrates that are not digested in the small intestine, including resistant starch foods such as potatoes, beans, oats, wheat flour, as well as several non-polisacacáridos oligosaccharides and starch, are digested in a variable when they reach the large intestine.


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    Fibre

    Fibre slows gastric emptying because Soluble fibers tend to form a gel-like substance in liquids and one consequence of a high soluble fiber intake is that gastric emptying (the rate at which foods empty the stomach) is slowed when they are eaten. Basically, they cause the chyme (the partially digested nutrients in the gut) to form this big gel which empties the stomach more slowly. This, along with the physical stretching of the stomach tends to keep people fuller in the longer term because the food stays in the gut longer.

    Sugars

    All forms of carbohydrate must be metabolized into sugar or glucose for cellular energy. Sugar is the easiest of the macronutrients to digest. When mixed with other macronutrient that are slower in digesting, the enzymes production is slower causing the sugars to sit in the stomach and ferment while the ‘slower’ digesting macronutrients start to move out of the stomach.


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    Default Glycemic index

    Many bodybuilders follow the gylcemic index (GI) religously, and they shouldn't! Why so? Well, the GI is based on eating carbohydrates on an empty stomach without the addition of protein, lipids, fiber, water, etc. Therefore, it obviously has it's shortcomings and is not the be all end all choice for chosing our carbohydrate sources. Truth is, it's quite irrelevant when it comes to bodybuilding purposes. Let's take white potatoes for example. This food species is often avoided mainly because of it's high GI rank. Foolish. White potatoes are a very nutritious food and should be incorporated in a sound nutrition program. See, we're already spotting shortcomings challenging the elements and principles of the GI. But wait, there's more. The GI of that white potato can be drastically altered by combining it with the addition of protein, lipds, fiber, and other carbohydrates. In conclusion, the GI should not be followed religiously by bodybuilders and nutrient-density should be the main principle in one's nutrition plan, not the GI.


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