Many authorities speak of high glycemic index (GI) carbohydrates post-workout to spike insulin levels. One of the most common is 80–100 grams in the form of dextrose/maltodextrin. But what are the benefits of consuming carbohydrates post-workout to spike insulin and is this really necessary?

Insulin is often called the “most anabolic hormone in the body.” However, this is only partly true. Insulin is really mostly anabolic towards fat. Its anabolic effects on muscle come from its strong anti-catabolic effects. When insulin levels are elevated in the body, it is physiologically impossible to burn muscle for energy (on a cell to cell basis). So, by spiking insulin levels in the body, you stop muscle burning and allow the protein you eat to better be used for the synthesis of new muscle.

The problem with dextrose and maltodextrin is that they have a relatively low molecular weight. This creates a low osmolality so there’s not much osmolalic pull for them to pass through the digestive tract. With an osmolality similar to blood, you essentially get an almost isotonic solution with those two products.

So, while they may spike insulin very rapidly once they enter the blood stream, they can take longer than you want to actually reach the small intestine where they can enter the blood stream. You can also notice “bloating” as water mixes with the dextrose and maltodextrin in the stomach.

Personally, I take Waxy Maize (WM). It has a very high molecular weight and low osmolality, which creates an environment similar to a bowling ball through the digestive tract. The WM powers through the stomach and reaches the small intestine where the bulk of nutrient uptake occurs. Because it passes through the stomach so quickly, water doesn’t have time to pool there with the WM, and you don’t get that bloated feeling.

For a morning meal, try one cup of oats, one banana, a handful of cashews, two scoops of protein, and BCAAs (which are also very anti-catabolic). Mix in a blender for a minute or two until the oats are ground up completely. It takes about 30 seconds to drink and it shouldn’t make you bloated much at all.

Essential amino acids (EAA) are important as well. They’re essential actually (hence the name).
Your body can’t create these amino acids so they MUST be consumed in the diet. The problem is no American diet is likely to be short on EAA unless you’re a vegan. Meat, eggs, and most other common protein sources contain all of the EAA that your body needs. And most food combinations that don’t contain all of the EAA individually contain all of them when combined in a meal. For example, beans and rice separately don’t contain all of the EAA that you need. However, when combined in a meal, they do, which is probably why that dish came into prominence in the first place.

As far as protein blends, egg whites are a very good protein in my opinion. They taste good too. I use Optimum Nutrition’s egg white chocolate. I love the taste of it. You can also try whey isolates. It has no lactose, fat, or carbs, which makes it superior to concentrate IMO. Whey hydrosylate is predigested so the amino chains are in smaller fragments. This causes a more rapid assimilation of the nutrients. I take a hydrosylate post-workout throughout the year and pre-workout and during the workout in the off-season.