Are all calories the same?
The process in which your body decides how to best utilize the energy that you consume with your food is called nutrient partitioning. Your body has a choice: when you eat something, it can choose to store those nutrients or utilize them to keep itself running. Under ideal conditions, you would prefer if all of these nutrients went straight to utilization in the muscles and organs, and not to be stored as body fat. This is exactly the reason you shouldn’t listen to anyone that says “A calorie is a calorie!”.
No, a calorie isn’t a calorie because every single one of them is given different treatment by the body. When the nutrients you ate go directly into your muscle mass, it opens up an opportunity to make your muscles bigger and stronger, but also to store more glycogen in the muscles so that it will grow more, have boosted work capacity and shorter recovery. The efficiency of your nutrient partitioning has lots of sources around the body.
We don’t even know how the gut, liver, brain, muscles and central nervous system communicate with each other. Maybe it’s hormones and some other chemicals in the body.
However, the number one direct cause of nutrient partitioning is insulin. If you’re too big or diabetic, it’s very likely that your body has reduced or lost its ability to partition nutrients. If you’re just a bit resistant to the insulin, your body will partition slowly and ineffectively. However, the insulin will attempt to enter the muscle cells through receptors on the cell – in insulin resistant people, this doesn’t trigger a reaction and the insulin remains outside of the muscle cells. Insulin usually activates the protein GLUT4, which will bring glucose in the muscle cells, but this is also false for people resistant to insulin – GLUT4 doesn’t work, so the glucose and any other branched-chain amino acids and insulin, do not get into the cell as well.
This means that insulin will chemically convert the unused glucose into fatty acids and have it stored in the fat deposits anywhere on your body and thrown onto layers of fat which are already there. These are most commonly the stomach, breasts, love handles, buttocks etc. However, if your insulin sensitivity is good, the muscle cell gets a steady supply of branched-chain amino acids and carbohydrate. Also, the GLUT4 protein works and delivers the nutrients into the inside of the cell, where if you train hard and smart, you will have them make new muscle tissue, making your existing muscles stronger and bigger.
The difference between a gift and a curse?
The haves and the have-nots are fairly obvious here. On one side you have people with sufficient genetic perfection that the nutrient partitioning abilities are through the roof, while on the other you have people who work out a lot harder for a lot less results. However, it should be known that the nutrient partitioning ability is not just an on-off switch. It lies on a large spectrum of possibility in all types of strengths and weaknesses.
When people who can partition nutrients with incredible efficiency eat too many carbs, they woo will suffer negative results. When/if that happens though, those people will get a small glimpse of what the other people go through – their body will stop putting everything into muscle and suddenly start putting nutrients into the body fat as triglycerides. It doesn’t matter where you fall on the line, you can always improve how your body partitions nutrients.
How to make your body partition nutrients more effectively?
The number one cure to bad nutrient partitioning in your body is making sure you’re aware what kinds of carbs you’re consuming and when you’re doing it. I bet someone’s already said to you that eating quick-absorbing carbohydrates during the peri-workout phase but smaller amounts of more complex carbohydrates at all other times. Also, it’s a known saying that you need to cut your carbs because even when people who can partition nutrients more effectively and have great insulin sensitivity, eating more carbs will lower their insulin sensitivity and change the regime of functioning of their body to one of someone less physically capable.
While all that is scientifically confirmed, when you take cyanidin 3-glucoside which is a supplement that helps your body partition nutrients better, those rules will stop being in force. This supplement is found in all kinds of berries and it boosts your insulin sensitivity of your muscle cells while also lowering the insulin sensitivity of your fat tissue. This will result in the increase of the amount of glucose that gets into the muscles, so the nutrients, branched-chain amino acids and the glucose will be stored into the muscle cells, and the storage of fat is made more difficult, while fatty acid oxidation processes will become faster and more intense.
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