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All carbohydrates form glucose, which is the fundamental fuel for all of the body's functions. Glucose is transported by means of blood and taken into cells to be converted into energy. Insulin, produced by the pancreas gland, plays has an important task as it controls the uptake of glucose by your cells. After replenishing through insulin, if you have any surplus glucose, it will be converted into glycogen. When glucose is converted into glycogen, it’s stored in the liver or in the form of fat around the body. If your body needs more energy, glucagon is then released by the pancreas. Glucagon is used to convert the glycogen stored (either in the liver or as fat) back into glucose, which will then be released into your bloodstream for your cells to use. It is important to understand that the slower the release of glucose and hormones, the more stable and sustainable the energy levels of the body. Everyone, including myself, has been subjected to the idea that carbohydrates are evil and will slap on the body fat. This can be true, but it all depends on when you consume your carbohydrates, and which type of carbohydrates you choose consume. Carbohydrates can be broken down into two categories; Simple carbohydrates which are your Monosaccharides and Disaccharides, and Complex carbohydrates which are yourPolysaccharides, glycogen and fiber. Carbohydrates are the most common source of energy found in food. Let’s take a look at some science before we go into how to eat your carbohydrates. Monosaccharides are most likely to be consumed in processed foods that have been sweetened with added sugars like white, granulated table sugar (sucrose). This table sugar is one of the primary disaccharides by combining a molecule of glucose with a molecule of fructose. Other primary disaccharides include milk sugar (lactose) which combines a molecule of glucose with a molecule of galactose, and malt sugar (maltose) which combines two molecules of glucose. Like monosaccharides, disaccharides don’t ordinarily become a problem in the diet until they are consumed in excess. When consumed, these monosaccharides (Disaccharides when thrown together) provide you with a quick burst of energy. The simpler the carbohydrate, the faster the glucose is released into your blood. This can cause peaks and drops in your blood sugar level, and less stable energy levels in the body. Although these simple carbohydrates have a bad reputation, there are certain times of the day where it is important to consume them. Complex carbohydrates provide a slower and more sustained release of energy than simple carbohydrates. In their natural form they contribute to long-term good health, appetite control, and sustained energy levels. Complex carbohydrates also provide a great deal of calories with a great deal of nutrient value. When compared to complex carbohydrates, simple carbohydrates give you a quick rise and fall in your energy levels and have a great deal of calories with little to no nutrient value. So now that you have your general understanding of carbohydrates, I will explain to you the best times to consume the different types of carbohydrates. For one, 40 percent of your diet should consist of calories provided by carbohydrates. It is important for overall health and hypertrophy to have a consistent supply of healthy carbohydrates throughout your day. The two most important meals to have the bulk of this 40 percent should be first thing in the morning and right after your workout. First thing in the morning is vital because you are coming off a 6-9 hour fast. If you plan on doing morning cardio, just wait until you finish the session (I will explain why later), and then have your meal. This meal should consist of complex carbohydrates to aid in a sustained energy release throughout the day. The other most important time to have your carbohydrates is after the workout. This is critical because it starts the whole recovery/muscle growth process. After an intense workout, you body becomes depleted of glycogen and glucose. This happens because the working muscles use glucose and glycogen for energy. Soon enough, those levels of glycogen and glucose get to a point where there isn’t enough available energy for your muscles to use. So what happens next is your body goes into “stress mode” and releases a hormone called cortisol. Cortisol will use gluconeogensis to provide the body with energy. This gluconeogensis produces glucose from amino acids, basically meaning cortisol eats up your muscle tissue to convert protein into glucose (energy). This is where the post-workout shake is critical. Whether you want to eat a baked potato right after a workout or you have some Vitargo to throw in your PWO shake, either will be sufficient as long as you consume some form of carbohydrate (High-glycemic carbohydrates are best for this purpose). The carbohydrates allow insulin to be released which will shuttle all of the essential nutrients into your glycogen depleted muscles. This is a highly anabolic effect needed for optimal muscle growth. Now, when you do consume carbohydrates throughout the rest of your day, you will want to use complex carbohydrates. This is important for the simple reason that these low-glycemic carbohydrates, like oatmeal, whole-grain/wheat bread, and sweet potatoes, are less likely to increase the storage of body fat. Vincent Russo, 25 years old from Kenilworth NJ. Has a BA in Biology from Fairleigh Dickinson University in Madison NJ. A Bodybuilding.com Team Athlete, Silver Model, High School Football Coach, Substitute Teacher, Waiter/bartender. Was a top 5 finalist out of 500 guys for bodybuilding.com‘s 2012 BodySpace Spokes Model. Compete in the Men’s Physique category where in recent competitions placed 2nd in NPC East Coasts (Nov. 2011), and 3rd in Bodybuilding.com‘s BodySpace Spokes model competition (LA Fit Expo 2012).