This is a Protein: This is a Carb – Part Two

This is a Protein: This is a Carb – Part Two

Since much of the discussion in Part One had to do with building muscle and burning fat, I will continue this theme by looking at the value of using creatine and L-glutamine to further this end. As for examining the controversy surrounding soy foods, that section proved to be too long to include in this newsletter, so it will be a stand alone newsletter, to be sent out next week.


Creatine is the single most effective sports supplement since steroids, with the advantage of being both considerably safer, and legal. However, creatine is not just for extreme athletes. Because it produces ATP (adenosine triphosphate, which is, essentially, cellular energy) in the body, it is used to treat diseases that involve mitochondrial dysfunction, including fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome (Source). Creatine is also often prescribed as a follow up to heart surgery. In fact, many cardiologists take creatine as they know that having a good storage of creatine in the body can prevent brain damage from occurring during, and after, a stroke (Source).

Furthermore, “the potential therapeutic value of creatine supplementation has recently been investigated with respect to various neurodegenerative disorders…Current literature suggests that exogenous creatine supplementation is most efficacious as a treatment paradigm in Huntington’s and Parkinson’s disease but appears to be less effective for ALS and Alzheimer’s disease.”   (Source)

There has been some debate about the safety of creatine, but none of it is based on science. Scientifically, creatine has proven to be both safe and effective, especially if you purchase a high quality, pharmaceutical grade (usually German or Japanese), and avoid the cheap products (usually from China). Look for the “Creapure” logo for assured quality (German pharmaceutical grade.) There are now fancy new types of creatine available, but at this point, I suggest you stick with creatine “monohydrate”, the original form with the most research behind it.

Creatine is a natural substance found in meat (damaged by cooking), and produced in the body. It will make one stronger, allowing for a better workout, which, in the presence of adequate protein, will build muscle faster, in turn burning fat more effectively. Women should rest assured that creatine and protein will not make you look like a man—only steroids can do that.

Women and Exercise

Speaking of women and exercise, many women find that their exercise is not paying off the way they would expect. This is usually because they are not ingesting the required protein and carbs within the 45-minute window of opportunity, following exercise. They are therefore burning muscle and retaining fat, and not attaining their objective. Building muscle is necessary for continual fat-burning, and more important than aerobic exercise for this purpose.

But, to re-emphasize, it will not create a masculine-looking body in a female, unless one focuses excessively on heavy weight training, and severely over-exercises. Excessive exercising, along with heavy weight training, eventually causes a woman’s testosterone levels to rise to the point that she will shift to a more masculine shape. By this time, she will also have ceased menstruating, indicating that this hormonal shift has occurred.

How to Use Creatine

Creatine is usually taken three to five times daily, for five days, which is known as the “loading phase”. This gives a jump-start to the beneficial effects, but at five times per day can cause considerable water retention because creatine pulls water out of the blood. Therefore, I suggest no more than three times daily, during the loading phase, for most people (outside of serious athletes). Because of this tendency towards water retention, it is important to drink extra water when using creatine. If you skip the loading phase, it will take a few weeks before the extra strength benefits become apparent.

Creatine is usually mixed with 35 grams of dextrose (glucose), which is why it is taken after exercise, when the dextrose counts as part of one’s carb load. So, a post-workout serving of creatine is one teaspoon (5 grams), along with 7 teaspoons of dextrose (35 grams). This high carbohydrate in-take is designed to spike insulin, which then shuttles creatine into the cells in a timely manner.

Obviously one doesn’t really want that much dextrose three times per day (during the loading phase), especially if we are trying to avoid refined sugars (and dextrose is at the top of the chart on the glycemic index). Therefore, you can either use only 3 teaspoons of dextrose (15 grams) to one of creatine, during the non-post-workout times of the day, or use grape juice (which may also be used for post-workout, if you wish to avoid the dextrose).

It is acceptable to add creatine to your protein shake, but you must not add it to orange juice, or coffee, as it is widely believed that these damage creatine, and reduce, or eliminate, its effectiveness.

Creatine is taken once or twice daily, after the loading phase, even on non-workout days (again, do not use the full dose of dextrose on these days), for about 30 days. It is then advisable to stop using creatine for 2 to 4 weeks, in order to ensure that the body does not shut down its own production of creatine (we produce an average of about 2 grams daily). After this period, you can begin the cycle over again, if you wish.

One alternative to spiking insulin levels with dextrose is to use a ½ teaspoon of baking soda with a full teaspoon of creatine. This effervescent reaction also improves uptake by the body. One authority has also suggested that it is more effective to simply divide the teaspoon of creatine into the three meals of the day, just sprinkling it onto the food. Both these alternatives are also recommended for anyone who finds creatine to be difficult to digest (occasionally it can cause stomach upset in some people).


The isolated amino acid L-glutamine is the third most commonly used sports and fitness supplement, with protein, of course, being number one, and creatine being number two.

Added to your protein shake, L-glutamine will improve recovery time after extreme exercise and, used during the day, will help stabilize blood sugar levels.

L-glutamine also converts to glutathione (enhancing immune and detoxification pathways), glucosamine (repairing cartilage), n-acetyl-glucosamine (for healing the lining of the intestinal tract), and works to improve mood and mental function. On top of all that, glutamine can also raise growth hormone levels.

To raise growth hormone levels (for those middle-aged and older) simply mix half a teaspoon (2 grams or more) of L-glutamine with ¼ teaspoon of baking soda, and water. Taking this mixture on an empty stomach, first thing in the morning and/or before bed, has been shown in clinical studies to raise growth hormone levels by up to 400%. This, to a degree, rolls back the biological clock, enhancing fat burning, tissue repair, and immune function.


By understanding the basics of when and how to use protein, fats, and carbs, we attain the beginning of designing the optimal diet. Adding to that, the knowledge of good quality protein, bad quality carbohydrates (refined), and the ugly fats (over-heated and hydrogenated vegetable oils; in fact most polyunsaturated seed oils that are high in omega-6 fatty acids), we further define our diet.

To my way of thinking, the final touch is to incorporate the “Blood Type Diet”,  and to generally eat what grows within 500 miles of where you live, and in season (or naturally preserved), as suggested by the Macrobiotic dietary tradition.

Next week, I will finish off this series by exploring soy foods, and dispelling some of the myths surrounding this humble bean.

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