Why carbs matter for building muscle
“There’s been some conflicting information, but keto isn’t optimal for someone trying to gain muscle,” White says. That’s because your body needs fuel to run, grow, and preserve muscle.
“Carbs act as a sort of buffer to help you preserve and help grow muscle, and provide energy by letting your muscles fill up with glycogen,” he explains. Healthy carb sources like sweet potatoes provide B vitamins (which help your body absorb energy from food) and fiber (which helps reduce cholesterol, increases food’s transit time in the gut, and curbs your appetite), White says.
After a workout, your body is starved of glucose, so carbs are crucial to the recovery process—even if they’re not contributing to muscle synthesis. Carbs give you the extra oomph to lift more and operate at a higher intensity, both of which are key to building mass. You’re not necessarily going to lose muscle on the keto diet, but you won’t be priming your body to reach its mass-building potential.
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