You might have heard that you need carbs in order to build solid muscles.But here is a diet which is low in carbs and which builds lean muscle mass this diet known as Gluconeogenic diet.The name “Gluconeogenic diet” is derived from the name of the process which takes part in the body.Gluconeogenesis is the process where the body produces glucose from non-carbohydrate molecules such as protein and fat.To trigger gluconeogenesis your body should be carbs depleted.Gluconeogenesis is one of the pathway that our body use when blood sugar drops. This process prevents hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) in our body.Gluconeogenesis is the process which used by all living things like bacteria and plants.Gluconeogenesis is also used for treatment of diabetes.
Carbs do I need to eat?
Carbs are converted into a glucose in fastest way. Which spikes insulin and insulin carries glucose and amino acids in liver, muscles, and adipose tissue (fat cells). These carried amino acids triggers protein synthesis. Therefore a lot of people consider carbs as a muscle building macronutrient.Due to this spike of Insulin, body store maximum glucose as a fat. Which increases your body fat percentage. This increased fat leads to various diseases like type 2 diabetes, heart diseases, etc.Human growth hormone is a hormone which contribute in the growth of the body tissues. Growth hormone helps to build lean muscle.A Growth hormone secreted mostly at night time. When insulin levels are low. Because Growth hormone and Insulin are opposite to each other. One increases when other is decreased.For building muscles you have to increase Growth hormone production. Therefore, you have to decrease Insulin levels, therefore you have to eliminate carbs from our diet.
Other than this Growth hormone have following benefits:
- Better Fracture Healing
- Enhanced fat loss
- Stronger bones
- Reduced hearts diseases
Studies have shown that carbohydrates is a non essential macronutrient. Carbs don’t have any function in our body other than providing energy. This function can be done by fats and protein, with minimal spikes of insulin. Fats provide energy through ketosis and protein provide energy through gluconeogenesis.You might heard about Ketogenic diet. Ketogenic diet is also very low in carbs or zero carbs. In Ketogenic diet, the body shifts it’s primary energy system to ketones. In the Ketogenic diet, body get energy through ketones which is derived from the fat. In Ketogenic diet insulin spikes are very minimal.
On Ketogenic diet, it is very hard to increase muscle mass because if you look at the macronutrients of keto diet. It consists of 75% fat, 20% protein and 5% carbs.
For women, to build muscle you required high amount of protein. You should be in a caloric surplus to increase muscle mass.Gluconeogenic diet is simple modification of Ketogenic diet with great results.In Gluconeogenic diet, you intake high protein, moderate fat and least amount of carbs.Eventually you get out of ketosis on Gluconeogenic diet.The Ketogenic diet has various benefits for Cancer, Alzheimer’s diseases, diabetes and heart diseases.You will get some of the benefits of the keto diet in a Gluconeogenic diet.
Advantages of Gluconeogenic diet:
- More muscles compared to keto diet.
- More Growth hormone due to less spikes of insulin.
- Less fat gain compared to conventional high carb diet.
- Stronger immune system due to high protein.
- Testosterone boost due to high fat intake.
Disadvantage of Gluconeogenic diet:
- Not sustainable because you can’t stay away from carbs.
- Very expressive because of high amount of protein and fat.
- It’s not easy for some to eat that much at a time.
Intermittent fasting also a good way to increase Growth hormone production.Intermittent fasting is an eating habit that cycles between periods of fasting and eating.In simple language you have to eat or fast in specific time.
Intermittent fasting have following benefits:
- Increased insulin sensitivity
- Increased fat loss
- Reduced inflammation
When you combine the benefits of Intermittent fasting with Gluconeogenic diet, you will get best and maximum muscle gain.
Extra tips for Gluconeogenic diet:
- It is easier to drink a protein shake than whole foods.
- If you are doing Intermittent fasting, then do workout empty stomach. When you eat there is blood flow to digestion system that will limit your performance.
Why Gluconeogenic diet is best for muscle building for women?
On Gluconeogenic diet, since insulin levels are low you are gaining fat like conventional high carbohydrates diet and your growth hormone levels are also high which helps you to build solid muscle and strength. As well as Gluconeogenic diet gives you almost all benefits of Ketogenic diet.
Since women have low level of testosterone which helps to build muscles, there are chances of increasing body fat on conventional high carb diet. But due to gluconeogenic diet you will not gain any fat.Here you will get free Gluconeogenic diet plan for you .Let’s compare between Ketogenic diet, Gluconeogenic diet and high carb diets
|Keto diet||Gluco diet||High carb diet|
|Not for muscle building||Higher chance of muscle building||Higher chance of muscle building (with high fat gain)|
|Low levels of insulin||Moderate levels of insulin||Very high levels of insulin|
|Not sustainable||Not sustainable||Sustainable|
|Increases insulin sensitivity||Increases insulin sensitivity||Decreases insulin sensitivity|
Pathway of Gluconeogenesis:
This part of the article is quite hard to understand, if you are here only to know diet for muscle gain then skip this part. I have tried my best to simplify this.As mentioned above “Gluconeogenesis is the process where the body produces glucose from non-carbohydrate molecules such as protein and fat.”Gluconeogenesis is primarily carried out in liver. This process uses 11 enzymes for production of glucose
- Gluconeogenesis begins in the mitochondria. Through carboxylation of pyruvate, oxaloacetate is generated. In this step “pyruvate carboxylase” this enzyme is used.
- In second step, malate is formed from Oxaloacetate by “Nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide” this enzyme.
- This obtained Malate is converted into oxaloacetate in this third step through oxidation by Nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD+) in the cytosol.
- Now Phosphoenolpyruvate is formed from Oxaloacetate. This reaction done by Phosphoenolpyruvate carboxykinase enzyme
- In this step fructose 1,6-bisphosphate to fructose 6-phosphate. This is similar as a glycolysis (conversion of glucose into pyruvate)
- Now, fructose 6-phosphate is converted into a Glucose-6-phosphate by enzyme called Glucose-6-phosphate isomerase also know as phosphoglucose.
- Then, enzyme called Glucose 6-phosphatase do hydrolysis of glucose-6-phosphate to form a glucose. This is final step of gluconeogenesis.
Sushant Pawar is youngest certified Personal Trainer and Sports Nutritionist, Founder of fitnationplus.com located at Dombivli, India.