Carbs before bed and glycogen replenishment

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created March 24, 2012 at 2:47 AM

If pre/post workout carbohydrate consumption preferentially replenishes muscle glycogen would carbohydrate consumption before bed preferentially replenish liver glycogen.

Since glucose uptake by the muscle would not be increased before bed and because the liver is responsible for maintaining blood sugar during an overnight fast I thought that the liver being the more functional one then muscle in this case would have the implications of directing the glucose toward its rather than the muscles glycogen stores.

The context of this situation applies to someone (myself) who:

Doesn't eat carbs at all during the day but exercises anaerobically and then has a carb meal before bed, as much carbs as a Targeted Ketogenic Diet (TKD)

my question again: Would pre-bed carb consumption replenish liver glycogen preferentially over muscle glycogen in light of the above

p.s. I just wanted to say thanks for all the responses I may receive in advance as this is definitely the best and most informative forum I ever joined regarding diet/nutrition health info. Most of the answers on here are useful and informative and thus almost everyone who post a response contributes in some way and its just an all around great site and setup with the incentive to provide good answers and such

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3 Answers

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on March 30, 2012
at 02:56 PM

For body recomp / fat loss reasons, I'm currently doing a leangains inspired 16/8 IF, and because it's easiest for me to workout in the morning (yet fast until noon), I started this endeavor being very sensitive to "having enough energy" and liver v. muscle glycogen.

I eat 3 meals: biggest meal: heavy protein, light carbs(mostly veggies, maybe little starch); "snack"/2nd meal: drink 3 eggs, eat some veggies; third meal: smaller than first meal, and including dense protein and mostly starchy veggies. I eat 50g-100g of carbs on rest days, and 100g-175g on workout days (m-t, w(rest), th-sat, sun(rest)). I use enough fats to cook my foods, and get 40-100g a day, depending on what I cooked.

Just under a month in, I'm hitting my goals nearly perfectly: gained (negligible) 1lb of lean mass, and lost a solid 9 lbs of body fat. Personally, I'm happy, since I always felt like a strong guy wearing a fat suit.

To relate to your case: I never feel tired or out of energy when I work out in the morning. I haven't lost any lean mass while losing body fat in about a month's time. So, my suggestion would be: at night time, eat dense protein and some starchy carbs (e.g. I eat actual yams, sweet potatoes, cassava).

Good luck!



on March 30, 2012
at 03:17 PM

This is my totally uneducated guess...

Does it not depend on your muscle glycogen stores? That being that if they are low, it does not matter when you eat as your body will deal with this deficit first before allowing the liver to store glycogen?

You may possible find some information in the likes of "Carb Back-loading" which came to mind reading your post:




on March 30, 2012
at 06:03 AM

There are a few people on PaleoHacks who eat a rice cake and a spoon full of honey in the morning...

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