Despite what you’ll hear from TV doctors, biohackers, and nutrition “gurus”, carbohydrates are not the enemy. In fact, they’re quite the opposite.
When used in the right amounts at the right times of day, carbohydrates can help you perform better and recover faster. After all, glucose (carbohydrates) is the preferred source of fuel for our cells.
For this exact reason, 1Up Nutrition has developed a versatile, well-rounded carbohydrate supplement to fuel your training sessions called Tri-Carb.
What is Tri-Carb?
As the name implies, Tri-Carb is an advanced carbohydrate complex containing three trademarked carb sources in Cluster Dextrin®, Carb10™ & MODCARB®. Together, these three carbohydrates provide your mind and muscles with readily accessible energy to support greater mental and physical performance.
What are the differences between each of these unique carbohydrates?
Cluster Dextrin (highly branched cyclic dextrin) is a low glycemic, fast-digesting carbohydrate produced from amylopectin, one of two types of starch found in plants.
Due to its specialized molecular structure, Cluster Dextrin has a high molecular weight with a low osmolality, which means it is rapidly digested but without the unwanted GI distress of other common performance carbohydrate sources, such as maltodextrin.
The reason for this is that while Cluster Dextrin® has the same molecular weight as maltodextrin it has more “branching” to its structure. Basically, Cluster Dextrin has more “branches” of short chain poly- and oligosaccharides from the main starch backbone which enhances digestion and provides a more sustained release of energy.
This makes Cluster Dextrin an ideal carbohydrate source for athletes during training as it provides a quick, yet sustained release of glucose into the bloodstream while also sidestepping the “heavy” feeling and blood sugar highs and lows of other peri-workout carb sources.
Studies using Cluster Dextrin documented increased performance, quicker recovery, and reduced stress hormone response to exercise.[3,4]
Additional research has found that supplementing with Cluster Dextrin also attenuates the rise in rating of perceived exertion (RPE) during exercise.
In other words, supplementing with Cluster Dextrin may help you to feel less fatigued while performing at a higher level of output than you would normally feel when not supplementing with Cluster Dextrin.
And, thanks to its fast digestion and uptake by skeletal muscles, it is also useful to take immediately following exercise as a means to promote faster glycogen repletion and thereby help reduce the onset of muscle soreness.
Carb10 is a fast-digesting, low glycemic carbohydrate derived from pea starch. Similar to Cluster Dextrin, Carb10 has a low osmolality which helps accelerate gastric emptying. This provides muscle cells with a source of fast-acting clean energy while avoiding the bloated or “heavy” feeling common to other carbohydrate sources.
Even better is the fact that Carb10 is low glycemic and will not spike insulin. In fact, testing by Compound Solutions (the developers of Carb10) note that Carb10 creates an 82% lower insulin response and 27% lower blood sugar response compared to maltodextrin-based options.
Basically, Carb10 offers the same great benefits of other fast-digesting carbohydrates (glycogen repletion, enhanced nutrient transport, etc.) without the insulin spike. This makes it ideally suited to the demands of hard-training gym rats as well as the on-the-go business professional who needs to keep their energy levels high throughout the day.
ModCarb is a novel carbohydrate complex created specifically for athletes. It’s made from a unique blend of six organically-grown whole grains, including amaranth, buckwheat, chia, millet, oats, and quinoa.
Compared to Carb10 and Cluster Dextrin which provide the body with rapid-acting fuel, MODCARB provides a more sustained-release type of energy, a “slow burning” form of fuel compared to the faster burning Cluster Dextrin and Carb10.
Providing the body’s cells with both immediate- and steady-release energy sources promotes stable blood sugar and energy levels during and after training. Not only does this help sustain performance during lengthy training sessions, but it also may help avoid the unwanted “energy crash” that accompanies consuming too many high-glycemic carbohydrates in a short period of time.
Additionally, ModCarb is also rich in beta-glucan.
In case, you weren’t aware beta-glucan is a type of sugar found in various grains (such as oats and barley), which has been documented in studies to improve immune function and lipid profiles (cholesterol).[6,7]
When Should I Take Tri-Carb?
Tri-Carb can be used anytime of day, but it really shines in the peri-workout (around training) window.
When asked how we like to use Tri-Carb, here are our recommendations:
Consume one serving 30 minutes prior to your workout to support maximum performance, endurance, cell volumization, and hydration.
Mix one serving in your shaker and sip throughout your workout to sustain workout intensity, muscle energy, and muscle pumps.
Immediately following your workout, glycogen stores are low and need to be replenished to kick start the recovery and growth process. Consume one serving immediately following exercise to promote glycogen replenishment and nutrient delivery to muscle cells.
Additionally, depending on your goals there may be some more “optimal” times to take it.
For our transformation challenge contestants, we suggest taking a serving of Tri-Carb immediately post workout along with their protein shake. This combination of fast-digesting protein and carbohydrates provides everything the body needs to repair damaged muscle tissue, enhance glycogen replenishment, and support muscle building.
It may also help avoid the symptoms of hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) that can follow hard training sessions.
Lean Bulking (Muscle building)
When you’re trying to build muscle, carbohydrates are more important than ever. They give you the energy to train hard and recover quickly from your intense workouts. Tri-Carb provides a rich source of carbohydrates that are easy on the stomach. Supplementing with it can help you get in the calories you need to build muscle while avoiding the bloating and GI distress that typically accompanies muscle-building diets.
We suggest taking one serving of Tri-Carb before, during, and after training.
Cutting (Fat Loss)
Just because you’re dieting doesn’t mean you need to completely eliminate carbohydrates from your diet. While you might not be able to eat as many carbs as you gain during maintenance or muscle gain phases, it’s still important to consume some carbohydrates, especially around your workout as they will help you push harder in your workouts (thereby burning more calories) and help protect against muscle breakdown due to the fact that carbohydrates are muscle sparing.
For these reasons, we suggest individuals who are cutting should consume a serving of Tri-Carb immediately post workout.
- Takii H, Takii Nagao Y, Kometani T, et al. Fluids containing a highly branched cyclic dextrin influence the gastric emptying rate. Int J Sports Med. 2005;26(4):314-319.
- Kometani T, Takii H, Shiraki T, Nomura T. Endurance enhancing effect of cyclic cluster dextrin. FOOD Style21. 2003;7:62–65.
- TAKII H, ISHIHARA K, KOMETANI T, OKADA S, FUSHIKI T. Enhancement of Swimming Endurance in Mice by Highly Branched Cyclic Dextrin. Biosci Biotechnol Biochem. 1999;63(12):2045-2052. doi:10.1271/bbb.63.2045.
- Furuyashiki T, Tanimoto H, Yokoyama Y, Kitaura Y, Kuriki T, Shimomura Y. Effects of ingesting highly branched cyclic dextrin during endurance exercise on rating of perceived exertion and blood components associated with energy metabolism. Biosci Biotechnol Biochem. 2014;78(12):2117-2119. doi:10.1080/09168451.2014.943654.
- Kim HS, Hong JT, Kim Y, Han SB. Stimulatory Effect of β-glucans on Immune Cells. Immune Netw. 2011;11(4):191-5.