6 Incredible Clean Carbs Sources That Build Muscle and Improve Performance


Carbohydrates are the primary fuel source for your brain, body, and overall athletic performance, but not all carbs are created equal. Clean carbohydrate sources, aka complex carbohydrates, provide the long-lasting, sustained energy you need for prolonged workouts, such as running, cycling, and high-intensity functional training. They also help you build more muscle and optimize workout recovery. The question is, what carbohydrates are best for building mass, optimizing body composition, and improving performance?

The Problem with Simple Carbs

Chances are you’ve had a snack or chugged a sugary carb drink before a workout or run and found yourself gassed-out midway through your training. Simple carbohydrates and supplements such as maltodextrin, dextrose, and cyclic dextrin spike your insulin, which can lead to low blood sugar, leaving you feeling fatigued and lethargic.

Most people, athletes included, will have some kind of simple carbs an hour or two before their training session to get that midday pick-me-up. This stokes a vicious cycle that we call the blood sugar roller coaster.

After you finish your pre-workout snack, your body is flooded with carbohydrates, resulting in a short boost of energy, followed by a devastating crash and burn. Your body releases the hormone insulin to regulate the amount of sugar, or glucose, in your bloodstream. Insulin sends the sugar out of your blood into the liver and muscle and stores it as body fat, resulting in low blood sugar, which translates to low energy.

As a result, you have mood swings, feel hungry all the time, and/or become fatigued and have low energy. Maintaining steady insulin and blood sugar levels depends on the type of carbohydrates you consume. When you hear that certain carbs are “high on the glycemic index,” it means that they will spike blood sugar and insulin more quickly than other types of carbohydrates.

You Need Complex Carbs

Complex carbs digest much more slowly than simple carbs, due to their longer-chain molecular structure. Complex carbs are also made of sugars, but they do not spike blood insulin; they keep your blood glucose stable and provide a sustained energy release. These types of carbohydrates work best for prolonged training, improving endurance, building more muscle, and optimizing body composition. Complex carbs slow the absorption of sugar, slowing digestion, which keeps you feeling fuller for longer. There’s no blood sugar roller coaster with complex carbs.

Sweet potatoes, white potatoes, bread, and oats.

What are the best clean carbs for building more muscle and performance?

1. Sweet Potatoes

Sweet potatoes have naturally occurring sugars and are full of dietary fiber and micronutrients. They are chock-full of vitamin B6, which can help maintain brain health, improving mood and energy levels. Sweet potatoes are also a great source of beta-carotene. Your body converts beta-carotene into vitamin A, which can help with immune health and eye health.

2. Yams

Nutritionally, yams resemble sweet potatoes. Both are low on the glycemic index, making them good choices for long-lasting, sustained energy without spiking blood sugar. Yams, however, have a higher vitamin C content than sweet potatoes but not nearly as much vitamin A.

3. Oats

Oats are an amazing source of complex carbohydrates and protein that can help build more muscle and optimize body composition. Oats are classified as a soluble fiber, which can help suppress appetite and slow digestion. Several studies have shown that oats can also protect against heart disease, reduce chronic inflammation, improve gut flora, help with inflammatory bowel disease, and provide sustained energy.[1-4]

4. Clean Carbs

Swolverine’s Clean Carbs is different from other carbohydrate supplements. Other products use maltodextrin, dextrose, and simple carbohydrates that spike blood sugar, creating more body fat and giving you an energy crash.[5] Clean Carbs is made with 100 percent natural whole foods from pure complex carbohydrates, including sweet potatoes, yams, and oats. Research indicates that your body burns rapidly through glycogen stores during high-intensity functional training, resistance training, and endurance workouts. Replacing glycogen after strenuous exercise is vital for optimal performance and faster recovery.[5]

5. Brown Rice

Brown rice is another great clean carb for mass building and weight management. Whether you’re shredding down or looking to increase size, brown rice is a great source of complex carbohydrates and will sustain a low insulin release for longer-lasting energy. Although similar, white rice is stripped of most of its nutrients and will trigger a blood sugar spike, as opposed to stable glucose levels.

Brown Rice

6. Quinoa

Quinoa is one of the only plant-based carbs that is considered a complete protein. With all the essential amino acids present, in addition to micronutrients such as manganese, magnesium, and iron, quinoa is a great clean carb source for athletes.

  1. Chappell, A. J., Simper, T., & Barker, M. E. (2018). Nutritional strategies of high level natural bodybuilders during competition preparation. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, 15(1), 4.
  2. Rebello, C.J., Johnson, W.D., Martin, C.K., Xie, W., O’Shea, M., Kurilich, A., Bordenave, N., Andler, S., Klinken, B.J.W.V., Chu, Y.F. and Greenway, F.L. (2013). Acute effect of oatmeal on subjective measures of appetite and satiety compared to a ready-to-eat breakfast cereal: a randomized crossover trial. Journal of the American College of Nutrition, 32(4), 272-9.
  3. Valeur, J., Puaschitz, N. G., Midtvedt, T., & Berstad, A. (2016). Oatmeal porridge: impact on microflora-associated characteristics in healthy subjects. British Journal of Nutrition, 115(1), 62-67.
  4. Rasane, P., Jha, A., Sabikhi, L., Kumar, A., & Unnikrishnan, V. S. (2015). Nutritional advantages of oats and opportunities for its processing as value added foods-a review. Journal of Food Science and Technology, 52(2), 662-675.
  5. Alghannam, A. F., Gonzalez, J. T., & Betts, J. A., (2018). Restoration of muscle glycogen and functional capacity: role of post-exercise carbohydrate and protein co-ingestion. Nutrients, 10(2), 253.


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Why predictive analytics is crucial to next-level revenue cycle performance


Sixty percent of healthcare leaders believe their organizations could save 15 percent or more over the next five years using predictive analytics, a recent report found. One area where predictive analytics can drive significant savings: revenue cycle performance.

Predictive analytics is a game changer in healthcare revenue cycle performance because it can be used to forecast revenue and correct issues that impact revenue before they occur. The insights gained also position healthcare organizations to streamline revenue cycle workflows, educate staff and clinicians on best practices, and proactively address issues with payers that are holding up payment.

How can hospitals and health systems leverage predictive analytics to boost revenue cycle performance? Here are four emerging approaches.

Predict when payers will remit payment—down to the hour payment will be received
With predictive analytics, providers can review payer-specific payment behavior by CPT code to determine how long it will take for a specific claim to be paid and even the day and time the payment will arrive. It’s an approach that can predict the date of remittance for claims with a high degree of accuracy. Machine-learning innovations such as this empower providers with the knowledge they need to more effectively manage revenue cycle operations, strengthening the organization’s financial health.

Identify and correct breakdowns in revenue cycle processes. One of the biggest challenges facing providers occurs when eligibility checks are performed during patient registration but aren’t rechecked prior to claim submission. When this happens, providers run the risk that the claim will be denied because a patient no longer has coverage from a specific payer—and the issue may not be detected for a month. It’s a process breakdown that results in decreased cash flow and increased administrative time and expense.

Predictive analytics can identify breakdowns in revenue cycle processes that are making a deep impact on financial health—and direct behaviors that improve accuracy and efficiency. The right predictive analytics partner will bring these trends to your attention in their earliest stage.

Stop denials before they occur
Each year, the nation’s largest healthcare organizations manage $5 to $10 billion in claims—and nationally, 9 percent of claims are initially denied by payers. For the average hospital, $5 million in payments are at risk of being denied each year. And while 63 percent of denials can be recovered, it costs about $118 per claim in administrative costs to capture the monies owed.

Predictive analytics positions providers to predict which claims will be denied before they are submitted. This enables staff to correct claims prior to submission, increasing clean claims rates. Providers also can use predictive analytics to more effectively manage work related to denials, focusing staff attention on high-value denials the system has a strong chance of overturning.

Supercharge claims editing
One emerging capability is the use of predictive analytics and machine learning not just to apply coding edits and payer-specific rules for claims adjudication, but also to anticipate changes in payer rules before a claim is denied or delayed. There are about 60,000 claims edits currently available, many of which are specific to certain payers. These rules are complex and inconsistent from one payer to the next, and they change rapidly.

In the next five years, we’ll see innovations around machine learning in the healthcare revenue cycle space, including the ability to use machine learning to identify changes in payer rules that may not be known by providers and bring them to the attention of staff. Currently, this process still requires professionals who understand the intricacies of claims edits to evaluate these alerts and determine next steps.

The future of revenue cycle management
It’s clear that predictive analytics is the future of healthcare. Eighty-five percent of healthcare leaders say their organizations use predictive analytics or will do so within the next five years. Meanwhile, more than half of leaders anticipate their organizations will dedicate 15 percent or more of their budget to predictive analytics.

As your organization considers its predictive analytics game plan, it’s important to take steps to ensure you are gaining actionable insight. Start by identifying the business case for predictive analytics, then, work with a data scientist skilled in revenue cycle analysis to determine how data will be collected and formatted for meaningful analysis.

Additionally, the right vendor will not only help you use predictive analytics to solve the revenue cycle business challenge at hand, but will also identify trends your organization has not yet uncovered—and work with.

Photo: bayhayalet, Getty Images


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