After recording the 2nd Meisha Tate Show podcast, I received several interesting questions. Here is one that I received from Ralph:

Dear Dr Edwards,

I just listened to your latest podcast interview with Miesha Tate which was dated 5/23/16. I wanted to ask you if you could please clarify on a particular topic that you explained. The topic was on consuming BCAA and Sugar and how sugar inhibits the cell absorption of BCAA. I regularly train in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and my “pre-workout drink” has been Tea + Organic Honey 100% Unfiltered. I also take BCAA in capsules in addition to my “pre-workout”.

Is the sugar from my organic honey inhibits the cell absorption of the BCAA when consumed together?

Ralph B.


This is a great question because it helps bridge the gap of nutrition, exercise and wellness. The answer to Ralph’s question in short, is no. To understand this better, we need to look at what happens in a healthy population versus people with insulin resistance. In a healthy person, anabolic hormones such as insulin are increased after each meal and the nutrients absorbed are then directed by the actions of insulin into the cells. In a person with insulin resistance, i.e. a person who is diabetic or has metabolic syndrome, their cells are more resistant to the effects of insulin that is released after a meal. Realize that we have trillions of cells in our body, so even a slight resistance to insulin has a huge effect. Insulin is really the hormone that drives nutrients into our cells. What is happening in insulin resistance is that things like amino acids, carbohydrates and vitamins that require insulin and other anabolic hormones to properly enter the cell are not happening optimally.


So in a person such as Ralph, who sounds like he trains daily and pretty hard, probably does not have insulin resistance. So the sugar from organic honey or other sources is not inhibiting the absorption of amino acids or other nutrients before or after his workouts. Would this change if someone regularly drank 6 cokes, a couple of bars, etc. after a workout? No one knows exactly, but I think you get the point.


That being said, I have seen “fit looking athletes” who do in fact have insulin resistance. There are many reasons why this can be but diet, environment and genetics play a big role. Simple laboratory methods of measuring insulin resistance include a glucose tolerance test, hemoglobin A1c, fasting insulin and glucose, and inflammatory markers.

I hope this helps in your understanding about the nutrition and its effect on the body.

To your health

Doc Edwards