1 Name Two Types Of Carbohydrates Found In Animal Foods Carbohydrates and Racing Pigeons

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Carbohydrates and Racing Pigeons

It’s that time of the year when we can turn on the stove again in the evening. This is the wood stove or fireplace rather than the central heating system. Cozy, those flames dancing in the living room. To light the fireplace, you must first collect some kindling lights, light easily and burn quickly. Later we add larger pieces of hardwood. Sometimes these large pieces of wood don’t even fit in the stove. Reluctantly, I put on my coat to go outside and cut and chop these large pieces into smaller pieces. When it is cut to the right size, it will go into the stove.

In fact, our bodies are a kind of stove, which keeps us warm. Firewood can consist of carbohydrates, proteins or fats. After all, carbohydrates are fast-acting fuels. They can be compared to the kindling we use to light the fireplace. Carbohydrates are sugars, which originate in large quantities from plants. They are produced during the process of photosynthesis. Human or animal bodies can only burn monosaccharides. These occur in glucose (grape sugar), fructose (fruit sugar), ribose (sugar composed of 5 carbon atoms) and galactose (composed of glucose and part of lactose).

In addition to warmth, these sugars also provide food for the brain. Without this glucose syrup our beloved pigeons cannot survive. Fuels are divided into two groups. We will start with the ignition.

Mono-saccharides(dextrose and fructose)

Glucose is also known as dextrose or dextrose. Monosaccharides

are the simplest carbohydrates. These are again divided into different groups. It is important for us to know that they provide the most direct fuel for warmth and fuel for muscle activity (alpha-1, 4 bonds). There are also sugars that become active only when, for example during a race, fats are consumed (alpha-1, 6 bonds).

disaccharide (lactose, maltose and sucrose)

These are again the smallest pieces of wood from the tree. If we divide them into two parts, they will be put in the stove and we can burn them. Some of these double sugars are for example lactase from milk and maltose from sprouted barley. Sucrose also belongs to this group. It is found in the sugar of carrots and beets. Tests have shown that more than 4% lactose in food or drinking water should be avoided. Lactose reaches the large intestine where it can only be partially converted by intestinal bacteria. This process removes a lot of water from the intestines. Too much yogurt or whey in food can be the cause of watery stools.

polysaccharides (Cellulose, starch and glycogen)

These are all trees that still need to be cut into firewood in order to fit into the stove. For pigeons, they are grains and legumes such as corn, peas, barley and wheat. They belong to the starch group. There is also a cellulose group. This raw cellulose helps in the digestion of different types of carbohydrates. Some grains are easier to cut than others.

Alpha-1, 6 bonds between 2 glucose molecules

Alpha-1, 4 bonds between 2 glucose molecules

We did the following test: in a three-section attic. Section 1 was fed a normal breeding mixture. Section 2 was fed 80% corn and 20% breeding mix. Section 3 was fed 80% hulled rice and hulled barley (pearl barley) + 20% breeding mix. The birds all exercised together. Pigeons fed only the breeding mixture were always the first birds returned. They practiced just above the attic. The corn pigeons fly far above, and the “rice and pearl barley” seemed like drops in the sky. There were three layers of pigeons flying at different heights. After half an hour to 45 minutes the “corn” pigeons flew higher.

When we switched the breeding mix section to the “corn mix” we saw that after a few days they were the ones that flew the most after 45 minutes. We kept rotating the food mixes between sections. The results were always as we wrote above. From this we can conclude that the energy (fuel) provided by corn becomes available later than the energy from white rice and hulled barley and that corn apparently consists of more types of polysaccharides than white rice. Perhaps this explains why pigeons that will be sent to longer races usually have extra corn in their diet.

Glycogen

All these forms of sugar together are called glycogen. When the energy is used in the stove, the wood turns black and what remains is called ash. When the bird uses energy the same kind of process takes place. It is called phosphorylysis. The enzyme that catalyzes the phosphorylase process breaks down the Alpha – 1, 4 bonds. These are “Kindling” carbs. Vitamin B6 is necessary for this process. Glycogen is found in the liver and muscles.

During the races

During heavy effort, humans use 60% carbohydrates, pigeons are different. The liver produces glycogen to keep the body warm. If we feed more glucose and glycogen than the pigeon’s daily needs, then the liver can also produce fatty acids from them. The blood carries these fatty acids to the red muscle fibers. Some of the glycogen is transported from the blood to the white muscle fibers. A pigeon has approximately 15% white muscle fibers and 85% red muscle fibers. This is much more than a chicken that has almost all white muscle fibers. In the chest of the pigeon we can find many red muscle fibers.

If we make sure that just before the race a proportionally high percentage of glucose is found in glycogen, then the fuel will burn faster. The liver will also produce more fatty acids. This is the result of an understanding.

In fact it offers only a small advantage in short races. After 10 minutes, the fuel in the white muscle fiber in the breast is used up. The fuel stored in the white muscle fiber (glycogen) is used by the pigeon to achieve altitude and flight speed. After that it uses the fast “burning” sugars (Alpha-1, 4 bonds) stored in the blood and liver. When the glucose is depleted, then the enzymes process the disaccharides and finally, the polysaccharides are broken down and converted into monosaccharides.

When the “fast sugars” are all consumed, then the fatty acids that were created from the excess sugars in the food, which the liver turned into fatty acids, become the fuel supply. Some of them are still present in the blood. They were on their way to the red muscle fibers, but not yet stored there. These will be used first.

After a short period of time, the fatty acids stored in the red muscle fibers come into play. After 40 to 60 minutes of flight, the pigeon uses exclusively the fatty acids stored in the red muscle fibers. Fats have the advantage of leaving little residue in the bloodstream as they are burned as fuel, although they burn more slowly than glycogen. The pigeon can fly faster (wingbeats per minute) on glycogen, but fatty acids provide more energy. Fats are 9.2 kilocalories per kilogram while carbohydrates are 4.0 kilocalories per kilogram.

Wooden box

When the pigeon uses fat as fuel and a bird of prey comes along, then the pigeon will use any available glycogen (Alpha 1, 6 links) in order to get away quickly. These are what we can call “flashes” in the wooden box. It is ready for use whenever we need to quickly re-ignite the stove.

After the race

The pigeon first uses glucose and glycogen (Alpha 1, 4 bond), then fats. When the bird has used up all its fatty acids, it will then use any remaining glycogen (Alpha bonds 1, 6). When these are exhausted, then the pigeon will start using that “character”. That is, it begins to use its own body; it burns its own muscles, proteins. There are many pigeons with little character. These will come down to rest and look for water and food. If they still come home it will be too late. “Birds of character” continue. Protein or muscle burning is accompanied by muscle cramps and is very uncomfortable for the pigeon. A pigeon that goes through this will often take weeks to recover.

Eating carbohydrate-rich food after a race is very important. The pigeon that has used up all its glycogen needs to light its stove quickly

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