Carbohydrates are Important for Athletes

912742_wild_riceFor some reason when you hear the words “diet” and “athlete” together you immediately think protein. Maybe it is the images of all the body builders drinking their protein shakes that you cannot get out of your head. Or, maybe protein is just talked about a lot, especially if you want to be lean. However, did you realize that for an athlete the most important nutrient is not protein? Although protein is beneficial, athletes gain the most from the amount of carbohydrates stored in their body.

Carbohydrates are particularly important to athletes during the beginning stages of exercise. They provide the athlete with approximately 40 to 50 percent of their energy requirement. Additionally, the carbohydrates in an athlete’s body yield more energy per unit of oxygen than any other nutrient. And, as an athlete begins to increase the intensity of their workout, the utilization of the carbohydrates in their body also increases.

Because of carbohydrates extreme importance athletes will eat foods high in carbohydrates such as spaghetti, potatoes, lasagna, cereals, and other grain products. They will usually consume these foods a few hours before the event. However, if the event is going to require a lot of endurance, than the will most likely start consuming high carbohydrate meals up to 3 days prior to the event.

Sports Nutrition

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