Let’s face it, carbohydrates get a bad rap.
Many of the most popular fad diets out there are based primarily on the erroneous notion that removing carbohydrates from one’s diet is the key to weight loss ( untrue).
There is a growing anti-sugar movement ( sugar is a carbohydrate) that, however justified and well-meaning it may be, literally has my clients avoiding fruit intake for fear of their health.
Now, for the average sedentary person avoiding healthy carbohydrate rich foods is bad.
However, for the very active person, avoiding carbohydrates is down right disastrous.
Here’s why, according to the Dietitian’s of Canada Report on Sports Nutrition:
1. Carbohydrate is the primary and most efficient source of fuel for your muscles. It gives you more energy for less input, as compared to fat. Keep this in mind if you are currently pursuing a high fat eating pattern, which is never recommended for optimal athletic performance.
2. Unlike fat, the amount of carbohydrate our bodies can store is relatively limited. Your body puts fat in all sorts of places, but there is only so much glycogen that your body can store at any given time. Carbohydrate fuels exercise and exercise can drastically impact the amount of carbohydrate that remains in your body. What does this mean to you? You need to make sure you regulate those stores with adequate and regular carbohydrate consumption.
3. If you regularly engage in high-intensity exercise of long duration, there is a direct link to the adequacy of your carbohydrate intake and storage and your performance. If your carbohydrate intake is inadequate, your skills may suffer, you may feel more easily fatigued and you won’t be able to work as hard. None of those sound appealing, do they?
There you have it folks, a call to action for any active people ( athletes & weekend warriors included) who may not have been giving their carbohydrate intake the due diligence it deserves.
Andy De Santis RD MPH