High Carbohydrate Eating — Are you getting enough?

by Clare Wood

Carbohydrate foods play a vital role as a training fuel. The critical source of energy for exercising muscles is from your body's carbohydrate stores - a little from blood glucose and a larger amount from glycogen stored in your muscles.

These stores are used up when you undertake activity and need to be refilled from the carbohydrate in your diet. Running low on carbohydrate causes fatigue - you may have experienced what it is like to run out of fuel.

The typical eating patterns of most western societies do not supply adequate carbohydrate, and the focus of a winning diet is to increase our intake of these fuel foods.

How much do you need?

To provide energy for a light to moderate training program, nutritionists recommend that carbohydrate food should make up more than half of total energy intake. Athletes with heavy daily training may need to eat higher levels than this to achieve their increased carbohydrate needs.

The amount needed also relates to your body weight, so the larger you are the more fuel you will need. The following is a guide for the different activity levels:

50 gram serves of nutritious carbohydrate rich foods


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Nutrition Extra

Athlete nutrition is not just about weight loss. It is important to fuel the body optimally before, during and after exercise, as well as to stay hydrated.

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