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Nutrition for Athletes >> Are Carbohydrates Important
- Are Carbohydrates Important for Athletes
starches or sugars are eaten, the body changes them all to glucose,
the only form of carbohydrate used directly by muscles for energy.
Whether carbohydrates are in the form of starches (in vegetables
and grains), sucrose (table sugar), fructose (found in fruits
and juices) or lactose (milk sugar), carbohydrates are digested
and ultimately changed to glucose.
body uses this glucose in the blood for energy. Most glucose is
stored as glycogen in the liver and muscles. During exercise glycogen
is broken down in the muscles and provides energy. Usually there
is enough glycogen in muscles to provide fuel for 90-120 minutes
exercise and sports games do not use up glycogen stores so eating
carbohydrates during the activity usually isn't needed. But for
some athletes, eating or drinking carbohydrates during exercise
helps maintain their blood glucose and energy levels.
athletes need not be concerned with "carbohydrate loading," the
special technique of eating a lot of carbohydrates for several
days before an endurance event. Instead, focus on getting enough
carbohydrates everyday. The best way to ensure plenty of energy
for exercise is to eat a nutritious, balanced diet that is high
in carbohydrates and low in fat with lots of different foods.
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