Quick bites of nutrition news.
Is carb loading recommended anymore?
The practice of carb loading started with marathon runners in their attempt to store as much muscle glycogen as possible to use during competition. Originally, it was combined with periods of low-carb dieting and exhaustive exercise. Performance analysis studies found that this depletion/repletion pattern was unnecessary for runners to maximize glycogen storage and even produced an irregular heartbeat in some athletes.
Some runners still practice a modified version of carb loading that calls for eating a moderate amount of carbohydrates (40 to 60 percent of calories from carbohydrates) during regular training. Two to three days before competing, the athlete bumps up her carb intake to 70 percent of calories from starchy carbohydrates, such as pasta, potatoes, rice and bread.
For normal exercise and less intense competition, carb loading is not necessary or recommended. A meal should be eaten three to four hours before a competition, and athletes should perform on a fairly empty but not hungry stomach and drink water before, during and after.