When asked what is the essential food source a body needs to maintain active training many people will answer protein. While it is true that protein is vital for maintaining muscle, especially if you are looking to build strength, it is in fact carbohydrates that are the most important. Yet many people underestimate the importance of carbohydrates due to the bad reputation they have acquired over the years. In this article we examine which carbohydrates to consume, the importance of carbohydrates for training, and look at why carbohydrates are essential for an athlete’s diet.
There are many different types of carbohydrates that vary from simple carbohydrates to complex carbs. The nutrition site Healthaliciousness created a list of carbohydrates that should be limited or avoided. At the top of the list was sugar that can be found in obvious foods such as fizzy drinks and chocolates, to the less obvious like breakfast cereals. The site also recommends limiting white carbs such as pasta, white bread, and French fries.
On the flip side there are plenty of carbs that can be consumed that will aid with training. Health.com put corn at the top of their list informing that despite the fact it gets a bad rep it is a good source of fiber and vitamin C. Interestingly the site also states that white potatoes are a good source of carbohydrates as they contain 15% of the recommended daily dose of fiber, with the skin on of course.
For those seeking to stay fit and healthy carbohydrates are necessary to train daily or every other day. The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations reports that many studies have been done on the relationship between carbohydrates and endurance. The results show that that there is a strong link between diet and exercise with a high carbohydrate diet producing double the exercise times to more balanced diets. The study also found that replacing carbohydrates is one of the most important processes in muscle recovery after exercise.
One sport where eating carbs is vital for endurance is soccer. In an interview with leading sports nutritionist James Collins, The Telegraph report that soccer players eat lots of different types of carbs other than pasta and rice. These include more unusual choices such as amaranth and farro which are brown grains ideal for releasing energy slowly. Soccer players are some of the fittest athletes on the planet with Premier League preview website Betfair writing that the highest distance covered collectively by a team during a 90 minute match in England is approximately 119.1km. A balanced diet with a strong emphasis on carbohydrates makes this type of endurance possible and can be applied to those who are looking to increase their own fitness and endurance levels.
There is a lot of information related to carbohydrates on the Internet that recommend low carbohydrate diets. What studies have shown is that if you want to be physically active and fit then the right carbohydrates need to take the top spot in your diet.