There are a lot of myths about carbohydrates. One of them is that carbs are unhealthy and unnecessary for our body. Let us explain why that is wrong.

We do need carbohydrates in our body. However, the amount of carbohydrate taken in differs from person to person.

So how much carbohydrate is the right amount?

This depends on many factors including specific goals, levels of activity, and body mass. To help you effectively, we’ll need to look at some basic math!

Requirements for carbohydrate intake vary even more than those for protein. At the same time, this factor is very dependent on the type and duration of training. Somewhere in the region of 5-7 grams daily per kg of body weight is suitable for people that exercise regularly. Yet, if you exercise more intensely or are an endurance athlete this number can rise.

Now, let’s reveal why carbohydrate intake is important in your diet, especially if you train regularly.

Scientists at Loughborough University made a research on this topic. They discovered that 2.5 g carbohydrate per kg of body weight, consumed approximately 3 hours before exercise, improved endurance performance.

As an addition to the mentioned research, in 2004, Hargreaves Et Al found that the ideal time to eat before training should be between 2 and 4 hours. This eating pattern increases muscle and liver glycogen stores whilst preventing any gastro-intestinal discomfort.

Immediately following exercise, the glycogen supply is at its most rapid, approximately 150% the normal rate of absorption. As a result of the increased rate of absorption it is an ideal time to take this opportunity to consume a recovery protein shake.

This being said, we are sure you want to know how exactly carbohydrates act on your body.

When talking about carbohydrate consumption, it is necessary to talk about the glycemic index to. This one plays an important role when it comes to how carbohydrate intake influence our body.

The glycemic index measures how much carbohydrate is in the food and how much each gram of carbohydrate in the food raises blood glucose levels. To calculate the glycemic load you would take the grams of available carbohydrate in the food x the food’s GI / 100.

Glycemic index is described on a scale from 0 to 100 where pure glucose is 100. A high Gl (70 or above) affects blood sugar quickly, and a low Gl (55 or below) affects it slowly. Therefore, when people refer to eating low Gl foods they refer to foods that are 55 or below on the index. This prevents blood glucose peaks and troughs that can cause inactivity and weight gain.

Glycemic Index and Carbohydrate Mass in Foods

If you are an athlete, are doing high intensity workouts or are working on a different sport related goal and you need to increase the daily calorie intake, you may opt for a carbohydrate based food supplement.

Many products will include carbohydrates and the majority of these will use simple carbohydrates, such as dextrose, for rapid replenishment and increased absorption rates. In the meantime, some other products will use lower Gl sources such as oats.

If you include these type of supplements in your diet, here are some benefits that you may notice:

  • It will contribute to the maintenance of endurance performance during prolonged endurance exercise.
  • Enhanced water absorption during physical exercise.
  • If it happens that the supplement contains Vitamin B6, it will maintain normal protein and glycogen metabolism, as well as reduction of tiredness and fatigue.

Fun Fact!

Tour de France cyclists consume a third of their carbohydrates in liquid form due to the high volumes of carbohydrates required to meet the demands of their event.

If you want to find out what is the right carb intake amount for you, do not hesitate to consult our nutritionist.