Facts on Carbs, Bicycling Magazine, June 2012


I saw this in the June 2012 edition of Bicycling Magazine. I know that I pound a lot carbs, usually 60-65% of my daily intake and sometimes higher. This article had some good facts on how carbs help make us better riders. 1. Carbs make us faster riders and may even help make us more lean. Just drinking a drink with carbs and spitting it out before you race can cause the reward centers in your brain to react enabling you to ride harder. Ingesting carbs during a race or long ride has been proven to improve performance. 2. Not all carbs are created equal but there is a time and place for most of them. Its fine to mix simple (fructose, glucose) and complex carbs (fruits, vegetables, whole grains, etc). Complex take longer to breakdown and contain fiber which slows digestion but simple carbs can be used for that quick burst of energy. 3. If you feed your brain you will avoid bonking. You brain is like your body's file gauge as it oversees your speed and fuel. Run low on carbs and it will start to shut the engine down. you may not even be able to ride at mx intensity if your brain senses low carb stores. 4. When riding, you can ingest more than you may think. Studies have shown its possible to ingest up to 400 calories per hour. You do however need to train your body to this. if you usually ingest 200-250 calories per hour, you won't be able to go right to 400 but over time you can get there. 5. Gluten does not mean grain free. If going gluten free be sure that you're not going with just highly processed substitutes. Giving up gluten just for the sake of giving it up won't result in performance gains. The slow buying carbs and nutrients in wheat are an important part of an athletes diet. If you think you have a gluten issue, see your doctor.

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