Sunday, November 14, 2010

Carbohydrates, Carbs, Sugars, Starches... Oh my!

Over the past couple of years carbohydrates have gotten a bad stigma and it seems that everyone is avoiding them in fear of losing their physique and adding inches to their waste. The fact of the matter is, no matter what kinds of foods you eat, if you eat more than what you need your body will store it! So before you continue reading this blog, get that notion out of your head if you hadn't already.

Let's quickly discuss what a carbohydrate is and where we can find them.

What exactly is a carbohydrate?
- Well depending on who you ask the definition will change a little bit. For the sake of simplicity and so we don't turn this into a chemistry lecture; carbohydrates are part of 3 different macro-nutrients which consists of fat, protein, and carbohydrates.

What foods are carbohydrates?
- Simply check the nutritional label to see how many carbohydrates a food has and if it doesn't foods high in carbs are usually rice, beans, cereals, fruits, potatoes, bread etc.

So why all this talk about carbohydrates? Because there is more to this fantastic organic compound then just how delicious it tastes.

A recent study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research studied the effect of a "low carbohydrate beverage with added protein on cycling endurance performance in trained athletes."

We all know that carbs during long endurance exercise helps, that's why Gatorade is so widely used now but what happens when you add protein to a carb drink?

According to the study "compared to a 6% [carbohydrate] supplement, a mixture of carbohydrates plus a moderate amount of protein can improve aerobic endurance at exercise intensities near the [ventilatory threshold], despite containing lower total carbohydrate and caloric content." (the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, Volume 24 | Number 10 | October 2010 | 2577)

So this begs the question, "How much did this really help?" The time till exhaustion in the group with protein and carbs mixed in their water was 19.3% greater than the group with only carbohydrates in their water.

On a side note the main point of this study was not to see whether or not protein made a difference, it was actually to see if a lower caloric carb + protein drink still made a difference in endurance. And it did.

So just to sum this all up, if you're dieting and are doing some really long endurance cardiovascular training and want to keep you're calories low, go ahead and spike you're low calorie Gatorade with some protein and sip on it throughout your workout. Your workout could be 19.3% better.

- Noel Cerda

1 comment:

  1. Cool! Will try it on my next long cycle ride!