Last week I talked about low carb diets and running. This week we’re going to talk about high carb diets and whether they have a place in running.
High carb diets are needed by ultra runners who simply cannot consume enough calories to prevent them burning muscle which is obviously detrimental to performance. However, the type of carbohydrates need to be carefully considered. Carbohydrates can be especially useful for during long training runs and races. They are easy to transport, generally require no refrigeration and easy to eat. Bananas and energy bars are a firm favourite as they are easily digestible for most people.
A diet high in sugar i.e. cakes, biscuits, sweets and other processed or refined foods is not going to provide any nutritional value. Carbohydrates need to be consumed from wholemeal pasta or bread, brown rice and starchy vegetables such as sweet potato, butternut squash, carrots etc and fruit.
It’s important to remember that lots of foods have carbohydrates and we don’t always consider them when we think about where carbs come from in our diets. Most of the meat we eat especially red meat is no longer grass fed but now grain fed. This also the case for fish too. Fish do not naturally eat grain, they eat other fish and creatures in the sea. Even in protein foods such as meat and fish, we’re still eating carbohydrates. They’re also in all dairy products and obviously fruit and vegetables.
If you’re naturally used to a high carbohydrate then changing to a high protein diet suddenly can cause problems when training so it’s important to change over gradually. However, what is important is to get rid of the rubbish and processed foods and make sure you’re choosing sensible sources of carbs. Eating too many carbohydrates will still cause fat gain.
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