Carbo Loading, Exercise and Low Carb Diets – Part 1

I’m a member of a local running group, and “carbo loading” is encouraged in the week leading up to a race. I find this amazing, since I thought that went out in the 80’s! However, it is still alive and well in various endurance sports groups.

The fact is that the fuel you want to use during endurance exercise is fat, not sugar. “Carbo loading” simply ensures that you have full glycogen stores, which means using sugar for fuel. The more efficient you are at fat burning, the longer you will be able to go. Stu Mittleman (Slow Burn), one of the great distance runners of all time, eats a diet of 40-30-30 (carbs-protein-fat) most of the time, but when he is training for an event, he increases his fat intake to about 50%- not the carbs!

So I would say (and the science would agree) that there is no point in carbo loading before an event, unless you want to store some extra fat (don’t laugh, it’s probably a good idea for English Channel swimmers!)

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