Saturday, January 08, 2011

Carbohydrate Replacement

Today I have written something we all as cyclists should know about, and that is carbohydrate replacement and being someone who is guilty of not drinking or eating enough, I just want to remind everyone during this hot time of year about carbo replacement.

Sports drink - IMage borrowed from deviantart
 Am I qualified to write about this, I have a B Health Sc and am now into my second degree, this time it is Food and Nutrition with a view to becoming a dietitian someday so I do read about stuff!

We know that you need adequate nutrition if you are undertaking physical exercise as activity needs fuel in the form of Carbohydrate (CHO) and Fat and to build and maintain lean tissues you need protein and you also need vitamins and minerals to support the metabolism of energy and tissue building. Don't forget water as it will help with distribution and also with heat management and waste management.

The main topic I am focusing on today is Glycogen Storage. Now when we eat glucose, the unused part is turned into glycogen and stored in he liver and the muscles. When we exert ourselves the body breaks down the glycogen and releases glucose into the bloodstream and we feel good and full of energy and can complete our workout. IT is when glycogen becomes depleted that our muscles become fatigued.

To maximise your supply of glucose you need to:-

1.  Eat a diet high in CHO
2. Consume some glucose during activity, especially activity of over 45 minutes
3. Eat CHO IMMEDIATELY following activity
4. Train your muscles to store as much glycogen as possible

How do we achieve No. 4?

Training will affect how much glycogen that your muscles will store. If you constantly deplete glycogen through hard training, your muscles will adapt to storing a larger amount of glycogen to support the work - Especially important for people training more than once a day.

Eating high CHO after physical activity will increase glycogen stores. A high CHO meal eaten within 15 minutes of the end of a training session will accelerate the rate of glycogen storage by 300 per cent. You have a window of approximately 2 hours after training to replace CHO to ensure that your muscles will accumulate glycogen.


"Chocolate Milk"
Milk and Chocolate - Borrowed image from Deviant art

But what about my sports drink?
Well chocolate milk contains CHO and protein which is what your poor depleted muscles need to recover. Water is simply not enough and as for sports drinks, they contain water but lack NATURALLY occurring protein and CHO found in milk. Milk also has Vitamins A & D and calcium which helps build muscle and with bone strength. Water gives you back fluid and energy drinks give you back electrolytes (along with a heap of sugar.....too much sugar and not too good for you). Milk is a smarter option.

If you want the scientific stuff:-
A study back in 2006 presented in the International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism, of 9 male endurance trained cyclists showed that chocolate milk with high CHO and protein content may be considered an effective alternative to commercial Fluid Replacement and Carbohydrate replacements for recovery from exhausting glycogen-depleting exercise.

NOTE - Post ride today (38C) hot weather I had a mix of ice, milk and choc toppi8ng in the blender - bloody beautiful, although I wouldn't advocate filling your bidons with Milk in this hot weather.......Not so good.

This is all food for thought


Mike J said...

Great post today. One of the reasons I like to ride is the Chocolate milk afterward. Nothing tastes better. I also like to add some whey protein to my chocolate milk. I read somewhere that is a good thing too. Do you have an opinion on that?

Mike J said...


Buttsy said...

Hey Mike, I just looked in one of my texts "Understanding Nutrition" by Whitney and Rolfes and they mention Whey protein as it is popular among athletes. Whey supplements when combined with strength training may increase protein synthesis slightly, but don't seem to enhance athletic performance (and the book gives a couple of references). Basically the book says if you think you need more whey then once glass of milk provides 1.5grams of whey. Personally I also believe you should never underestimate placebo effect either.....but good energy and protein containing food will support your training. There would also be other studies that show other benefits of whey..Nutrition is still in its relative infancy as there is so much to learn and time is a huge factor in studying long term effects of anything


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