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Carbs: top 10 for runners

Carbs: top 10 for runners

How many times before a race did you make a pasta dinner? Runners really need a carbohydrate diet.

The muscles are fed, mainly, by the energy that comes from this type of food. In this note, we list the best carbohydrates for runners .

There are several sports nutrition specialists who recommend that those who spend several hours running have about 60% of their daily calories supplied by carbohydrates.

However, it can’t be just any carbohydrate, of course. It is necessary to eat good quality food, at the right times: immediately before, during and just after exercise. Those that are high on the glycemic index are the best options.


Carbohydrate diet: learn to differentiate them

In all other circumstances of the day, the carbs should come from foods with a low glycemic index, which provide a longer form of energy and have better nutritional quality.

Just so you understand, the glycemic index (GI) is the rate at which the body releases sugar into the blood. The higher it is, the faster glucose will fall into the bloodstream, and therefore the more the body has to release insulin to counter that spike.

A study published in the scientific journal  Obesity affirms that consuming foods with a high glycemic index can damage the result of workouts. And that also has to do with insulin.

The body simply does not burn fat when levels of this hormone are high. In other words, eating super-high glycemic carbohydrates before you go for a run may not be a good idea.

Top 10 Carbs for Runners

Therefore, you need to have an adequate nutritional strategy to take better advantage of the carbs you consume. Here are the top 10 sources of this type of nutrient for those who run, and when to consume them:

1. Coconut water

Considered a natural isotonic, it is rich in carbohydrates and minerals such as sodium, potassium and magnesium. These minerals are lost through sweat. The ideal is to drink it in short runs, since it has fewer carbohydrates and calories compared to sports drinks.

2. Oats

Highly energetic, it is rich in B complex vitamins and helps in energy production. It contains soluble fibers that, in addition to regulating the intestinal tract, help reduce LDL cholesterol levels and blood glucose levels. Therefore, it is good to eat oatmeal two hours before exercise to avoid stomach upset.

3. Banana

A runner’s favorite, this fruit is an excellent source of energy before running, as well as being rich in potassium (a mineral that is lost in sweating) and vitamins C and B6.

4. Sweet potato

Rich in fiber, vitamin C, beta-carotene and minerals such as potassium, it can be a good option to consume before workouts. It can also be used for long runs. It is a fundamental ingredient for a good carbohydrate diet.

5. Carbohydrate gel

Energetic available in sachets, it has varied concentrations of carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals. Its consumption is recommended after one hour of running, due to the practicality and efficiency that influences performance and muscle recovery.

6. Isotonic

They are drinks that provide more minerals and carbohydrates to runners. Indicated for the replacement of fluids and electrolytes lost through intense sweating. Isotonics are only recommended for races of more than one hour.

7. Honey

Excellent natural source of carbohydrates. In addition to providing quick energy for the runner before, during and after the test, it has antioxidant vitamins and decongestant power. Its effect on runner performance resembles gels, according to some studies.

8. Breads and pasta

Carbohydrate sources are essential fuels for runners before running. Whole grains have more nutrients and fibers, since they are less processed, so they are more recommended. However, be careful on the day of the test.

It is good to avoid consuming the whole version before a race. The reason is because of the fibers that accelerate the intestinal tract causing gastric problems.

9. Raisins

According to some studies, it has benefits related to the improvement of the athlete’s performance during the run. They can be compared to the use of gels, with the advantage that they are natural, have a lower GI and a more pleasant taste, as well as being cheap and practical.

10. Quinoa

It is a very nutritious cereal, being an excellent source of carbohydrates and, also, very rich in protein. It is considered a food of high biological value, since it has all the essential amino acids that the body requires to function well.

Quinoa, a key part of a carbohydrate diet

Quinoa, in addition to replenishing energy lost during exercise, provides a high concentration of nutrients such as zinc, calcium, iron and B vitamins.

Beyond this very complete list that we give you, we always recommend consulting a nutritionist. It can also be other types of expert specialists in the field, who can advise you in the best way and as well as with carbohydrates. They can guide you on the foods that best serve your build and goals. 

For any athlete, it is not enough with training of bottoms or of passes, or with buying the best shoes. It is clear, without a balanced diet, we will not have the energy to go a little closer to our goals. A carbohydrate diet, with the best ones, including the ones on this list, will help you be the runner you always dreamed of. Not to mention that you will get a better performance in your daily activities.

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