Carbohydrates -- your body's preferred fuel -- come from a wide variety of foods. Fruits and vegetables provide carbohydrates, fiber, vitamins and minerals. Carbohydrates can provide you with energy for workouts or athletic events, but eaten to excess, they will get stored as fat. So though you might need to increase your carbohydrate intake, do so slowly at first to avoid storing fat you will need to burn off at a later date. Consult your doctor before making any drastic changes to your diet.
Eat fruit with every meal. One half-cup of fruit will provide you with additional slow-burning carbohydrates. Strawberries, blueberries and cherries are ideal, as they are the slowest-digesting carbohydrates your diet will contain.
Eat vegetables with every meal. Green vegetables are good choices, being very high in fiber and important minerals. One cup of vegetables per meal increases your carbohydrate intake and the fiber provides a feeling of fullness.
Eat complex grains and avoid processed grains. Whole, non-processed wheat is slower to digest that highly processed white flower. The more quickly your body digests a carbohydrate, the faster you must use it. Carbohydrates not used for energy wind up stored as fat.
Consume a quickly digesting sugar immediately after exercise. Your body will use a simple sugar such as dextrose or maltodextrin to restore the sugar that your muscles burned during exercise. This promotes recovery and increases the rate at which you can train. Consult your doctor before taking supplements of any kind.
- "Physiology of Sport and Exercise, Fourth Edition"; Dr. Jack H. Wilmore, et al.; 2007
- "Nutrition: Concepts and Controversies"; Frances Sizer, et al.; 2007