Athletes and high-carb diets have gone together like sneakers and shoelaces since most of us can remember. But is all that hype really necessary? The truth is, many athletes are beginning to look at carbs in a new light. While they certainly play an essential role in training, scientists have discovered that they may have gotten the key to continuous and sustained energy all wrong.
There’s no doubt that maintaining blood glucose levels is crucial to help in the prevention of premature fatigue and optimal performance. Many athletes rely on sports drinks and gels as they replenish muscle and liver glycogen in an effort to restore their body after intense training and competition. But what about before the performance or even during?
Researchers used to believe that foods high in carbohydrates caused blood glucose levels to rapidly rise and then quickly drop precipitously. They also believed that complex carbs offered little change to blood glucose levels.
But guess what? Current research is proving that the glycemic response can actually vary significantly. Meaning, scientists are referring more and more to the glycemic index and glycemic load to help clarify which foods should be eaten and at which times to maximize performance.
They have found that athletes that consume moderate and low GI foods are increasingly performing better because glucose is released slowly and steadily into the bloodstream. Because of that, athletes are noticing sustained energy throughout the sport rather than a major dip in energy. So it makes sense that those who want to minimize changes in blood glucose should consistently choose low to medium GI food types. When rapid carbohydrate replacement is not critical, foods like SoLo energy bars can be a healthy and satisfying choice. Similarly, athletes and distance runners interested in promoting sustained energy during their activity should select low glycemic food choices. Move over bagels and pasta, SoLo energy bars are one of the best options for athletic performance!
The scientific significance of the practical applications for glycemic response is clearly still evolving. In some ways, a low glycemic response may result from a less fast entry of carbs into the bloodstream or as a result of quick removal from the blood into the muscles. Therefore, it can be determined, that some low glycemic foods may actually be preferable for speeding recovery. Continued research on the topic will undoubtedly help refine the practical recommendations for athletes and fitness fanatics alike.