How athletes can use carbs to their advantage

By Jensyn Hartzell 

Sports Editor

Carbohydrates, better known as carbs for short, are the main source for the body’s energy. Carbs are most commonly associated with pasta, but there are many kinds of carbs.

According to Live Science, “carbohydrates are the sugars, starches, and fibers found in fruits, grains, vegetables, and milk products.” 

There are what is known as “good cards” and “bad carbs.” 

According to Live Science, good carbs are foods like grains, pasta, vegetables, fruit, and beans. Bad carbs include refined grains, pastries, or soda. 

Bad carbs can also include greasy meals like hotdogs, hamburgers, and pizza. 

While carbs have recently gotten a negative reputation by trendy diets and society, carbs are extremely important for a healthy diet. Carbohydrates are especially important for athletes as they work out so frequently, requiring them to use more energy. 

According to Live Science, carbohydrates are “essential for proper body functioning and the body requires large amounts of them.” The body does not produce the type of energy found in carbohydrates on its own, that is why people must eat them.

Athletes consistently watch what they are eating and when, especially with carbs. 

“Our team always had pasta dinners the night before games,” senior captain of the Washington College women’s volleyball team Kylie Peets said. “The high carbs are great for giving us the energy we need for games.”

According to Live Science, carbs take longer than other foods to digest. The timing of the carb ingestion for the team allowed the pasta to digipest overnight and the energy to go into the body and be ready when they were playing the next day. 

“Consuming carbohydrates during the postworkout period enables us to replace muscle glycogen and improve recovery,” certified dietician for Precision Nutrition Ryan Andrews said. “Like a sponge, we draw in all that tasty glycogen and much more readily immediately after training.”

“I really like eating carbs after workouts because it helps fill me easily and always taste good,” junior WC men’s lacrosse player Matt Haag said. 

“Some of my favorite memories are having pasta dinners with my teams the night before playing,” said WC freshman men’s lacrosse player William Hale. “I really do feel the difference the next day if I don’t eat enough carbs.” 

Eating carbs after or several hours before a workout is the best time since the metabolism will convert the food to energy that will be ready to use for physical activity. 

According to Live Science, “if the body has insufficient carbohydrate intake or stores, it will consume protein for fuel. This is problematic because the body needs protein to make muscles.” 

Live Science also states that not consuming enough carbohydrates can lead to hypoglycemia, which is caused by a lack of glucose in the body that is obtained from carbs. 

So overall, consuming carbs in a healthy moderation and with timing in mind, will give anyone the ample amount of energy to keep them going throughout the day. 

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