Nutrition Information – Get to know your “Macros” Part I – Carbohydrates

GET TO KNOW YOUR “MACROS” – CARBOHYDRATES

This information is in an effort to help athletes understand where their calories are coming from. Carbohydrates, Proteins, and Fats are the nutrients our calories are made up of, and all three play an important, and albeit different role in our nutrition, which impacts both performance and recovery. Athletes should implement this information into their daily nutrition in order to maximize training, and performance in competitions.

WHAT ARE CARBOHYDRATES?

“Carbs” are the sugars, starches, and fibers found in fruits, grains, vegetable, and milk products. The primary purpose of Carbohydrates is a fast and efficient energy source for our bodies.

 

CARBOHYDRATE – CALORIE PROFILE

1 gram of Carbohydrate = 4 calories

The National Institute of Health suggests that 45-65% of your daily calories should come from carbohydrates (I would advise that athletes are closer to the 65% end of the range). Example: If you eat 2,500 calories a day, 1,125 – 1,625 of those calories should come from carbohydrates.

*Carbohydrates are listed in grams, so to determine the number of grams that would be within the amount of calories coming from carbohydrates, divide the calories by 4 (1 g carb = 4 calories). Example:  1,125-1,625 carbohydrate calories = 281-406 grams of carbohydrates.

 

POPULAR FOODS AND CARBOHYDRATE AMOUNTS

Rice (1 cup cooked) – 45 g            Medium Potato – 40 g                   Pasta (1 cup cooked) – 45g

Bread (1 slice) – 15 g                       Cereal (1 cup) – 55g                        Oatmeal (1 cup) – 30 g

Fruit (1 cup) – 15 g                           Banana – 25g                                     Bagel – 50g

Tortilla – 45g                                       Donut – 30g                                        Pizza (1 slice) – 35g

Beans (1/2 cup) – 30g                     Nuts (1 cup) – 30g                            Peas (1 cup) – 20g

Soda (12oz.) – 40g                           Milk (1 cup) – 12g                             Gatorade (20oz) – 35g

Chicken / Beef / Fish / Eggs – 0 Carbs

 

GOOD CARBS vs. BAD CARBS

A 12oz. soda has 40g of carbs = 160 calories

A medium Potato has 40g or carbs = 160 calories

The soda has “empty” calories, consisting of sugar and no other nutrients. The potato on the other hand is full of vitamins and minerals and will fill you up for a longer period of time. When choosing your carbs, the number of calories may be the same, but are you getting the most nutrients from those calories?

 

SIMPLE vs. COMPLEX

Carbohydrates are classified into 2 groups “simple” and “complex”. The difference in the two categories is how fast they are absorbed, and are able to be used by the body. While ALL carbohydrates can be considered a quick form of energy, simple carbs can spike energy levels more rapidly than complex. However, this energy also burns off at a faster rate.

Example of Simple carbs – Fruits, sucrose, lactose, syrup, galactose (milk)

Example of Complex carbs – rice, bread, potatoes, pasta, cereals, beans, vegetables

 

CARBOHYDRATE CONSUMPTION AROUND TRAINING

Simple Carbs: (Gatorade, Banana, Fruit, Milk) should be consumed around training and competition. After training your body’s carbohydrate stores are low or depleted. Your body will go to these stores searching for energy. If it finds nothing, then it will begin converting proteins into energy. If this process takes place, the protein cannot rebuild the broken down muscle tissue from training, diminishing recovery. To avoid this, it is imperative to refill depleted carbohydrate stores as quickly as possible using Simple carbohydrates.

Consuming simple carbohydrates before training can also be used as a strategy for a quick source of energy, however it is important to know the effect the food you eat before training has on your digestive system and won’t cause any gastrointestinal distress.

Complex Carbohydrates should be eaten with regular meals, every 3 hours throughout the day. Be sure to consume a complex carbohydrate meal within 1 hour of completing training.

CARBOHYDRATES = ENERGY

  • Carbohydrates are the body’s primary and favorite source of energy during exercise.
  • Carbohydrates are the fastest and most efficient source of energy.
  • When the body has no carbohydrate stores, it must turn to alternative sources of fuel, such as protein. When this happens, the protein can no longer be used for its intended purpose- rebuilding muscle.
  • Carbohydrates are also linked to brain function, mood, and memory, so not only will they benefit you in your training, but they will help you throughout the school day.

EXAMPLE CARBOHYDRATE CONSUMPTION THROUGHOUT THE DAY:

Daily calories: 2,500

Daily calories from Carbs: 1,500 (60%)

Daily grams of Carbs: 375

Meals

Breakfast:  80g (1 cup Cereal – 55 g, Banana – 25g)

Lunch: 75g (2 slice bread – 30g, 1 cup fruit – 15g, 1 cup Nuts – 30g)

Pre-workout snack: 35g (1/2 bagel & Peanut Butter)

Post- workout snack: 35g (20oz gatorade or 12oz milk + fruit)

Post- workout meal: 65g (1 cup Rice – 45g, 1 cup Peas – 20g)

Dinner: 85g (1 cup Pasta – 45g, Sauce – 15g, Veggie – 15g, Roll – 10g)