Carbohydrates are probably the most discussed macronutrient in relation to endurance sports. We all know carbs serve mainly as a source of energy but that still leaves many questions unanswered. What are fast and slow carbs? Which foods are good sources of carbs and which should we avoid? Let’s take a closer look.
Simple sugars during or post workout
Simple sugars give us energy fast, but only for a short period of time. Look for them on food labels. Glucose is the most common monosaccharide – the body uses it directly for energy. Others are fructose (fruit sugar), sucrose (table sugar), maltose (two glucose molecules), or lactose (milk sugar). Simple sugars are great to replenish energy after a workout or as a fuel during a long and difficult one. Choose sugars from wholesome foods like fruit or dairy, if you tolerate it well, and avoid added sugars as much as you can.
Complex carbs to keep your glycogen topped off
Complex carbohydrates give us energy slowly, for a longer period of time. Good sources are starchy foods like potatoes, rice, sourdough bread, pumpkin, corn, and all legumes. Glycogen is also a complex carbohydrate, that’s how the body stores glucose for later use. Fiber belongs to this group as well, we just can’t digest it so it helps our intestinal motility and serves as food for the microbiome. Avoid sources of complex carbs that have been highly processed or prepared at high temperatures like fried potatoes or refined wheat flour.
Recipe: Oatmeal with berries
This recipe serves two; each portion contain both simple and complex carbs, 88 g in total, 12 g of fiber, 21 g of good fats, and 18 g of proteins. With this composition, it will be a good post workout meal that replenishes glycogen reserves.
• 200 g oats, crushed
• mix of berries, handful
• 200 ml milk
• 200 ml water
• 20 g dried coconut, grated
• 1 tbsp butter
• 1 tbsp coconut sugar
1. Put oats in a saucepan; pour in both milk and water and mix.
2. Bring to a boil and simmer for 10 minutes; stir regularly to prevent lumps and sticking to the bottom of the pan.
3. After the mixture turns into a thick porridge, add butter and coconut sugar and stir.
4. Serve the oatmeal dressed with fresh berries and dried coconut.