Monday, February 4, 2013

Best Food for Carbo Loading

Every endurance athlete has their favorite foods for pre-race carbo loading. A big plate of spaghetti bolognese was the tradition, and still is for many. But its not the only source of high-carbohydrate foods. So, which other foods will get you through a long race or a hard weekend of training? 

Above is a chart ranking the carbohydrate content of various cooked foods, assuming a 100 gram portion. The data shows that white rice, pasta, and corn provide the most carbs. 

I pretty much eliminated pasta from my diet three years ago. Despite its high carbohydrate content, pasta supplies zero nutritional value and digests very slowly. Instead, I tend to eat a lot of sweet potatoes and rice. (Brown rice is more nutritious than white rice, which is processed). I'll even eat a couple of sweet potatoes or a small bowl of rice with my breakfast just before the race or training session.

In New Zealand, I eat Kumara for sweet potatoes, but in the US, I liked Garnet Yams the most (Garnet Yams are not technically yams; they are sweet potatoes). Quinoa became popular in the US after they were mentioned in the book "Born to Run" by Christopher McDougall.

I will write about carbohydrate sources and their nutritional value, Glycemic Index, and Glycemic Load in a later post.

Data source:

1 comment:

  1. The belief that brown rice is "more nutritious" than white rice doesn't tell the whole story. Both white and brown rice are relatively low in nutrients compared to sweet potatoes. However, brown rice is HIGHER in Phytic acid, which blocks nutrient absorption, among other things... Good thing you gave up pasta and hopefully other sources of Gluten and WGA. Would be interesting to get your take on other good carb sources like Yucca and Taro.