Carbohydrate is a fundamental element in the body.
This should constitute 50% of the general diet, more for people practicing physical activity or sports on a regular basis.
Indeed, the efforts made during running or jogging sessions require a balanced diet rich in saccharides, because they are the main source of energy for the human body.
However, in recent times, low carbohydrate or low carb diets are in fashion, especially among athletes.
Also, given the energizing role of carbohydrate, is it recommended to follow low-carb diets while performing regular running sessions?
Elements of answers in the following lines.
CARBOHYDRATES: THE NEEDS OF THE SPORTSMAN
Generally speaking, a human being needs 200 g of carbohydrate every day. This quantity corresponds to 60% of the energy reserves consumed. This requirement amounts to a minimum of 5%.
Thus, the carbohydrate plays an essential role for the organism, in particular at the level of the brain cells where it provides 100% of the energy resources. A standard adult requires a carbohydrate dose of around 2500 kcal per day.
It goes without saying that a person who practices regular physical activity such as running requires a higher carbohydrate intake than that of a standard individual. Indeed, a running session requires an additional intake of 800 to 900 kcal for a 10 km run.
By way of comparison, professional athletes practicing endurance sports, such as runners in the Tour de France, have an energy requirement 2 to 3 times higher than normal.
Thus, it goes without saying that the blood sugar of an athlete must be higher than that of a sedentary individual. As a reminder, glycaemia represents the quantity of glucose stored in the blood plasma, glucose being a molecule provided by the carbohydrate.
WHAT IS A LOW-CARB DIET?
Paleo diet, Atkins, South Beach or even ketogenic diet, it is a diet aimed at minimizing the amount of carbohydrate consumed.
Concretely, as part of the implementation of these low carbohydrate diets, the consumption of fruits, starches and other legumes will have to be revised downwards in favor of other macronutrients.
The goal to reach varies from 15 to 120 grams per day, the minimum threshold corresponding to that of the ketogenic diet. The main objective of the low-carb diet is to maintain body mass, and even promote a rapid reduction in fat mass, while continuing to provide good physical performance or to improve it during sports sessions.
This type of diet is particularly effective during the first days of deprivation. Thus, if a low carbohydrate diet is useful for regaining the line, rebalancing your health and boosting your energy, it is necessary to define what is the ideal proportion to consume.
This is where the problems start, especially with runners. Because the terms poor or low are often relative, they can be confusing, hence the need to know exactly how much energy is enough for oneself.
During running sessions, the quantity and type of food to consume is different before the session, during and during recovery times, as well as obviously depending on the type of race.
THE NUTRITIONIST’S OPINION
Hugo Blanc, a nutrition coach, says carbohydrates make up 55% of Westerners’ diets. This is 45% among the French.
Also according to the conclusions of this expert, the sugars marketed by the food industries have favored phenomena such as mass obesity and the health problems that go with it.
In general, this is due to foods containing refined sugar, a substance with which you should be particularly vigilant.
Also, it is obvious that low carb diets are necessary for these people accustomed to a diet rich in sugars and other refined carbohydrate substances.
It can be dangerous to restrict your carbohydrate consumption, because you run the risk of hypoglycemia, especially during running sessions requiring intense effort.
Nevertheless, if we find a good balance in our consumption of carbohydrates, our state of health will benefit greatly.
A diet rich in carbohydrates and perfectly balanced is essential to maintain or improve sports performance. Carbohydrate is the true source of energy for the runner during a running session of short duration and high intensity.
Nevertheless, we see more and more high-level athletes adopting the very low carbohydrate diet for the energy it provides via fats and proteins: rugby players, cyclists, triathlon and ultra-endurance runners, etc. .
Thus, if you join a low carbohydrate diet program, it is better to rely on the advice of a nutritionist to assess exactly what is the ideal amount for you and the appropriate periodization.
If we manage to define the timing and the optimal quantity, we can hope for an improvement in sports performance, especially during long endurance and/or low-intensity events.