HomeHealth and FitnessBest Carbohydrates Foods for Athletes & Its Impact on Performance
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Best Carbohydrates Foods for Athletes & Its Impact on Performance

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Nutrition is necessary for every human being, be it a person with a desk job, a housewife, a working woman, or an athlete. Well, just feeding the belly isn’t enough, if the food inside your stomach doesn’t contain the right amount of micro and macronutrients, the results will be adverse. This article will give you information about maronutrients, micronutrients, carbohydrates, carbohydrates definition, benefits of carbohydrates, effects of low carbohydrates, best carbohydrates food, low carb foods, high carb foods, low carb diet and a lot more.

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What are macro-nutrients?

The Macronutrients are the nutritive components of food that the body needs for energy and to maintain the body’s structure and systems. The major three macronutrients are Carbohydrates, fat, and protein. One of the most important macronutrients i.e carbohydrates act as fuel to your body & provides you with energy for daily activities.

What are micro-nutrients?

Micronutrients are nutrients that are required by the body in lesser amounts for its growth and development. It plays a major role in the metabolic activities of the body. The major micronutrients required by the body include vitamins and minerals. 

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What are carbohydrates?

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Carbohydrates are colloquially called ‘carbs’. They provide energy to our muscles and the central nervous system during movement and exercise. Around 45-60% of calories requirement comes from carbohydrates and the rest from proteins, fats, and other micronutrients.

Carbs are the primary fuel on which the body works, for an athlete, carbs are necessary to push the limits.

Also Read | Complete list of best vitamin food sources & supplements for athletes

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Definition of carbohydrates

Scientifically the definition of carbohydrates is – “Carbohydrate is a group of organic compounds occurring in living tissues and foods in the form of starch, cellulose, and sugars. The ratio of oxygen and hydrogen in carbohydrates is the same as in water i.e. 2:1. It typically breaks down in the animal body to release energy”.

Carbs contain carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen at chemical levels, hence the name carbohydrates.

Carbohydrates have two types; simple and complex carbohydrates. The simple ones are again divided into monosaccharides and disaccharides while the complex carbs have only one type which is Polysaccharides.

Primary function of carbohydrates foods

  • To provide energy.
  • Store energy.
  • Create macromolecules.
  • Spare protein and fat for other uses.

Also Read | Top 10 Best Protein Powders: Start the Right ‘Whey’ TodayTop Ten Best Protein Powders: Start the right 'Whey'- KreedOn

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Benefits of carbohydrates foods

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The most important benefit of carbohydrates food is that it acts as fuel to your body and provides energy for day-to-day activities. Obviously, with this fuel, you will have a feel-good factor and if someone maintains less carb position, he will damage his entire body as various diseases and problems start to pop up.

Other benefits are as follows:-

  • Uplifts mood.
  • Helps to sleep better.
  • Provides fiber to the body
  • Helps to prevent diseases.
  • Prevents blood clots
  • Useful to control weight.
  • Improves the digestive system.
  • Helps to keep memory sharp.
  • Best nutrition for a sportsperson.
  • The risk of cancer is reduced with carbohydrates.
  • Enjoy healthier skin.

Effects of low carbohydrates foods

Overuse of anything is never recommended and it doesn’t matter whether the thing is good or bad, a food item or a gadget. Carbohydrates are no exception. The intake of too many carbs can lead to obesity as those extra carbs get converted into sugar and ultimately they will be stored in the body in the form of fats.

So what is the effect if you stay on low carbs for too long?

Well, if you stay on a low-carb diet as per the instruction of a certified fitness trainer, then obviously there would not be any drastic or dangerous changes in your body. For that, you must have told the trainer about your willingness to lose weight. So being on a low-carb diet and inclusion of healthy foods to lose weight is a good thing. This type of diet will also make you less prone to type 2 diabetes and heart disease.

Again as said earlier, too much of anything is always bad. So staying on a low-carb diet for too long and not following the advice given by the instructor can hurt your body. A sudden and drastic reduction in carbs can cause temporary side effects, such as constipation, headache, muscle pain, etc. Well, it is bound to happen as you are not fueling your body as per its need.

Best carbohydrates foods

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To be fit, fine, and healthy, you need to balance out the high carbs and low carbs food in your diet. A proper mixture of low and high-carb foods can easily maintain your carbs level and a lopsided result will stay away. So keeping an equilibrium is the most important thing.

High carbs foods

  • Brown rice.
  • Sweet potatoes.
  • Oats.
  • Bananas.
  • Fruits.
  • Beans.
  • Yogurt.
  • Raisins.
  • Jaggery.
  • Honey.
  • Sugar.

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It is not recommended to have all these food items on a single day. Eat only a few of these by consulting a doctor and fitness trainers. Otherwise, your sugar levels might shoot. So don’t get overexcited.

Low carbs food

Non Starchy vegetables

  • Leafy greens.
  • Spinach.
  • Cabbage.
  • Asparagus.
  • Tomatoes.
  • Broccoli.
  • Cauliflower.
  • Green beans.
  • Cucumbers.
  • Peppers.
  • Zucchini.
  • Mushrooms.

Nuts and seeds

  • Pumpkin seeds.
  • Sunflower seeds.
  • Almonds.
  • Cashews.
  • Walnuts.
  • Peanuts.
  • Pistachios.

Soy milk and tofu

Low carb diet

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A low-carb diet limits carbohydrates — such as those found in grains, starchy vegetables, and fruit — and emphasizes foods high in protein and fat.

With a low-carb diet on your platter, you can reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome, heart disease, etc. Most importantly, all of these will result in a reduction in your body weight. So if you want to lose weight, a low-carb diet is a thing for you along with a daily workout routine and following all the dietary instructions with utmost dedication and discipline.


Be it a low carb diet, high carb diet, protein-rich diet, or fat-free food, it all boils down to the balancing of macro and micronutrients. A regular workout, having lesser cheat meals and following all the instructions by a doctor or trainer with full dedication, passion, and discipline. 

Eating high amounts or low amounts of any food will not make you fitter, it is just a small aspect of the fitness journey. To make it even simpler, eat homemade food regularly, avoid junk food and do exercise and the rest will follow.

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What are the best carbohydrate foods for athletes?

Incorporate whole grains like brown rice and quinoa, fruits such as bananas and berries, veggies like sweet potatoes and leafy greens, legumes like lentils and chickpeas, and dairy products like milk and yogurt. These foods provide energy and vital nutrients to boost your athletic prowess.

Why are carbohydrates important for athletes?

Carbohydrates fuel peak performance in training and competition. They replenish muscle glycogen, accelerate recovery, and enhance endurance and strength. Embrace the power of carbohydrates for optimal athletic performance and reaching new heights in your sport.

What role does hydration play in carbohydrate utilization?

Adequate hydration is vital for optimal carbohydrate utilization. Athletes must prioritize hydration before, during, and after training to enhance carbohydrate absorption, sustain performance levels, and prevent dehydration. Stay hydrated to unlock the full potential of carbohydrates and excel in your athletic pursuits.

What is Carb Loading?

Carbohydrate loading or carb loading optimizes glycogen storage in muscles and the liver. Through purposeful increases in carbohydrate intake, athletes amplify their energy reserves, unlocking superior performance during grueling long-distance challenges.

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Saurabh Sameer Karmarkar
Saurabh Sameer Karmarkar
Saurabh’s love for Test cricket has no limits. He indulges himself in listening to experts talking about Test cricket. Saurabh absolutely loves the way Aussies play the game. He is quite new to football, but football fever has taken complete control of him. He is an ardent Bayern Munich fan. Saurabh loves to write about sports. Other than sports, he is a voracious reader, a fitness freak, loves physics, loves to stay away from social media, and a Mechanical Engineer too!


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