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Increase Glycogen and Blood Glucose Energy in the Body

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Carb Loading

As the name suggests, carbohydrate-loading means loading-up on carbs to provide an extra energy reserve when energy expenditure is prolonged.

Glucose as an Energy Source

Glucose is the body's fuel or energy source. All work done by the body - its organs, muscles and cells - is powered by glucose. Usually, most glucose is metabolized (converted) from the food we eat, especially carbohydrates - which are easily converted into useable glucose.

If food calorie intake drops below calorie expenditure, the body burns up any spare blood-glucose, or dips into its "glucose reserve" stored as glycogen in the muscles and liver. Once these reserves are used up, the body then utilizes its fat stores and burns adipose (fat) tissue.

Normal Energy Expenditure

The glucose we get from food is usually sufficient for the body's daily activities, and the glucose stored as glycogen is usually enough for normal bursts of energy. But energy requirements for athletes involved in (eg.) endurance events (not less than 90 minutes) are much greater. To avoid "hitting the wall" - ie. running out of energy - some athletes load-up on carbs to ensure an adequate energy supply.

How Carb Loading Works

Carbohydrate-loading is a diet-tactic to temporarily boost the amount of glycogen (the glucose energy reserve) stored in the muscles and liver, and goes something like this:

  • About a week before your athletic event, you use up all your current levels of blood-glucose and glycogen-glucose, by exercising vigorously and eating only non-carb foods.
  • About three days before the event, you reverse the process and build up your blood glucose and glycogen energy-stores, by eating a diet of 70-75 percent carbs, focusing on high-starch carbs like bread, potatoes, rice and pasta.

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Carbs-Information.com provides general information about different types of carbohydrate, like monosaccharides, disaccharides, oligosaccharides, polysaccharides, as well as nutritional value of carbohydrates, carb-content of foods, plus details of GI values of all food groups, plus advice about diabetes, impaired glucose tolerance and insulin resistance. But no information is intended as a substitute for medical advice. Copyright 2003-2021.