Along with protein and fats, adequate carbohydrate intake is essential for fueling the body for performance and growth.
Carbohydrates in our diet are categorised as either simple or complex carbohydrates.
Simple carbohydrates are absorbed quickly and easily by the body to be converted into a rapid source of energy. Foods such as fruit or those containing sugar will be examples of this.
Complex carbohydrates take far longer to breakdown to be absorbed in the body and therefore provide a slower release of energy. Staple foods such as bread, rice and pasta will provide this far more beneficial source of carbohydrate.
Starch is also recognised as an important energy source as it is broken down and stored as glycogen. Foods high in starch include whole grain breads, cereals, pasta, and grains.
Carbohydrate stored as glycogen is an easily accessible and most common source of energy for exercise. These glycogen stores will need to be replenished regularly especially if taking part in frequent exercise.
Complex carbohydrates can also be consumed easily as a sports supplement. These supplements can provide a simple solution to gaining sufficient carbohydrates.