Carbohydrate-loading diet – Mayo Clinic


A carbohydrate-loading food plan, also named a carb-loading food plan, is a technique to boost your athletic performance for endurance events by raising the sum of gasoline saved in your muscle mass.

Carbohydrate loading happens when you consume a large-carbohydrate “coaching food plan” at the identical time that you scale back your action level in the days ahead of an occasion.


Any physical action involves carbohydrates for gasoline. For most leisure action, your entire body takes advantage of its existing energy shops for gasoline.

But when you engage in extensive, extreme athletic events, your entire body requirements further energy to hold likely. The reason of carbohydrate loading is to give you the energy you need to finish an endurance occasion with less exhaustion, increasing your athletic performance.

Carbohydrate loading may possibly be most advantageous if you are an endurance athlete — such as a marathon runner, swimmer, bike owner or all a few — getting ready for an occasion that will previous 90 minutes or far more. Other athletes generally will not need carbohydrate loading. It is really normally ample to get about 50 % of your energy from carbohydrates.

Diet regime particulars

The role of carbohydrates

Carbs, also recognized as starches and sugars, are your body’s key energy source. Advanced carbohydrates include things like legumes, grains and starchy greens, such as potatoes, peas and corn. Very simple carbohydrates are uncovered generally in fruits and milk, as very well as in food items designed with sugar, such as candy and other sweets.

In the course of digestion, your entire body breaks down carbohydrates into sugar. The sugar enters your bloodstream, where by it really is then transferred to personal cells to supply energy. Sugar is saved in your liver and muscle mass as glycogen — your energy source.

Boost your energy storage

Your muscle mass ordinarily shop only tiny quantities of glycogen — ample to assistance you throughout leisure exercise functions. If you exercise intensely for far more than 90 minutes, your muscle mass may possibly run out of glycogen. At that place, exhaustion may well established in, and your performance may possibly put up with.

But with carbohydrate loading, you may possibly be capable to shop far more energy in your muscle mass. This may possibly give you the endurance to make it by for a longer time endurance events. But, you can still need to consume some energy sources throughout your occasion.

Carbohydrate loading

Carbohydrate loading is done the week ahead of a large-endurance action. One particular to a few days ahead of the occasion, increase your carbohydrate intake to about 8 to twelve grams of carbohydrate for each kilogram of entire body weight. Cut back on food items larger in fat to compensate for the further carbohydrate-loaded food items.

Also scale back your coaching for a few to four days ahead of the occasion. The blend of feeding on far more carbohydrates and tapering action surface to increase muscle mass glycogen shops.

How many carbs you need depends on your whole calorie aim as very well as your sport. For most athletes, 5 to 7 grams of carbohydrate for each kilogram of entire body weight every day is correct for normal coaching. (Notice that 1 kilogram equals 2.2 pounds.) Stamina athletes may possibly need up to twelve grams for each kilogram.

Sample carbohydrate-loading food approach

Here is a sample carbohydrate-loading food approach for an athlete who weighs 170 pounds (77 kilograms). It is really primarily based on four.5 grams of carbohydrates for every single pound (ten grams for each kilogram) of entire body weight.

You can tweak this sample carbohydrate-loading food approach to fit your possess preferences and dietary requirements.

Sample carbohydrate-loading food approach
Product (sum) Carbs (grams) Total energy
Milk, fat-cost-free (twelve ounces) eighteen a hundred twenty five
1 basic bagel (four.2 ounces) fifty two 260
Peanut butter, easy (2 tablespoons) 7 191
Honey (2 tablespoons) 35 128
Banana (1 medium) 27 one hundred and five
Morning snack
Crunchy raisin and almond cereal (1 cup) 74 360
Grape juice (twelve ounces) 55 225
Milk, chocolate, minimized fat (twelve ounces) 46 285
four slices white bread (1 ounce for each slice) 49 266
Chicken breast, roasted with out pores and skin (four ounces or 1/2 breast) 187
Romaine lettuce, shredded (1/four cup) .5 2
Pink tomato slices (1/2 cup) 2 eleven
Mayonnaise, mild (2 tablespoons) 3 seventy one
Tortilla chips, low-fat, baked (1 ounce) 23 118
Infant carrots (twelve) ten forty two
Afternoon snack
Very low-fat fruit yogurt (8 ounces) forty seven 250
Very low-fat fruit granola (1/2 cup) 33 157
Blueberries (1 cup) 21 83
Cranberry juice, unsweetened (twelve ounces) forty two 156
Wild Atlantic salmon, baked (3 ounces) 155
Supper roll, entire wheat (2 rolls, 1 ounce every single) 29 151
Milk, fat-cost-free (twelve ounces) eighteen a hundred twenty five
Salad, incorporate:

-Romaine lettuce, shredded (2 cups)
3 sixteen
-Bell or sweet inexperienced pepper (1/four cup) 2 7
-Green apple, chopped (1 medium) 25 ninety five
-Dried cranberries (1/3 cup) 33 130
-English walnuts, chopped (1/four cup) four 191
-Asiago cheese, shredded (1 ounce) 1 134
-Lowered-fat Ranch salad dressing (2 tablespoons) six 55
Evening snack
Strawberries (1 cup) eleven 46
Sherbet, any taste (1 1/2 cups) seventy eight 416
Total 754.5 four,543

Supply: Nutritionist Professional, 2018


Carbohydrate loading may possibly give you far more energy throughout an endurance occasion. You may possibly really feel less fatigued and see an advancement in your performance right after carbohydrate loading. But carbohydrate loading isn’t effective for every person.

Other components can impact your athletic performance or interfere with the efficiency of your carbohydrate-loading technique, including how in shape you are, how very well you hydrate and how intensely you exercise. Even with carbohydrate loading, you still may possibly really feel muscle mass exhaustion.

For males, a carbohydrate-loading food plan can increase the degrees of glycogen saved in the muscle mass as considerably as one hundred % of your typical sum. Females may possibly need to consume far more energy than regular throughout carbohydrate loading to get the identical advantages as males do.

Despite carbohydrate loading, you still need to replenish your body’s energy throughout endurance events to retain your blood sugar degrees. You can do this by periodically consuming athletics beverages, gels, or bars, fruit, or really hard or chewy candies throughout your occasion at the amount of thirty to sixty grams each individual hour or two. And will not forget about to consume carbohydrate-loaded food items right after your endurance occasion, also, to replenish your glycogen shops.


Carbohydrate loading isn’t correct for each individual endurance athlete. It is really a fantastic idea to seek the advice of your health care provider or a registered dietitian ahead of you start off carbohydrate loading, in particular if you have diabetes. You may possibly also need to experiment with different quantities of carbohydrates to find what performs finest for you.

A carbohydrate-loading food plan can lead to some pain or side effects, such as:

  • Digestive pain. You may possibly need to stay away from or limit some large-fiber food items one or two days ahead of your occasion. Beans, bran and broccoli can lead to gassy cramps, bloating and loose stools.
  • Blood sugar improvements. Carbohydrate loading can have an impact on your blood sugar degrees. If you have diabetes, keep an eye on your blood sugar throughout coaching or methods to see what performs finest for you. And speak to your dietitian or health care provider to make guaranteed your food approach is safe and sound for you.