In a world of trendy fitness and nutrition, carbohydrates earned a bad reputation. Nearly every fad diet of the past three decades has advocated eating foods high in protein and healthy fat while reducing or eliminating the intake of carbs. Although high protein/low carb diets can help with short-term weight loss, cutting carbs can be detrimental for athletes, especially endurance athletes. Carbohydrates such as fruits, vegetables, bread, and pasta are important for maintaining glycogen stores and providing the body with much-needed energy.
1. Carbs are the Body's Main Source of Fuel
When you consume bread, pasta, and other carbohydrates, your body breaks down these foods to create glucose. Glucose, a form of sugar, is your body’s primary source of fuel. If you do not consume sufficient amounts of glucose, you will not have enough energy to complete your workouts.
2. Carbohydrates Replenish Glycogen Stores
Indulging in a pasta and vegetable dish at your favorite Italian restaurant is the best way to recover after a tough workout. After intense exercise, the glycogen stores in your body are depleted and Italian food is the best source for replenishing this. For your muscles to recover and ensure you have enough fuel for the following day, you need to refill your glycogen stores by eating carbohydrate-rich foods.
3. Your Brain Relies on Glucose
Your brain is only 2% of your total body weight, yet it consumes nearly a third of your calorie intake. It relies almost exclusively on glucose to function properly. Without sufficient glucose consumption, you might have difficulty staying awake and focused, and may lack the motivation to meet your goals.
4. Low-Carb Diets are Not Sustainable
If you find yourself daydreaming about Italian food just a few days into your low-carb diet, you are not alone. High-protein diets help you to shed pounds quickly in the form of water weight. Once you have depleted the last of your glycogen stores, your body will begin craving fuel in the form of carbs.
5. Filling Up on Pasta is a Time-Honored Way to Race
Endurance athletes such as long-distance runners understand the importance of carbs for fuel. One of the ways these athletes prepare for races and other sporting events is by eating pasta and vegetables the night before the race. This method, known as carbo-loading is necessary to ensure their bodies can meet the demands of the sport.
If you are preparing for a big race and need to refuel with some Italian food favorites, visit Luciano’s Italian Restaurant located on Central Park Ave. This restaurant specializes in Italian cuisine and homemade dessert favorites such as tiramisu. To view their menu, visit them online or call (914) 961-5550 for more information on their lunch specials.