Carbohydrate Needs For Sport Essay

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Carbohydrates 1. What is meant by a carbohydrate? Carbohydrate is a macronutrient and the body’s main source of energy. As the name suggests carbohydrates are made up of Carbon, Hydrogen and Oxygen in a Molar ratio of 1:2:1. A typical example of this would be a glucose molecule which is made up of 6 atoms of carbon, 12 of hydrogen and 6 of oxygen. The importance of carbohydrate to the body was first recognised in the early part of the twentieth century. Two scientists August Krogh and Johannes Lindhardt conducted experiments that exposed athletes to an exercise programme first feeding them a protein rich diet and then a carbohydrate rich diet. The two scientists found that after ingesting the carbohydrates the athletes were able to perform longer. These results were validated when in 1924 participants in the Boston marathon had their blood/glucose measured after the race. It was discovered that the readings were very low. However in 1925 the chosen athletes were fed a diet of carbohydrates both before and during the race. Not only was the blood/glucose levels much higher but the participants reported less fatigue during the race. Carbohydrates are important to all animals as the primary source of fuel. Once ingested the carbohydrate is broken down and stored in the muscles and liver as glycogen. The muscle glycogen provides the body’s energy needs for physical activity whilst liver glycogen is responsible for maintaining the body’s blood sugar level. Simple or Complex Carbohydrates, or carbs as they are commonly known, are divided into two types, Simple or complex, depending on the number of sugar molecules. Simple carbs contain one or two molecules of sugar whilst complex carbs contain three or more. It is generally assumed that simple carbs are likely to induce a rapid rise in blood sugar levels following ingestion. This rise is then

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