Why You Should Never Carb Load

Wow, love all the great feedback about our NEW How to Feed Your Kid Athlete Coaching Series!

My goal with this series is to Expose all the fake hype and athlete myths in the health industry, and provide real nutrition solutions for kids, teenagers and parents.

We all know our kids and teenagers are our future, and this series will give them the food education they need to excel at their sport and beyond their athletic career.

Each week I’ll be exposing athlete myths, sharing tasting recipes and providing cutting edge strategies to help you and kid & teenage athletes cut through the hype and make nutrition and fitness choices based on rock solid science and education!

So to start, here’s the first myth we’re obliterating, Carb Loading!

Why You Should NEVER Carb Load

Homemade Spaghetti with Marinara Sauce and Basil

Growing up as an athlete the majority of my coaches recommended carbohydrate loading the night before a game.

The thought process behind this is that by eating complex carbohydrates (that huge bowl of pasta or plate of mashed potatoes) the night before your competition, your muscles will fill up with stored sugar (stored glucose is called glycogen).

This is then supposed to provide your muscles with more fuel during your competition, allowing you to have better endurance and more energy.

From the surface, it seems to make sense.

However, this is why myths are created. They all look good on the surface, that’s why they have survived over the years.

Once you begin to pull back some layers and dig a little deeper, the holes begin to appear.

REASON 1

Your body does not store glucose (glycogen) very efficiently, triggering excess carbs to be stored as body fat.

You’ve learned that your body needs to be consistently fed to have consistent fuel and you do that by eating PFC Every 3. The reality is the only thing your body is efficient at storing is fat, because it provides so much energy. Your body stores glucose (sugar) primarily in two places: your liver and your skeletal muscle (the muscle you use to play your sport.) At best, your liver can store about 100-120 grams of glucose. That’s only 400-480 calories (4 calories per gram of glucose)! This is crucial to understand because the glucose stored in your liver is your body’s source of blood sugar. Here’s an illustration showing the two places glucose is stored in your body and how it’s used for energy:

Where Glucose is Stored

When your blood sugar drops; your liver releases glucose into your blood to keep your blood sugar stable. When your liver runs out of glucose, it begins to convert amino acids (muscle) into sugar. This is how low blood sugar triggers your body to consume its muscle. Here’s an illustration showing what happens when your Blood Sugar crashes:

When Blood Sugar Crashes

Your skeletal muscles can store more glucose than your liver. However when you carbohydrate load, you spike your blood sugar. This causes your body to store fat as well as glucose. Whenever there is an excess of glucose in your body, most likely some of it will be stored as fat. In addition, anytime you spike your blood sugar, you create unstable blood sugar levels. This goes against the plan of eating PFC Every 3.

Here’s an illustration showing what happens when your Blood Sugar spikes:

When Blood Sugar Spikes

REASON 2

The stored sugar (glycogen) in your skeletal muscle cannot be used as blood sugar, causing your body to convert amino acids (Your Muscle) to glucose. No athlete wants to lose muscle!

This philosophy also came into being because people have always thought that all of the stored glucose in your muscle can be utilized by your body for energy. There’s one big problem with this: it’s impossible! As you saw in the “where gloucose is stored” illustration, your skeletal muscle lacks the enzyme glucose-6 phosphatase. Without this enzyme, your skeletal muscle cannot pass glucose into your blood, which prevents it from providing the rest of your body with needed glucose. The stored sugar in your skeletal muscle can ONLY be used by that muscle.

Each sport utilizes some muscles more than others, which means that once your more active muscles run out of stored sugar, they have no more fuel. These muscles now become reliant on your liver for energy. Most likely, if your muscles are out of fuel, then your liver is out of its stored glucose. This then triggers your liver to begin converting amino acids (muscle) into sugar in order to provide your muscles with fuel (as you saw in the “where glucose is stored” illustration). This entire process will negatively affect your performance.

REASON 3

You will experience energy drops during competition which will negatively affect your performance and recovery

The first two reasons will cause you to have energy crashes during your competition because the lack of available glucose in your body triggers low blood sugar. Low blood sugar is always accompanied with low energy. In addition, carbohydrate loading the night before will ensure that you begin your competition with unstable blood sugar. This will also cause energy challenges throughout.

All three reasons clearly show why you should never carb load. It can only hinder your performance.

The facts are that your body needs to be fed consistently before, during and after your competition, which is exactly what you’ll learn in our How To Feed Your Kid Athlete Digital Coaching Series.

So now the next time a coach tells you to carb load, you can educate them on the real facts!


Ready to help your kid/teenage athlete take their performance to the next level and get a food education that will last a lifetime?

If so, dive into our NEW How To Feed Your Kid Athlete Digital Coaching Series. Watch the video and see the power of the program:

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