The carbohydrate loading diet, also known as carbo loading, is a week-long eating and exercise plan, which is intended to boost the performance of endurance athletes. The carbohydrate loading diet does not change the performance of athletes who participate in non-endurance sports.
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Safety Safety definitions
Pregnancy And Lactation: There is insufficient reliable evidence about the safety of the carbohydrate loading diet in pregnancy and lactation. Avoid use.
Effectiveness Effectiveness definitions
INSUFFICIENT RELIABLE EVIDENCE TO RATE
Exercise performance. Some evidence suggests that the carbohydrate loading diet may improve sports performance by delaying fatigue.
More evidence is needed to rate carbohydrate loading diet for this use.
Natural Medicines rates effectiveness based on scientific evidence according to the following scale: Effective, Likely Effective, Possibly Effective, Possibly Ineffective, Likely Ineffective, Ineffective, and Insufficient Evidence to Rate.
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Mechanism of action
The first stage of the diet is called the depletion stage because the low carbohydrate consumption and the vigorous training will theoretically deplete the muscles of glycogen. Upon exertion, the body will first use available glucose for energy before using stored glycogen. Glycogen stores are thought to be depleted within 90 minutes of continuous activity. In theory, this is when the athlete begins to experience fatigue and performance begins to decline.
The second stage involves increased intake of simple and complex carbohydrates and decreased training time and intensity. Ingestion of more carbohydrates increases the amount of glucose available to use by the body. Excess glucose that is not immediately used by the body is stored in the muscles as glycogen. Therefore, the combination of increased carbohydrate intake and decreased physical training is in theory expected to result in increased glycogen stores.
The carbohydrate loading diet is not thought to benefit athletes who participate in non-endurance sports, such as football, volleyball, and basketball.