Carbohydrate loading diet
Carbohydrate loading diet


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.

People use this for...

The carbohydrate loading diet is used to enhance exercise performance and exercise tolerance.

Pregnancy And Lactation: There is insufficient reliable evidence about the safety of the carbohydrate loading diet in pregnancy and lactation. Avoid use.


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.

Dosing & administration

    Adverse effects

    Interactions with pharmaceuticals

    None known.

    Interactions with herbs & supplements

    None known.

    Interactions with foods

    None known.

    Interactions with lab tests

    Interactions with diseases

    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. has licensed professional monographs from TRC Healthcare. Full monographs are available to Pro practitioner accounts.
    This monograph was last reviewed on 23/04/2015 16:19:13 and last updated on 06/02/2019 22:34:48. Monographs are reviewed and/or updated multiple times per month and at least once per year.
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