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Carbohydrate Availability and Physical Performance: Physiological Overview and Practical Recommendations

1
NutriScience, Nutrition & Health Sciences, 14002 Córdoba, Spain
2
Systems Biology Department, University of Alcalá, 28801 Madrid, Spain
3
Nutrition in Physical Activity and Sports, University of Barcelona, 08007 Barcelona, Spain
4
Faculty of Health Sciences, Universidad Isabel I, 09003 Burgos, Spain
5
Human Motricity and Sports Performance Area, University of Seville, 41004 Seville, Spain
6
Nursing Department, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Alicante, San Vicente del Raspeig, 03690 Alicante, Spain
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Nutrients 2019, 11(5), 1084; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu11051084
Received: 22 April 2019 / Revised: 11 May 2019 / Accepted: 13 May 2019 / Published: 16 May 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism)
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PDF [269 KB, uploaded 16 May 2019]

Abstract

Strong evidence during the last few decades has highlighted the importance of nutrition for sport performance, the role of carbohydrates (CHO) being of special interest. Glycogen is currently not only considered an energy substrate but also a regulator of the signaling pathways that regulate exercise-induced adaptations. Thus, low or high CHO availabilities can result in both beneficial or negative results depending on the purpose. On the one hand, the depletion of glycogen levels is a limiting factor of performance during sessions in which high exercise intensities are required; therefore ensuring a high CHO availability before and during exercise is of major importance. A high CHO availability has also been positively related to the exercise-induced adaptations to resistance training. By contrast, a low CHO availability seems to promote endurance-exercise-induced adaptations such as mitochondrial biogenesis and enhanced lipolysis. In the present narrative review, we aim to provide a holistic overview of how CHO availability impacts physical performance as well as to provide practical recommendations on how training and nutrition might be combined to maximize performance. Attending to the existing evidence, no universal recommendations regarding CHO intake can be given to athletes as nutrition should be periodized according to training loads and objectives. View Full-Text
Keywords: ergogenic aids; exercise; supplement; sport nutrition ergogenic aids; exercise; supplement; sport nutrition
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).
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MDPI and ACS Style

Mata, F.; Valenzuela, P.L.; Gimenez, J.; Tur, C.; Ferreria, D.; Domínguez, R.; Sanchez-Oliver, A.J.; Martínez Sanz, J.M. Carbohydrate Availability and Physical Performance: Physiological Overview and Practical Recommendations. Nutrients 2019, 11, 1084.

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