What are Carbohydrates, and what are i’ts Values?


Carbohydrates The main source of energy (sugars)


– They are organic nutrients that are considered the main suppliers of energy to the body. They are the only nutrients that, in both aerobic and anaerobic conditions, regenerate ATP (adenosine triphosphate) and replenish their stores.
–  The largest amount of carbohydrates needed by the body are obtained from cereal products (wheat, barley, oats, rye, corn, rice, millet), are the main source of carbohydrates (starch). Another significant part is obtained from fruits and vegetables, as well as from their products. So the human body is supplied with carbohydrates mainly originating from the plant world.
–   Carbohydrates are substances composed of three elements such as Carbon (C), Hydrogen (H) and Oxygen (O2) and are usually categorized as sugars, starch and fiber. So, carbohydrates (sugars) in sports nutrition (food) are part of the group of energetic nutrients because they represent the main and main source of energy for the daily physical activities of the body.

Separation or classification of carbohydrates

– Based on the chemical structure, we can divide or classify them into simple carbohydrates, which include monosaccharides and disaccharides and into complex carbohydrates or polysaccharides.
Monosaccharides include glucose (blood sugar), fructose (fruit sugar) and galactose (milk sugar).
Disaccharides are represented by sucrose (simple sugar) and lactose. Disaccharides consist of two monosaccharides.
Composite polysaccharides or carbohydrates include:
1. Plant polysaccharides (starch and fiber)
2. Animal polysaccharides (glycogen).
Since carbohydrates represent the basic energy of nutrients, then by decomposing 1 gr of carbohydrates (sugar) 4 kcal of energy is obtained.
In the digestive system or digestive system, polysaccharides and disaccharides are broken down into monosaccharides (the only ones allowed to pass into the bloodstream) and then absorbed directly. The liver, as an organ that represents the central, biochemical laboratory in the human body, returns all the monosaccharides absorbed in simple sugars – glucose.

– Of all carbohydrates, glucose is the most important in human physiology because other monosaccharides absorbed (fructose, galactose) in the liver are converted to glucose which enters the bloodstream and together with the blood circulates throughout the body. For this reason, glucose is also called “blood sugar”. Moving through the bloodstream, glucose reaches all the cells in our body as nutrients and energy.

Only glucose can be used by all the cells in our body as nutrients and energy. This is why when we talk about carbohydrates in the body, we always think about glucose.
Glucose breakdown, in aerobic conditions, is done in the presence of oxygen and with the mediation of enzymes, in which case CO2, H2O is released, as well as the amount of energy needed to contract the muscles.
C6H12O6 + 6O2 = 6CO2 + 6H2O + Released energy
Glucose + oxygen = Carbon dioxide + released energy
Decomposition of glucose under anaerobic conditions is done without the presence of oxygen (O2) and with the mediation of many enzymes, while affecting the release of energy (necessary for muscle contraction), the formation of lactic acid and the release of hydrogen ions.

– Hydrogen ions are “responsible” for disrupting the body’s acid-base balance in favor of acidity, thus causing muscle fatigue and pain.
Part of the lactic acid is broken down into CO2 and H2O, while the rest into glucose and glucogen synthesis. Carbohydrate metabolism depends on many factors, whether endogenous or exogenous. The hormones that affect carbohydrate metabolism are: Insulin, Adrenaline, Somatotropin, Thyroxine and Cortisol.
Carbohydrate metabolism also depends on the body’s regular supply of vitamins (B1, B2, nicotinamide acid), which are an integral part of many of the enzymes involved in this metabolism.
Balancing carbohydrates in food means a balance between the amount of carbohydrates consumed and those oxidized.

What is the amount of glucose in the blood?

In our body, the amount of glucose circulating in the blood nourishes or energizes the cells, moving under certain normal conditions or within physiological limits. These limits on the amount of glucose in the blood are strictly defined and many hormonal, nervous and physiological mechanisms participate in their regulation.

The term “glycemic effect” characterizes the amount of glucose in the blood.
Normal glycemic index maintenance is of great physiological and health importance because only under conditions of normal glycemic effect do all the cells of the body receive a sufficient and adequate amount of energetic nutrients for their functioning.

How to maintain normal blood sugar-glucose levels

There are a number of hormonal mechanisms that maintain normal glycemic value in healthy people, regardless of whether they receive excessive or small amounts of carbohydrates or their use has been reduced or increased.

Conclusion: The increase in the amount of glucose occurs immediately after consuming carbohydrate food when glucose from food enters the bloodstream. Some of that glucose is immediately used as energy nutrient.
The other (excess) amount, with abnormal glycemic index is deposited as a reserve glucogen in the liver and muscles. In a healthy body, despite getting too much glucose, it is difficult to raise your glycemic level above normal.
Reducing the amount of glucose in the blood or lowering the glycemic index, under normal conditions in a healthy athlete, occurs during physical activity, bypassing carbohydrate foods and during diets (especially adolescent diets).

Carbohydrate Deposition

Carbs foodCarbohydrates have the ability to be stored in the body and as such serve as energy nutrients.
Their deposition is carried out when we consume excess carbohydrates above the normal glycemic limit.

Carbohydrates are stored in the human body in the form of glycogen in the liver and muscles. The amount of glucogen in the liver is 75-100 gr. This amount of glycogen deposited during decomposition gives 300-400 kcal of energy. (if 1 gr = 4kcal, then 75-100 gr give 300-400 kcal).
The glycogen stored in the liver mainly serves to maintain the normal level of glycogen in the blood or glycemic index. The amount of glucogen stored in the liver is the same for both athletes and non-athletes.

What is the amount of muscle glycogen and why does it serve?

The amount of glucogen stored throughout the muscles of the body in people who do not exercise is approximately 350 gr. The amount of glucogen in the muscles in athletes with average capacity is about 500 gr. While quality athletes deposit up to 750 gr of glycogen. Based on these quantitative values, it can be said that muscle glycogen provides energy of 1400 kcal. (for athletes who do not exercise), 2000 kcal for athletes with average opportunity and 3000 kcal for quality athletes (1gr = 4 kcal)

– Muscle glycogen stores are the main source of energy for muscle work. Muscle glycogen cannot serve as a source of glucose for normal glycemic maintenance. Here is the difference between black liver glycogen, which in addition to providing energy for work, mainly serves to maintain normal glycemia.

– The amount of glucogen deposited in the black liver required for normal glycemic maintenance varies periodically depending on the glycemic value (blood glucose), or in circumstances where blood glucose rises, leading to the deposition of glucose in the form of glycogen. While in conditions when the blood glucose level decreases, the black liver throws there the necessary amount of glucose from the breakdown of glycogen.

What does the amount of glucogen deposited in the muscle depend on?
In general, the amount of glycogen deposited in the muscle depends on the ability to store glycogen and the size of the muscle mass as the storage organ.
Exercise increases the ability or ability to store glycogen, but also increases muscle mass, so active athletes have large amounts of stored glycogen compared to those who do not exercise.

What is the physiological link of muscle glycogen to physical activity?

Athletes’ ability to work depends directly on their muscle glycogen stores
a) Dependence of muscle glycogen consumption level on exercise intensity
The greater the intensity of the exercises, the faster the glycogen stores in the muscles will be depleted. The reason is that the main source of energy during high-intensity exercise is mainly carbohydrates in contrast to low-intensity exercise, where the main source is fat and auxiliary are carbohydrates.

b) Dependence of muscle glycogen consumption rate on exercise duration
The duration of physical activity depends on the amount of carbohydrate stores. As the duration of physical activity increases, so does the deposition of carbohydrates. Finally, it can be said that the speed of utilization of carbohydrate stores is proportional to the duration of physical activity or, as the duration of exercise is maintained, proportionally the carbohydrate stores become more empty.

c) Dependence of muscle glycogen consumption level on the level of athletic training

The higher the level of physical exercise of the athletes, the less he spends the stored reserves. The reason is that people who train on the one hand have a greater capacity to store glycogen and on the other hand athletes act more rationally or spend less energy (glucose) on the same job unlike athletes who are not well prepared.

d) Dependence of muscle glycogen consumption on the level of carbohydrate sources

The rate of glucose utilization by glycogen stores in the body can be reduced by consuming carbohydrates.

Taking carbohydrates in the form of supplements, before, during and after physical activity, will significantly maintain carbohydrate stores and thus remove the onset of fatigue and increase athletic ability in the time and intensity factor.

From a physiological-sports point of view, the hypoglycemic condition most often appears in athletes during a physical activity when carbohydrate stores are depleted. There are almost no athletes who have not experienced clinical hypoglycemic symptoms. Hypoglycemia results in a disorder of the central nervous system characterized by symptoms: fatigue, pallor, tremors, sweating, confusion, disorientation, and the appearance of acute central fatigue.

What should be done in conditions when the athlete enters a hypoglycemic state?
Athletes are discontinued from physical activity and given carbohydrate products or cakes in order to increase blood glucose. Simple sugar (fruit cakes, jam, cake, fruit) is highly preferred because they break down quickly, are absorbed, and raise blood glucose. . Once the athlete feels better he can continue with physical activity.
The best prevention of hypoglycemic condition is regular food sports with carbohydrate products.

– While the spread of Hyperglycemia is due to the pathological condition, the disease of the organism and does not appear in a normal state.
Consumption of some preserved.

Reconstruction or revitalization of glycogen stores (glucose reserves) depends on the following factors:

1. Intake of water in the sports organism (rehydration);
2. Taking minerals in the sports organism (remineralization);
3. Carbohydrate-rich food (quantity, type, manner and time of absorption);
4. Manner of training and rest;
5. Physical endurance;
6. Body building;

Rehydration is the process by which the introduction of water into the body after sports activity compensates for the lost water that has occurred during physical activity.
Without water there is not enough quantitative synthesis of glycogen, because the amount of restored glycogen depends proportionally on the amount of water in the body.
The first thing an athlete should do after a sports activity is to consume clean water.

– Carbohydrate intake through food after physical activity in order to replace energy reserves with glycogen is called the regeneration process because glucose is the basic substance of energy.

Carbohydrate Remineralization and Foods Containing Potassium Products which in their composition contain a combination of high amounts of carbohydrates and potassium: .Treatment .Banane .Close.Plum .Cherry .Cherry.Pumpkin. Apples .Grapes .Doses After performing physical activity, reserves (depots) of carbohydrates (glycogen) are consumed. The goal of post-workout nutrition is to replenish glycogen stores in the liver and muscles, or replenish glycogen as a process called regeneration. Sports nutritionists attach great importance to carbohydrate foods immediately after exercise because the compensation of glycogen stores should be done as soon as possible as a source of energy.

Factors that affect the speed and amount of glycogen deposition are:

– The schedule of nutritional processes, after physical activities
– Type and amount of carbohydrates
– Time and mode of carbohydrate nutrition and
– The type of physical activity performed by the athlete

So, carbohydrates should be represented by 60-70% of the total food after sports matches in the amount of 2-3-4gr carbohydrates per 1 kg of body weight of the athlete.
Example: If the energy requirement for an activity is 3000 kcal, 3 g of carbohydrates per 1 kg, body weight is required. If the energy requirement will be 5000 kcal, then it will be necessary to take 4 gr per 1 kg body weight of the athlete.
The amount of food a person needs to consume each day in order to provide and meet the daily needs of the body is divided into several parts and is made up of different nutrient products called meals.
The liver – as an organ – represents the central, biochemical laboratory in the human body, where it returns all the monosaccharides absorbed in simple sugar – glucose. Sugar is 99.9% sucrose.
The pancreas (internal organ) produces a hormone called insulin, which carries blood sugar from cells to cells and then the cells use sugar for energy or store it in the form of glycogen (energy stored in muscles and liver) or fat. .

Practical work

If the athlete weighs 70-75 kg, then 70×2-3-4 = 150-250 (approximately) carbohydrates should be consumed.
Expressed in calories = 600-1000 calories.
This amount of carbohydrates consumed represents 60-70% of total food.
30 to 40% of leftover food is made up of protein, minerals, vitamins and fats.
HOPE (1-2 hours after physical activity).

Practical work

If the athlete weighs 70-75 kg, then 70×2-3 = 150-200 gr (approximately) carbohydrates should be consumed.
Expressed in calories = 600-800 calories.
This amount of carbohydrates consumed represents 50-60% of total food.
30 to 40% of leftover food is made up of protein, minerals, vitamins and fats. ZEMR-PARADISE (5 hours before physical activity)

Practical work 2

If the athlete weighs 70-75 kg, then 70×1-2 = 70-150 gr (approximately) carbohydrates should be consumed.
Expressed in calories = 300-600 horsepower. This amount of carbohydrates consumed represents 50% of the total food.
30 to 40% of leftover food is made up of protein, minerals, vitamins and fats.


Based on previous examples and the food menu we can conclude that:
1. The total demand and energy value of food is 2900 kcal.
2. The food products obtained contain a total of 417 gr of carbohydrates (188 gr after the activity + 153 gr before the activity +76 gr between the activity = 417 gr of carbohydrates) The total energy gained from carbohydrates is 1668 kcal (1 gr = 4 kcal, while 417 grx4 = 1668 kcal.) With this caloric value carbohydrates participate with 57.5% of the total energy requirement, which represents an ideal value or representation of the amount of carbohydrates in total food.
Glycemic index
The glycemic index (IG) is an indicator of the rate of absorption (absorption) of carbohydrates by some food products. The glycemic index is expressed in units worth 1-100.
The higher the glycemic index value of a food product, the faster the product will absorb carbohydrates and pass into the bloodstream. The glycemic index does not indicate the amount of carbohydrates in the food product.
According to the value of the glycemic index, food can be divided into:
1. Food with high glycemic index (IG above 71),
2. Medium glycemic index diet (IG of 56-70),
3. Food with low glycemic index (IG below 55).

Food for athletes with high and medium glycemic index

– Foods with a high and medium glycemic index are preferred immediately after the end of physical activity because such food quickly fills the glycogen stores depleted by physical activity. In fact, the goal of post-workout nutrition is to quickly normalize glycemia (blood glucose) and replenish glycogen stores (reenergy phase). high and medium.
This type of food is preferred when we have short-term recovery tours and on the other hand glycogen stores need to be replenished quickly. Also, such food is preferred during high-intensity sports activities.
Caution: The high and medium IG diet does not deal with an empty stomach when no physical activity is performed because it can lead us to a medical condition called reactive hypoglycemia and is characterized by anxiety, nervousness, sweating, weakness, palpitations, hunger, hand tremors, headaches, fatigue, etc.
Task: Experiment yourself, on an empty stomach. Take a tablespoon of honey and you will feel these symptoms.

Feeding athletes with low and medium glycemic index

Foods that contain low and medium glycemic index are slowly absorbed and constantly increase or maintain glycemia (blood glucose) in a normal state even though it is expended in physical activity.

During such feeding, glucose is released slowly, which is immediately expended on physical activity or replenishes glycogen stores.

Such food with low and medium glycemic index is preferred before physical activity and during recovery when haste is not necessary to replenish glycogen stores. It is preferable to eat this food during sports activities or low-intensity exercise.

The reason why food is so important after physical activity is the rule that: the best time to start preparing for another sports activity is the time immediately after completing the previous sports activity.


– The carbohydrate meal should be followed immediately after the first step of rehydrating the body (after taking 0.5-1 liters) of clean water.
During the carbohydrate meal, the second step of rehydration takes place, where 0.5-1 liters of clean water should be consumed.
The best time to eat a meal after a previous activity is up to an hour after a sports activity.
The process of feeding carbohydrates (reenergy) is done together with the process of obtaining minerals – foods rich in potassium (remineralization).
Carbohydrates should be taken in the amount of 2-3-4 gr per 1 kg. the body weight of the athlete and depends on the type and physical activity. Expressed in percentage, carbohydrates make up 60-70% of the total amount of food.
The amount of carbohydrates consumed after sports activities is included in the total amount of carbohydrate food at rest (recovery and preparation).
It is best to practice high and medium glycemic index foods because of faster absorption.
In the first meals, the food should contain small amounts or no fat.
Studies show that faster glycogen reintegration is achieved if the diet contains a combination of carbohydrates and proteins. It is better that the ratio between carbohydrates and proteins is 3: 1 (3gr carbohydrates per 1 kg. Body weight + 1 gr protein per 1 kg. Body weight during feeding).

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