The importance of carbohydrate as a fuel source for endurance exercise and athletic performance is well established. Despite decades of intense carbohydrate research within the field of sports nutrition, new knowledge continues to be generated with the potential to inform practice. To ensure sufficient muscle glycogen availability, endurance competition or high-quality intense training should be preceded by daily dietary carbohydrate intakes scaled to the demands of the subsequent exercise. The optimization of liver and muscle glycogen content in the hours before and hours directly after exercise are important goals for carbohydrate nutrition. In this respect, nutrition strategies that combine glucose and fructose carbohydrate sources appear most beneficial for enhancement of performance and recovery. Athletes looking to benefit from carbohydrate feeding during exercise can choose from a wide range of readily oxidizable carbohydrate sources, with glucose-fructose blends (inc. sucrose) affording the greatest flexibility for within-event modulation of carbohydrate intake. Finally, a periodized approach to dietary carbohydrate intake around training will ensure athletes have sufficient fuel to execute the demands of training to maximize training adaptation whilst minimizing the potential for adverse health or performance consequences (e.g., through development of RED-S).
Commission on Dietetic Registration