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Nutrition for the female cyclist

Apparently there are some foods that can make us live longer, lose weight and even ride better. But if you ask what those foods are everyone will give you a different answer. So let's stick to the facts, rather than spend time and money on fad diets and expensive supplements. Because once you know the facts, you can decide for yourself and have your own answer.

Cyling Holiday

Carbohydrates are not over-rated. Yes, they seem to be so popular they are losing popularity, but the fact remains, they are essential. When you eat carb it's broken down and converted to blood glucose, your body's main fuel and the only type that can feed your brain. Carbohydrate is sugar and simple carbohydrate is a single or double sugar molecule, usually glucose, fructose, galactose, sucrose or lactose. These can be found in healthy foods such as fruits, or even the unhealthier alternative, sweets. Complex carbohydrate is a long chain of simple sugars. Often called starch, potatoes and pasta are good examples.

Nutrition for the female cyclist So glucose that is not immediately used for energy is stored in your muscles and liver as glycogen and used later for fuel. If these storage spots are full the glucose is converted into fat - not something we want to hear.

Where do protein and fat come in? They play a role, but it must be said that carbohydrate is a better cycling fuel than either of these. Although stored protein can be converted to energy when glucose and glycogen become depleted, the process is inefficient. Stored fat (yes, I said it again) can also be a fuel source, but it can't be converted to energy in the absence of glucose. This is why you need carbohydrates. A diet high in fat and protein carries more calories (not a girl's best friend) and it does a poorer job of providing energy for cycling.

Nutrition for the female cyclist During and directly after a hard work out, simple and complex card is equally effective as fuel. It is best though to emphasise the complex type in your general diet, as it promotes significantly greater glycogen synthesis and offers vitamins, minerals and fibre along with the energy.

Overall, nutritionists recommend that at least 60 percent of your calories come from carbohydrate and for cyclists (or any active person) 65 percent. It's quite simple to track as food packages list carb content as a percentage of daily calories. You can find formulas which will help you estimate the number of carb grams you need to account for 65% of your diet. But beyond the math, the point is that you should increase your intake of whole-grain breads, non-fat dairy products, cereals, pasta, rice, potatoes, vegetables, fruits and juices. Remember, although carbs are the most important, doesn't mean you can entirely forget protein and fat. Keep your total daily calorie consumption at the right level by decreasing your intake of fat and protein as found in meat, cheese, whole dairy products and snack foods.