The Myth of Carb Loading

You've probably heard of marathoners and other elite athletes inhaling gargantuan amounts of pasta before big endurance events, often referred to as "carb-loading." It turns out that "fat-loading" may be more effective. More scientific research is required; however, studies on both animals and humans have suggested that a fat-rich diet may increase endurance. A 1994 study compared the effects of a highcarb/low-fat diet and a high-fat/low-carb diet on two groups of trained cyclists. During high-intensity exercise, the groups performed equally well; during prolonged, moderate-intensity exercise, endurance was significantly enhanced among the cyclists on the high-fat/low-carb regimen. Two other studies on humans suggest that increasing dietary fat from fifteen percent to forty-two percent increases maximum oxygen consumption and endurance capacity. My review of the published research suggests to me that increases in dietary fat may be beneficial-not only for general health, but also for physical endurance.

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