Adequate carbohydrate intake is essential to ensure adequate glycogen stores and carbohydrate availability to fuel activity. The majority of carbohydrates should consist of nutrient-dense carbohydrate sources that include vitamins and minerals, such as legumes, vegetables, fruit, and whole grains. However, lower-fiber and simple carbohydrates play an important role in supplying easily digestible sources of fuel immediately before sports events and for rapid glycogen replenishment during recovery (Kerksick et al., 2018).
Glucose and Blood Sugar
Once carbohydrates are consumed, there is a corresponding rise in blood sugar levels as glucose enters the bloodstream. Simple carbohydrates consumed on their own, such as simple sugars found in juices, sports drinks, and candy, are absorbed more rapidly than complex carbohydrates and, therefore, lead to a rapid rise in glucose levels. Complex carbohydrates (starches in whole grains, starchy vegetables, legumes, and vegetables) are digested more slowly and are associated with a slower rise in glucose levels. A slower rate of glucose entry and a slower rise in glucose levels can provide a more sustained source of energy compared to a rapid increase.