Daily Carbohydrate Requirements

by Strength Training
Kinetic Select October 2023


This excerpt from Strength Training briefly discusses glycemic index and glycemic load.

The following is an exclusive excerpt from the book Strength Training, Second Edition, published by Human Kinetics. All text and images provided by Human Kinetics.

Carbohydrate with a high glycemic index is more effective at increasing the rate of glycogen repletion. Glycemic index, which refers to how quickly carbohydrate is metabolized, is a numerical rating of how much of an increase in circulating blood sugar is triggered by the consumption of a food. Carbohydrate sources with a high glycemic index, such as fruits and processed sugar, are metabolized quickly. Carbohydrate sources with a low glycemic index, such as starches and cellulose, are metabolized more slowly. Glycemic load is another term used when referring to the increase in blood sugar that a specific food causes. Unlike glycemic index, glycemic load takes into consideration the amount of the food that is consumed. (See table 4.2 for some typical glycemic index values.) Despite the ability to increase glycogen resynthesis, carbohydrate with a high glycemic index is more detrimental for fat loss because the insulin response inhibits fat-breakdown enzymes and promotes fat deposition and maintenance. Recently, this has led to questions on the overuse of high-carbohydrate diets and drinks to promote athletic performance (Paoli et al. 2013; Noakes et al. 2014).

Table 4.2 shows the glycemic index of select foods: High (GI>69), Medium (56<GI<69), and Low (GI<56). For example: high includes foods like white bread and jelly beans, medium includes wheat bread and PowerBar protein bars, and low includes rye bread and apples. Glycemic Index (GI) is a rating of the time and amount in which a given food causes an increase in blood sugar in relation to pure glucose, which has a glycemic index of 100.

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